By Joseph Staszewski
ALBANY — Jon Severe is everything a New York City basketball player should be, but he is more the exception to the rule than the norm.
Stardom wasn’t handed to the Christ the King senior guard. He earned it and waited to enjoy it. Severe was told as a sophomore his time would come, but for now he had to play behind guys such as Corey Edwards, T.J. Curry, Omar Calhoun and Isaiah Lewis. Severe didn’t pout, didn’t moan and, unlike a growing number of players in the boys’ basketball world, he didn’t look for another place to play. He stayed and trusted the coaches.
“Thank God, unlike a lot of kids from New York City that can’t wait, they transfer all over the place, Jon Severe waited and this is the final result of him doing the right thing,” Royals Coach Joe Arbitello said after his team won the State Federation Class A title.
The result was Severe ended up having as good a career as anyone whoever played at the Middle Village school. There were talented players, but few who could touch his résumé of success.
Severe has now won two state Federation Class AA titles after CK topped Long Island Lutheran 73-64 in the title game Saturday night in the Times Union Center. Add to that two city and diocesan crowns and you are talking about something guys like Lamar Odom, Eric Barkley, Speedy Claxton and Khalid Reeves have never accomplished.
But there is more.
On Friday night, Severe was named the first New York State Mr. Basketball in school history. He also set the state Federation Class AA single game record for points with 40 in the semifinals and the two-game mark with 68.
It was all worth the wait.
“[Arbitello] said just wait patiently,” Severe said. “Everybody was telling me to transfer. I didn’t worry about what everybody said. It’s about me. This is my future.”
The decision and the result say plenty about his character. He grabbed his moment when it came and played every game with a cold-blooded determination to win and dominate when needed. Severe still never lost site of being s good teammate. He knew he didn’t have to do it by himself and never selfishly tried to.
“I don’t have to score 40 because I have a team behind me,” Severe said. “I don’t have to, but I could.”
It’s qualities like that has tried to pass onto freshman Rawle Alkins, his potential replacement moving forward. Alkins said has learned a lot from Severe, who posed for a picture with him after the title game.
“He’s a good leader,” he said. “He talks to me during the game and tells me what to do.”
The best thing he and others can do is follow the example Severe set. Patience and hard work pays off.