Kevin Altidor and McDonald Jean-Louis stopped by for a visit over the holidays with Ishmael “Stretch” Morley at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture on Dec. 18.
Kevin, who attended Abaco Central High School (ACH), and went on to graduate from C C Sweeting Senior High School in 2009, is currently in his final semester at Roane State Community College in Tennessee. He has plans to transfer to a four-year college sometime next year.
Conversely, McDonald is also a former ACH student, and graduated from Sunland Baptist Academy. As a freshman at St. Thomas University located in Miami Gardens, he redshirted during his first year at school, and was therefore excited about his first game on Dec.28.
Both of their basketball careers began with the Youth in Action Basketball Program with Mr. and Mrs. Lynden Davis, which continued with Morley at the helm. Somewhat nostalgic, McDonald recalled feeling privileged to travel to other islands to compete because the exposure helped them to get better.
Career highlights for McDonald ranged from becoming Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the junior boys season for Abaco to making it to the Hugh Campbell Championships; becoming captain, and an all-tournament teams; and receiving his college scholarship. For Kevin, things began to take off in the twelfth grade when he became one of the top players in the country. This year, Kevin made team captain and is the leading scorer and rebounder on the team. His main playing position is small forward whereas McDonald’s is as a shooting guard. As they look ahead, Kevin and McDonald aspire to attend Division I schools with the hopes of eventually becoming professional basketball players.
Fortunately for them, they are excelling in their academics as well. McDonald graduated with a 3.42 GPA, and ranked 14 out of 48 students. He passed all of his BGCSEs with Cs and above and scored 1300 points on the SATs.
Meanwhile, Kevin said that he had never obtained a 3.0 GPA in high school. What he loves about college is that his coaches have made sure that his academics are a priority, so he is now taking his schoolwork seriously. He currently has a 3.06 GPA.
The young men paused to express their appreciation to their families, coaches and teachers for their support along the way. They also offered advice to those with similar aspirations.
“Put God first,” McDonald advised. “Success is hard work every day and be consistent. You can’t just be a good basketball player without good grades – that won’t take you far. Know God, your family, your books and just work hard every day.”
Kevin also shared an important point.
“If you have a dream, [don’t] give up on it. We’ve come a long way, and we’re still going,” Kevin commented. “Basically us coming from the Mudd and the Peas that should be a bigger motivation for all the younger kids that are growing up over there right now to see that we made it this far. If we can do it, they can do it also. They should just keep working hard and [know that] anything is possible as long as they have God in their lives.”
Morley was also grateful to God for allowing him to help the young men and for allowing their parents to place them in his care. He said that in a community like The Mudd, it is given a bad stigma but that there are good people like Kevin and McDonald who come from there.
“For me, I respect the people who live there – that’s the first thing you must do is respect the person’s lifestyle and help them to improve on that lifestyle,” Morley said. “They have the opportunity as role models to help because they haven’t lost focus of their dream.”