Michael Fabiaschi, the heart and soul of the 2006 Championship team.
TORRINGTON: They call him Fabs, Michael or Mike.
Anyway you say it, when you talk about Michael Fabiaschi, one easy statement comes to mind.
The kid's a winner.
He has been his entire life and back in 2006, he was the heart, soul and keeper of tradition on the Torrington boys basketball team that won the 2005-2006 Division II State Championship.
Growing up, Fabiaschi was a huge Raider fan, he attended as many games as he could and grew to understand just how important carrying on said tradition was.
“I used to just watch and soak it all in,” Fabiaschi said. “I knew someday I would have my chance to be the one out there making things happen.”
The leading scorer that year, Fabiaschi led Torrington with a 21.05 points per game average and led the team in scoring 22 of their 28 games with a lethal jump shot that could go from 10 feet to far beyond the three-point line.
Normally not the biggest talker out there, Fabiaschi lit up as he started to talk more and more about a year that seems it was only yesterday to him and his teammates.
"It all came flooding back," Fabiaschi said.
His head coach for all those years, Tony Turina, talked about what made this young man who would graduate from James Madison University and go on to have a career in the Oakland Athletics farm system, so special.
“Michael from day one,” Turina said. “Was such a tough, tough kid. First of all, he’s so athletic and just a natural in sports. I don’t care what Michael picks up, Michael can excel at it. It was his determination and toughness. When I had Michael as a freshman, he was on the freshman, JV and Varsity and never started a JV game, he started as a freshman. About the seventh or eighth game of the year, I realized Michael was the best guard I had. We just threw him to the wolves and what I mean by that is that while he wasn’t the biggest or strongest at the time but he just knew how to execute. He’s a dream kind of player for a coach to have. You didn’t need to talk to him twice, or explain how to do something twice, he just did it. He was such a natural and I’ve been gifted with many natural athletes, but Michael was certainly that type of athlete.”
During the 2006 campaign Fabiaschi connected on 88 three-pointers, including an astounding eight in a 76-68 win over Naugatuck on February 14 at home.
He hit six treys twice and five another four times.
From the foul line, the senior shot 77.6 percent (125-161).
In one game against Wilby, one of the team's four losses that year, he single-handedly tried to put the team on his back with a 19-point effort in a 30-point fourth quarter in a 68-56 loss.
His mindset when he took the court never varied, he thought his team was going to win, every time.
“We never went into a game thinking we were going to lose,” Fabiaschi said. “We knew if we did what we were supposed to do, it didn’t matter who we were playing.”
Coaching Fabiaschi was something Turina always enjoyed doing.
“He was just a joy to have,” Turina said. “Everybody thinks all coaches are doing is yelling and screaming on the sidelines and in games and practices, but Michael was the kind of kid that I would just like to sit back and watch the kid practice and just admire and envy his smoothness out there. He just accomplished what he needed to accomplish. He was just a phenomenal athlete but even more phenomenal as a person.”
Sometimes we wonder aloud if players today are losing track of the history that came before them, but Fabiaschi is a throwback who never forgot those who came before him.
“No question,” Turina said. “Michael is one of the players that come through a system, but he reaped the benefits that he wanted to achieve in every aspect of every athletic team he played on. He didn’t leave anything home when he came to the venue, whether it was the baseball field or basketball. He would have excelled in soccer, he would have excelled in track, and he probably would have been a great swimmer.”
Turina perhaps said it best when it came to what made this life-long Raider so good.
“I think the best attribute I can give Mike,” Turina said. “Is that he’s just a great, great kid. The kind of kid that every parent would love to call their son.”