PSU-Allegheny scoring leader to be honored
By Dave Mackall
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008,
The youngest of his three children was just nine days old when Anthony Rivers, 26, was shot and killed around midnight Aug. 5 about a block from his home in Pittsburgh's Garfield section. Rivers was the victim of an apparent robbery.
Earlier that day, Rivers had helped his city-league recreation basketball team win the first game of a best-of-three championship series.
"That day he was able to do what he loved," said Jason Rivers, one of Anthony's two older brothers and an assistant boys basketball coach at Allderdice High School. "He loved his family, and he loved to play basketball. It was a such a tragedy, but Anthony will be remembered for the positive things he did."
Indeed, Anthony Rivers was managing his life with a passion that his family reflected upon with great pride Tuesday. They will attend a ceremony tonight at Penn State-Greater Allegheny to honor the memory of Rivers, the school's all-time leading scorer whose jersey No. 3 will be retired before the team's game against Pitt-Titusville.
"I certainly appreciate the fact that the school is taking this opportunity to recognize Anthony," said his mother, Peg Rivers, a counselor at the Pittsburgh Student Achievement Center in Homewood. "Basketball was a big part of his life. He loved it. He was a wonderful player, and I enjoyed watching him play -- as did many people. He was fun to watch and fun to be around."
Penn State-Greater Allegheny athletic director Ryan Astor said the school has not kept accurate statistics in the past, but verified that Rivers is its only 1,000-point scorer.
The 5-foot-9 guard attended Oliver High School before spending one season at Penn State-New Kensington and finishing his college career at Penn State-Greater Allegheny (formerly McKeesport), where he scored a career-high 48 points against Indiana (Pa.) during his senior season in 2005-06.
That year, Penn State-Greater Allegheny won the championship of the independent Penn State University Athletic Conference. Rivers previously led Oliver to a 22-8 record and the City League championship game as a high school senior in 1999.
"Anthony played for me for three years at Oliver and for three years at Penn State (Greater Allegheny)," said Tim Keefer, a teacher at Oliver. "It was a shock when I heard about it, but it also was among a string of recent shootings here. It's a shame. That's how the world is now. You're just not surprised by anything that happens anymore."
A 17-year-old Garfield teen, Anton Patterson, who attended Peabody High School, is in the Allegheny County Jail awaiting trial on homicide charges. The shooting happened as Rivers was standing outside the home of a female acquiantance.
Patterson reportedly was accompanied by another individual, who has yet to be identified.
Meanwhile, Keefer said he intends to join Rivers' family at tonight's game.
"Anthony worked for me for four summers at the National Youth Sports Program, and he was a great camper," Keefer said. "The kids loved him. Everybody knew him. He lit up the room."
Clyde Manns, a former Brashear High School and Pitt-Greensburg star, is in his first season as coach of Penn State-Greater Allegheny. He didn't coach Rivers there, but he remembers him well as a player in various recreational leagues around the area.
"Anthony Rivers was a great young man," Manns said. "Knowing him, playing against him in the community, he was always a positive guy. I hever heard anything negative out of his mouth."
Rivers' other brother, Vaughn, who attended Perry Traditional Academy, recently concluded a college football career at West Virginia, where he was a cornerback and kick returner. Vaughn Rivers had received attention from NFL scouts, and his mother said he was in Michigan working with a former WVU trainer when his brother was killed.
"He's taking it very hard," Mrs. Rivers said, "but I know he will persevere, much like our family has done all along."
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