Zachary Gardner

Junios Smith | February 20th, 2018
Zachary Gardner

Zachary Gardner

For the past five years, Zachary Garner has enjoyed the sport and improved his game throughout. The fourth grader from Alamance Elementary is playing for the Pleasant Garden Basketball League at Bethlehem Methodist Church after being on the Playmakers at Bryan YMCA in Greensboro.
Garner, a combo guard, said the transition has been a bit tough, but he’s enjoying it all.

“It’s my first year playing with the team and we’re getting better with every game,” Garner said. “It’s different than what I’m used to but the adjustment has been pretty good. I’m learning to dribble, play defense, and shoot better. We’ll get better with more experience playing together.”
Garner said he does like playing as a guard.

“I like that you can pass the ball a lot and still have a chance to shoot the ball,” Garner said. “I like to bring the ball up the court. I also like to try to get as many assists as I can and drive to the goal a lot.”

Some of Garner’s favorite parts of the game are similar to the player he likes the most in the NBA.
“My favorite player is (Boston Celtics point guard) Kyrie Irving because he’s good at crossovers, scoring, and helping his team win,” Garner said.
Garner has been raised in a military family as the middle child of three. His father, Daryl, spent 22 years in the Army before retiring in 2008 and his mother, Tracy, is still enlisted. Garner’s older brother, Tyler, joined the military in August 2017 as well.

Daryl Garner, who grew up in Greensboro, said he felt the city was a great place to raise a family. “I’ve travelled the world, but came home because it felt centralized,” Garner said. “It’s not too big of a city, but not too small of a town. This way, the kids can experience life.” Garner played baseball for Dudley in high school and at North Carolina A&T University. Although Zachary Garner is enjoying a different sport, his father said it’s a helpful tool in his development. “I was a big baseball guy, but we always watched college and NBA games together,” Garner said. “He’s always had an interest in basketball since he was about three and I try to make sure the kids do something other than schoolwork. A kid has to be well-rounded and basketball helps you interact and meet people from all walks of life.”

Besides the basketball court, Zachary Garner is an exceptional student, maintaining straight A’s throughout the year. Daryl Garner said it’s not difficult for his son to balance grades with studies. “He loves school,” Garner said. “When he gets home, he tries to get his homework done early so he’ll have a little bit of time to get out and shoot some hoops. He’s also enrolled in Kumon enrichment, which is like an extended math and reading program, and he’s really excelled in it. Right now, he’s two or three grades higher in those subjects than his peers. “Education is very key and important here. My wife and I want our kids to be good students, role models for others, and good people in general. Of course, we still want them to be kids, but have manners.”

The character implemented by his parents has definitely been instilled in Zachary Garner, who has other aspirations besides basketball. “Grades are really important to me, because I want to go to college without my parents having to pay for me,” Garner said. “I would like to be an engineer because I’m really good at math.” If Garner is able to carve a path to the NBA, he already has his dream teams mapped out. “I would love to play college basketball for the (North Carolina) Tar Heels and my dream NBA team is the (Cleveland) Cavaliers,” Garner said.

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