Watching Anthony Lomelo function in SMC basketball games, the impression that this 6-foot-4 sophomore brings maturity to the Corsairs is unavoidable.
It’s understandable because Lomelo has more experience than most teammates who are just out of high school.
He’s been to Stephen F. Austin, where his playing time was curtailed by an injury, and a community college in Lufkin, Texas. He played high school basketball in Houston but has family is in New York and he is strongly considering advancement to Hofstra University on Long Island.
He took a path to SMC that has become increasingly popular for modern-day out-of-state student athletes – checking out schools on the Internet.
“When I did that I was impressed with the academics at SMC,’’ said Lomelo. “My sister has moved here, too.”
When Lomelo expressed interest, SMC Coach Trevor Shickman asked for a tape to evaluate his play.
Once Shickman became interested, a week of conversations began.
“I guess he wanted to know why I wanted to make this move,’’ said Lomelo. “And he reminded me that SMC doesn’t give out scholarships.
“I was impressed with the school and his style of play. I like the running game and SMC plays at an up-tempo pace. I wanted to be here and it’ll be for only one year so I rented an apartment.
“I like the team. We have outstanding chemistry.”
SMC won five of its’ first eight games. Lomelo is starting at shooting guard, but in a 69-57 win over Santa Ana Dec. 6 in Corsair Pavilion he moved to small forward as Shickman opened with two point guards, Aaron Harris and Mark Brathwaite.
Lomelo moved the ball well, scrapped for rebounds and played tough defense. He didn’t shoot often and scored only six points but made a key three-point shot to cut short a Santa Ana rally late in the game.
SMC started in a zone defense and took a 16-6 lead. Although 6-foot-9 center Shakir Johnson picked up three fouls and went to the bench the Corsairs held a 33-28 halftime lead. Johnson fouled out in the second half, but unlike the previous game when SMC came apart without its’ center the Corsairs held the lead this time.
It was a good win as SMC was heading for the road to compete in three tournaments for the rest of the month.
With SMC featuring more acrobatic players, including Johnson and high-rising forward Rondell Eskridge, Lomelo is content to fit in and await his openings.
One of Lomelo’s tasks is to get the ball to Johnson, who’s an adept shot blocker but is working on his offensive game.
“Shakir is improving on offense,’’ said Lomelo.
No interview with a newcomer from out of state would be complete without asking about his dealings with Los Angeles traffic.“The traffic is awful in Houston too, so I’m used to it,’’ said Lomelo.