By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY COURT HOSUE – For years, there were rumors that the Middle Township High School athletic department would eventually retire the number of Stephano Anderson, one of the boys basketball team’s all-time greats.
But that didn’t stop Anderson from being taken by surprise when he was reached by phone by athletic director Sharon Rementer recently to inform him that it was finally going to happen.
“The reaction by me was overwhelming,” Anderson said. “I know it had been talked about for a while, but when I got the phone call I was still just so surprised. I was really proud.”
Anderson was honored Monday as part of a spectacular ceremony that took place in between games of a girl-boy doubleheader against Lower Cape May. The ceremony also honored the boys and girls basketball teams that each won back-to-back state titles in the mid 1990s.
Anderson is regarded as one of the top athletes in the history of Cape-Atlantic League basketball. The 1993 graduate scored 1,880 career points and is still revered as one of the best dunkers in league history. He was part of three South Jersey title teams and was a senior on the 1993 state championship team that reached the Tournament of Champions final.
“There’s that old drill where you put a coin up on the rim to see if kids could grab it off there,” Tom Feraco, Anderson’s coach at Middle, said with a smile. “But Stephano could get up high enough that he could see if it was heads or tails.”
Anderson, who still lives locally and works for the City of Wildwood, unfurled the banner that signifies his No. 23 shortly after the state title teams were honored. Joined by his wife and children, Anderson broke down momentarily as the crowd roared.
“I am just so, so appreciative,” he said later. “The support from the fans and all the alumni was really great. My phone was blowing up the last week or two with people congratulating me. I just feel so appreciative of the whole situation. I really appreciate what everyone’s done and I appreciate all the love. I can’t say enough about what they did for me from the administration, to the coaches and the fans. This was quite an honor.”