By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
COACH Bill Robinson liked what he saw from Grand Bahamian Aaron Levarity during their Milligan College Buffaloes men’s campaign in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The Buffaloes are boasting a nine-game winning streak headed into the last of a three-game road series tonight against Union. The streak enabled Milligan College to improve their win-loss record to 15-5 overall and 10-4 in conference play.
Levarity, a 6-foot, 6-inch starting forward, is averaging 60.1 per cent from the field, 40 per cent from behind the three-point arc and 77.4 per cent from the free throw line for 18.9 points. He is also averaging 12.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 1.5 block shots.
Compared to last year, Levarity has improved in just about every statistical category this year, except posting more than his career high of 30 points last year.
“Aaron’s development on the court the last three years has been remarkable. He averaged less than six points a game as a sophomore and now he is the best player in our league,” coach Robinson said.
“He is incredibly motivated both on and off the court. His team-mates love him because despite all the success, he is a caring and humble person. It has been a privilege to coach Aaron and he will be sorely missed next year.”
This is the second Bahamian player that Robinson has coached at Milligan. He still can remember Cordero Seymour, who would have left his impact on the team as Levarity is doing right now. “He (Aaron) is our number one option offensively, so I expect him to have a great finish,” said coach Robinson as they look forward to playing their final nine games to get ready for the postseason.
Levarity was named the Appalachian Athletic Conference men’s basketball player of the week for the second time this year and his fifth for his career.
During the three games they played during the week, Levarity averaged 24.7 points, 15.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 block shots.
He also scored 23 or more points and 13 or more rebounds in all three contests for his AAC-league 14 double-doubles. “We’ve been playing good and I’ve been playing well, so it’s good to have fun while you are playing and winning as well,” Levarity said.
In Saturday’s game, Levarity clinched his career 1,000 points.
“I worked hard to get to where I am today and it’s a blessing to be able to play basketball every day so it was just a great milestone for me,” Levarity said.
Levarity is now ranked in the top 20 in NAIA Division II in seven statistical categories, including No.3 in rebounds per game (12.5) and No.5 in field goal percentage (.611).
The Bishop Michael Eldon graduate, who later attended the University of the Bahamas, is also the AAC’s leading scorer with 19.1 points per game, top rebounder with 12.5 rebounds per game and top shot blocker with 1.47 blocks per game. As the season progresses, Levarity admitted that it’s not going to get any easier, but they are all committed to the task.
“With the team that we have and the chemistry that we have developed, I think we can go through the rest of the season undefeated,” Levarity said. “We have a big game tomorrow (tonight), which should help us to continue to develop.”
The 21-year-old son of Marcian and Melodie Levarity, who are listed as his role models, Levarity is an exercise science major with career aspirations to become a physical therapist.
While that is a career option for Levarity, coach Robinson revealed that there are plans for Levarity to play professionally as there is already an interest expressed from a team in Finland to acquire his services after he helped Milligan College reach the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “We will see what happens,” said Levarity about his future as he’s done with Milligan College. “We are looking good. We won a lot of good games, so I just want to say thanks to my parents, the coaches and my team-mates here for believing in me and allowing me to do what I can do.”
There’s still plenty more basketball to play before he’s done and Levarity is hoping that he can go out with a bang.