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Devils Capriana Christian is playing for Pop

By December 26, 2010

Enterprise staff writer

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Capriana Christian is a talented ninth-grade basketball player.

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Growing up, regardless of the sport, the personable Capriana has been accomplished and a leader. She has been the center of attention.

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So when the young Miss Christian worked her way on to the Davis High varsity basketball team this fall, it wasn\’t a surprise to those who knew her.

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Ask any of the 16 members of this year\’s vastly improved Blue Devils and they\’ll tell you:

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“She earned it. She can play,” guard Ali Campos said earlier in the year to a friend.

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You\’ll also hear things like “She can play anywhere,” or “She\’s really tough on the boards.”

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Teammates have embraced the 14-year-old Harper Junior High student — just like they\’ve taken in another ninth-grader, Jordan Banwarth of Emerson.

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But if you weren\’t around the Lady Blue Devil program, and just now looked at the roster — Capriana is coached by dad Jeff Christian — the youngster\’s spot on varsity might have seemed like a placement of privilege.

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“You know, if people felt that way — if outside pressure was getting in the way — I\’d step down,” coach Christian promises, adding that the relationships with his players (including his daughter) are too important to him. “I know she\’s my daughter out there, but she\’s also just another player.”

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Capriana Christian says she and her dad have it figured out.

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“I definitely try to call him coach when we\’re at practice or games, but sometimes I catch myself calling him \’Dad,\’” the swing player explains. “The key to our relationship has always been communication. Any problems with school, we talk about that at home. Problems with basketball,

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we keep it on (the court).

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“We separate the two and it makes everything easier to understand.”

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Capriana hopes pop will be “harder on me. The more constructive, the better.”

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But dad says there won\’t be preferential treatment — and he\’s is completely aware that being tougher on her won\’t do any good, either.

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How Capriana is treated weighs heavily on coach Christian:

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“Those are things that are always in my mind. In the end, I love basketball, she loves basketball.”

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It seems to be working out.

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Both say spending more time with each other has been terrific.

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“I get to pick her up from school, then am blessed to have 21⁄2 to three hours to watch her interact with friends (while) I get to influence her, help shape her life at the same time,” Jeff Christian says of practice time together.

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As a freshman, Christian\’s daughter could have come into the program and tried

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to take over. She was that dominant on previous teams. But she\’s smarter than that.

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“This is kind of a backward compliment, but as her dad, I know what she can do. From eighth grade to high school sports is a big step. She was a leader on every team she\’s been on … and to come in here as a freshman and understand her place … she\’s doing a very good job.”

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But Capriana Christian is quietly evolving.

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In the recent Wine Country Classic, she collected a personal-best eight rebounds and on several occasions has put up timely baskets or contributed key assists. With a team that has everyone contributing, the improved Devils are already 8-3.

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It\’s not easy for Capriana to play a supporting role, but like DHS assistant coach Hilary Brittan says: “She gives us a lot of energy … on and off the court.”

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By the time the young basketball whiz has come into her own as a Devil, there will be a double dose of Christian on the court.

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Seventh-grader Alia, almost as tall as her 5-foot-7 sister Capriana, is champing at

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the bit to get into her dad\’s program.

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Who dominates the driveway?

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“We\’ll she\’s pretty good, but I\’d say it\’s still probably me,” Capriana reports.

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Jeff just sat there and smiled. He wasn\’t about to weigh in on such a loaded question.

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“We turn it on and off. We don\’t talk about basketball at home.”

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Or, apparently, about basketball that\’s being played at home.

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