Ahkee Anderson has all the right moves on a basketball court. It’s his latest move off the court, however, that some will find stunning.
Anderson, an All-State first team guard, is leaving Greenport High School. He plans to spend his senior season playing for Center Moriches High School.
That word came out Sunday, one day after Anderson’s mother, Crystal, said she had signed papers on their new home in Center Moriches.
“It will be good,” Ahkee told The Suffolk Times Sunday in between games he played in the Riverhead Stop the Violence Basketball Tournament at Horton Avenue Park. “It’s a good atmosphere over in Center Moriches and stuff, you know, a good coaching staff. We’ll still have a good time, but Greenport is still my home. You know, I’ll always love Greenport. It’s time to move on and try something else.”
Ahkee’s basketball future clearly factored into their decision to move out of the Village of Greenport. Crystal said Colgate, Brown and Wesleyan have expressed interest in her son playing for them at the collegiate level. The Andersons had also considered moving to Amityville and Brentwood before choosing Center Moriches and playing for coach Nick Thomas.
“I’m confident in coach Nick Thomas in getting Ahkee to the next level,” Crystal said. “It’s one thing to be a great player, but you got to be able to adjust. They got some pieces over there, so it’s going to be good. Like I said, I’m very confident in what he’s going to do with Ahkee next year.”
Ahkee, whose height is listed as 5-10 on the Greenport roster, had worn a Porters uniform since he was a seventh-grader and has been a varsity player for the Porters since he was a freshman. In three varsity seasons, he scored 1,548 points, averaging 24 per game last season when he helped lead the Porters to their second straight state Class C semifinal.
As it turns out, Ahkee’s final game for Greenport was a wild triple-overtime 108-98 loss to Cooperstown (a state tournament record for combined team points) in the semifinals in Binghamton. He scored a team-leading 30 points in that game.
Now it appears as if Ahkee will hop from one state semifinalist to another. Powerhouse Center Moriches lost in the state Class B semifinals and is expected to return another strong team, made stronger with the addition of Ahkee.
Greenport coach Ev Corwin was taken aback when he learned of the news from a reporter Sunday night.
“I’m in shock right now,” he said. “This is news to me and it’s a tough way to find out.”
Apparently the Andersons had considered moving from Greenport after Ahkee’s sophomore year, but he wanted to play with brothers Jaxan and Julian Swann this past season, their senior season. Both Ahkee and Jaxan Swann were named Greenport’s Co-Athletes of the Year for 2018-19 by The Suffolk Times.
“We had talked about it back and forth,” Crystal said. “We talked about it last school year. He said, ‘Mom, I just want to finish off with my team,’ which was Jaxan and Julian. So, once they lost that state [semifinal], which was heartbreaking for him, we made the decision that it was time to go.”
Even then, it wasn’t an easy decision.
Ahkee, born and raised in Greenport, said: “It was a tough decision but, you know, I was just more determined about playing at the next level and I feel like Coach Nick can definitely help me with that.”
Crystal made sure to express her gratitude to Corwin and assistant coach Rodney Shelby. “We had a good run with the Porters,” she said. “I’m appreciative of Coach Ev, of Coach Rodney, you know, but it’s a decision that had to be addressed by Ahkee. It’s one thing to make your town look good, but he had to be where he needed to be for next year.”
How does Crystal think Ahkee will fare in Center Moriches?
“I think he will do very well,” she said. “I’m confident in him. The boys are already accepting of him. The Center Moriches team is already excited, the community, so I think it’s going to be like playing at home — just like different colors.”
Photo caption: Ahkee Anderson, playing for Greenport in its regional final win over Tuckahoe this past March, will now call Center Moriches home. (Credit: Daniel De Mato)