By Laura Amato
They don’t even have to ask anymore.
Trevor Stark knows Anthony Libroia will be at the gym at St. Robert’s in Bayside every night and, by the same token, Libroia knows Stark will always be on the court with a ball in his hands, ready and willing to work out every evening.
After all, they’ve been doing this for nearly a decade now.
The pair – who have been friends since middle school – just wrapped up their professional hoops season overseas and now Stark and Libroia have come home with just one goal in mind: to get better.
“Every day. We work out every night, like literally seven days a week,” said Libroia, a Holy Cross grad who played in Spain last year. “I call Trevor and it’s just like, let’s go work out.”
Stark and Libroia first started working out together before they’d even reached their teenage years, sprinting and running drills at St. Robert’s, and while it wasn’t always fun, they both knew it was necessary. If they wanted to turn their passion into a career, then the workouts were, simply, part of it.
“We started working out every Sunday,” Libroia said. “We didn’t like it, it wasn’t always fun and we wanted to quit at times, but we just kept pushing each other to go further.”
They’re competitive, challenging each other to games of HORSE and shooting contests in the gym, but they’re also the first to admit that it’s almost unfair to opponents when they team up in summer leagues. At this point, playing together is like second nature.
“When we play in tournaments together, I know exactly where he’s going to be. He knows where I’m going to be,” said Stark, who graduated from RFK before taking his game to Israel for the past two years. “I know what he’s going to do before he does it. It’s weird if he’s not here on the court with me.”
Of course, playing basketball professionally, particularly in another country, is a brand-new challenge and just like the workouts, Stark and Libroia have embraced the challenge together.
They stayed in touch throughout the season, FaceTiming and updating each other on their most recent stat line. There was a bit of friendly competition between the two, but there was also a sense of support that’s become the bedrock of their friendship. They’re in this together – even when they aren’t in the same gym.
“It was his first year and I knew what he was going through,” Stark said. “They treat it like a business over there. It’s not the NBA, but it’s not a rec league. They’ll cut you if you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do.”
Stark and Libroia grew up around basketball and neither one of them can remember a time when they weren’t playing, but they’ve yet to grow tired of the game. If anything, their determination is more focused than ever, anxious to keep living out their dream both in Queens and on the other side of the world.
In the meantime, however, they’re ready for another summer-long residency at St. Robert’s and, maybe, a bit more trash talk mixed in with the encouragements.
“It’s the most important thing,” Stark said. “I know he’s going to be here. It’s kind of like a competition thing, like, ‘oh man, Anthony’s working out, how come I’m not working out?’ We have competitions here all the time. He pushes me and I think I push him also.”