On the court and among peers, the 6-foot-11 Luka Garza is easy to spot. But with his family of basketball giants, the Maret junior fits right in.

Garza's father, the 6-7 Frank Garza, played forward at Idaho. His mother, Sejla Garza, played professionally in Europe. Then there's his 6-8 grandfather, James Halm, who played for Hawaii. And don't forget his 6-8 uncle, Teoman Alibegovic, the Slovenian national team's all-time leading scorer who played alongside Gary Payton at Oregon State.

"I could just keep going," said Garza, who also mentioned an aunt, and several cousins, including St. John's University forward Amar Alibegovic. "We have a family tradition of basketball."

Garza is keeping that tradition going as a big-time Division I recruit at the small Northwest Washington private school, with offers from Binghamton, George Washington, DePaul, Iowa, Central Michigan, St. Joseph's, San Francisco and Lehigh. The Frogs' big man is dominating the paint this winter, averaging 25 points, 12 rebounds and 2.3 blocks, and has put up 17 double-doubles in 21 games.

Snow has been the only thing to get in Garza's way; he said he hurt his right knee attempting to play outside following Winter Storm Jonas, then re-injured it during the Jan. 29 loss to Sidwell, missing the next four games.

But now healthy again, Garza is back in the middle, showing off the soft touch and steady footwork his family is known for. The Frogs have won three of four games since his return as they head into Friday's Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference quarterfinal matchup against Flint Hill.

"Since I'm not as gifted athletically… I use my feel for my advantage. My jumper, my hooks – different moves in the post so I'm just able to perform," he said.

With skilled bigs scattered across his family tree, Garza said he's trying to take their strengths and apply them to his game. From his father, he wants to emulate the shooting and work ethic; from his mother, the defensive intensity; from his grandfather, the efficiency and sky-hooks; and from his uncle, the power, physicality and off-the-court habits – staying fit, eating right – that helped him have a long professional career in Europe.

"I'm really trying to take a piece from everyone in my family," Garza said. "That's my dream to play professional basketball and that's what I want to do."


The year the Wilson girls' basketball team last won a DCIAA title, before last night's 59-45 win over Anacostia. On the boys' side, No. 1 H.D. Woodson stayed undefeated with a 68-57 win over Theodore Roosevelt.