By Joseph Staszewski
Travis Atson’s move to South Kent has been smooth and successful.
The former Christ the King guard and Greenpoint native transferred to the Connecticut boarding school in hopes of improved opportunities and time to advance his game and raise his college recruiting stock. Both are happening less than a year into his time there. He has been displaying better perimeter skills and high major college coaches are beginning to take notice.
“He’s really learning how to make the move from an interior player to a perimeter player,” South Kent coach Kelvin Jefferson sad. “He’s improving his ball handling. He’s improving his shooting. He is dong this year things he hasn’t done in previous years.”
Aston got a chance to put his new skills on display for his hometown fans over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend during the Big Apple Basketball Invitational at Baruch College. The 6-foot-5 junior, who reclassified to the class of 2016, scored 21 points and grabbed five rounds in a 69-61 win over Genesis Academy (Va.). Atson made two three-pointers and displayed a lightning quick first step. He admitted to being a little nervous to play in New York City again.
“I think I played pretty well,” Atson said. “I could have made more shots, but we got the W. That’s all that matters.”
There have been better performances, including 34 points, seven rebounds and six assists in a recent win over Believe Prep. Atson first began getting college coaches’ attention in November by playing well at the National Prep Showcase. Atson, who already has more than a dozen offers, also has interest from Xavier, Clemson, Florida and Boston College. He plans on visiting Boston University this weekend.
“I got a lot of high majors contacting me,” he said. “I didn’t have that last year.”
Iona, he said, is pursuing him the hardest, along with Boston University, Clemson, Duquesne and DePaul. Atson hopes to make a decision by October as to where he will spend his collegiate years.
He already feels he’s made the right choice with South Kent, saying he wasn’t comfortable at Christ the King even after helping the Royals win a second straight CHSAA and state Federation Class AA crown. Being at South Kent has forced him to raise his level of play.
South Kent isn’t exactly Brooklyn. With little else to do and the gym right near Atson’s room, he gets a chance to work on his skills even more so than in the past. There was an adjustment for sure, to rural life, and all-boy schools and a new team, but so far Atson has gotten everything he’d hope for out of the switch.
“For a guard his size, he is one of the best rebounders in the country,” Jefferson said. “He’s improved his jump shot, which was always a question. They didn’t know if he can shoot the ball. He is doing that now. All his guard skills were in question at one point. He’s really silencing those critics.”