RBC’s ANTONIA PANAYIDES…THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR

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They say they’re 100 ways to skin a cat. That may be true in some walks of life. But nobody will ever convince me that statement applies to basketball. When it come to a player reaching the next level or developing there game, to the point where practice time moves to game…there is no skinning cats theory for me. It comes down to had work, honesty and real practice goal setting. Antonia Panayides or Toni P as I call her, understands this and for that reason…. She just may be the most improved player in the Shore Conference.

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Now I can start out by telling it’s a forgone conclusion that Toni P will be wearing a D1 uniform in 4 years. I can tell you she plays at one of the best  high school basketball programs in New Jersey in RBC. I could tell you she plays on the most well know AAU team in New Jersey, the 2021 Shoreshots. But those are things that unless you living under a rock, you already know. What you may not know, is these days Toni, is becoming one of the best two way guards in the Shore. She also has moved up the pecking order in the 2021 class. Yes Toni, is that good. So good that a player who barely played last season for one of the Top 5 teams in the state. Will this year will be one of there most important players. Now how did tHIs  happen?  Should  be the question everyone is asking. So let me answer that question. Toni got to where she is today by doing three of the hardest things to do when taking your game from practice to games.

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First Toni, has had real real purpose in her practice setting. When told she needed to become an elite shooter. She made that a  priority, not by just shooting. But shooting everyday…everyday with a purpose of becoming an elite shooter. She hooked up with the best shooting coach on planet earth in Coach Mary Beth Chambers. Then she shot everyday after school for 90 mins…were talking game shots. Toni’ purpose was to become not a good shooter but a great shooter. This is why these days she is knocking down jumpers like it’s her job. When I watch her in the fall league these days, I just shake my head. Nobody could have convinced me, she would be the shooter she is today…6 months ago. But practicing with a purpose is what Antonia Panayides is all about and it has paired off BIG TIME!

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I will say to the day I die, you never know your weakness or where you stand as a basketball player…UNTIL you play with or against killers. Toni, has never sided stepped competition. She has always wanted to challenge herself and her game. Truth is what Antonia Panayides has always been after. As a freshman she attended RBC knowing there were 5 D1 guards in the program. She also knew one of the best Freshman in the country, would be joining RBC a year later. She could’ve done what so many other kids do. Find a nice soft landing spot. Then brag about playing as a baby, putting up numbers. Yet not developing or have anyone take there accomplishments seriously. Toni P took the hard road and ran towards the competition. She understood development needs to be  nurtured . ..There is no cat skinning here. You either take the challenge or you don’t. You either accept playing with and against the best or you don’t. Toni P long ago decided she wanted to practice and play on the biggest stages. That’s why she is at RBC and why she plays on the 2021 stacked Shoreshots. She knows their is only one road to be considered if you want to be your  best ….and that road is called competition road. Tori P, has bet on herself and only travels this road… She has no fear and it’s why this year, she will break out and everyone will go ..WOW…except those in the know. Those who have seen the ultra competitive nature or as one D1 coach said..”her toughest is her biggest skill set” she is so right. Maybe the Patroit school asst coach who said this is smarter than us all…”Toni In the end just may be better than all of them, notice she gets better every time you watch her”….YES I DO….as I said she is betting on herself and it’s been a great bet.

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The ego is a powerful thing. Sometimes it can get a player in trouble. Make them angry jealous of others sucess. The ego often can stop a player from developing. They worry about what others are doing or what folks are saying about them…and not them. They worry about others getting love or hype, while there  ignored. The ego will and can make a player go hide and stop developing. Toni, played on a high school team, that she got no attention being part of. She plays on the Shoreshots a team that has players getting mega recruitment. She trains at NBS on the weekends. All these places have on thing in common. Toni, is not the star attraction, yet it has never affected her work ethic, attitude or drive. Toni shows up and worries about on thing, competiting and getting better. Now that all come back to a players ego!  She doesn’t get upset or offended by a teammate or friend getting love. She doesn’t take that  to mean, she is not as good or worthy. She embraces the love others get. Do you know why? Because Toni knows her time is coming. She understands what is necessary. She understands others sucess are reasons to keep working. She and yes parents only worry about one thing ….the task at hand! Right now Toni  Panayides is making the task look real easy. She has become a Top player in the 2021 class not by hating but by  congratulating ….the very thing that people will doing come this season ….TOO HER!

I’m a big believer in making kids earn the love. I want to see the kid and parents reaction when they don’t get the love. I want to see if they keep showing up. I want to see if they can find something deep down. I want to see if they can handle truth. Like when you tell them they have a weakness. I want to see if they are excuse free always. You see Toni, has proven to me over the years, she understands all this and more. She has never been the focus point of a team or training session. What she has been is a classic grinder. So much that when I think about the best 2021’s now. Her name is always on the list

Toni, is a third degree black belt and it shows. Her confidence level is off the charts. Last year I told her she would have to work to get on the floor this year. She looked at me in stunned disbelief and said these words “you really thing there better or will out work me?” She was 150% offended by my statement. If don’t you know anything about Antonia Panayides, know this…she is the ultimate warrior and takes a back seat to NO ONE…AND SHE DOESNT CARE WHO YOU ARE!!!

Tiny Green

 

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