Sean Braithwaite has essentially all the physical tools a basketball coach could hope for in a premier talent — size, speed, versatility, sheer athleticism. You name it.
But seemingly endless energy and an unflappable demeanor separate the 6-5 Center Moriches guard/forward from a number of his counterparts.
“Coach just keeps pushing me and wants me to work my hardest,” Braithwaite said. “I try to play my hardest on the floor and not take anything for granted.”
Braithwaite barely cracked a smile Wednesday night despite a triple-double performance with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to lead Center Moriches to a 72-45 Suffolk VII road victory over Babylon.
It marked Braithwaite’s second triple-double of the season. He also added five steals.
“He’s one of the better talents on Long Island,” Center Moriches coach Nick Thomas said of Braithwaite. “He’s a luxury. I don’t think he’s scratched the surface yet.”
Center Moriches (8-1) also received notable efforts from sophomore guard Tyiquon Nix and junior guard Troy Goode in its first league game of the season. Nix recorded 19 points, four rebounds and four steals, while Goode finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Off to a superb start this season, Braithewaite referenced last season’s 12-8 campaign, which concluded with a 78-50 loss to Southampton in the Suffolk B semifinals.
“We’re very motivated right now because last year was a heartbreaking loss,” Braithewaite said. “I just want to win a championship for my team.”
The Red Devils set the tone from the outset by building a 10-0 lead before Babylon (5-5) scored its first point three minutes and 17 seconds into the opening quarter.
Center Moriches led 36-25 at the half and outscored the Panthers 22-10 in the third quarter.
The Red Devils entered the fourth with a 58-35 advantage.
Nix, however, wasn’t completely satisfied with his team’s overall effort.
“We could’ve attacked more and passed the ball more,” Nix said.
Even with the game in hand, Braithwaite scrambled to the floor on numerous occasions while applying the fullcourt press throughout the night.
When the team’s premier player is willing to not only go all-out on defense, but also sacrifice his body consistently, his leadership qualities shine brightly.
“He’s the leader of this team. When his motor’s going, he’s as good as anyone,” Thomas said. “He can make other people better. That’s the ‘it’ factor that he has that not everyone else has.”