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.
None of them have played a minute of varsity basketball before, but they will surely make an impact this coming season. Anderson is expected to be the starting point guard while Swann and Clark, both guards as well, will be in the rotation, said coach Ev Corwin. All three of them played for the Boulevard Boyz team that won the AAU Division III 14-and-under national championship in July.
“We always had an eye on this group, number one, because of their passion,” Corwin said. He continued: “I could open up the gym for these guys any night of the week and they’ll stay til midnight. It just shows you their passion, and it’s just very easy to work with players that just love it. It’s not a chore to get them to come to practice. It’s not a chore to get them to come to the spring league. Those guys are ready to go.”
Altogether, the new-look Porters have six new players on what Corwin believes will be a 12-player roster. The other newbies are junior forward Antonio Anderson, senior guard Maleek Boisseau and junior guard Matt Tuthill.
The six newcomers all played for Greenport’s undefeated junior varsity team, which went 17-0 last season. They hope to inject a winning edge to the varsity Porters, who went 3-13 last season. JV records, however, don’t always translate to the varsity level.
“There’s a major difference between JV and varsity,” said Corwin.
Swann knows it. “It just feels different, knowing that you’re playing against good players now, well, better competition, and I feel like I just have to step my game up more,” he said during a break in Monday’s practice.
Ahkee Anderson, at 14 years of age, is the youngest player on the team. He is not your average freshman, though. Even when he was a fifth-grader, playing CYO ball for Sacred Heart of Cutchogue, he wowed spectators with his unselfish passing and basketball smarts beyond his years.
“He’s amazing,” Clark said. “I remember the first year I played with him. He’s just so good.”
Corwin said Ahkee Anderson “can see a play ahead. He just makes a lot of the right decisions on defense and offense. That’s the big thing. He thinks a step ahead, and that’s not something that’s easily taught. Mentally, he’s not going to be intimidated. He definitely won’t be intimidated. He’s fiercely competitive and that’s what I like.”
How does Ahkee Anderson feel about the new opportunity that lies before him?
“It’s super exciting,” he said. “It’s a lot on my shoulders to make sure that I live up to my standards. I can’t wait. I can’t wait.”
Evidently, neither can Porters fans, who are hungry for wins. Corwin has noticed an uptick in the curiosity factor. He said, “Everybody’s pretty excited and I just say, ‘Don’t get ahead of yourself, because we haven’t played a game yet.’ ”
Said Ahkee Anderson, “Everyone’s ready to see what we can do.”
Photo caption: Greenport freshman point guard Ahkee Anderson (13) during a conditioning drill at Monday’s practice. (Credit: Bob Liepa)