Connelly Basketball standout brings positive energy to the team, says coach

By Jenelyn Russo     10/22/2018

On the suggestion of a few of her friends, Nina Menzagopian joined a club basketball team when she was eight years old. In hoops she found the perfect fit. 

“I instantly fell in love with the sport,” says Menzagopian. “I loved the energy it had in it, because I was very energetic as a child. It suited me.” 

A sophomore point guard for Cornelia Connelly High School, Menzagopian enjoys the responsibility of being in the playmaker position. Having to see the court, call the plays and make changes on the fly are challenges she welcomes. But it is the team aspect of basketball that has captured her passion. 

“I love the team,” says the 15-year-old. “It’s really hard to win a game when you’re the only one playing. That’s what I love about Connelly’s team as well. We all clicked with each other. We all [know] how to work as a team. You win as a team, and you lose as a team.” 

With three seasons ahead for her as a Koala, the varsity player has already made an impact on her teammates and coaching staff. 

“Nina is a fantastic athlete who gives 100% into every practice and game,” says Connelly head basketball coach, Megan Marrujo. “She has brought a lot of positive energy into our program. Nina is both an offensive and defensive threat on the court, an aggressive player who doesn’t let anything slow her down. She is also a smart player who is always looking to improve her skills and push her teammates to do their best.” 

Not the tallest player on the court, Menzagopian doesn’t let her height stop her from pushing forward and playing to her fullest potential. She admits she is more independent by nature, but being a part of the team at Connelly brings Menzagopian a great deal of pride. 

“It’s amazing to represent Connelly in this environment and this sport,” says Menzagopian. “I’m proud to represent them. The best part is knowing that I play with these people.” 

Menzagopian serves her campus as a member of ASB and is an alter server at her church. The Fountain Valley resident hopes to continue playing basketball in college and plans to study law. 

The incorporation of prayer into their team routine allows the chance for Menzagopian to pray for her teammates as well as her opponents, while always putting the focus on safety over a win. 

Menzagopian’s family serves as her primary support structure, providing motivation in all aspects of her athletic career. But it is her older brother, Jack, who she leans on the most. 

“He works so hard, and is inspiring,” says Menzagopian. “I want to achieve what he achieves. If he can go this far, I can go this far…or ever further. I know he loves me and I love him. I know he’ll be there for me.”