Making the long journey from growing up in a shanty town to signing a contract to play professional basketball, Kevin Altidor is grateful for the opportunities that came his way and is sending a message that through dedication and hard work you can achieve success no matter where you are from.
Young Kevin Altidor has been added to the Real Grupo du Cultura Covadona roster. Real Grupo du Cultura Covadona competes in the Liga Española de Baloncesto Amateur (EBA) and plays in Group A-B.
Kevin was born in and was raised in Pigeon Pea by his parents, Monique and Josue Altidor. He attended Abaco Central High School, but later Transferred to CC Sweeting Sr. High in Nassau, where he graduated in 2009.
He said that he sat out for a year before going to college. “I was never highly recruited, actually never recruited at all,” he said. But Kevin was “an amazing track athlete and was coached by an amazing coach; Mr. Vogal Williams, who is one of my biggest role models.”
In 2007 and 2008 he won the 1500 M in the National high school championships and also earned a silver medal in the 800 M in 2009.
“I was actually chaperoning the Abaco Central team along with my track coach, Coach Williams at a track meet in Nassau and a Coach that I did not play for saw me and said, ‘Boy you still here, I thought you’d be in college playing ball.’ I said no sir, my coach didn’t get me lined up with anything at all. He said, ‘Wow I can’t believe this, you know what, come with me to Orlando I promise I will get you a school to play for.’”
That coach was Kevin ‘KJ’ Johnson. “All he did was make a few calls and in April of 2010 I signed a basketball scholarship with Roane State Community College in Harriman Tennessee. The head coach never saw me play before but he went with Coach Johnson’s word that I was a hard working player.”
Kevin said that growing up he never really liked basketball, and always preferred running track, but his friends were always playing so he wanted to do it as well.
Elva and Lynden Davis of Grand Bahama started a youth program which Kevin would attended every Saturday at 10 am. “At age 14 I couldn’t do anything but run; Mrs. Davis stopped me one afternoon and gave me a basketball and said this is for you to dribble and shoot around with every day, and from that day on basketball became an addiction. I could not go a day without playing basketball,” he said.
He redshirted his first year in college because “everything seemed so different and difficult, I learned a whole lot but for some reason I never really showed improvement during scrimmages and pickup games.” He said that one afternoon his coach, Randy Nesbit, called him into his office and told him, “Kev I’m teaching you a lot of things and you’re doing amazing during workouts but honestly you really look horrible in the scrimmages.” Kevin said that from that day on it sparked a fire in him, “I became a different beast that was on a mission.”
In his first year playing he averaged nine points and five rebounds. In his sophomore year he was the team captain and made second team all-conference averaging 13.9 points and 8.8 rebounds and also graduated with an exercise science degree.
“I later on transferred to Young Harris College in Young Harris, GA, where I averaged 13.5 points and 6.6 rebounds my Junior year and made third team all-state. My senior year I was team captain and averaged 14.9 points and 8.9 rebounds, made second team all-state, played in the NCAA All-star game, and also made the Peach Belt All-tournament team,” he said.
Kevin played the power forward in college; however, over the past summer he changed his game and now plays the small forward, “because I felt like I wouldn’t be big enough to play power forward in the pros,” he said.
He said growing up he really liked Hakeem Olajuwon, and also looked up to Dwayne Wade, Russell Westbrook and Stephan Curry.
“I try to fashion my game after Russell Westbrook because we’re about the same height and I’m just as athletic and energetic as he is,” Kevin said. “I love how he ferociously attacks the basket; I’ve been really working hard on trying to be just as aggressive as he is. I try to do a lot of things that Dwayne Wade and Buddy Hield do as well.”
He said “The greatest reason for my success would probably be where I’m from! Where I’m from no one makes it, if you graduate the next best thing is to get a minimum wage job and hopefully get a raise after a few years; I was determined to be different. I am determined to make a difference.”
Kevin is thank that he had a lot of people encouraging him on his journey, “they’ve been really helpful because some days I truly wanted to give up but My mom and dad were my biggest motivators.”
Recently an agent posted an ad about a team wanting a player of that fit Kevin’s play, so he messaged the agent saying that he was interested and he knew he could make this team. “He forwarded my information to the team and a few days later they ask for a reference from my coach, a few days after that they asked me how soon could I be in Spain, I told them as soon as possible.”
Kevin noted that the process of trying to find a team was the toughest, especially while seeing other players get selected to play “but you’re still sitting waiting isn’t a great feeling at all.”
“When I signed the contract with Gijon it felt like a load was lifted off of my shoulders, I felt like all the hard work was finally paying off,” Kevin said. “Honestly in a few years I can picture myself playing in the NBA or the NBA D-League. I know I can do it all I need to do is continue to put God first and work hard.”
He was also grateful to all those in Abaco who believed in him and encouraged him, especially those who sponsored him back when he was walking around with sponsor sheets just to be able to have a chance.
Kevin said he feels his success will open more doors for younger kids growing up back home in the Pigeon Pea and Mudd area. “I want to make a positive impact on younger kid’s lives, I want to show them that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. I was once in their shoes. If I can do it so can they!”