They say if you want to build something special. Start with good people. Start with people who are willing to sacrifice for the group. But make sure you have a good leader. Ocean Twp girls basketball team had all these things in place when it started it march towards greatness. What they didn’t have were spoiled brats, over bearing parents and ego’s. In a lot of ways Ocean 4 years ago was different from every single high school in the state. They had a bunch of unknown kids and NOT good but a brillant coach that nobody knew about… Well they all know the Ocean kids names now. They also know the coaches name. That’s because they have done the impossible in the last 4 year.


Nobody knew or cared much about the 4 HORSE WOMAN4 years ago. Nobody knew that they were hard workers and gym rats. Nobody knew they were friends. Nobody knew that Sofia Chebookjian was going to be the missing piece to their success. You see nobody wanted any of them out of high school. They were a after thought and not much more than that. But more than anything, nobody knew Ocean had a genius coaching on the sidelines. A master mind and for my money the best offensive coach I have seen in all my years in the shore. Mike Lazur, took Eli Clark and gave her the keys to the car. He told her her drive it the right way and to respect the road ahead. he turned her into a Division one player. He turned Gamila Betton into a beast by teaching her the little things most big kids never level at the high school level, like how to love the game. He taught her how to set screens, pass and to play hard. He gave Sofia Chebookjian the best role a kid could ask for, he turned her into a star without anyone ever really knowing she was one. He welcomed back Jineen Ayssh with with open arms and taught her that moving with the ball is an art. he taught how to think and make the right plays for teammates. She like Eli Clark will be playing D1 basketball. Then for shits and giggles, he turned Kayden Clark loose on the Shore Conference. He put her in position to be FIRST TEAM ALL FRESHMAN and these days the best 3 way guard in the Shore next year. Mike Lazur did something you rarely see these days. He taught his girls how to play basketball. He taught them a style and a way of playing that made everyone sit up and admire. He turned Ocean Twp in a champion and powerhouse. He parents, players and community trusted him and he delivered on his promises.

The list of accomplishments are long. Like back to back State finalist, like the first of two Divisional titles in 30 years. Like players becoming D1 players, D2 players, D3 players, All Freshman. Winning 20 games, being Ranked in the State, being Top 4 in the Shore. 1000 point scorers. I could go on forever. Ocean is a story written in heaven. It’s really a story about goodness, kindness and respect. You see the Ocean kids are the most respectful group in the state. Yes, I said the state and not too just to each other. But to everyone they come in contact with. It part of their charm. You don’t see their parents in the stands making a fool of themselves. Their kids are humble because they never were treated special, every step of the way. They never asked for anything or wanted to be treated special. They were never were told how great they were. They were never the center of attention, they just went out and played. They just enjoyed being with each other and wanted to make each smile. They found the right leader in Mike Luzur and they played for each other and their school.

Ocean lost to Ewing yesterday. I am sure their were tears and disappointment. But I believe they were crying more because of all they have done together. I think they just wanted it to go on forever. Well it will go on forever because they are tied to the hip until the day they die. The memories will be so thick, they will need a ax to cut thought the memories and good times. For now they will all go their own way and circle back, when the school inducts them into the Hall of Fame. When Eli Clark’s 1000 points banner is raised. There parents will see each other on the streets and tell stories and give updates about their children’s lives. Now Sofia Chebookijan will follow Eli Clark’s every step in college. Eli Clark will do the same. Jineen Ayssh will talk to Eli Clark on the phone everyday. Gamila Betton will check in on Kayden Clark’s high final high school season. Kayden Clark will be waiting to give them all the updates. And Mike Lazur you ask… WELL IS THE MASTERMIND OF IT ALL… HE’LL BE THINKING UP NEW WAYS TO HELP KIDS GROW AND MAKE DREAMS COME TRUE.

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