When he is firing off his jump shot with sleight-of-hand quickness and draining threes from well beyond the arc, it must seem to opponents as if they are helpless victims in a video game starring Wyandanch’s Kashawn Charles.
“He loves to shoot. He loves those Steph Curry jump shots from just over halfcourt,” Wyandanch coach Barry Baker said, alluding to the Golden State Warriors’ superstar. “I tell him, ‘That’s a good person to look up to, but you’ll never be him.’ ”
Charles has curried favor with his teammates as the go-to guy in the Wyandanch Warriors’ run to the top of Suffolk VI with a 7-1 league record, 10-3 overall. Charles scored 37 points in a 67-64 comeback victory over defending Long Island Class B champion Southampton last Thursday and netted 30 points in an 80-76 victory over Bayport-Blue Point on Jan. 17.
For those performances, which raised Charles’ Long Island-leading scoring average to 29.2 points, the 6-11⁄2 senior guard was named Newsday’s Athlete of the Week.
“He’s a sharpshooter who can beat you with the three or take you off the dribble. He’s hard to guard,” Baker said. “He’s got a pure jump shot with the quickest release I’ve seen all year.”
More important than his scoring average is his grade-point average of 3.2, according to Baker. “He’s a good kid, who’s getting some high Division II looks,” Baker said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. One of hardest working guys in the sprints. He’s a quiet leader but he leads by example.”
That was evident against Southampton, which had won the first meeting this season, 100-91, and led 42-24 at halftime. “I told them just play hard, play together and the next time you look up at the scoreboard, you’ll be ahead,” Baker said. “Kashawn just bought into everything I said. He had some help from his teammates, but when all was said and done, it was Kashawn.”
Charles hit a go-ahead three-pointer, his fourth of the game, with 2:24 left and then iced the game with two free throws with 16 seconds left. He had six from downtown against Bayport-Blue Point and leads Suffolk with 54 three-pointers.
Charles has scored at least 29 points eight times and his lowest single-game output is 20. He has improved his scoring average nearly 10 points from last season. “He was becoming more comfortable as a scorer last year,” Baker said, “but now that he’s a senior, he knows what it takes to lead his team and be ‘that guy’ every night.”