32° Good Morning
32° Good Morning
SportsHigh SchoolBoys Basketball

Former St. John the Baptist star Tavon Ginyard brings crossover dribble to Brentwood

Brentwood basketball player Tavon Ginyard poses for a

Brentwood basketball player Tavon Ginyard poses for a picture before the scrimmage against Hauppauge, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014. Credit: George A. Faella

His signature move is the crossover dribble, so it was fitting that high-scoring guard Tavon Ginyard used a crossover move to settle on a high school for his senior year.

Ginyard switched from St. John the Baptist, where he played for three years, to his hometown of Brentwood, where he joins the defending Long Island Class AA champion Indians.

"He came in with the right mentality and the right unselfish approach to things. He wants to be part of something special,'' Brentwood coach Anthony Jimenez said.

Ginyard is a returning Newsday All-Long Island first-team player who is the Island's leading returning scorer, but he doesn't expect to match the 25.2 average he posted as a junior.

"We have more scoring options on the team,'' Ginyard said, acknowledging the Indians' veteran starting unit, which includes Newsday All-Long Island first-team guard Mike Almonacy and second-team forward Jamel Allen, both juniors. "I know my scoring numbers will be down a little but maybe I'll pick up more assists. I'll be a point guard next year.''

Ginyard signed last month with Division II Adelphi, where he figures to be more of a playmaker, given his quickness and stature. (He says, with an emphasis on the fraction, "I am 5-9¾.'')

That's part of the interesting dynamic Jimenez faces. He not only has to make sure Ginyard, Almonacy and Allen get enough touches on offense but is aware that neither Ginyard nor Almonacy is a true point guard. Each has a scorer's mentality to go along with open-court passing skills.

"I'm fine with giving up the ball on the fast break if I don't have the shot,'' said Ginyard, who uses his crowd-pleasing crossover to create space to show off his exceptional three-point shooting range rather than as a way to blow by defenders. "I love the excitement of giving it on the alley-oop to Jamel for dunks or giving it to Mike on the wing. He can shoot it. We're a dangerous team and we're going to work hard to show everyone we're not cocky, but we want to get back to states.''

Brentwood lost in the state Class AA semifinals last season, but with Ginyard joining a loaded roster, there are greater expectations for March. Jimenez doesn't mind lofty goals; he just wants to be certain everyone has the same one.

"I told them the other day, 'The only place we can have green is on our jersey. We can't have it in our eyes,' '' said Jimenez, a reference to Brentwood's primary school color. "I asked them if they understood what that meant and it was interesting that they did. They said, 'We can't be envious of each other.' That is what will help propel us to another level.''

So will Ginyard's myriad skills. He can excite crowds with his slick ballhandling as well as his downtown shooting.

"The crowd goes crazy sometimes when I do the crossover, but it's a natural move for me. I've been doing it since I was young,'' Ginyard said. "Everybody here gives up the ball. We play really well together. It's my last year and I'm looking to make it last as long as I can and make it memorable.''

Before he crosses over to the college game.

More high schools