Diamond in the Rough
Trevor Stark is one of the PSAL’s leading scorers, yet not a common name in the league.
by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
SLAM has always been on point in following the top high school players in the New York Metro-area. And due to the high quality and quantity of prospects –especially point guards—there can be players that go under the radar. Our man Al Stark, who brought SLAM the idea of assembling an issue ranking the top 500 players of all time — which you can find at your local newsstands right now – also brought to our attention one of the top leading scorers from the PSAL (Public School Athletic League). Trevor Stark, Al’s son, just wrapped up his senior season at Robert F. Kennedy in Queens. He finished this past season as the city’s fifth leading scorer after averaging 26.19 points per game. A 5-10, 150 point guard, Stark is now the school’s all-time leading scorer after reaching the 1,256-point mark of his high school career. In addition, he holds the school record for most points in a single game with 42 points during his junior year. The Bayside native was also selected to represent New York City during the Empire State Games in Buffalo last summer. As a junior, Stark won the 3-point shooting contest at the Easter Roundball Classic in Durham, North Carolina as a member of the MS 158 Beacon Lions. Although he may not be a common name in the prep circuit, he’s faced some of the top blue-chippers in the area during the AAU season with the Long Island Lightning AAU club, including Rutgers-bound Michael Taylor and North Carolina State-signee Tyler Harris, and has held his own.
In a city loaded with Division-1 talent, for the most part cramped in the AA division, a player like Stark, whose team plays in the B division, can go unnoticed by college coaches. Stark’s story mirrors that of many players throughout the nation, who play for lower divisions and in the shadow of others. And despite not receiving the same attention as his AA counterparts, he’s been able to attract interest from Division-II and Division-III schools, such as Cortland, Oswego, and Buffalo State.
RFK was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after falling short to East Harlem Pride in a 70-64 devastating loss. Stark’s final game was an emotional one that saw him finish with 24 points and 5 assists in a valiant effort.
Now Stark is ready to write a new chapter. And with probably the biggest decision of his life looming, he’s ready to embark on his latest journey. No matter where he ends up taking his talents, he’s aware that despite the obstacles, it is his hard work and dedication that has gotten him this far and will ultimately dictate his success in life moving forward.
As they say, hard work beats talent when talents isn’t working hard.
We recently caught up with Stark at the conclusion of his season.
SLAM: You’re now the all-time leading scorer at Kennedy. How does it feel to reach that milestone?
Trevor Stark: I beat him pretty good. He used to play at my dad’s Beacon where I used to workout and practice. I haven’t spoken to him recently but he congratulated me when I broke his record.
SLAM: Do you feel like you probably haven’t gotten the exposure you deserve?
TS: Definitely the exposure is not as much as I would like it to be. But when I played against them in the spring and fall during the offseason, that’s when I can show them that just because I’m in a B division doesn’t mean I can hang with them.
SLAM: Could that be a motivation to go harder when you play against some top talent at AAU events?
TS:I definitely feel like there’s a chip on my shoulder. Because if I do bad, people are going to say, ‘Oh, he’s only the in B division.’ But if I do well, then everybody is like, ‘Oh, who’s this kid that goes to Robert F. Kennedy?’
SLAM: What made you go to RFK instead of the ‘basketball schools’ in Queens?
TS: It’s right down the block from my house and we heard it was a good school. I could have gone to a Cardozo or Forest Hills but my mom wanted me to have more attention in the classroom. And she said, ‘Basketball comes second; school comes first.’
SLAM: How has your overall high school experience at Robert F. Kennedy been?
TS: It treated me great. I don’t want to say I regret it, but I wish I could have went to a more high caliber school. For academics, it was great. The teachers actually care about you there. They want you to do well.
SLAM: A lot of students transfer thinking it would help their basketball exposure – although it doesn’t workout at times. Did you consider?
TS: After my sophomore year, I was talking to my dad about transferring to a bigger public school. We looked at the situation. I would have to sit out a year, so I’d waste my junior year. Then there’s always the possibility of someone taking my spot. He told me to just go hard at RFK and somebody would see me.
SLAM: But despite playing at RFK, you’ve been getting considered by a list of D-II and D-III schools. Are you close to making a decision?
TS: I kind of want to wait. Maybe some more division two schools may come along. I’ve taking some visits but I want to wait and see.
SLAM: Which schools have you visited?
TS: I went to Cortland. I’ve visited Oswego. I visited Buffalo State. These are the schools that are recruiting me and I’ve visited. There are some others that I haven’t gotten a chance to see yet.
SLAM: You finished fifth in the league in scoring. That’s a remarkable achievement.
TS: It’s a great accomplishment. But I wish more people would know, maybe in the AA and even in the A division. We beat two teams in the A division this year – Springfield Garden and Williams C. Bryant. So we can compete.
SLAM: Who is your favorite player?
TS: My favorite player is Joe Johnson because he is silent but deadly. He doesn’t talk trash. He’s kind of like me. If you don’t know basketball, you probably don’t know him. He’s an all star. He’s not in with the media. He does his thing on the court and that’s it.
SLAM: What are your goals in the long-run?
TS: My dream has always been to play overseas somewhere, you know, make a living off basketball. But if that doesn’t work out, I can definitely see myself being a coach.
SLAM: Sounds great. At the grassroots, college, or NBA level?
TS: At the college level.
SLAM: So which college coach do you look up to the most?
TS: Jamie Dixon. Pitt has always been my favorite team since I was little. Jamie is a great coach. He gets some good players. He knows how to make them motivated and get them to work hard.
SLAM: How far do you think they’ll make it this year?
TS: I think they’ll make it to the Final Four.
SLAM: What does your workout regime look like during the season?
TS: I get out of school and go eat with my friends. Practice starts at 2:30. And we practice until about 5 or 5:30. I stay around a little bit and work on my jump shot. I go home and do school work, and if my dad is up to it, we go to the park and shoot some more at night. Winter or summer. But in the summer, I’m in the park all day.
SLAM: As you head into college this the fall, what are you looking to emphasize this summer?
TS: This offseason — it will be a whole lot of weight training. Because at 5-10, 150, I definitely have to at least put on about 20 pounds. I know its going to tough.
SLAM: What part of your game do you feel has caught the attention of college coaches?
TS: I would think they like my jump shot. My IQ and decision-making. And my court awareness on defense and offense.
SLAM: Thanks for talking with us. Good look moving forward. Hard work never goes unnoticed.
TS: Thanks. I really appreciate it.