LYNN — Lynn Tech senior Amari Gaston is the definition of a leader. On the court, he runs the show from the point guard position for the Tigers basketball team. Off the court, he contributes his time to help those who are less fortunate. It’s a combination that his coach, Stevie Patrick, says puts Gaston in a different tier from a lot of players he’s coached in the past.
“Amari is a veteran and a great kid,” said Patrick, in his third season guiding the Tigers. “He’s a great defender, he works hard, he brings the right attitude and he’s a great kid off the court. He does a lot of volunteer work and works with the school’s Skills Academy on top of his work on the court.”
Patrick has given the reins to Gaston on the court, allowing him to be the floor general that any solid basketball team needs. Gaston said that when Patrick told him he’d be the leader out there, he couldn’t wait for the challenge.
“I was really excited when Coach told me that he was giving me that ‘floor general’ role,” Gaston said. “I just try to go out there and lead by example. I play with a lot of heart and I try to make sure my teammates do the same. It feels really good to have the confidence of my coach and my teammates like that.”
One of the biggest areas where Gaston’s heart on the court shows itself is on the defensive end. Gaston is a menace to opposing ball handlers. He uses his quickness and hand-eye coordination to grab a number of steals every time he’s out on the floor.
“Defense is huge part of my game, and I’m more of a defensive player,” said Gaston. “I try to not do too much, but I always play hard and keep my hands up out there. A lot of our offensive plays are based off of transition play as well, so the more we can get steals and then get out and run, the better we’ll play.”
As far as leadership of the entire team in concerned, Gaston has that down as well. He knows it’s his job to make sure everyone is putting in maximum effort on the floor.
“Keeping everybody amped is part of my job out there as a leader,” Gaston said. “It goes back to leading by example, if I’m out there playing my hardest then I want to make sure all of my teammates are giving the same effort.”
And, according to Gaston, it’s all paying dividends.
“I love the team this year, we’re bonding great and we’re improving every day,” said Gaston. “We had a bit of a tough start and got going slowly, but we’re all committed to working as hard as possible to earn a tournament spot and compete for a state title.”
Off the court, Gaston is just as passionate about helping others. As a part of SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together with vocational schools to provide educational programs, events and competitions that support career and technical education in the nation’s classrooms, Gaston has taken part in a number of charities from helping homeless veterans to helping with a book drive for local school children.
“It’s just a really good feeling to be able to give back to the community,” said Gaston. “We’ve done a lot of great stuff with SkillsUSA and I never get tired of it. I love it.”
Gaston and his Tigers are back on the court Thursday night (6) when they host St. Mary’s in first round of the annual Watler J. Boverini Tournament.