Kingston, R.I. - His basketball story is movie material right down to the heart-warming final scene.
Through sheer hard work and determination, Anthony Malhoit fulfills his dream to play Division I college basketball. He toils in the background as a walk-on at the University of Rhode Island and then finally gets rewarded for his efforts with a scholarship for his final semester.
When inserted into the starting lineup on Senior Night, Malhoit delivers a career-best performance, finishing with 21 points and nine rebounds while leading the Rams to victory at the Ryan Center.
It's an inspiring story.
Only Malhoit, a Waterford High School graduate, doesn't see it that way. He's always been confident in his abilities, so he wasn't surprised.
"I guess it's a good story," Malhoit said. "I just never really thought about leaving a legacy or leaving a story behind. I would say this can go out to everybody - all the scholarship players, youth players, walk-ons, whatever - if you work hard, hopefully it will pay off.
"That's really my story. I came here and worked hard every day. … Tonight, I showed that."
But what Malhoit, a 6-foot-3 guard, accomplished Wednesday in a 78-58 win over Fordham is remarkable.
Consider this: Malhoit had scored a total of only 40 points in limited action in 43 games during a two-year career and never had more than seven points in a game. He recorded career bests in points, rebounds, 3-pointers (3) and minutes (29). He went 8-for-11 from the field after going 14-for-38 in his career.
The most important thing to Malhoit, who has started four other times, was that the Rams (7-23) won.
"It was a lot of fun," Malhoit said. "I went out there and enjoyed myself. … I couldn't have picked a better way to go out."
His teammates clearly enjoyed watching Malhoit thrive in his final home game. During the post-game press conference, Orion Outerbridge, the only other senior on the team, was eager to talk about Malhoit's night rather than his own terrific performance.
"I was more happy for Anthony than anything else," Outerbridge said. "I knew he could do that. He does it every day in practice."
Malhoit earned the respect of teammates and head coach Jim Baron long before Wednesday. Since the former UConn-Avery Point standout showed up on campus, he's been as committed and hard-working as any scholarship player.
"That's one of the reasons that I gave him a scholarship the second half (of the season)," Baron said. "He was a walk-on. He worked very hard. But he stepped up big-time.
"That's how he's been practicing. He plays hard. He shows up and does a lot of little things."
Malhoit's memorable night started with receiving his framed jersey during the pre-game ceremony. He was escorted onto the court by his mother Marcia and grandfather Elmer Taylor. His sister Alissa, uncle and grandmother also attended the game. Only bad weather prevented his family fan club from being bigger.
"I'm proud of him and I'm happy for him," Marcia said at halftime. "It's exciting on his Senior Night that he's having an opportunity to play and that he's playing well."
Malhoit smiled when asked about his family.
"My family has been a huge support," said Malhoit who also made a point to thank Avery Point coach James Childs. "They've always had my back and they've always been there for me. ... I couldn't have done it without them."
His story isn't over. Malhoit has an opportunity to add another chapter on Saturday when URI closes out the regular season at UMass.
Malhoit, who's majoring in psychology and criminology, hopes to continue to basketball career after graduating.
"I'm definitely thankful and grateful for my time here at URI," Malhoit said. "I wouldn't change it for anything. The journey has been great. It has taught me a lot. I've met a lot of good people.
"And I believe that everything that I went through here has made me stronger. So I wouldn't have chosen to have taken a different path because I wouldn't be the same person if I had."