Fordson’s Bazzi is Student-Athlete of the Month


By Omar Thabet

OZ Media’s/The Yemeni American News’ February rising star high school student-athlete of the month is Celina Bazzi out of Fordson High School. Celina is a multi-sport athlete who plays both basketball and volleyball for the Tractors. Celina also carries a 3.9 grade point average, which means she is not only dominating on the courts, but in the classrooms as well.

Celina was shocked but excited when she first heard that she had won the award.

“It’s kind of always exciting to be recognized that way especially when you’ve been playing for a while now,” Celina said. “Especially after all of the work you put in, for it to be recognized is a good feeling.”

Salah Abazeed, who is the Girls Head Varsity Basketball Coach at Fordson High School, said the best attribute about Celina’s game is her shooting.

“I think she is one of the best shooters in our league,” Coach Abazzed said. “When she has her feet set and she has a clean look, more times than not the shot is going in. She has a pretty nice form too. Coaches in our league know that if you leave her open she will make you pay.”




Celina Bazzi is the starting shooting guard for Fordson High School. Photo Credit: Alex Muller Press and Guide


School Comes First

To be OZ Media’s/The Yemeni American News’ Rising Star Student-Athlete of the month you must not only take care of business on the playing fields, but you also have to handle your work in the classroom.

As Celina will tell you, that’s something she doesn’t take lightly, especially playing for a guy like Coach Abazeed.

“I think coming into Coach Abazeed’s program it was always instilled in us that if you do good in the classroom you will do good on the court,” Celina said. “I think school has always been our top priority. School comes first then basketball.”

Coach Abazeed added, “First off lets understand that being an athlete is a privilege. You got to be successful in the classroom to be successful as an athlete. They go hand-in-hand with each other. If you’re not doing your part in the classroom you’re not going to be on the athletic fields or on the basketball courts.”

Coach Abazeed later added, “But we also want to get them ready for their future as well. We try to get the athletes into good colleges, and that starts by taking care of your school work.”

According to head coach Salah Abazeed, Celina and the rest of her teammates must be able to score a basket with both hands or they can’t play for him. Pictured here is Celina making a basket with her left hand (non-dominant hand). Photo Credit: Alex Muller Press and Guide


Being Coachable

Another discussion we had with Celina and Coach Abazeed was the importance of players understanding what it means to be coachable and why is it important to be a coachable player?

When we asked Celina these questions, her response was, “You can’t be great if you don’t listen to your coach. Going in once you figure out your coach knows more than you do then you’re going to be great. Once you start taking in what they’re telling you then you’re going to be great. Doing what you want to do might work once or twice. But eventually it doesn’t work for us, so following the game plan is what works best and that just comes with mentally being prepared and mentally being locked in before the game. It’s our duty to follow the coach’s tasks and finish the job. It’s a business trip that we go on two times a week.”

Coach Abazeed added, “To me it’s a mindset. How are you coming into practice? Are you coming into practice with a positive attitude or are you going in there because you feel like you have to be there? If you feel like you have to be there then you probably should leave. Players got to be able to learn. There are two types of un-coachable kids: there is the un-coachable kid who is combative about it and then there’s the one who is not really a bad person about it but they are just not in tuned with what you are trying to do that day. I had a lot of very talented players not finish our program because they are un-coachable. At some point you got to cut that cord. This is varsity basketball; winning games matter at this point.”


Celina’s Inspiration

When we asked Celina who inspires her to be great, she said, “I think growing up watching all of the athletes at Fordson these past few years and being able to play with great leaders taught me that we can all be great as long as we put the work in”

Accompanying Celina in her interview was her mother Liz Shouman. Liz is another person that inspires Celina to be great.

When we asked Liz what made Celina such a great leader, she said, “Celina has respect, responsibility, confidence and a good heart.”

We then asked Liz what makes her most proud about Celina? She said, “I am proud of Celina with everything, Alhamdulillah. She respects her parents and elders. She is kind, helps anyone who needs help without hesitation, and is responsible in terms of getting things done that needs to be done.”

From all of us at OZ Media and the Yemeni American News, we want to congratulate Celina Bazzi one more time for being our Rising Star High School Student-Athlete of the month for the month of February. Keep doing great things Celina!

OZ Media’s Video Interview with Celina Bazzi and Coach Salah Abazeed