Ethan Telfair is the younger brother of Sebastian, the NBA player and Coney Island legend, the first point guard to go straight to the NBA and the one-time all-time leading scorer in New York State history.
Trevonn Morton is the son of Lincoln coach Dwayne (Tiny) Morton, he of the seven city championships, the Juice All-Stars director and a former Division I point guard himself.
The two baby-faced freshmen are dealing with the immense pressure together that goes with their bloodlines.
“Sometimes, we laugh about it,” Trevonn said.
So does his father.
“One came with his brother in the NBA, one came with his father the coach,” Dwayne Morton said, cracking a wide smile seldom seen from him this time of year.
He jokes out of fondness.
The Lincoln coach knows the pressure of being freshmen in Brooklyn AA, the best division in the city. If he had his choice, the two would be playing JV, developing at a lower level. But there was no choice. The four-time defending champions didn’t have a true point guard, which is where Ethan comes in. Trevonn, a 6-foot guard, earned his way onto the varsity with the type of relentless work ethic that makes his father smile.
“He’s been proving himself in practice,” the elder Morton said. “He’s been unbelievable.”
The coach isn’t alone in his praise. Star junior Shaquille Stokes sees immense potential in the pair. There are classmates and fans that ridicule the two, Stokes said, who say Telfair is only on the varsity because of his brother, same for Morton because of his father. They brush off the comments, like swatting a fly off the other’s shoulder. The two have spent much of their first year on the varsity watching, listening and learning, filling in when needed.
“They’re like sponges – they soak everything up,” Stokes said.
Still, this wasn’t what the two dreamed about when they enrolled in Lincoln. They imagined starring roles, newspaper clippings and a top seed in the city playoffs. Not minor roles on a Railsplitters team that has its lowest seed – six – in several years.
“We were gonna come and do this and do that,” said the 5-foot-8 Telfair.
Not that he is unhappy to follow Sebastian at the Coney Island powerhouse. He always wanted to be a Railsplitter. There is plenty of pressure because of the Telfair name, unreasonable expectations for the young point guard with a soft touch from the perimeter and his brother’s court vision.
“I get down on myself a lot,” he said. “You see what he did and you want to do what he did or better.”
That’s when he gives Trevonn a call and the two chat. They talk about the present, but also the future.
Neither was sure about attending Lincoln, although it was always the place they dreamed about going to.
Ethan had brothers suggest he go elsewhere, to get out of Sebastian’s shadow. But his older brother, Danny Turner, advised he attend Lincoln, that he would be in good hands with Morton. Trevonn, like Ethan, was debating his future. There were private schools he could’ve attended for education, which would’ve benefited him.
“I wanted to play basketball,” explained Trevonn, who has a 91 average, the highest on the team. “Trevonn’s got brains for days,” Telfair joked.
With the playoffs beginning, the two may not have a focal role. They will start Lincoln’s second-round home game on the bench this Friday. Odds are, neither will make a memorable contribution. But they have three years left, three years for memories, for themselves and to prove to other they belong.
“When it’s our time,” Trevonn said, “we can perform.”
Said Dwayne Morton: “They should be able to compete with anybody as juniors.”