Anthony Farmer has St. Augustine rising to the top

The St. Augustine Prep Hermits of the Cape/Atlantic National Division 1 (South Jersey) are off to a fast start this year, undefeated in league play, and boast a 7-0 overall record. Led by Rutgers-bound Sr. do-it-all PG Anthony Farmer, the Hermits are piling on win after win and making themselves a recognized force in New Jersey HS basketball.

Anthony Farmer has been getting this kind of attention since he was a young lad, a 6-foot-1 175-pound wingman for the Hermits ... a freshman.  St. Augustine Prep is known for their young basketball stars.  A teammate of Farmer's at that time was FR Myron Rolle (has received well over two dozen football scholarship offers, including Rutgers).  But there was no doubt who the young stud of that team was - the present and the future was Anthony Farmer.

Fast forward to the 2004-2005 basketball season.  Farmer has now been groomed to play the 1-spot.  He made the transition during his Junior year.  It has been as smooth a transition as one can imagine.  That is, if one didn't have any idea of the type of work ethic instilled by the Farmer household from an early age.

"Anthony's work ethic - I sometimes wonder if he doesn't try too hard.  Anthony is at the gym at 7AM and he doesn't start classes until 8:20AM.  He's out there shooting jumpers and doing different shooting drills," stated Anthony's father, Mr. Farmer, in a recent interview with Rutgers.Scout.com.

The Hermits have been known to play a young squad.  They did it with Coach Paul Rodio when Anthony started as a FR, and they're doing it today.

"You know, the team is actually ahead of schedule.  Yep, they're right up there.  Anthony has only three seniors with him right now but the rest are only sophomores and freshman."

The suggestion is that veteran leadership is critical for the Hermits, on a yearly basis. 

"I think that [a significant] part of it [Hermits' success] is due to Anthony.  His ability to be mature enough to get his teammates involved is what really separates him as a player."

And indeed, it is the defining characteristic of a successful point guard that makes those around him better.

"Let me give you an example of what I mean," continued Mr. Farmer.  "The other night against Bridgeton (1/8/2005) Anthony had 19 points, 6 steals, and about 4 rebounds ... but just in the first half.  He ended up with 22 points for the game.  He was more willing to pass up shots and get his teammates involved in the game."

The contest ended up in a 20-point rout for the Hermits, 77-57. 

"Anthony plays the point guard position the way it's meant to be played.  He would rather think of the team first than of himself."

This is not anything new for the future Rutgers PG.  On the national stage, he surprised many that hadn't heard of the Farmer name previously by scoring 18 points, recording 6 assists, and directing an efficient offense in leading the New Jersey All-Stars in the Championship game of the Super Showcase Final this past summer at the Walt Disney Classic in Florida.  A prime-time performer in the Semifinals of the Showcase, it was a 15-foot jumper from the left side with under 5 seconds to go over Louis Williams that Farmer drained - and onlookers quickly realized how prized a recruit Rutgers had landed. 

And the team is doing just fine these days, with nary a blemish on the record.  MetroHoops.com in their latest New Jersey Top 10, ranks St. Augustine Prep at #5, behind traditional powers St. Patrick's (#1), St. Anthony's (#2), Seton Hall Prep (#3), and Raritan (#4).

Up next for the Hermits and Anthony Farmer is a contest versus Wildwood Catholic (1/13/2005) at 7PM this Thursday.

"This week, it should be a decent challenge," stated Mr. Farmer with an air of modesty, sounding confident, but not overly so.

With the type of year the Hermits are having and with the type of leadership Anthony provides, fans may want to fast-forward and advance beyond Cape/Atlantic National Division 1 (league) games, which should provide little more than minor speed-bumps in the road.  "The big game, the one that Anthony has been looking forward to I think is the St. Pats [St. Patrick's] game."

The Battle By The Bay, set for February 4-6, will be played at Atlantic City, NJ.  St. Patrick's Derrick Caracter recently led his squad to impressive victories over Paramus Catholic, St. Benedicts, and Blair.

"That [game] will be the highlight.  See he's never beaten them, and now as a senior he wants to go out on top," stated Mr. Farmer.

 

Matei: mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com
Mike and the Big Dog LLC


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