Class of 2010
Tanner High School has a long history of producing great basketball teams and players. The school has won a boys state championship and produced numerous all-state players. Tanner High School has retired three former players jerseys with one belonging to Anthony Kingston. The former Rattlers All-State performer will be honored again as he will be inducted into this year's Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame class on June 5 at Athens State University.
For Kingston, the honor is something he doesn't take lightly. "Limestone County has produced so many great athletes and to be part of something like this is quite an honor. It is something I will always cherish," said Kingston.
Tanner won their boys state championship in 1985 when Kingston was a freshman. Kingston said he took it as a challenge to continue the tradition of winning. "Guys like Bo Byrd, Greg Yarbrough and others set the benchmark and I tried to keep it going. We didn't win another state championship when I played but we won big games against some really good teams and advanced to the quarter-final quarters of the state tournament my senior year," said Kingston.
He certainly did his part in keeping the winning tradition going at Tanner. Kingston averaged 21 points per game his junior season and was named All-County and All-Area. He established himself as not only one of the top players in the region his senior season but one of the best in the state. Kingston averaged 28 points per game during his last season at Tanner and earned first team all-state honors. He was named the Decatur Daily Area Player of the Year and was an honorable mention All-American selection.
Kingston's high school coach Billy Owens now serves as Tanner High principal. Owens says that the multi-talented Kingston was a phenomenal player and person. "Anthony is the best basketball player I have seen in Limestone County since I moved here in 1978. He was a three-year starter for us and he did a great job. As good a player as Anthony was and his honors speak for themselves, he was a better student and person," said Owens.
It was Kingston's total package as student-athlete that impressed teammates, coaches and opponents alike. Fellow Jacksonville State University alumnus and East Limestone principal Dennis Black says Kingston always respected his opponents. "Anthony was a tremendous player but he was someone who never brought attention to himself. I was a young assistant basketball coach at East Limestone when Anthony played at Tanner and he was always respectful to me whether we were in the gym or if I would see him in public. I always appreciated that. Anthony was someone who did things right when no one was looking. Having graduated from Jacksonville State, I certainly was proud when he chose to go there. He has represented Jacksonville State and Limestone County well, "said Black.
Ironically, it was against Black's East Limestone team that Kingston set his personal high for points scored as he poured in 47 points against the Indians his senior year. "Yea, I remember that game well," recalled Kingston. "We had lost a few games in a row against East Limestone and we beat them pretty good at Tanner."
Black says it wasn't surprising that Kingston was such a prolific scorer. "Anthony shot the deep corner shot as well as anyone I have seen come through Limestone County. He was such an intelligent player and he would take what the defense gave him. Coach (Jimmy) Drake and I use to tell our players that you always had to be aware of where Anthony was on the court. We didn't care if he went to the bench, we wanted someone guarding him," laughed Black.
His senior season complete at Tanner, Kingston chose Jacksonville State over a host of schools and was part of great era of basketball at JSU. The Gamecocks then were a NCAA Division II powerhouse under the direction of Coach Bill Jones. Jacksonville State posted an 88-23 record during Kingston's four years in the program and helped guide the Gamecocks to two 'Elite Eight' appearances. Kingston was named the Gulf South Conference Freshman of the Year in 1990 and was a first-team all conference his senior season. Kingston excelled in the classroom as well as he was a two time member of the Gulf South Conference All-Academic Team.
By the time he finished his college career, Kingston's name could be found throughout the Jacksonville State record book. He was ranked among the Gamecocks top 10 all-time in numerous statistical categories including scoring, three-point field goals, free throws and assists.
Kingston graduated from Jacksonville State in 1993 with a degree in Computer Information Systems. He parlayed his successful college career into a professional contract with a basketball league in Europe. "I played a while in Luxembourg," said Kingston. "The league I played in was new and kind of establishing itself. I didn't play long but I enjoyed myself. I saw a lot places that I wouldn't have dreamed of visiting while growing up in Tanner."
He later returned to Jacksonville State and earned a Masters Degree in Business Administration. Kingston worked in the private sector as network specialist and engineer until 1999 when he was hired as the Director of Technology for the Jacksonville city schools.
In 2008, Kingston added another title to his responsibility within the Jacksonville City school system as Jacksonville High School boy's basketball coach.
The young men in that basketball program may one day become the basketball player like Kingston. That part in the grand scheme of things isn't that important. But if they emulate their coach off the court, they too will be very successful in life.