03/31/13 — Atkinson named boys' player-of-the-year

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Atkinson named boys' player-of-the-year

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on March 31, 2013 1:52 AM

There is always an argument against players who take to the hardwood at independent high schools. Under most circumstances the player in question gets compared to players at public schools with skeptical eyes.

Lee Atkinson never worries about such comparisons.

He starred for two seasons at Eastern Wayne and emerged as one of the elite offensive players in the area. After moving over to Wayne Country Day, Atkinson showed his skills on the independent school scene as a junior in 2012.

For his efforts, Atkinson has been named the 2012-2013 News-Argus All-Area Boys' Basketball Player-of-the-Year.

"Honestly, I feel like the competition is pretty equal," Atkinson said. "Here (Wayne Country Day) there are games where the level of competition is not as good, but other nights the competition is better. Over the course of the season it all evens out."

Atkinson proved that he could be an equal opportunity scorer against both public- and independent-school defenders. Last season he averaged 18 points per game. To go along with his scoring, Atkinson added six assists and four rebounds per game in the Chargers' offense.

"Lee is a great scorer and a really good all-around offensive player," Wayne Country Day head coach Terry Jones said. "He is an excellent shooter, but he also understands how to get other players involved"

Atkinson made strides to improve his ball handling before his junior season. The transition from shooting guard to point guard was not always easy, but Atkinson grew to love the challenge.

"I feel a lot more comfortable handling the ball now compared to two years ago," Atkinson said. "Over the summer I am going to focus on offensive efficiency and running a team."

Atkinson plays AAU basketball for the Wilson Blue Devils. The team is scheduled to participate in several summer tournaments. When his senior campaign opens at Wayne Country Day there will be a new coach on the end of the bench.

Jones recently stepped down to further his ministry.

"I was a little disappointed when I heard about coach's decision," Atkinson said. "But I understand it and I can always go to coach Jones for advice about anything. Now I think the whole team is excited about the possibilities for next season."

Atkinson has not yet decided on a potential college destination but he has had contact with several schools on both the Division I and Division II levels.