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Boys Basketball: Anderson isn’t sitting on his laurels

The awards, honors and statistics speak for themselves, but when they are brought up, Ahkee Anderson speaks about something else. That loss to Stony Brook in the Suffolk County Class C boys basketball final this past February still stings.

Last season, his first as a varsity player, Anderson was the starting point guard for Greenport. That might be impressive enough, but consider the numbers: 18 points, eight assists, four rebounds and four steals per game. Then consider that Anderson received All-State recognition, was the League VIII MVP and the league’s rookie of the year.

And he was a freshman!

“Numbers don’t mean that much because we had that upset loss to Stony Brook,” Anderson said during a break in a recent practice. “It would have been a lot better if we would have ended up beating Stony Brook in that game. The numbers and all those awards would have been a lot better.”

Stony Brook triumphed in the county final, 49-35. Emil Vaughn, normally a reserve player, was given the assignment of staying in Anderson’s face the entire time while the rest of the Bears played in a zone. It worked. Anderson was limited to nine points on 4-for-9 shooting.

The defeat did not sit well with Anderson or his teammates. “It was tough for me because I know that the team counted on me and I didn’t really like show up the way that I needed to,” said Anderson.

The response of Anderson and his teammates was to hit the gym and prepare for the 2017-18 season, which is quickly approaching. (Greenport will open the season Nov. 28 with a non-league game at Bishop McGann-Mercy).

What does the 5-9 Anderson want to achieve this season?

“I think that for everyone out here, not just myself, but even the coaches, our only goal this year is to win the state championship,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been working for all summer and all fall.”

Anderson is undoubtedly a special player, with smooth moves and extraordinary court vision that enables him to supply accurate passes to teammates in the right places. He has a mature basketball IQ and has been called a team player.

“Obviously his skills stand out, but for me what always stands out with him is his competitiveness, his will to win and the fact that he embraces [the] challenges of playing the better teams and better players,” coach Ev Corwin said. “He rises to those occasions. He looks forward to that.”

That was evident earlier this month when Anderson was among 12 players selected from about 60 who tried out for a Suffolk County all-star team for underclassmen.

“He was hooking everybody up … and he sticks out that way,” said Corwin, who took Anderson to the tryout. “He just doesn’t know how to play any other way. He just lets the game come to him, doesn’t try to force it.”

For all the accolades Anderson has received, he doesn’t let it to get to his head, said Corwin. “He’s a high honor-roll student also,” the coach said. “I think that’s a feather in his cap, too. It just goes to show you he is a special kid.”

The question was posed to Anderson: How much better can he get?

“The sky’s the limit,” he answered. “You just got to put in the work.”

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Photo caption: Greenport point guard Ahkee Anderson was an All-State player and the Suffolk County League VIII MVP last season as a freshman. (Credit: Garret Meade, file)