Given his druthers, Jude Swann would rather grab a rebound than score a point. As he sees it, there’s more value in a rebound since they’re harder to get.
Swann should know. He has pulled down in excess of 1,000 of them over his four-year career for Greenport High School. To be more precise, the 6-4 senior center’s latest haul of 11 boards in a 91-60 non-league win over visiting East Hampton Saturday brought his career total to 1,027 and counting.
Swann recalled his 1,000th rebound, which came in a win at Smithtown Christian Jan. 8. A missed shot bounced back over his arm. “I reached out and punched it,” he said.
If that isn’t enough, Swann is approaching another milestone. With the 20 points he scored against East Hampton, he is 41 points away from hitting the 1,000-point mark as well. That speaks well for his balanced game, which can sometimes be overlooked on a team that has snazzy standouts such as his brother, Jaxan Swann, and Ahkee Anderson.
But Greenport coach Ev Corwin fully appreciates Jude Swann’s value.
“You’re lucky to have a big man like that,” he said. “People are not going to realize how much he has meant until he’s not around. Teams don’t get two, three, four shots on one possession. He’s the best rebounder I ever coached.”
That’s high praise for a tall, powerful player, who can be intimidating in the paint. “I don’t think anybody would want to mess with him when he’s mad,” said Jaxan Swann.
East Hampton came out on fire Saturday, knocking down six of its first 10 three-point shots and going 8-for-15 on three-pointers in the first half, which ended tied at 41. For a team that has won only twice in 12 games this season, East Hampton’s record is misleading. The Bonackers can shoot, and coach Dan White devised a smart game plan.
“Those Dan White teams, man,” Corwin said. “It’s a dribble-drive offense. I’ve seen them get close to the rim and they kick it out. [The threes] were raining. You live and die by the three, though.”
Greenport (11-1) could take solace in that it had Jude Swann under the boards, not to mention the talents of Jaxan Swann and Anderson. Jaxan Swann, who started the day with an 18.5 scoring average, netted 25 points to go with eight assists and four steals.
“That might have been the best offensive game I ever saw him have,” Corwin said. “He didn’t have an open look today.”
Anderson had 14 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Zach Riggins chipped in 10 points.
East Hampton received good scoring balance from Malachi Miller (19 points), Turner Foster (13), Jeremy Vizcaino (13) and Christian Johnson (10). Foster also had seven assists.
“We knew that they were going to come out strong,” Jaxan Swann said. “We had an idea of how they played.”
In the second half, Greenport showed that it can shoot, too. The Porters shot 13-for-19 from the field in the third quarter. They opened the quarter on a game-changing 17-4 run, five of those points coming from Anderson.
Greenport then used a 22-7 burst for an 82-57 cushion and later scored the last nine points of the game for good measure.
East Hampton shot 10-for-21 from three-point distance (with four treys apiece by Miller and Vizcaino), but 37.5 percent from the field overall. Greenport put in 52.9 percent of its field-goal attempts.
It was the ninth win a row for Greenport, ranked third in the state in Class C by the New York State Sportswriters Association. The Porters have a 17-game win streak in league play. They are 28-1 in league games over the past three seasons. Impressive numbers, but when Corwin heard them mentioned, he said, “It doesn’t matter unless we win the last game.”
For all he does as a rebounder, Jude Swann isn’t satisfied. He wants to be as complete a player as he can be.
“I’m expanding my range, trying to work on my dribbling,” he said. “I’m learning more post moves.”
Corwin said: “He’s such a well-rounded player. People don’t realize what a good passer he is.”
Jude Swann had five assists Saturday. But it is rebounding that he is best known for, and he seems to be just fine with that.
Jaxan Swann said, “There is never going to be another rebounder in Greenport like him.”
Photo caption: Greenport senior center Jude Swann, shooting over East Hampton’s Jeremy Vizcaino, has over 1,000 career rebounds and is closing in on 1,000 career points. (Credit: Garret Meade)