He may not have the moves of Marcus Carson or the leaping ability of Stephen Thompson. But Ronnie Stephens remains one constant for third-year Kubasaki Dragons coach Chris Sullivan.
“He’s very valuable, highly dependable on the floor,” Sullivan said of the 6-foot, 225-pound Stephens, who’s averaging 23 points and 15 rebounds per game for Kubasaki. “He’s got a great work ethic on both sides of the floor.”
Stephens, a senior forward, had 19 points Saturday in a 93-75 victory over Futenma High, a Japanese team. Kubasaki, which was 9-17 last season, improved to 11-3 overall this season. The Dragons are 5-1 in the Okinawa-American League.
Stephens is the only starter remaining from Sullivan’s lineup in 2002-03, a group that finished second to Seoul American in the Class AA tournament.
Stephens’ value to the Dragons was illustrated in the second half of the Hong Kong International School Holiday Tournament boys final. With Kubasaki leading Singapore American by 19, Stephens left the game with an ankle injury, and the Dragons lost 73-69.
“We sorely missed him,” Sullivan said.
Stephens’ ability to box out and get position underneath the basket for rebounds serves as a “good example” to the team, Sullivan said.
“He shows why good positioning means a person doesn’t have to be a great leaper to rebound,” Sullivan said. “He’s a great position player, always in the right place at the right time.”