From playing basketball with professionals in Europe to competing against the best high school players in the country, Santa Clarita Christian School varsity boys hooper Josh O’Garro has had quite an active summer.
O’Garro, who was born and raised in the Cayman Islands, had the opportunity to play with the Cayman Islands Men’s Basketball National Team in July at the 2019 Island Games in Gibraltar.
The rookie on the team, O’Garro was tasked with typical duties for a newcomer, like carrying his teammates’ bags and getting them water, but also saw plenty of time on the floor.
O’Garro had the chance to learn from and play against professional players from around the world, which fueled his drive to become an even better player who can compete on the highest levels.
“That was a really good experience. We actually won it, it was really cool,” O’Garro said. “The competition was really good because I was playing against pros who play all over the world, they get paid to play basketball, that’s their job. The level of intensity and physicality of the game was very different.”
After returning from Gibraltar, O’Garro’s next stop was Las Vegas the first week of August with his travel team BTI Basketball Club, where he played at the inaugural Fantastic 40 tournament hosted by former NBA player Earl Watson.
The junior-to-be played with older competition in the 17U Division and showcased his incredible athletic ability, including a number of highlight dunks that are making the rounds on social media. He was also named to the All-Tournament Team.
Playing against top high school competition around the country, in addition to playing with professionals a month earlier in Gibraltar, O’Garro’s hunger to improve his game grew exponentially.
“It was really fun, I had great teammates, I played up. I’m going into my junior year and all those other kids are juniors now, so I was playing up which was really cool,” he said. “The competition was really good. Obviously the physicality was different because it’s kids, but I think it was an eye-opener, to see so much talent firsthand, not just over the internet. Playing it firsthand, it motivates you to work harder, you want to be better than everyone else.”
With summer ball in the books, the 6-foot-5 lefty is preparing for his junior campaign at SCCS by hitting the weight room and working on areas that need improvement, such as his footwork and using his right hand more.
The Cardinals reached the 3AA championship game last year, falling to Rolling Hills Prep 56-49. Several key seniors graduated from last year’s team, but O’Garro is looking forward to taking on more of a leadership role this season, both vocally and with his actions on and off the court.
“I’m really looking forward to this year. Last season I didn’t really know what to expect, there was a lot of ups and downs with the team,” he said. “This season I feel like we all have our heads on straight. I want to win so I’m going to give it my all. We all have one goal, so we’re all going to work really hard for it.”