Quinn Rawdin talks hoops, dedication
Published - 12/12/17 - 11:36 AM | 5991 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Quinn Rawdin, LJHS basketball senior. / PHOTO BY ED PIPER
Quinn Rawdin, LJHS basketball senior. / PHOTO BY ED PIPER
“I don’t know how to explain it. Not playing basketball every day is like the anxiety you feel when you leave the keys in the car and lock the door,” said Quinn Rawdin, a left-handed outside shooter for La Jolla High’s basketball team. The subject is the sport of basketball, and why it can be so pleasurable in feel, rhythm, even as part of a daily lifestyle of activity.

“Or it’s like losing your wallet.” Two very real things to a 17-year-old who has access to his own wheels.

But the senior, who will start for Coach Paul Baranowski’s Vikings this winter for basically the third year in a row, thrives on yet another aspect of balling.

“It’s about the competition. It’s always about the competition. I like competing because that’s how you get down to winning each game,” says the sandy-haired southpaw. Rawdin also derives a lot, as many team-sport athletes do, on the connection with teammates who become deeper friends through another dimension of interaction.

The psychology/biology enthusiast, who will experience a major change on the court this year with fixture Reed Farley, who he played next to throughout high school in the backcourt, graduating and moving on, tells a poignant story of a gift Steve Fisher gave him.

Fisher is the recently-retired coach of San Diego State’s high-standing basketball team. When Quinn took part in his basketball camp at SDSU as a freshman, and had all the Aztec players around him—and the few thousand other young campers trying out their raw skills on the Viejas Arena hardwood—the renowned coach called him over, by name, and told him, “Quinn, I’ve been watching you during the camp. I like the way you shoot the ball.” Rawdin, then 13, was deeply affected. “Matt Shrigley (one of the Aztec players) told me I reminded him of his shooting when he was younger,” remembers Rawdin. That gave him a boost, too

But then at the end of the SDSU camp. Coach Fisher called out to him by name again—he thought originally it was just because he was wearing an I.D. tag—and yelled, “Stay fearless.” The older Rawdin now looks back on the coach’s personal attention as something to hold onto. It certainly gave him a shot in the arm, some great moral support from a nationally-recognized coach.

The other story the Viking shooting guard tells is about the opportunity he had to exercise some leadership with younger teammates in the Maccabee Games in St. Louis during summer 2016. Facilitated by Baranowski, activities director at Lawrence Family Jewish Center, and co-coached by Jake Baranowski, his son, the combined San Diego-San Antonio entry bonded over a week of basketball play together and “stuff kids do” off the court, like going to arcades and being entertained by rappers that were part of the Maccabee event. Fellow Viking senior Charlie Gal was also on the team.

“Our very final game was for the championship of the bronze division. We had won some games and lost some games. The very next day, we were going to fly home. We could go home with a medal, or not. We got down by 15 points or so. Jake Baranowski said the usual good things coaches say: ‘We want to go home with a medal,’ etc. I kind of huddled up the guys in another place, and I said, ‘I think we can win the game. We’ve been together for a week. The other team doesn’t have any subs and looks done.’ The whole team kicked into gear. It was like everyone went into adrenaline. Kids who hadn’t hit their shots hit them. I don’t remember how much we won by, but every kid stepped up and it went our way.”

The takeaway for Rawdin was that he “extended” himself in leadership, not always something he has had to do with the veteran Farley present until now on the school team. He took a chance, maybe sounding a little corny in his pep talk to his teammates. But it took effect and helped lead to the San Diego-San Antonio team coming from behind to win the bronze division title.

A further enjoyment from basketball for Rawdin, whose father is Gregg, his mother is Jeanne (pronounced ‘Jeannie’), and his older brother and former Viking is Mark, is the rush of excitement. “It’s almost like you can’t feel pain,” he avers. “I love that feeling. The adrenaline is a big part of basketball for me. The hype, the competition… I like the fast-paced movement of the game. I like the constant back-and-forth of the game.”

The connection he feels to his teammates is enhanced, he says, by the involvement in the sport. They include Behzad Hashemi, a junior, and Gal, both of whom he hangs out frequently with. Also, Nick Holmquist and Evan Brown, both juniors, and senior Jacob Ohara all point to a season ahead in which “we’re going to be a lot quicker. We’re shorter this year, but that means we’re quicker and more agile. Jacob driving in there—it’s really something,” he says, shaking his head.

“We moved up a division, to Division 1. We moved back to the Western League. But I love it. Like I said, I love the competition.”

And, as a closing, he says, looking to the evening ahead, “I think I’ll probably go to the La Jolla Rec. Center and take a few shots.” It’s just something he does every day.
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