By Joseph Staszewski
Cole Anthony is enjoying his first real taste of the big-time high school AAU basketball that he’s craved for so long.
The Archbishop Molloy freshman guard, who left the NY Rens for the PSA Cardinals’ 17U travel team, savored the opportunity to play in the type of game he was a part of in April at the Nike EYBL opening session at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. His squad, which features elite senior Mohamed Bamba, took on the Cal Supreme, whose roster is filled with high-level Division I recruits, in a game broadcast on ESPNU, with college coaches like North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Kentucky’s John Calipari in attendance.
“This is the most exciting part of my life so far,” Anthony said. “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”
Unfortunately, his time in the contest was cut short when he tweaked his knee early in the second half, but it didn’t matter to Anthony because his team won. He’s adjusted quickly to playing with his new older teammates, who are also some of the nation’s top players. It’s the type of competition he feels he needs moving forward.
“I feel like I needed to come to this team to take my game to the next level,” Anthony said. “I wasn’t getting that playing against kids my age, only by playing against kids who are older than me, stronger than me.”
His early success and insertion into the starting lineup is no surprise to PSA Cardinals coach Terrence “Munch” Williams, who has often watched him play with Archbishop Molloy. Williams praises his point guard’s ability to score, rebound and make his teammates better. Anthony is not intimidated by any situation.
“At the end of the day he has a talented group around him that allows him to do what he does,” Williams said. “He can make pull-up jumpers he can shoot the three and he can defend. He’s not scared of anything. The sky is the limit for Cole Anthony.”
The son of former Knicks guard Greg Anthony, Cole is coming off a stellar first season at Molloy. He led the Stanners with 16.9 points and 6.9 assists per game to help them win the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens regular-season title, a spot in the diocesan title game and program’s first intersectional semifinal appearance since 2002. The squad’s heart-breaking loss to Xaverian in the final four still sticks with Anthony.
“It took awhile,” he said.” I still got it in the back of my head. It’s motivation. That’s just motivation to come back next year.”
Until he puts the Molloy jersey back on his goal is improving—especially getting strong—while enjoying and making the most this summer of the opportunity and experience he’s waited for.
“It’s fun,” Anthony said. “I just get to go out there and do what I love and play with other kids who like to do the same thing as me. I can’t ask for anything more than that.”