This summer was a big one for Bryan Antoine, Scottie Lewis and the Ranney program. The dynamic duo dominated on the circuit, played for Team USA and a huge scholarship offer from Duke. On the high school level, the program had a huge addition as well, adding former St. Anthony’s High School Savior Akuwovo. The Ranney faithful are ready to see the individual success of the dynamic duo trickle over to a deep tournament run in states. The pressure is on higher than ever on Bryan and Scottie and they are delivering big time in the early part of the season.
Recently the dynamic duo sat down TheDribbleDrop & NJHoopRecruit to discuss playing for Team USA, Team Rio, why it’s championship or bust at Ranney and more.
By Christian Mordi / @thedribbledrop
TheDribbleDrop: Bryan that was a big shot, where do you rank that shot in regards to big shots in your career?
Bryan Antoine: My best one probably. Just being down, and hitting a shot like that from half court was exciting and meant a lot to me.
TheDribbleDrop:This summer you guys played with Team Rio again in numerous elite tournaments across the United States. Tell us a bit about how the landscape was, the most exciting tournament and what you learned or enjoyed most during this summer?
Bryan Antoine: Our head coach is Mike Rice. He previously coached on the college level. Having him at practice and molding us into college players is great. Just being with these groups of guys, some who go to the same school as me is cool. It wasn’t like some “I don’t know you type of stuff, it was more along the lines of playing with your brothers year round.
TheDribbleDrop: Earlier this summer we caught footage of you right before you were offered by Duke. How important was it to you to have been offered to play at such a prestigious program?
Scottie Lewis: It’s Duke. It’s a great university outside of basketball and Coach K is an incredible coach. He told me he didn’t want to offer Bryan and I at the same time because he wanted it to mean something. He said when he felt like I was ready to accept the offer is when he offered me. Jon Scheyer came to all of our games and we’re in constant contact with them. The Duke offer is definitely a big one for me and a pretty big one for Bryan.
TheDribbleDrop: A couple months ago you had the pleasure of playing in the Team USA camp. Tell us a bit about that experience.
Scottie: That was a big confidence booster. When you are surrounded by top talent all you can do is play 100% all of the time. Even if you are not the best player, you can show people that you are the hardest worker.
TheDribbleDrop: It's well documented that you guys are some of the hardest working players in high school due to your vigorous workout sessions. Each guy please tell us a facet of you game you worked hard to take to another level this summer?
Scottie: Staying in shape. I’m a high motor player. I want to rebound, block shots and make plays. I hate sitting on the bench. In order to play at that level you have to be in shape. I worked hard on my body and did the right things to build it up.
TheDribbleDrop: This offseason you guys added St. Anthony's player Savior Akuwovo. Tell us a important do you think he will be to you guys on both sides of the floor.
Scottie: Having a guy like Savior is a relief. Bryan doesn’t have to do as much and I don’t have to do as much. Savior is a high energy guy just like I am and we feed off of each other. Bryan is a great defender and Ahmadu helps him out on that side of the floor as well. When you have those guys in the backcourt and Savior and I in the frontcourt it’s a dangerous sight look at.
Ranney Coach (T.Holden): I think it helps a lot as well because it puts players in their natural position. A lot of times last year I had Scottie playing power forward or center depending upon the situation. Before we had Ahmadu I had Bryan playing the point, two or three depending upon the situation. When you have those guys on our team now it allows players to be in their natural position. Not that they can’t play those other spots, but having them in their natural spots allows them to be more comfortable and do what they do well.
The Dribble Drop: This year we ranked you guys #6 in the state coming into the year. Obviously we think this is going to be a breakout year for the program. Tell us what you learned from last years run that will help you come playoff time this year?
Bryan Antoine: Last year we were all sophomores. Last year we played gritty teams like The Patrick School, and Newark East Side. Those were great tests for us. Now when we play teams like Roselle Catholic or East Side we’re going to be comfortable.
TheDribbleDrop: Is it championship or bust at Ranney? Who do you gauge success?
Scottie: 100%. We don’t play just for the games itself. We are a family that’s trying to build a winning culture for this program. Championships are the main focus with what we do.