Introducing Sebastian Telfair

Inside's first of a three part series about legendary New York point guard, Sebastian Telfair. Telfair is the top prospect for the Cards in the class of 2004.

Introducing Sebastian Telfair

Recruiting junkies, basketball fans and even the most casual basketball observers have all heard the name Sebastian Telfair.  He's been hailed as the "next" great point guard from New York City since he wowed the basketball world prior to his 9th grade year at the prestigious adidas ABCD Camp.

Now  a junior at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York, "Bassy" as he's affectionately known, is without question one of the top players in all of high school basketball and perhaps the nation's premier point guard.

And with Bassy's recruitment heating as his junior season nears completion, the University of Louisville appears the leading contender to land the heralded point guards services.  

Sources close to the situation continue to tell Inside that the Cards are in great shape with Bassy.  It's old news, now but don't forget that Bassy crossed the Hudson River to take in the Cards practice in early December while the Cards were preparing to play Seton Hall.  And during the Marquette game, ESPN's Dick Vitale proclaimed that Sebastian LOVED the Cards and that sources were telling him that Telfair would likely end up in a Louisville uniform.

The MVP of the adidas ABCD underclassman All Star game the past two summers, Telfair is averaging 28 points and 9 assists this season for 24-3 Lincoln High School.  Last season as a sophomore, Bassy averaged 29 points, 3 rebounds and 5 assists and led Lincoln High to the PSAL New York City Championship.  And as a freshman, Telfair averaged 19 points and 6 assists for the Railspliters.

Telfair, the brother of former Providence standout Jamel Thomas and a cousin of NBA superstar Stephon Marbury is one of 10 children in his family and the latest of a long line of basketball standouts.

So what separates Sebastian Telfair from the others?  Probably his tremendous confidence, work ethic and desire to be the best player in the nation.

After all, we're talking about a 17 year old kid who rises at 5:45 each day to workout with his 29 year old brother, Danny Turner in the Long Island projects.  His daily routine includes running five flights of stairs fifteen times in his Coney Island apartment, jumping rope and doing 100 pushups and situps, all before heading to the Lincoln High gym to hoist hundreds of jump shots before school starts at 8:45. 

Then it's off to class, followed by basketball practice where Telfair is coached by former Seton Hall standout Dwayne "Tiny" Morton.  And at the completion of a long day of workouts, school and practice it's back to his Coney Island digs to study basketball videos of the top NBA teams and players.

"He approaches it business-like.  He is preparing for a career in basketball," Morton told the NY Daily News.  "Sebastian has a high level of dedication and concentration.  He's a very competitive young man that is willing to learn," Morton added.

On the court, Bassy is in total control with his ball handling and passing ability.  A fierce competitor with exceptional court vision, Telfair has the ability to create his own shot on the perimeter or get to the hole using slick dribble moves.  He's quick on offense and plays hard at the defensive end.  He can knock down the jump shot off the dribble or with his feet set and has a sweet step back move to hit the jump shot.  Bassy has solid three point range and has drained 60 three pointers this season, including one game in which he hit seven triples and three other games where he drained six three pointers.  And don't put Bassy on the free throw line as he makes nearly 80% from the stripe.

At 6'0, 170, Sebastian needs physical maturity and additional strength to be one of the top players at any level of basketball.  And that's the reason for the strict daily regimen of stair running, push ups and sit ups.

"Bassy's getting stronger.  That's the biggest thing.  He can shoot, he can dribble but he needs to get stronger," Morton said.

Telfair, one of the brightest stars on the adidas AAU circuit the past few years has more than just talent on the basketball court.  The SLAM magazine cover boy has style and hip hop appeal.

 "This is young man with charisma.  America is going to fall in love with Sebastian Telfair," adidas king pin Sonny Vaccaro told SLAM Magazine.

With so much talent, charisma and potential, there's no question why Telfair has garnered so much attention from Coach Pitino in the past year on the recruiting trail.  It's also the reason Inside will be following the slick point guard's every move from this point forward.

Quotes from players and coaches about Sebastian

 "He's a phenomenal player. He's super fast, he's got the handles, too. You can see why they have him at number one." - Demarcus Nelson, one of the top junior guards in the nation and a Duke University committment

"He's so fast, unlike any player.  So you've got to be ready for whatever he wants to do." - top senior point guard Mustafa Shakur, an Arizona signee.

 "Telfair is a real good distributor. He's not ready for the NBA yet, but he will be soon." - Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach George Karl

"He played the game with great pace and great skill, and he had a real presence on the court. You knew he was the guy in charge -- even at that early age." - former Lincoln Head Coach Bobby Hartstein.

This is the first of a three part series on Sebastian Telfair this week at Inside 

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