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Boys Leaves Home Again, Finds Refuge

July 17, 1998|PAIGE A. LEECH

Nestled in California's wine country is Santa Rosa, a city roughly the size of Simi Valley.

It's a scenic, relatively quiet, laid-back community north of San Francisco, the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city.

This is where Ian Boys has come to play junior college basketball.

"It's really beautiful here," he said.

It's easy to understand why Boys is so happy and comfortable in his new surroundings.

He is no longer shrouded in controversy. No longer the subject of an investigation. No longer the target of pointed fingers. No longer among the region's most talked about players for all the wrong reasons.

In many ways, he's starting over.

A year ago this week, Boys told The Times he was transferring from Buena High to Simi Valley because of financial hardship.

And a firestorm began.

Rival Marmonte League coaches were beside themselves, accusing Simi Valley of benefiting--for the third time in three years--from a calculated transfer.

Buena Coach Glen Hannah was stunned, hurt and angered by his star player's exodus.

Boys, a 6-foot-7 forward who was Buena's leading scorer and rebounder a season earlier, was under fire. And it got much worse for Boys before it got any better.

His family's personal and financial problems became very public.

His reason for transferring was scrutinized by everyone from Hannah to Southern Section Commissioner Dean Crowley.

"Me and my family shouldn't have been put through that," Boys said. "It was something very private that everybody knew about."

It was the most tumultuous time in Boys' life, not to mention his family's.

"It was hard enough [for him] to look at his parents getting divorced, but to have to go through all the public hearings about the finances and having everybody know . . . it was hard, hard on all of us," said Julie Boys, Ian's mother.

Julie Boys, the mother of five, said because finances were tight, she and her husband granted Robert and Marianne Fullove--family friends of five years--full guardianship of their oldest son.

After his parents filed for bankruptcy in mid-August, Ian Boys moved in with the Fulloves, who moved to Simi Valley from Canoga Park just before the start of the school year.

The chain of events drew suspicion from several coaches, who suspected California Interscholastic Federation rules pertaining to undue influence were being violated.

In October, the Southern Section denied Boys' hardship waiver request to play at Simi Valley.

It took an emotional appeal to a Southern Section executive committee--including a tearful plea from Boys' father--before Boys was granted eligibility two weeks later.

"I think there was a lot of stress on everybody's part," Boys said. "Not only on my parents, but the Fulloves as well. They have done so much for me."

Boys, an amiable, somewhat shy 18-year-old, grew up in a hurry.

"I think moving out to Simi Valley was better for me socially and academically," Boys said. "Basketball had absolutely nothing to do with me moving out there.

"I think having to go through the whole trial of me being able to play, it has made me mature a lot. I didn't like going through it, but I think in the long run, it has helped me out tremendously."

Boys, who started 21 of 31 games, earned a starting position with Simi Valley just before league play began.

With the Pioneers' depth of talent--which included Rafael Berumen, Branduinn Fullove and Brett Michel--Boys went from being the top player on a mediocre team at Buena to a mediocre player on one of the region's top teams.

He averaged 8.5 points a game and was the Pioneers' second-leading rebounder with 5.8 a game. He did not receive any athletic scholarship offers, but said he wasn't surprised.

"I didn't put up the numbers as I did before," Boys said. "In order for me to get a scholarship, there were just too many questions."

Boys, a post player who lacks an adequate outside shot, hasn't given up his dream of playing Division I basketball.

With the help of Simi Valley Coach Dean Bradshaw, Boys said he landed a spot on the Santa Rosa junior college roster. He hopes two fruitful years at the junior college level will earn him a scholarship.

"In talking with the [Santa Rosa] coaches, I'll get playing time," he said. "It just depends on how hard I work."

Boys moved north nearly three weeks ago and has already settled into a 16-hour-a-week job in the school's computer services department and is taking two summer school classes.

It's been nearly a year since Boys lived under his parents' roof in Ventura. Nearly a year since financial strain tore apart his family and made headlines.

Some things haven't changed in the Boys' household. The financial trouble "hasn't gone away," said Julie Boys, who is in the process of divorcing Ian's father.

But the time away from his parents certainly did something for Boys.

"I think my relationship with my parents has changed," Boys said. "I think we get along really well now.

"It's not so much child-adult . . . it's more adult-adult."

Julie Boys agreed.

"He's grown up a lot in this last year," she said. "One of the really good parts of all this was to watch Ian blossom as a person.

"He made such good friendships beyond basketball, he played volleyball [at Simi Valley] and he maintained friendships with the people in Ventura and with the church here.

"[The move to Simi Valley] was an expansion rather than a substitution."

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