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Big Bahamian Levarity leading Buffs again this season

Tanner Cook • Jan 23, 2019 at 5:10 PM

Milligan College senior forward Aaron Levarity has come leaps and bounds from playing basketball on outside courts in Freeport, Bahamas, as a kid growing up.

Nowadays, the recent 1,000-point scorer dominates the paint and grabs rebound after rebound — almost like his hands have magnets in them.

He is averaging 18.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per contest, making the second consecutive season that he has averaged a double-double. He is also shooting a mind-boggling 60.1 percent from the field, which is good for seventh in NAIA Division II. He also ranks inside the top 10 in four other categories, including both defensive and offensive rebounds per game.

“This season has been great,” Levarity said. “I know I had to step it up in order for us to win games and that’s to the benefit of my teammates, too. They help me along the way and they believe in me. I just have so much confidence in myself right now.”

Milligan head coach Bill Robinson commented on Levarity’s evolution as a college player.

“Aaron’s growth from averaging 5.5 points as a sophomore to a double-double the last two years has been remarkable,” Robinson said. “His goals going into this season were to average 20 (points) and 15 (rebounds). That would’ve been crazy talk two years ago.

“Going back to the end of the season two years ago, when we got beat in the conference tournament and the season was over, I looked around the room and talked about each person. I came to Aaron and said, ‘You’re going to get paid one day to play this game.’ I think people thought I was nuts,” Robinson said.

Robinson’s crystal ball must’ve been right that night because Levarity nearly tripled his scoring average the next season, in which his rebounds doubled. The big Bahamian had truly arrived on the scene.

Last season, in the midst of a six-game winning streak to end the regular season, the Buffs became the second seed in the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament and Levarity was one of the reasons behind the strong finish. He became one of the leading candidates for Player of the Year in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, but was ultimately denied that honor even after a breakout year.

“Not winning player of the year last year definitely motivated me for this season,” Levarity said. “I don’t really look at the stats or anything like that, but I let that drive me and I try to get better every day.”

The Buffs also made the national tournament last year and were ultimately knocked out in the first round by Cornerstone University, 88-68.

“Aaron’s post game is really his strength. He’s got the ability now to use either his right or left hand and utilize the jump shot now,” Robinson said. “People used to try to turn him the other way so that he couldn’t go to his right and now that he can go either way, he’s really tough to stop. In my opinion, that’s what makes him so good.”

Rebounding is key for any team that is successful — and Levarity is among the elite rebounders in the AAC.

“Special rebounders grab everything that’s in their area,” Robinson said. “The elite rebounders get ones that are outside of their area. Aaron wants to get every rebound.”

The Buffs are currently on a roll going into Wednesday night’s road showdown with AAC leader Union College. They’ve won nine straight games — including seven conference games — and sit at 15-5 overall with a 10-4 record in the league.

Milligan has four more home games to close out the season, including one on Saturday against Reinhardt. That game is set to tip at 4 p.m.

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