BP Photo by Evan Beller

POWER: Sophomore Aiden Bitran drives in for the layup against Frisch High School in the Steve Glouberman Tournament last Nov. 3.

AIDEN BITRAN: Embracing his role

First in a series profiling Firehawk athletes. Next week: Yalee Schwartz

This season, Firehawks’ starting guard sophomore Aiden Bitran grew into a new role as a more contributory member of the team – with and without the ball, as recommended by his coach.

Head Coach Ryan Coleman, he said, also advised him to follow in the footsteps of this year’s captains, graduating seniors Avi Halpert and Nathan Sellam.

BP Video by Vivienne Schlussel

“To embrace my role, not always being on the ball, being the shooter, doing whatever it takes to get my team wins,” said Aiden. “Also, practicing being a leader and following the footsteps of past leaders, like Avi and Sellam, seeing how they do it.”

Aiden’s favorite moment this season was also his proudest, he said: when he hit three free-throws to seal Shalhevet’s win in the championship game of the annual Steve Glouberman tournament last November.

“I don’t remember what the crowd was like, what my teammates said to me, and I was just straightforward, telling myself, “I gotta make these free throws,” Aiden said.

Aiden has always known his passion was basketball. The game had always been in his family, as he described it.

I’m not the biggest, I’m not the fastest, I’m not the strongest, but I think I could guard anyone and do whatever you ask me to.

— Aiden Bitran, 10th grade

“Ever since I have been a little kid, it [the ball] has just been in my hand,” said Aiden.

He said his father, Mr. David Bitran, motivates him the most.

“My dad always takes me to the gym and tells me you want to be the best at anything you do by pushing and working hard,” said Aiden.

Aiden is also motivated by NBA players, specifically Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies and Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets. He admires Morant’s jumping and Green’s quick moves around the court.

He said he dedicates his game to them and tries to replicate how they play.

“Ja Morant is a very bouncy player, and I dedicate my bounce to him,” said Aiden. “Jalen Green is shifty – I see what he does, and then I try to go out and do it.”

Aiden said that he has a very wide variety of strengths and skill sets, on both offense and defense.

“I think I could do, pretty much, almost anything,” said Aiden. “I’m not the biggest, I’m not the fastest, I’m not the strongest, but I think I could guard anyone and do whatever you ask me to.”

After beating the Wolfpack at Glouberman, the Firehawks segued right into the regular season, run by the California Interscholastic Federation, or CIF.

“We had the best season Shalhevet has had in CIF,” said Aiden. “We beat teams we shouldn’t have beat,” he said, including Arcadia in the playoffs, and Calabasas, Thousand Oaks and Chaminade earlier.

The Firehawks made it to the second round of federation’s Division 2A playoffs, where they lost to La Mirada, 65–52, in a home game at Shalhevet.

The team then went on to stumble in the annual Red Sarachek tournament, at Yeshiva University in New York City. The Firehawks were seeded number one in Tier one, but fell to the SAR Sting in the semifinals, 57–55.

“I think we just got too much into our heads and that’s what caused us to lose,” Aiden said.

Aiden likes to play pickleball in his spare time, and eventually wants to play college basketball.

But for now, his goal is to have an even bigger role on the Firehawks basketball team, and to fill some of the gap left by Halpert and Sellam.

“It will be a lot bigger because they are two very important players on our team,” said Aiden. “I just gotta learn how to be a good leader and take matters into my own hands when I can.”

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