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Skateboarding brothers shift gears

02/09/2016, 7:19pm PST
By Terry Monahan

Chance meeting steers Orange Glen juniors to basketball

Twins Devin (left) and Michael Diaz are hoping to guide Orange Glen to another section basketball title.

— A routine trip to the supermarket turned out to be a life-changing moment for fraternal twins Michael and Devin Diaz.

Neither brother had played basketball. They were skateboarders.

Standing in the aisle with their mom at Stater Brothers, the fourth-graders, holding their skateboards, were approached by a local club coach, who told them they looked like basketball players.

“We weren’t interested,” Devin said.

“I was shocked a guy would say we looked like basketball players when we hadn’t played a day in our life,” Michael said.

Now juniors at Orange Glen High, the brothers are the starting guards on the basketball team. Two years ago as freshmen, they helped the Patriots win a San Diego Section Division IV championship.

Both have dreams of playing in college.

“We dropped skateboarding soon after that meeting,” said Michael, who is 12 minutes older than Devin. “Neither one of us is planning to go back to skateboarding because of injuries.

“I’m so happy (that coach) saw us that day. I can’t imagine my life without basketball.

“Basketball can get us to college. Skateboarding can’t get us a college degree.”

Michael is a 6-foot-1 guard who leads the team in scoring with a 16.5-point average and in rebounding with 7.6 per game. He also averages 3.5 assists and 2.8 steals a game.

“Michael is a Division I prospect in my book,” Orange Glen coach Chris Featherly said. “There is something different about him. In a game against elite travel-ball players, he thinks he’s Michael Jordan.

“I’ve never coached a kid like him before.”

Devin is a 6-2 guard who returned from a sprained knee that forced him to sit for two weeks this season. He averages 4.5 points and 1.5 rebounds a game for the Patriots, who stand 14-9 overall and 5-1 in the Valley League heading into tonight’s home game against Mission Vista.

“Devin is more explosive,” Featherly said. “Devin can play at the next level and in the next year I expect his game to take off.”

Both brothers excel for the Coastal Elite club team, but their fondest basketball memory is Orange Glen’s section title in 2014.

“Most players never set foot on the big stage like we did that day,” Michael said. “We were rock stars the next day at school. Everyone wanted to take photos with us.

“I never want to forget that feeling, but we aren’t that team anymore. I really want to experience that feeling once more.”

Michael wears No. 0 for the Patriots, who have won 10 of their last 11 games in a quest for another section title.

“I wear zero because I was a zero in this game at one time,” he said. “It reminds me of where I came from before that day at the market.

“I just wanted to skateboard and nothing else. Now both of us are basketball players only.”

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