But beneath the surface, behind the smiling visage, lies a serious-minded individual who wants to be an FBI agent so that he can lock up the bad guys.
“I feel like every time I (would) put away one of those people (criminals), I’m saving someone who could be murdered,” says the 18-year-old doubles player, who has been greatly impacted by study in criminology under teacher Lisa Perry.
Buzeriba, whose father Salem owns a Greek restaurant serving up tasty shawarma and gyros – “We’re Libyan, but it’s similar food” – wants to drill in further on behavior analysis and forensic psychology at a university like UC Irvine, the third-best school in the nation in criminology, according to Abdul.
“When you’re looking for someone (suspected), you’re looking in their room (at everything) to create a profile. You’re looking to see if they’re OCD,” in line with the psychology class he took from Ms. Perry as a junior.
“If you talk to their friends, do they hurt animals? (a common trait among domestic violence perpetrators, as well). Setting stuff on fire. ‘Natural’ forest fires – that look like natural forest fires but aren’t. They mask everything they do,” says the easy-going Buzeriba, who is the fourth of five siblings. His mother’s name is Fatma.
Meanwhile, fifth-year coach Joey Briese comes by. “Oh, I thought it was a probation officer,” Briese jokes upon learning a local sports reporter is interviewing his captain, giving Abdul some of his own medicine. “I call him my captain, because he announces our players at the start of matches. He and I have a great relationship. He has a good sense of humor. These guys make a year-round commitment on the team. We have U.S. Junior Tennis Association tennis in the fall, World Team Tennis in the winter, besides the school season in the spring. So it’s quite a commitment, and Abdul makes that like the others.”
“Abdul is my first senior graduating after being on the team for four years, so this is my highlight, to watch him develop over the years,” says Briese. “I have video of him as a freshman. I brought it out last year. He was this little guy who could hardly hit. We had a good time with that.”
UCHS and Buzeriba evolved into CIF Division III champs last year, led by Clay Adams, who has since graduated. Now the Centurions have moved up to Division II in the Eastern League. Cathedral Catholic is clearly the front runner, but UCHS is playing well and vying with Patrick Henry for the second spot in league.
The Centurions feature senior returners Charlie Openshaw, Kohei Hayashi, and Buzeriba in doubles; sophomore returners Trevor Srioudom, Richard Jason, and George Petkov in singles; as well as juniors Mark Truong (doubles) and William Pavia (singles).