The Schenectady High School basketball family has lost one of its own, a young man whose contributions to the program were significant in his two varsity seasons there, and will continue to be for many seasons to come.
“He was an honor roll student. He never missed practice. He maximized his talent,” Schenectady boys’ varsity coach John Miller said of Naylon “Nay” Carrington. “These are all examples we want our younger kids to follow.”
A June graduate, Carrington died Friday night after the car in which he was a passenger collided with a tractor-trailer at Union Street and Route 7, Niskayuna police said on Saturday.
The 18-year-old Carrington was a rear-seat passenger in a 2011 Nissan Versa driven by another 18-year-old, Jnaya Williams of Schenectady, police said. Williams was taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries, as was another passenger police didn’t identify because that passenger is a juvenile.
Carrington was taken to Ellis Hospital in Schenectady, where police said he died of his injuries.
“It’s definitely a loss for Schenectady,” Schenectady High School athletic director Steve Boynton said. “He was an outstanding kid.”
“That’s what makes this really difficult to process. The imprint he left,” Miller said. “He is a kid we’re modeling this program around.”
The Patriots as a whole mourned Carrington’s passing Saturday, and remembered some good times, as well.
“He gave me the pass on my first dunk in high school,” Schenectady senior Elijah Johnsen said. “That was a big moment for me, and he was a big part of it.”
Carrington’s story includes plenty of classroom success, and years of athletic diligence. After being cut from several lower-level basketball teams at Schenectady, he made the varsity as an 11th-grader. It’s a tale Miller said he is sure to relay to other youths as he continues to lead the Patriots.
“He kept fighting. He kept coming back. He never quit,” Miller said of the lean 5-foot-11 guard. “It’s kids like that we want representing our program and our school.”
Carrington took that feistiness to the games he played, and while he scored his share of points for the Patriots, it was his defense that stood out most of all in his two varsity campaigns.
“All he wanted to do was win,” said Schenectady senior Shawn Sukhraj, who played with Carrington since they were in elementary school. “You could see it every time he got on the court.”
Johnsen said Carrington was an incredible defender but “he could shoot, too. He had the best floater in the 518. He was always making that shot.”
Carrington left an impression on many of the coaches that sent their teams against Schenectady.
“I have been getting calls and texts from [high school] programs and coaches. They recognized his character and how hard he tried,” Miller said. “For them to take the time and reach out, that shows what he did. That says a lot.”
Miller was a fan, too.
“John was very fond of him,” Boynton said of Carrington. “He did everything he was supposed to do. He came to practice. He worked hard. He went to class. He supported everyone on the team.”
The Patriots’ supporting cast has long included Carrington’s mom, Sondra Banks.
“She is one of our biggest supporters,” Miller said. “She completely understands everything we are trying to do with the kids.”
Miller and his staff stress accountability in the classroom and on the court and the benefits both can bring beyond high school, and Carrington bought in while laying the groundwork for others to follow.
“He left an impact on everybody,” Sukhraj said.
“He understood that there’s a greater purpose here. His take was, ‘This is what we need to do to be successful,'” Miller said. “He is going to leave a lasting legacy on the program moving forward.”
“He was great. He was different from everybody else,” Sukhraj said. “He did great on the court and did great in school. He was just so focused.”
Miller said Carrington was considering college options at the time of his death.
Schenectady High School lost another member of its basketball family in July when former assistant coach Joe Loudis died at the age of 78. Loudis, a multi-hall of fame coach who had great success leading Cohoes and Mechanicville teams, served as a Patriots’ assistant when his son Eric led the varsity there from 2010-17.
Friday’s crash occurred at 10:06 p.m. Police said an initial investigation indicates Williams’ vehicle went through a red light and was struck by a Golub Corp. tractor-trailer driven by William Kenfield, 57, of Delanson. He was not injured.
“When I heard, I didn’t believe it,” Sukhraj said. “I didn’t want to. He was more than a great guy.”
Colonie police assisted Niskayuna police with an accident reconstruction. The section of Route 7 east of the crash site remained closed for more than five hours. The Niskayuna Fire Department No. 1 also responded.
Drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factors in the crash, police said. Their investigation is continuing.