Featured Story
02/18/18 7:59pm
02/18/2018 7:59 PM

Late in the second quarter, Jordan Fonseca dropped in a three-point shot from the right wing, promptly did an about-face and executed a proper bow to a section of cheering Greenport fans.

After the game was over, Fonseca and his teammates on the Greenport High School boys basketball team could have taken a collective bow, but didn’t. The cheers rained down, regardless, and for good reason: The Porters are county champions. READ

Featured Story
12/20/17 8:32pm
12/20/2017 8:32 PM

Well before the festivities began, Al Edwards was shaking hands with friends in the stands when all of a sudden, a round of impromptu cheering erupted: “We — are — proud of you! We are proud of you!”

Those words were directed at Edwards.

The night was all about Coach Al, as the former Greenport High School boys basketball coach is known. Edwards, whose retired No. 33 jersey hangs high on a wall at the school’s Richard “Dude” Manwaring Gymnasium, now looks down upon Coach Al Court.

Edwards is Greenport basketball royalty, now more than ever.

The court was officially dedicated in Edwards’ name Wednesday night. “A long time in coming,” said athletic director Chris Golden, who called Edwards “a true Greenport legend.”

When Edwards joined Golden at center court for the pregame ceremony, he received a standing ovation. Then he whirled around to recognize the applause from all quarters and reciprocate.

Standing in the middle of a bigger, brighter gym than the one he played in when he wore a Greenport uniform, Edwards, 63, addressed the crowd. He expressed thanks to Greenport staff members, other coaches, his former players and his wife, Denise. He choked up when he spoke of how his parents taught him to “work hard, to always be the best you can be.”

The Porters (4-1) took those words to heart and beat Mattituck, 80-59, in a non-league game, with a career-high 40 points and eight assists from Ahkee Anderson and 23 points and 12 assists from Jaxan Swann. Jude Swann, Jaxan’s brother, collected 16 rebounds to go with six points, six blocks and four assists.

“Everyone was calling it Coach Al Day, so we all wanted to try to put on a show for him today,” said Anderson.

Xavier Allen, who is Anderson’s cousin, led Mattituck (5-2) with 18 points. Ryan Seifert added 13 and H’Nadahri Joyner had 10. Isaiah Johnson had eight points and 10 assists.

But, first and foremost, the storyline was about Edwards, who starred for Greenport as a player before going on to play for East Carolina and then returning to coach the Porters for 34 years.

After the game, Edwards said, “It adds a little extra touch that my name’s on the floor in Dude Manwaring’s gym.”

There’s a good reason why Edwards has been called Mr. Greenport Basketball. As a player, he scored 2,117 points for Greenport (all before the three-point shot was introduced) and was recognized as a New York Daily News All-American. After taking over from Manwaring as the team’s coach in 1979, his teams won 383 games, 12 league championships and 10 Suffolk County titles. He also guided the Porters to three straight trips to the state final four, including an appearance in the state Class D final in 2009. Edwards was among those in the first class inducted into the Suffolk County Sports Hall of Fame.

“It’s really been a pleasure to say that I coached at Greenport High School,” Edwards told the fans in attendance. “I really appreciate the support from everybody out here.”

Being in the glare of the spotlight is not something Edwards prefers, those who know him say. “I know Al doesn’t like the public stuff, but I could tell this meant a lot to him,” said Greenport coach Ev Corwin.

The first thing Mattituck coach Paul Ellwood mentioned when asked about his thoughts on Edwards was how he maintained his calm demeanor while coaching.

“Everyone would be going crazy, the players on the floor and the fans, and he was always calm and he was always even keel no matter what was the situation,” Ellwood said. “He had been there, done that. So the kids really fed off that. That’s why I think Greenport always played so well in big games, because of Al’s confidence and calmness.”

In a postgame interview, Edwards said: “The turnout was overwhelming. I just hope that the Porters can continue their winning ways and put another banner on the wall.”

It would go well with the name on the floor.

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Photo caption: Former Greenport player and coach Al Edwards applauds the fans during the pregame ceremony in which the school’s basketball court was dedicated in his name. (Credit: Garret Meade)

Featured Story
11/28/17 9:06pm
11/28/2017 9:06 PM

Greenport High School christened its new-look gym in style Tuesday night. Not only is there a new floor on Coach Al Court, which will be dedicated to former Porters coach Al Edwards on Dec. 20, but there are also snazzy new purple bleachers with the letters “GHS” spelled out in gold.

But what Greenport may have liked best of all was the harassing, pressure defense it applied in its 86-31 season-opening win over Bishop McGann-Mercy. The Porters’ swarming defense, Ahkee Anderson’s second career triple-double and a career-high 23 points from Jaxan Swann all contributed to the non-league blowout. READ

Featured Story
01/03/17 7:00pm
01/03/2017 7:00 PM

Only eight games into his high school career, there is little doubt that Greenport High School guard Ahkee Anderson has established himself as one of Suffolk County’s top freshmen players.

After all, he is averaging a head-turning 15.8 points a game as the Porters (3-5) look to open their League VIII season against Port Jefferson on Friday.

Featured Story
11/27/16 5:58am
11/27/2016 5:58 AM

Greenport basketball player Ahkee Anderson 112116

The next generation of Porters has arrived.

While the Greenport High School boys basketball team has endured its struggles over the past two years, there has been talk about good, young players rising through the ranks. Help was on the way. Those good, young players have finally arrived in the form of freshman Ahkee Anderson and sophomores Jaxan Swann and Brandon Clark.

02/27/13 8:00am
02/27/2013 8:00 AM
DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Ahkee Anderson, 10, of Greenport racing the ball upcourt for St. Patrick in a recent CYO game against Our Lady of the Hamptons.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Ahkee Anderson, 10, of Greenport racing the ball upcourt for St. Patrick in a recent CYO game against Our Lady of the Hamptons.

Of all the statistics that Ahkee Anderson has put up, it is a vital statistic, perhaps, that is most impressive. He is 10 years old.

Watching the Greenport boy play basketball, one has to wonder how that is possible. How is it possible for a 10-year-old to play like he does? Not only that, but how does he play like that in his first season of organized basketball?

Is he a prodigy? An exceptionally quick learner?

Whether or not it is too much to call Anderson a prodigy can be debated, but his instincts on the basketball court cannot. The 4-foot-2 guard for the St. Patrick fifth-grade Catholic Youth Organization team turns heads and wows people with his uncanny court vision, his basketball maturity and unselfish play.

“It’s unbelievable,” said St. Patrick coach Bob Martin, who believes Anderson may be the best fifth-grade player in Suffolk County. “He has a certain basketball sense that you would be happy to have with a high school player.”

Rodney Shelby, the Greenport High School boys varsity assistant coach, first became aware of Anderson about a month ago when he heard talk about the talented young player. So, Shelby checked him out himself, and wasn’t disappointed.

“At 10 years old, he’s definitely legit,” Shelby said. “He’s got a good all-around game, a good head on his shoulders, uses both hands. At a young age, he shoots well, sees the floor. I just hope that he can keep on progressing and learning.”

Shelby, who compares Anderson to a young Ryan Creighton, the former Greenport great, said the best feature of Anderson’s game is his court awareness.

“It’s absolutely shocking because he’s only 10 years old,” said Crystal Anderson, Ahkee’s mother who used to play basketball for Greenport High School. Crystal said her son’s passing ability is “what has everybody so intrigued about him. He has such an ability at such a young age. Usually at this age, it’s all about shooting the ball.”

So, where did Ahkee Anderson get all this basketball know-how?

“He comes from a family of athletes,” Crystal Anderson said. “His uncles all play sports. I guess I’m the tomboy mom. I’m with him every step of the way.”

Ahkee Anderson wears uniform No. 23, but that has nothing to do with it being Michael Jordan’s old number. Actually, Anderson’s favorite NBA team is the Miami Heat, and his favorite player is Lebron James, not a bad player to style himself after.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Ahkee Anderson, taking to the air for a layup, impresses observers with his court vision.

DANIEL DE MATO PHOTO | Ahkee Anderson, taking to the air for a layup, impresses observers with his court vision.

“That’s my team, and Lebron James is my idol,” said Ahkee, who will celebrate his 11th birthday on May 15. “I try to do what he does, and try to put it in my own style.”

Crystal Anderson said that when Ahkee was 3 years old, he would go with his father, Marcellus Shedrick, to a local basketball court and shoot around. But the television was an instructor, too.

“He’s such a Miami Heat fan, he’ll watch them and try to do the moves he saw on TV,” she said. “He’s like a sponge. He’ll watch something and then he’ll go out and practice it.”

Martin said he had never seen a young player like Anderson before, with such incredible body control that he can stop on a dime and make a reverse layup. “Each game there is always one play where we just go, ‘Wow, that’s just not right,’ ” said Martin.

Teammates have been advised to be on the alert when Anderson has the ball in his hands. A pass could come their way at any moment, so they had better be ready or they will have a basketball in their face.

With the smooth and composed Anderson getting his teammates involved, the undersized Cutchogue-based St. Patrick team has enjoyed a successful season. Anderson displayed his skills in St. Patrick’s final regular-season game recently against Our Lady of the Hamptons at Bishop McGann-Mercy Diocesan High School. Early on, Anderson made a layup while being fouled, and sank his free throw for a conventional 3-point play. He swished a 15-foot jumper right before the buzzer ending the first quarter for a 10-0 lead that soon became 14-0. One of Anderson’s best highlights, not surprisingly, was a neat bounce pass to Joshua Santacroce.

Through three quarters, Anderson already had a double-double. With a couple of minutes remaining in the game, he made a steal to give himself a triple-double in the 37-23 victory that left St. Patrick with an undefeated regular season at 12-0.

“It just feels good to win,” Anderson said afterward.

Anderson played all but 78 seconds of the 28-minute game and totaled 24 points (1 point shy of his season-high), 13 rebounds, 11 steals, 3 assists (he would have had more if not for several missed layups), 3 turnovers, 3 personal fouls and 1 blocked shot (Anderson said he relishes blocking shots). He shot 10 for 19 from the field and 4 for 7 from the foul line.

Martin said it was an unusual game for Anderson. “He usually plays better,” the coach said.

For the regular season, Anderson averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds, 8 steals and 7 assists per game.

Anderson’s name is becoming known, thanks in part to a highlight video that Kyle Charters posted of him on YouTube. Charters, a former Greenport High School player, runs his own business, K and C Prospect Video, which produces sports videos, usually for high school athletes looking to send video to colleges.

Charters said that he was reluctant to video record Anderson last year when Crystal Anderson asked him to because he thought Ahkee might be too young for that sort of exposure. But Charters saw Anderson play, and on Jan. 16 he posted a video on YouTube that by Tuesday afternoon drew 422 views.

“When I went to see him play, I was just floored,” Charters said. “He’s so cerebral. He understands the way the game’s supposed to flow. … He sees the floor better than varsity kids. He’s such a good passer.”

So good, in fact, that Shelby has been monitoring his progress. Shelby said Anderson will play on his AAU team, the Boulevard Boys.

“He definitely can play,” Shelby said. “You would think he’s older than 10 years old. You would think he’s been playing organized basketball since he could walk, but he just really started playing.”

The video prompted comparisons to Jaylin Fleming. Two years ago the Chicago Tribune produced a video report about Fleming, who was a fifth-grader at the Beasley Academic Center in Chicago, with the heading, “The best 10-year-old hoops player in the U.S.?” The video shows Fleming, a phenomenal ball handler, dribbling two basketballs at the same time and weaving through a line of cones like a mini-Harlem Globetrotter.

“The things that are happening to Jaylin, he actually deserves, and I can be honest and say that he’s worked hard,” his father, John Fleming, said in the video, which has had over 5.3 million views. “You know, a lot of people are talented, but they don’t cultivate their gifts. They don’t take time to develop them. But he has committed himself and dedicated himself to the classroom first, and secondly with his skill. He has the gift to inspire. He never goes into anything halfway.”

Apparently, Anderson doesn’t, either. His mother said he is a straight-A student, as well as an exceptional football player. The emphasis is on academics.

“That’s my number one goal, to see him graduate with top honors,” said Crystal.

As for basketball, she said: “The only worries that I have is he’ll get overwhelmed with all the pressure and the expectations for him to do well. I want him to enjoy it. I don’t want him to feel that it’s a job.”

Ahkee said he is enjoying his first basketball season and is surprised at how well he has played. He said, “I’m going to try to get as [good] as I can, keep getting better every year.”

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