Photo courtesy of Visions by Jeff/Jeffrey Armstrong
By David Cordova
The hallowed gym at Archbishop Molloy High School in the Briarwood section of Queens, NY, has seen plenty of great talent over the last 50-plus years and is a powerhouse that continues to thrive.
Stanners alums include NBA players such as Kevin Joyce (Class of 1969), Brian Winters (Class of 1970), Kenny Smith (Class of 1983), Kenny Anderson (Class of 1989), Sundiata Gaines (Class of 2004) and Russ Smith (Class of 2009).
All of those names listed were Molloy graduates that were All-Americans in high school or college and later made a huge impact on the court, which included winning national championships in college and making the All-Star team and winning a championship in the NBA.
In the present day, there’s one current Stanner that may very well be on the way to earning the same accolades as his predecessors. His name is Cole Anthony. The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard has been making his presence felt since his middle school days and has carried that into high school, as he currently ranked No. 15 in the Class of 2019 by 24/7 Sports.
“I just hate to see anybody go out there and beat my team,” says Anthony. “I just love to win. It’s my love for winning that drives me to play basketball.”
That drive was instilled in him by his father, Greg Anthony, an 11-year veteran in the NBA, who once played for the New York Knicks from 1991 to 1995 and during his college days was on of the main contributors to UNLV winning a national championship in 1990.
When asked about what the elder Anthony’s impact on his basketball career, the younger Anthony replied, “I mean, he’s a huge influence. He’s just one of those people in my life that just pushes me and pushes me to do better every single day.”
The young Anthony also considers himself a student of the game, stating: “What I do is that I watch a lot of games and try to take away one thing from every point guard I see on the court.”
One thing that can be said about Anthony is that he can score and also has great athleticism. “I think I’m an all-around player. I think I’m a good teammate, and I love to win.”
On playing in a place like New York City: “I mean, it’s just the culture, man. The history that New York has, it’s hard to live up to it, but I love the hype, I love everything about it.”
In his middle school days, Anthony was a very promising prospect when he played for programs such as Team Rio National and the New York Rens. But when it came time to choose a high school, he chose to be a Stanner. “The coach there, [Mike] McCleary, is a very good coach. And the players I had around me, Moses Brown, Khalid Moore, I just felt that we could build something there.”
As a freshman, Anthony led the Stanners to a 22-6 record an appearance in the CHSAA semifinals in which they would lose to eventual city champions, Xaverian, 57-55. In his first season, he averaged 16.9 points and 6.9 assists per game. He would make the News 12 Varsity NYC Second Team.
Following his first high school season, he would go on to play for the Pro Scholars Athletics Cardinals on the Nike EYBL circuit once the AAU season rolled around. As the youngest player on a loaded squad that featured two McDonald’s All-Americans in Quade Green (Kentucky) and Mohamed Bamba (undecided), Anthony averaged 9.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as he helped the Cardinals gain a 14-2 record through four sessions and would make a championship appearance at the Nike Peach Jam.
When asked about the Nike EYBL experience, Anthony replied: “That experience has been amazing, it changed me completely. It changed the way I look at the game of basketball. I mean, having an opportunity at such a young age is honestly a blessing and I was just glad to be there.”
Determined to win more than ever, Anthony came into his sophomore year eager to make even more noise. He would average 20.7 points and would lead Molloy to a 21-8 record, a CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens Diocesan championship and the Stanners’ first appearance in the CHSAA city final since 1988, in which they would matchup against Cardinal Hayes of The Bronx. The game would be a very tight, close game for all of four quarters, but the Cardinals would end up on top, 64-62.
Despite a great season, Anthony was not happy with the way the season ended: “Honestly, I thought it was a letdown. I thought we should have won the city championship and eventually go on to win a state championship. I mean, it wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be, because we didn’t win. End of story.”
When asked about what his goals are for the next two years as a Stanner, he included: “To win a state championship.”
As for his recruitment, which is bound to continue to pick up more and more this spring and summer: “A few schools have reached out, but it’s still between me and my family right now.”
But for right now, his goal is to: “Win Peach Jam. That’s really it. That’s all I want to do is win.”
These next two years will fly by quickly. There may even be a selection to prestigious events such as the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic and also two more chances at winning the city and state championships. But one thing is clear, remember the name, Cole Anthony.
Highlights of Cole Anthony:
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