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ORANGE COUNTY ALL-STAR BASKETBALL GAME : His Intensity Opened Eyes : South: Laguna Beach's Garner used all-out style to average 10 rebounds.


LAGUNA BEACH — In his search for a few good men, Ocean View's Jim Harris took an unexpected detour when he called on Laguna Beach's Trigg Garner.

Harris, who will coach the South at Saturday's Orange County All-Star basketball game, didn't know much about Garner two weeks ago but has since learned plenty.

"Trigg has been the most pleasant surprise," Harris said of Garner, a three-year starter under Laguna Beach Coach Bret Fleming. "He's really quite a player."

With an influx of talent at guard--the South has six--Harris was in need of some size and muscle inside. So Harris picked up a newspaper to peruse the season-ending statistics.

"I noticed Trigg averaged about 10 rebounds a game," Harris said. "I asked around and found out he was a quality guy."

The scouting report didn't disappoint. Garner, who Harris said is worth his weight in gold because of his all-around skills, has proved his selection to the team was justified, although the 6-foot-3 senior forward could only speculate about his placement on the team.

"I think it's my hustle; I play really hard and aggressive," Garner said. "I think that caught the eye of some of the other coaches."

Fleming described Garner as a modest player whose intensity on the court contradicts his personality.

"He's unassuming and low key, yet on the court he's the opposite," Fleming said.

Garner's sacrifice-all approach to the game--it's not unusual for him to sustain floor burns on his knees even at the end of a game--was one of the intangibles that helped Laguna Beach finish second in the Pacific Coast League and advance to the section quarterfinals.

"Trigg rarely came out of a game," said Fleming, who said Garner played six weeks on two twisted ankles. "He'd just go and go and go. He set a great example for the rest of the team. He wasn't always the leading scorer, but he does a lot of other things. He hits the boards hard and has great defensive abilities."

Abilities that stretch across several athletic fields. Garner was the Artists' starting quarterback as a junior, but his best game is still baseball.

And he is as adept in a classroom as he is on a court. Garner has a 4.14 grade-point average and was named the All-Star team's top scholar. He is enrolled in several advanced placement classes and has a special interest in math and creative writing.

Said Harris: "He's fun, you enjoy having a guy like that around."

The original plan for Saturday's game was to rotate fresh players every three or four minutes, but Harris expects Garner will see more than his share of playing time.

"There are some guys who will need to be out on the court more than others, and he's one of them. That has become very clear to me," Harris said.

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