Photo courtesy of Visions by Jeff/Jeffrey Armstrong
By David Cordova
Throughout the summer in New York City, you see plenty of gems playing in the playground tournaments. There are the gems from the PSAL, CHSAA, schools across the George Washington Bridge and Holland Tunnel in New Jersey and last, but not least, the prep schools, whether they’re north or south of the city.
The kids that go to prep school are the ones that leave the city in search of a better opportunity for exposure and sometimes, for academic refinement. In the city, there are a few programs that gain national exposure and go to major events. But in conferences such as the NEPSAC (New England Prep Schools Athletic Conference), most of the schools have at least 8-10 Division I-caliber players per year on their rosters.
Every year, these prep schools guarantee them national exposure, from having college coaches attend their open gyms in the fall, to watching them at events such as National Prep Showcase in Rhode Island, the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Massachusetts and others around the country.
Either way, it’s a different alternative from the city. On the academic side, things are more rigorous than they would normally be in the city, but it’s all done in part to ensure that the young scholars are ready for post-secondary schooling, also known as, college.
One player that has benefitted from the prep school life is Anthony Nelson, a native of Harlem. The 6-foot-4 point guard, who is entering his senior year at South Kent School in Kent, Connecticut made his mark wherever he played, whether it was on the Nike EYBL circuit with the New York Lightning, or in events such as the Dyckman Tournament with Harlem 4 Life and in the New York vs. New York tournament with the Watson Classic squad.
When asked about his experience at South Kent, Nelson replied, “It’s good, it helps me with a lot of stuff, you know, becoming a man and stuff like that.” Last season, as a junior, he averaged 14 points, five assists and five rebounds per game for the Cardinals, who went 21-11 on the season.
On playing in the NEPSAC, he added: “It’s tough, it’s tough, every night, you’re going up against somebody good, it’s hard out there, but you gotta get it done.”
Then he took his act to the EYBL circuit, where he averaged 10.8 points, 4.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game for the Lightning, who clinched a berth to the Nike EYBL Peach Jam with a 10-6 record. On his experience in the EYBL, Nelson replied, “I feel like I did good, but I feel like I came up short a little bit, but I think we did good as a team.”
Due to his outstanding play on the circuit, he has gained offers and attention from as many as eighteen to twenty schools. But at the present time, the schools he has the most interest in are VCU, Dayton, Rutgers, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Minnesota, South Florida to name a few.
Being that he is a city kid, he also plays on the playgrounds. When asked about playing on the asphalt, he said, “It’s good, you know, if you don’t play outside, I feel like, you don’t get tougher.”
This year, Nelson is bound to finish out his senior year on a good note by winning a title in the NEPSAC and also commit to the school of his choice. But one thing that can be duly noted is that he is a New Yorker flourishing on the prep scene, but nonetheless, he is representing the city well.
Highlights of Anthony Nelson:
Courtesy of Brass City Films.
Courtesy of HP Hoops.
Courtesy of Endless Motor.