LYNN — It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for English senior Alonzo Linton. After putting together an all-conference season in which he averaged 18 points and nine rebounds per game, Linton and the Bulldogs earned the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 North tournament before powering through the bracket en route to a Division 1 state championship, English’s first since 1939. And on Monday afternoon, Linton completed his senior season of basketball by committing to play at the next level, signing his letter of intent to play at Lee College in Baytown, Texas.
“It feels really good to make this decision, it takes a lot of stress away for me,” Linton said after signing. “I think this is the best decision for me to help me pursue my dream of playing basketball at a higher level.”
Linton’s decision to attend Lee, a Division 1 NJCAA school, somewhat resembles the path that his coach at English, Antonio Anderson, took after he graduated high school. Just as Anderson opted for prep school after leaving Lynn Tech to help eventually earn a scholarship to Division 1 University of Memphis, Linton hopes his time at Lee will grant him a similar opportunity.
“I’ve just been working hard everyday trying to get better, and I’m going to continue to do that once I get to Lee,” Linton said. “I believe in myself and my family believes in me, and I think with this opportunity I’ve been given I can get to the next level and earn a Division 1 scholarship.”
Linton, like many young basketball players, has aspirations to play professionally. Anderson, who played in the NBA and overseas, knows that the road ahead is going to be filled with a lot of hard work.
“I tell him all the time, ‘now you’re going to get a chance to go up against some guys who can really play,'” said Anderson. “Everyone is there trying to get a look, so it’s going to take a lot of work. That’s what it comes down to, the work. He’s now got an opportunity to make some noise in college basketball, and how far he goes will depend on how much work he puts in.”
There were a few other schools Linton considered in his decision-making process, including local options in Salem State University and Southern New Hampshire University. But in the end, the offer of a full scholarship from Lee and the reputation the school has for helping players get to the next level is what sold Linton.
“I didn’t really want my mom to have to pay for college since it’s so expensive, so that was one of the main reasons,” Linton said. “Also, Lee coach (Roy) Champagne has a history of helping players get to the level that they want to be at, and I think he’ll do that for me as well.”
With his decision finally made, Linton feels a weight off his shoulders heading into the end of his senior year. He will leave for Baytown a couple of weeks after graduation to begin training for the season, and he knows it will be an adjustment being away from home.
“It’s going to be tough at first, but I’ll fight through it,” Linton said. “But I know my family supports me and they’ll come down to visit and watch me play, so I think it’ll all work out fine.”
Until then, Linton will continue to bask in the glow of the Bulldogs’ state title win. Linton led the way for English in the win over Putnam, putting up a double-double of 27 points and 12 rebounds. He was also named to the Northeastern Conference All-Conference team, the Boston Globe All-Scholastic Team and the Boston Herald Dream Team.
“It’s truly an honor to be named to all those all-star teams,” Linton said. “I just want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone who supported and helped me become a better player along the way.”