Horizon Christian point guard Connor Zralka was recently named LCL First Team All League and Runner Up Player of the Year. Connor’s four years of high school basketball wouldn’t considered to be normal but he is making the best of it. Freshman year, Connor attended Tualatin and made the varsity team. He didn’t get much playing time so he played sometime on JV to get experience. Sophomore year, Connor attended Horizon Christian and was named All League and helped lead his team to the Elite 8. That summer, he decided to leave 3A and give 6A another shot. Junior year, Connor attended West Linn HS. West Linn is one of top tier programs in all of Oregon. He played on the fall league team and did ok but didn’t get any playing time during the actual season. Connor made the decision to leave the team and eventually depart from the school itself. “On the West Linn thing the reason he transferred was because we moved into the West Linn district and since we were in district Connor saw it as an opportunity. We had a big talk about it and he wanted the challenge. I praise Connor for having the guts to try and it really sucks it didn’t work out.” Father said. Heading into his senior year, Connor worked out with Skills Trainer Jameille Parrish, “Connor is a straight killer. No debate about it. He’s a leader who can bring out the best in his teammates and can carry a team on his back if need be. Any college getting him is getting a steal!” Senior year, Connor made his final decision to rejoin Horizon Christian. Connor is averaging right around 18.8ppg, 5.5apg and 10.3rpg. Heading into the State Tournament, Horizon is ranked #7 OSAA, finished 3rd in league and 17-9 overall record. I caught up with legendary Head Coach Dave Brown and this is what he had to say about Connor. What’s the biggest difference you seen in Connor since his sophomore year? Connor is of course two years older than when he was a soph so is playing much stronger. He is our 2nd leading rebounder this year vs. his soph year. He is also much more of a leader this year. He is playing more under control and is a much more mature player in his approach to the game. He is much more involved with his teammates and is one of our revolving captains. He is making fewer turnovers as a senior vs. a soph. How has Connor been playing this year? We have been very pleased with Connor's play this year. He has given us excellent leadership, has worked hard and is playing under control much better. He is averaging close to a triple double for us. He has been willing to give up points to get everyone involved in the offense and is playing for the team first. Here is the exclusive interview with Connor Zralka below. Talk about your freshmen year of hoops at Tualatin HS. What team did you played on? Freshmen year taught me a lot of patience and how to play with older and bigger kids. I made varsity as a freshman so I guess I am a four year letter. Eventually during the season I swung down to jv to get minutes on the court since l was getting very limited time playing varsity level. It was a bummer though not to be able to get out on the court consistently and get the chance to show what I could have done to help the team. I feel I had the size and the skill to compete. Just needed the chance. I only started one game for varsity that year. Talk about your decision to transfer to Horizon Christian freshman year? I felt moving to a small school was the best choice for me academically and socially. While I am not super religious Horizon has many religious qualities that I do like and more importantly a great academic school. I will be honest being at Horizon has helped me to learn at a better pace which is reflected in my 3.5 GPA this semester. I will be honest I got a lot of grief for leaving a 6a school to go to a 3a school. I know some people like to say 6a or 5a is better athletically but really in the end it’s about all around fit and that is why Horizon has worked so well for me. People have to remember there is a lot of great talent at the lower levels in Oregon. I wish everyone wasn’t so focused on the 6a/5a level. Lots of hidden gems at the lower levels. Players like myself might be at a smaller high school but everyone seems to forget that when club season rolls around and we are teammates or competitors with other 6a kids we are all of a sudden equals again. Talk about how your sophomore season went at HC? Sophomore year when I transferred we had a very solid squad. I averaged 17 points 6 boards and 6 assists 3 steals. I made 2nd team all-league which was cool. As for the season in general, it was a bummer to get pretty sick during the season and miss a couple games or play a few games at less than 100%, but we still made big things happen. It was pretty special to make state playoffs as a sophomore and even better playing a major role in making that happen. I don't think I can remember scores or who we even played but I know we had a lot of fun. Those are the important memories. What was your mindset during the summer heading into your senior year? What did you do to prepare? The summer was a tough one because I was growing and had really bad knee pains that prevented me from playing in July. Missed a lot of good basketball and opportunities to be recruited which was a huge bummer. When the growing stopped my focus turned solely to getting stronger and making the most of my senior year. I put in lots of hours in the gym both lifting and skill training. I had to put that summer memory behind me and move forward. Once the season started my mindset was to go out every game and do as much as I could to help the team win games. I guess you could say my mindset changed to more of a leader going into senior year. I feel maturity has had a lot to do with my success this year. Whats your focus now heading into the league playoffs and state tournament ? My focus is to take it game by game. We don't overlook teams in front of us. That has gotten us in trouble. Everyone on the team including myself is super excited for state this year and we have a great team to make a good run but right now we focus on finishing strong in league otherwise we won't make state. We take care of business in league then we will refocus for state. As a leader on the team I will do everything I can to help my team be successful and win games. If I have to score 30 points I will score 30 points. If it means 0 points and 20 assists then that is what I will do. Thankfully I have the ability to be flexible like that. Its about winning games right now and going as far as we can as a team. Senior year is about having no regrets and making the most of our opportunities.