Khazzaka Reflects on Hoops Career, Hopes to Hit Milestone


Carolyn Montero

Jon Khazzaka drives for a layup during his junior season.

Cosmo Lovig, Sports Reporter

WOODBURY — “It hurts in my gut to think that I may never play basketball at the high school level again,” Nonnewaug senior Jon Khazzaka said about the delay of his senior basketball season.

It is safe to say that the cancellation of sports has impacted every athlete across the country, but to Khazzaka it hurts just a little bit more. He says the pain he feels sometimes when he thinks about missing out on basketball “makes my stomach drop like I’m on a roller coaster.”

Just about everyone at Nonnewaug knows just how important basketball is to Khazzaka, and his closest friends know better than anyone else.

“Anytime I’ve been with Jon all he wants to do is play basketball, talk about basketball, and just hold a basketball … at times it’s even a bit annoying,” said Brady Calo, one of Khazzaka’s closest friends.

Khazzaka’s love for basketball is clear, but there will always be some sad moments, like last year’s Berkshire League championship loss to Wamogo.

“Last year losing in the BL championship game hurt a lot,” Khazzaka said. “I felt like we could have won that game, and to be so close and come short hurts.”

A senior athlete imagining his last game ever being a loss in a championship can be a lasting wound, but even worse, Khazzaka was destined for the 1,000-point scoring mark — he only needed 300 points this season to reach it. That will be tough to reach, even if the Chiefs are able to play some games in a shortened season.

“I would love to reach the 1,000-point scoring mark,” Khazzaka said. “Having my name up on that wall would mean a lot to me after all the hours I’ve put into my game.”

While the potential end of his basketball career at Nonnewaug may be sad, Khazzaka had the chance to play soccer this past fall and helped the team to its second straight BL title — “a season I will never forget,” said Khazzaka, who also plays tennis.

Senior soccer captain Zach Thompson thinks Khazzaka has grown as a player.

“I’ve been playing soccer with Jon for the last eight years of my life, [and] each year me and him have grown together,” Thompson said. “Jon is the most vocal leader but he leads by example similar to me.”

Calo similarly said he has seen “a huge jump in Jon’s play over the years.”

Khazzaka will be missed as an athlete, friend, and student when he leaves Nonnewaug, but he will leave a legacy. In his four years, Khazzaka has racked up a lot of awards including All-State and All-BL first-team honors in basketball as a junior, All-BL second-team soccer honors as a senior, and All-BL honorable mention soccer accolades as a sophomore.

Khazzaka said he is “leaving [his] options open” for sports in college, and only time will tell where Khazzaka’s love for sports will take him next.

Jon Khazzaka (13) made the All-Berkshire League first team in basketball as a junior. (Carolyn Montero)