By Michael J. Lewis
It happens before every game, without fail.
Sometime during the day of every basketball game Schreiber High School junior Trevor Amalfitano plays, his father Jon will give him a pep talk.
If Trevor has been playing very well, Jon’s speech may be designed to keep his son’s ego in check and bring him down a peg or two.
If the kid has been struggling on the court, then Jon will seek to boost his son’s spirits, and remind him of all the talent the 6-foot-2 guard possesses, and maybe bring up some past success.
“My dad is my role model, and he’s the voice I trust most,” Trevor said after a recent Schreiber practice. “Usually he’ll have written a paragraph or two and read it to me before I go out there, and it always helps me.”
Given how well Amalfitano has performed for the past season and the start of this one, it would seem that the first talk mentioned is the one he’s giving most, keeping his son from getting too high.
Bursting onto the varsity last year, the smooth scorer boosted the Vikings and made a name for himself in Nassau County hoops. He pumped in 15.1 points per game to go with 4.1 rebounds as Schreiber advanced to the Class AA semifinals.
Driving and scoring in the paint, and also showing strong range from the outside, Amalfitano quickly became the must-stop player for opponents.
His highlight may have been on Feb. 1 against Massapequa, when he erupted for 38 points in a 73-70 Schreiber win, capped by a 3-pointer from the top of the key with three seconds left to win the game.
“That was pretty special,” Amalfitano says with a smile. “I didn’t realize I had that many points, but when the 3-pointer went in and the crowd was going wild, it was a lot of fun.”
After a summer spent playing with the Nassau Pride AAU team, and growing a few inches, Amalfitano has continued to impress early in the 2022-23 campaign.
Through the first six games the shooting guard was averaging 14 points, six rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest.
“We thought he was going to be good when we saw him, but we didn’t know he’d be this good,” said Schreiber coach Sean Dooley. “His ability to score from so many different areas was something that really helped him, and once he saw that we believed in him, I think he got even better.”
Dooley said by far Amalfitano’s biggest asset is his footwork.
“Basketball is 90 percent footwork, and his is excellent on both ends,” Dooley said. “He’s really good at setting (defenders) up with his feet, and getting the advantage when he has the ball.”
Camren Welker, a Schreiber senior, said Amalfitano’s strength and quickness have improved this season.
“He’s stronger and he knows how to use his body to score,” Welker said. “And him getting so much attention (from defenses) helps all of us get open shots.”
Amalfitano had basketball in his blood, with dad Jon and uncle Chris both starring in high school on Long Island, with Chris playing in college as well.
Trevor started taking the sport seriously around fourth grade and loved it immediately.
“I just loved the competition and that you can get better every single day you play,” he said. “I’m pretty hard on myself because I know I can improve a lot.”
That improvement, Dooley said, can come with improving his athleticism and getting stronger to withstand contact. Especially this season, as defenses key on Amalfitano, being able to fight through traffic to score will be crucial.
“He’s definitely learning and improving all the time,” Dooley said.
Amalfitano is just beginning the college recruiting process, and hopes to play for a Division I school someday. He said he has no favorite or preference; he’s just enjoying being on a strong Vikings squad this year that will compete for a county title.
“The dream is to win states of course,” Amalfitano said, aware that just down the road, Manhasset High School did that very thing last season. “I think we have a great team and as long as we play together and keep getting better, we’re going to be really good.”