The adjustment to Mount Vernon from Ossining wasn’t a seamless one, but Randy Stephens (right) has developed into a force on the basketball court for the Knights. The 6-foot-3 junior and his rise to prominence was the subject of today’s feature story.
I met with Stephens during study hall on Tuesday to hear more about his story. He transferred from Ossining last summer, moving to Mount Vernon will his mother in a leap of faith. The Knights guaranteed him nothing, but whether it was in the weight room — where he’s added 11 pounds to a lithe frame — or in the classroom, Stephens soon found out what it meant to play for Section 1’s most storied program.
“It’s helping me become a better student-athlete,” Stephens said Tuesday. “I feel like I have to do more here. I have to try harder and I have to work harder on the court and in the classroom. Everything’s really falling into place here.”
Bob Cimmino said he has been pleasantly surprised with Stephens as a player. He first thought of him as a shooter, but you know that’s not his game if you’ve seen Mount Vernon in recent weeks. Yes, Stephens, who averaged around 10 PPG as a starter at Ossining last season, can put the ball in the basket, but he does much, much more. He rebounds, defends and, perhaps most impressively, uses his skill to set up teammates and his 6-foot-9 wingspan to block shots or deflect passes. Cimmino noted the “grace” with which Stephens plays on offense.
“He does things with an ease about him that you try to talk about,” Cimmino said. “Players go way too fast on offense, but he has a natural grace about him, a slowness about him, that really helps on the offensive end.”
To hear more about Stephens’ story and what he had to overcome, check out the rest of my story.