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Joyner set to atone for mistake, lead S. Bronx

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There’s a saying at South Bronx about star point guard Dashawn Joyner when he does something odd.

“That’s Dashawn.”

It’s similar to Manny being Manny.

The talented 6-foot Joyner is quirky and makes weird, sometimes bone-headed, decisions.

A mistake last year just happened to cost the Phoenix its season.

The day of South Bronx’ second round PSAL Class A matchup with Newtown, Joyner opted to break school rules and go out for an early lunch with friends at White Castle. He wasn’t hungry; the junior just wanted to keep his pals company.

He was caught and suspended for the game. The Phoenix lost a heartbreaker and Joyner’s season was over.

It was disappoint­ing,” he said, putting it mildly.

The phone call that night from coach Doug Porter still resonates with Joyner. Porter, known for his zany, emotional and, at times, out of control ways, informed Joyner the team had lost and subsequently broke down in tears. Joyner apologized repeatedly to his coach, then his teammates the next day. He was contrite, Porter said, and promised to change.

“We’ll have Sliders from White Castle on the bench just in case,” the coach joked.

All kidding aside, Joyner, who averaged 16 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds per game last year, has backed up his remorse by maturing. The senior has yet to miss a practice or be absent from school. He has emerged as a team leader, so much so that Porter named him a captain.

“He’s become a true leader on the floor,” Porter said. “He’s a lot more vocal. He’s come out of his shell.”

“He’s on a mission,” the coach added. “He’s very focused. I have no kids that practice harder than him, and that’s rare for a superstar. When you have that, it makes it easy to coach.”

South Bronx has plenty of complimentary pieces surrounding Joyner. Jonathan Rivera, a versatile 6-foot-5 wing, is academically eligible after two years of battling classroom woes. Returning starter Elijah Huggins is back, along with Jaquan Mullins, Courtney Payne and Robert Lloyd, who were all reserves last year.

Newcomer Terrence Wilson, a 6-foot-5 forward, adds size in the paint. On Monday, Luis Sanchez, Demitrix Carraway and Rafelito Mercedez will join the team. The three athletic guards will be busy until then trying to lead the football team to the Cup division championship.

“Once we get those football kids back, watch out,” Porter said. “This is my best team.”

Joyner makes the frenzied Phoenix non-stop attack go. He is relentless, pushing the ball on every touch. He can shoot from the perimeter, but is as strong with either hand and can jump out of the gym.

“He speeds our team up,” Huggins said. “We can go as far as Dashawn takes us.”

Joyner has impressed several ‘AA’ coaches in the last few years. In the borough playoffs last February, he scored 31 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 10 assists in a 101-84 loss to Wings. He has performed well in several scrimmages this fall against Transit Tech, Wadleigh, Lehman, and Food & Finance.

“He gets to the basket, that’s the main thing,” Wadleigh coach Mike Crump said.

And the Phoenix doesn’t have to worry about Dashawn acting out or being unavailable for a game, for now at least. He has one goal for himself, and it doesn’t include any statistics.

“19-0 to the championsh­ip,” he said.

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