To use movie lingo, in his three years on the St. John’s Jesuit basketball team, senior Anthony Glover, Jr., has progressed from bit-part player to supporting role to lead actor.
This season, the 6-foot-1 guard has emerged from the shadows of former teammates Marc Loving and Austin Gardner to become the go-to guy for coach Ed Heintschel’s team.
The 6-8 Loving was Ohio’s 2013 Mr. Basketball and is now playing at Ohio State. Gardner is playing at the University of Findlay.
Their graduation created a new marquee role for Glover, whose offseason work ethic went above and beyond.
“I’m not one for superlatives, but Anthony probably has done more work on physical improvement, mental improvement, and spiritual improvement than anybody,” Heintschel said. “He had to be a combination of Marc Loving and Austin Gardner coming into this season, and that’s a pretty big task. He’s done a great job with that.”
Working to improve his game is a passion that was instilled in him by his father, Anthony, who was a starter on Scott’s 1990 Division I state championship team.
How early was Anthony, Jr., introduced to basketball?
“Right out of the womb,” Glover quipped. “My dad put a basketball in my hands right then. He’s always been with me, and my grandparents have helped me. I’ve had a lot of people around me who have helped me get where I am today.”
Glover’s passion for the game has led to a Division I college scholarship with Chicago State of the Western Athletic Conference. He signed a letter of intent in November, having been recruited as a combination (point and shooting) guard.
Glover, who also had offers from Furman and Wofford, received the recruiting attention because of his summer AAU performance. That play elevated as he maintained his workout routine.
“I worked hard every day in the summer,” Glover said. “We had a tough game that we lost [in district] against Rogers in the playoffs. Austin Gardner was hurt and I was expected to play better. I was something like 1-for-12 shooting.
“I had opportunities to score, and I didn’t take advantage. I always kept that in my head when I was working out. I didn’t want to have that feeling again. I worked hard, and it’s paying off.”
Glover’s summer workout routine, which he shared with Loving, included rising at 6:30 a.m. to run the hills at Ottawa Park, then a mile on the track at St. Francis de Sales.
Next he would do catch-and-shoot drills at St. John’s, taking around 300 shots a day. Later in the afternoon he would do ball-handling drills at a YMCA near his home, often finishing with pickup games against older players.
His weekends were basically filled with AAU tournament games with his Columbus-based Hidden Gems team.
As Heintschel has observed, Glover’s summer routine paid off.
“I honestly don’t know what all he did in the summer,” Heintschel said. “We tell the players what we think they need to do, and then it’s up to them. But I absolutely saw how he improved. I can’t say I didn’t expect it, because he does have that in him.
“He was playing in two long shadows last year, and he was waiting for his time. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, in terms of his play and his leadership and the intangible things that you need your leaders to do.”
Through eight games this season, he is averaging 19.1 points per game for the 7-2 Titans, who have been on a roll after an 0-2 start. He also contributes 4.8 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and is shooting 57 percent on 2-pointers, 42 percent on 3-pointers, and 75 percent at the free-throw line.
These are the numbers of a player who has waited his turn and now embraces his leadership role.
“He’s tried to be more verbal,” Heintschel said. “The first two games were tough. We had leads going into the fourth quarter that we lost. There was some frustration dealing with that, and he was really good about encouraging his teammates and trying to spur them on.”
This is the latest step in Glover’s evolution as a player.
“My sophomore year I didn’t really play all that much,” he said. “I was pretty much was a role player. I came in when other players were tired. Last year my role increased. They still didn’t need my scoring that much. It was my role to score when I had opportunities, get other players involved, and guard one of the best perimeter players on the other team.
“It’s all about the team and winning. I was willing to do whatever it took to win.”
Glover has a quick first step to the basket along with the skill to finish and is a proven 3-point threat.
“Coach says I’m flashy, but I don’t really think that I am,” he said. “I just try to come out and play as hard as I can. It’s all about my mental preparation. I think that gets me ahead of a lot of people. Energy plays a big role in how I play.
“My dad always told me, ‘What you put into it is what you get out of it,’ and that always stuck with me.”
Glover also applies his work ethic to the classroom. His 3.9 grade-point average for the first quarter this year was followed by a 3.7 in the second quarter, lifting his cumulative GPA to 3.3.
“I’m never satisfied with how I’m playing,” Glover said. “I’ve been playing pretty good, but there’s always something I can do better, so I have to continue to keep growing into the season. There’s a lot more to come.”
After falling to at Shaker Heights (59-49) and Bowsher (65-62) to open the season, St. John’s has reeled off wins against Lima Senior (83-55), Whitmer (83-40), Clay (75-37), St. Francis (53-41) and University of Detroit Jesuit (85-77 in OT), then last weekend beat Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep (67-60) and Dayton Chaminade-Julienne (45-43) to win the Tuscarawas Central Catholic holiday tournament in New Philadelphia.
Glover’s season-best point total was 27 in the last-second loss at Bowsher. He had 25 against Shaker Heights and 24 against Whitmer.