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Early foundation benefits performance

While many youngsters played with tinker toys or monster trucks at the age of five, senior guard Ronnie Giannetta was already planning to start on the varsity basketball team.

Giannetta developed his dream for a professional career while watching the National Basketball Association from his home television.

?I would always watch Michael Jordan play or watch the Lakers games on television,? Giannetta said, ?I always wanted to play basketball just like them.?

Giannetta benefited from his sister’s and mom’s piano students who challenged him daily in one-on-one basketball matches.

“I saw real improvement in both my dribbling and shooting,” Giannetta said. “While my mom was giving piano lessons, I was giving basketball lessons.”

Beyond the early-morning practices and endless running, Giannetta?s desire to play spawns from the camaraderie for playing sport.

?The games are a lot of fun and I love them,? Giannetta said. ?I also like hanging out with my teammates after the game and having a good time with them.?

Athletic director and varsity head coach Chris Schultz hopes that Ronnie?s expertise on the court will bring some defining guidance to this year?s comparably young team.

?This is Ronnie?s third year on varsity, so he understands what it means to play at a high level everyday,? Schultz said. ?We will need his experience with such a young team.?

Giannetta appreciates the memories created during last-second victories on the court.

?I loved it when the crowd rushed the court when we beat Firebaugh my sophomore year,? Giannetta said. ?We pulled off a game winning tip at our home court which was an awesome experience.?

With an average of 20.8 points per game, Schultz feels confident in Giannetta?s ability to score on shots that might prove a challenge for other players.

?Ronnie has a very natural feel for the game of basketball,? Schultz said. ?He is a very good shooter with the capacity to score both around the basket and beyond the arc.?

In his second year as Giannetta’s teammate, David Fujihara, ’08, enjoys sharing the court with his classmate.

?Ronnie really knows how to play the game,? Fujihara said, ?His quickness on the court helps him to score before the other team really knows what to do. He also gives his younger teammates someone to look up to.?

Giannetta?s will to play surpasses his lack of support for early morning practices. Players experience fatigue throughout the remainder of a day.

?Basketball?s fun, but I hate the 5:30 practices,? Gianneta said. ?I don?t like them because then I?m tired for the rest of the day and I don?t really like waking up early.?

When not blocking shots from six-foot opponents, Giannetta finds other sports, and even video games, an effective way to relieve the stresses of the job.

?Other than basketball I like to play soccer and baseball,? Giannetta said, ?I also play a lot of video games because I can compete with other people and have a fun time doing it.?

Despite entering the final year of his high school basketball career, Giannetta already considers his options for college and future career.

?I plan on doing something with either animals or sports because then I would actually enjoy going to work,? Giannetta said. ?I want to stay in town for college so I will probably go to Fresno State or Fresno Pacific Unversity.?

Through six games, Giannetta leads the Southwest Sierra League with 125 points.

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  • C

    Cassidy HutchinsJan 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Oh my goodness, I love Kaleb! He’s the cutest little two…almost three-year-old I have ever seen! “Bump, set, spike….10-FOOT LINE!” Gotta love him!

  • J

    Jennier TatumJan 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    I love this picture, but what I thought was the cutest, was when he was running with the flag and then the flag fell off. But he was still running with the stick. He did a great job! Good job Kaleb!

  • J

    Jessa SearlesJan 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    This kid is adorable. Of course Coach Tatum will be getting his kid into volleyball early. Watch Kaleb get onto the Olympic team!

  • A

    Ashlyn WhiteJan 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Kaleb is so cute! I love it when he comes to practice and does push ups with us lol!

  • J

    Jeremiah BrownJan 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Haha, I love this kid. He is soooooo funny. Mr. and Mrs. Tatum did a great job with this one.

  • A

    Alex TedeschiJan 16, 2010 at 6:48 am

    The volleyball girls did such a good job! It’s always so fun to watch them play. Watching Coach Tatum’s son run past with the flag every now and then was almost as entertaining as the game. 😀 He was adorable.