Photo courtesy of Nicole Sweet Sports.
By David Cordova
In recent years, you usually heard of players from New York City transferring to or attending schools in New Jersey. But never in reverse, as the talent from the Garden State usually stays home.
However, Tyson Etienne had other plans, and for good reason. That good reasoning has paid off in the span of a year through hard work & determination. The 6-foot-1 rising senior guard has a lot of athleticism and is a player that can fill up a stat sheet.
When asked about what motivates him to be successful on the court, he replied, “Honestly, my family, you know. My friend, Armoni [Sexton], that passed away three years ago. You know, everything I go through, I want to inspire kids like me, with similar stories. Somebody that is, counted out, they believe in themselves, so I just try to motivate as many people as I can.”
Etienne hails from Englewood, New Jersey, which is not too far from the George Washington Bridge that leads you into New York City. However, from Day One, he has immersed himself in the culture of basketball in the Garden State.
“The basketball culture there [in New Jersey], is good,” says Etienne. “We got kids like Jahvon [Quinerly] that live in Hackensack, that’s not too far away from me. There’s a lot of kids that ball out over there. You know, we’re close to the water, so sometimes we go over there and play basketball. It’s good, I honestly think New Jersey is [one of the] top three states in basketball.”
Etienne first started playing high school ball at the Dwight-Englewood School, a preppy, independent private school in his hometown. As a freshman, he averaged 10.7 points per game and then upped his performance the following year as a sophomore, as he averaged 22.4 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
“When I was at Dwight-Englewood, we were a small school, not really a basketball-known program, but the two years I was there, we really made strides,” says Etienne about his time at his local school. “We jelled together, really played a tough schedule, played Teaneck and lost to them in the last second, played Hudson Catholic and we gave them an actual fight, Paterson Kennedy, we played St. Anthony’s in the state final at the RAC, that was a good game. But it was good, because we were a bunch of young kids playing against high-level players.”
Then following his junior season, he made that transition across the bridge to Long Island Lutheran, a private school with a basketball powerhouse in the Long Island suburbs of Brookville, New York.
When asked about his transition to a new school, he replied, “The transition to LuHi was great, you know, now that I’m at the end of the school year, now I can look back and reflect on how it went. It started off hard, you know, making a whole coaching shift in the middle of my high school life. But honestly, God blessed me with that opportunity to go there. The coaches there, the teachers there, they molded me into a better man, gave me more of a responsibility, made me into a terrific basketball player in the process. I’m just grateful for all of them, and I’m grateful for God for giving me an opportunity.”
This past season, Etienne averaged 16.5 points, 3.4 assists and three rebounds for the Crusaders, who finished 22-3 and made a berth into the New York State Federation Tournament.
When asked about his junior season as a whole, he replied, “Junior year, I think I played pretty well. We played a national schedule. I was able to play against many of the top guards in the country, like Cole Anthony, Devon Dotson, Wendell Moore, Andrew Nembhard, and I was able to hold my own and show that I belonged on the court with them.”
During the AAU season, Etienne plays with the Pro Scholars Athletics Cardinals, a team based out of the The Bronx, New York, on the Nike EYBL circuit. Through four sessions with them this spring, he has averaged 7.4 points per game and led them to a berth in the Peach Jam, one of the most prestigious summer events, which will take place next week, July 11-15, at the Riverview Park Athletics Center in North Augusta, South Carolina.
When asked about playing for PSA, he replied, “PSA Cardinals, everybody can not write me down on this, PSA Cardinals is the greatest AAU team that you can be a part of, you know? They care about you much more than just a kid that puts a ball above a rim, they care about your well-being as a person. This EYBL season, we had a lot of different personalities, a lot of skill level. Coach Munch [Williams] told us all our rules, we’re still figuring stuff out, but we clinched Peach Jam and we play hard and this month is going to be a month in which we work on our individual games and then we come together and lock in and work on our game [together].”
As far as his recruitment, Etienne added: “My recruitment is looking pretty good, I have 15 offers at this point. I’m hearing from a lot of different schools, and I’m just blessed to go from somebody who didn’t even know if he was going to go Division I to having the amount of offers that I have. God placed me with the opportunity and gave me the skills, and put me around the right people and in the right place to get seen. I’m just blessed to have the activity that I have in my recruitment.”
Some of the schools that have offered him at the moment that Etienne has an interest in is Maryland, Cincinnati, Illinois, DePaul, UMass, VCU, Fordham, and has said that he has heard from Virginia, Virginia Tech and UConn.
With the Peach Jam looming, Etienne is prepared to do battle in front of many college coaches and is looking to gain more offers in the process. July is an important month for many high school players and one that is very crucial to whether they can gain an offer or lose one.
“I’m looking forward to the summer [July Live Period], just playing with my team, and trying to win a Peach Jam championship and what schools come through that in the process, is what comes, but my main goal and my team’s goal is to win the Peach Jam.”
After the summer, all that will be left for Etienne is to cut down his list of his schools, pick his collegiate choice and finish off his senior year by leading LuHi to a New York State Federation “AA” championship.
What’s next for Tyson Etienne? “Next in the future for me is, to be honest with you, I don’t know. It’s God’s plan for me, but I know for myself that I’m going to work hard, as hard as I can, and study as hard as I can, and just work on becoming a student of the game and develop in the mental aspect of my game and just ready to go compete and fight for my team in North Augusta.”
Highlights of Tyson Etienne:
Courtesy of Courtside Films.
Courtesy of CM Video.
Courtesy of PMV2012.