On Wednesday, February 5, junior center James Anozie joined an elite company by becoming one of the few players, and only active player, to reach the 1,000-point mark in men’s basketball.
Anozie scored 14 points in an 83-77 win for the Owls to find his spot in Keene State history as the 37th person to ever reach 1,000 career points. Going into the match-up, Anozie only needed 11 points to reach his goal.
During the game, Anozie scored early in the first half, bringing himself up to 10 points rather quickly. However, that one remaining point proved to be a hard one for the big man to score. It wasn’t until eight minutes into the second half that Anozie would get his chance at the free-throw line. The crowd went completely silent as Anozie shot his first of two free throws, sinking it into the net, making his career total at that exact time a perfect 1,000.
The 6-foot-6 inch center celebrated by putting a number one up in the air and then immediately returned to the free-throw line to make a second basket. Make that 1,001.
“It feels pretty good,” said Anozie the day after the game. “A lot of people can’t say that they’ve accomplished it and it takes a lot to get to. There’s a lot of work involved and it’s an honor to reach that point.”
This is not the first time Anozie has made it into the elite 1,000 point club, however.
Anozie was a member of the 1,500 points club at his high school, Our Lady of Lourdes in Poughkeepsie, New York. Anozie finished his high school career with 1,650 points.
When asked about the big man’s big achievement, head coach of the men’s basketball team Ryan Cain said many things factored into Anozie’s success.
“I think it speaks to a lot of different things,” said Cain. “One being how good he is as a basketball player and the impact he’s had over his two-and-a-half plus years here at Keene State. James came in and had a pretty promising role on a very young team freshman year, had a really good first year and continued that level of success for the past two years and it also speaks to the players he’s had around him. I think we’ve had really good teams for the most part and I think we’ve had really good players who have played with him and it’s put him in a position to have some pretty good individual success up to this point,” said Cain.
Another person with a lot to say about Anozie’s entrance into the 1,000 points club was class of 2019 alumnus and all-time points leader in men’s basketball Ty Nichols, who commented on what Anozie meant to him as a teammate.
“He was huge for me because I’ve always liked playing with big men who were good in the post,” said Nichols. “Honestly, our game plan was never to get me going, it was to get James the ball and work off of that,” said Nichols.
Coach Cain also made a note of commending Anozie for his role off the court.
“James has a very unique personality. He’s a guy who is great to have around on a daily basis and that hasn’t changed over time,” said Cain. “He’s always been a guy that has a smile on his face every time you see him and every time you shake his hand he’s gonna put a smile on your face.”
Nichols agreed with Cain’s off-the-court synopsis of Anozie and gave some of his own favorite memories with him as a teammate.
“Off the court he’s funny,” said Nichols. “We used to come to my house after practice and watch NBA games and just have a good time.”
However, both men could agree that on the court Anozie is and will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
In a 2019 video titled “James Anozie Profile” by Keene State journalism major Tyler daRosa, Coach Cain explains the power the big man brings to the court.
“At times… he is just a monster,” explained Coach Cain in the interview. “He’s a tough guy physically to move, he can be very determined and he can get into that next gear and when he is at that point he can do a lot of things that people can’t do or people can’t stop.”
After the game was done and Anozie had permanently etched his name into the 1,000 points club, he knew exactly who he wanted to thank.
“I want to thank my teammates, my coaches and my friends. They’ve all pushed me to get to this point and I respect them all,” said Anozie.
The last player before Anozie to make his name in the 1,000 points club was Ty Nichols, who later became the all-time leading scorer for Keene State College. Before that, there were 35 others, dated back all the way to the 1940s, who Anozie now joins.
If you want to catch Anozie and the rest of the men’s basketball team, you can attend their next game against the Rhode Island College Anchormen on Saturday, February 15, at 3 p.m. in the Spaulding Gymnasium.
Cristian Valentin can be contacted
Claire Boughton can be contacted