The Californian

Math teacher takes on men’s basketball

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Math teacher takes on men’s basketball

Max Walker, Staff Writer

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On a normal day in Anthony Khoo’s math class, he seems like any other teacher.

Students can find him teaching Algebra concepts like factoring and solving for x.

But what people may not know is that Khoo has a huge passion for basketball and is the new men’s varsity basketball coach this year.

Khoo was named the team’s new coach last spring after heading up Cal’s women’s varsity basketball program for the past two years.

“I am not going to change my coaching style. I will just try to adapt. I am more familiar with men’s basketball,” said Khoo.

Khoo first started playing basketball in eighth grade and went on to play basketball for four years at El Camino High School. He played basketball for one year at Cuesta Junior College when he was 21.

Khoo began his coaching career in 2006 at El Camino High School where he was the athletic director and head men’s varsity basketball coach.

But when Khoo came to Cal High in 2011 to be a math teacher, he took charge of the girl’s varsity basketball team, coaching them from 2011-2013.

Khoo had a rough first season as the women’s coach with an overall record of 5-21, including 2-12 in league. But the team did have two huge wins against Dougherty Valley and San Ramon Valley that first year, showing signs of hope for the team’s future.

In his second season, Khoo helped the team have a breakthrough year. The ladies went 14-13 overall, 7-7 in league, and qualified for the  NCS playoffs. This was the women’s team first trip to NCS since 2010. Unfortunately, they lost in the first round to No. 7 seed Pittsburg, 59-45.

“He is a really good coach who focuses on the fundamentals,” said senior Yasmin Vahabzadeh, who had played for Khoo for the past two seasons and is playing on varsity again this season. “Mr. Khoo knew our player personnel and how to handle it.”

After the season, a vacancy was made in the head coaching position for the men’s team when former coach Garrett Fitch left, allowing Khoo apply and get the job.

Khoo treasured and will miss his time coaching the girl’s team.

“There was no drama and they were really close,” he said. “They knew when they had to be serious and work hard,” said Khoo.

It seemed like a big jump to go from the women’s team to the men’s team, but Khoo fully accepted the challenge.

Khoo explained that there are not many differences between coaching the two, and he will try to find the right ways to motivate the boys and make them work harder each day.

The men’s team has been struggling to find success since 2010, when they made it to the first round of NCS. So far this year, they are 5-14 overall and 1-6 in league

Despite the rough start so far, the team  has high hopes for this year as they have a well-rounded mix of good shooters and defenders.

“We are going to be good this year,” junior Mitchell Briggs said. “He makes us work hard.”

Khoo brought something new to the team this year: double days on Saturdays. This means the team now endures two practices on Saturdays, both an hour and a half long.

Whatever Khoo does is only for the best of the team. He will do anything from watch film over and over again to practicing with each player one on one.

East Bay Athletic League has never been an easy league to play in for basketball. The league includes reigning D-1 state champion Monte Vista and perennial powerhouse De La Salle. But with the addition of Khoo, the team has much better chances.

But Khoo isn’t only focused on basketball. Khoo cares deeply about school and academics as well.

“The only way to coach is to be a coach and a teacher, so players can see you both in an academic way and an athletic way,” said Khoo.

So whether it being making a three-pointer or solving for x, Khoo wants both his students and his players to succeed in high school and in their futures beyond.

Khoo is making a lasting impact on Cal High’s athletics and academics.

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Math teacher takes on men’s basketball