Once an undersized underclassman, Jay M. Robinson's Kevin Anzenberger has grown nearaly half a foot in the last year to fill out a body that can do just about anything on a basketball court.
The 6-2, 176-pound senior has become a versatile combo guard who's not afraid to pluck away a rebound or two from the big boys in the paint.
Anzenberger is averaging 12 points, three assists, two steals and five rebounds a game as Robinson has turned into one of the heavy hitters in the South Piedmont Conference. The Bulldogs started the year with an 11-2 record, including a 4-1 conference mark.
Robinson won the East Lincoln Winter Jam basketball tournament during the holiday break, beating Rocky River in the finals. Winning a title has been the highlight of Anzenberger's senior season so far.
"I've been at Robinson four years and we've never brought back any hardware," he said. "Bringing home that trophy definitely made for a nice bus ride home."
For Anzenberger and the Bulldogs, this season is all about establishing a winning tradition. Robinson's varsity has had one winning season in his first three years there.
"Our first game, there was a lot of buzz about how good we could be ... or whether we we're going to be another topped-out Robinson team that wasn't going to do anything," said Anzenberger. "We beat West Stanly pretty good, and we thought 'this is for real.' "
Splitting time between point guard and shooting guard with his former AAU teammate Ivan Lowe (a senior transfer from Vance this season), Anzenberger's most productive games in terms of scoring have been against Concord and East Lincoln, tallying16 points against each of them. Robinson is still chasing perennial power Concord< which has won five straight SPC titles.
It was against the Spiders last season that Anzenberger had his breakout varsity game. Playing at home against Concord in January, Anzenberger scored 12 points and recorded five assists.
He followed that game with a season-high 18 points against Hickory Ridge, which went on to finish second in the conference. Those games gave him a level of confidence he's used to remain a consistent factor in the Bulldogs' offense.
Anzenberger has fulfilled coach Joe Pike's prophesy that he would blossom into an impact player during his high school career. Pike selected Anzenberger for the varsity team as a sophomore despite him being a mere late-season starter on the junior varsity as a freshman.
Pike recognized Anzenberger's work ethic and coachability and felt his versatility in the backcourt could help the team at some point. Pike said all that Anzenberger needed was exposure to the more physical style of play that the varsity level presented.
Pike added that Anzenberger has become the glue for his team- embracing that role as he's growing into the team's motivator.
"He encompasses everything you want in a player," said Pike.
"He's very passionate about the game. He's a total gym rat. You're proud to have him as a teammate. You know he's going to make good decisions."
The Student Body Secretary who helped organize this year's homecoming basketball game, Anzenberger has a decision to make about his college plans. Pike says Emory and Henry, an NCAA Division III college in Virginia, and Anzenberger are mutually interested in one another.
Playing in college would be a nice reward that didn't seem possible a year or two ago, before Anzenberger's growth spurt.