Every now and then a team gets lucky, and a gift falls in its lap. Greg Gehring is the Southold High School boys basketball team’s early Christmas present.
Gehring, a junior point guard, is a transfer from Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School. He was a solid starter for the Monarchs last season, with a pass-first mentality.
The assist is the 5-foot-11 Gehring’s favorite statistic. His all-time favorite player is Steve Nash, the outstanding point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. “I always watched him,” Gehring said. “I always tried to watch his passes.”
With his mind-set, point guard is the ideal position for Gehring. “I like making the extra pass and getting everybody involved,” he said.
Southold coach Phil Reed said he likes that, too, but he still encourages Gehring to shoot more.
“He is so unselfish,” Reed said. “He’s the kind of kid that wants to get everybody involved and I kind of keep telling him, ‘Be selfish.’ Sometimes you got to show them that you can shoot.”
Through the team’s first few preseason practices, Reed said he liked what he has seen from Gehring, who he said has a “very good possibility” of winning a starting position.
That would put Gehring in the back court with senior shooting guard Liam Walker. “It’s exciting to see those two play together,” said Reed.
Reed said Gehring will help take pressure off Walker, Shayne Johnson and Alex Poliwoda.
Gehring is seen as a defensive asset as well. Walker, who plays on the same Amateur Athletic Union team, FST, as Gehring, said Gehring can guard any player on the court.
“He gets me better every day in practice,” Walker said, adding: “He fits in really well. He’s a good point guard, handles the ball well.”
The goal for the First Settlers is to reach the playoffs, something they have failed to do the last three seasons. Last season they fell one game shy of the postseason, losing their last four games. That included a loss to The Stony Brook School in the final game of the regular season that left the First Settlers with an 8-10 record.
“Missing the playoffs by that little is motivation,” Walker said. “Obviously, you don’t want to do that again, so we’re all very determined to make playoffs and make a far run.”
Walker has backed up those words with effort. He ran three miles a day over the summer.
“He’s probably coming in in the best shape of his life,” Reed said. “He’s on a mission.”
Walker said the team is looking good, too. “We get better every day, and we got to continue to improve, but so far it looks really good,” he said. “We have to expect a lot from ourselves but we still have to earn every win. We should be one of the best teams in the league, but we have to prove that.”
And Gehring should help.
Having traded in his McGann-Mercy green for Southold red, Gehring is following in the footsteps of his older sister, Cari, who transferred from McGann-Mercy last season and played her senior season with the Southold/Greenport girls basketball team.
Greg Gehring said he heard good things from his sister, and looks forward to this new chapter in his life.
He said, “I’m hoping for something big.”