In an effort to provide student-athletes with the opportunities and tools to propel them further in life, Ray Evans, head coach at Blazer Elite Academy, is sending around 30 Bahamian student-athletes off to North America during the coming fall.
The signings took place at Colony Club on St. Albans drive on Friday, June 14 as excited parents looked on.
One of the signees was Delpiero Whyms. He went to Lake City Academy in Lake City, Florida last year. He is looking forward to going to Harvest Preparatory Christian Academy in Prescott, Canada.
“It feels good. It’s a better opportunity. It is good to be a part of it. I hope to do my best and perform well on the court,” Whyms said.
He is one of 30 students from The Bahamas who will get the opportunity to go abroad through coach Evans and Blazer Elite Academy. According to Evans, the student athletes are players from different islands – New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera.
Nefertiti Whyms, a former junior basketball player at St. John’s in New Providence, is heading into grade 10 at Concord High School in Wilmington, Delaware. She is optimistic about the opportunity that she is about to have.
“It feels good to get this opportunity. I hope to go do good and better than everybody else,” Nefertiti Whyms said.
Evans started the program 10 years ago after seeing the younger kids who are not the top tier talent were not getting the opportunities to go away to school.
“It isn’t difficult as some coaches have made it seem to be. I kept my contacts after coaching six years in the U.S. and five years in Canada. I also partnered with like-minded coaches like coach Brent Higgs from Supreme Ballers. I don’t want the best kids, I want the kids that nobody else wants. They don’t get recruited so we try our best to get them off. Right now, there are kids who can become above and beyond. I have kids who I have recruited who have become doctors, lawyers, engineers, police officers and defense force officers. It is not about going to the NBA, it is about going after your dreams and goals,” Evans said.
Joel Higgs, who spent a year in Canada at Harvest Preparatory, said that the experience there was good and he hopes to do well in school this upcoming year.
“My experience there was good. I feel like it made me better as a person. It opened up my eyes to so many things. It made my mindset stronger and assisted in my academics,” Higgs said.
“This year, I hope to make it far with my team. I hope to do good in my school work and develop as a basketball player. It is easier to play in Canada and here is tougher.”
Evans said he has been coaching for 28 years. He is following in the footsteps of his mentors Fritz Forbes, Gladstone “Moon” McPhee and Gary McIntosh.
He has coached in The Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, the United States of America and Canada. Evans explained that it is not about him or the other coaches but about the student-athletes and the parents who showed the tenacity to let the student-athletes get towards their goal.
Jordan Maycock and Tenajh Rolle were teammates who helped to lead St. John’s College to a Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary School (BAISS) basketball championship victory this past season. They will be heading to Harvest Preparatory.
Maycock said he hopes to score more and play defense, and help his new teammates.
Rolle said; “It feels a little more comfortable. I know everyone here. It is better with Jordan because I know how he plays and we could gel together.”
He wants to be an engineer and has done some research and see that Canada has some good engineering schools.
Over the last five years, Blazer Elite has helped over 250 kids from the region to get an opportunity to go away to school whether it be high school, prep school or college/university. They give everyone an opportunity to to school abroad.
Blazer Elite’s headquarters is in Trinidad and Tobago. Kevin Harvey, the president is based in Turks and Caicos.
In addition to the 30 from The Bahamas, eight from Turks and Caicos, six from Antigua and Barbuda, seven from Trinidad and Tobago, five from Jamaica and two from Venezuela will also be going away.
“We don’t know who we are going to get bigger than this because everyone has to have the same mindset of helping the kids and not themselves. This program is all about helping kids. You can see the smiles on the kids and their parents. Parents came out in the rain because it is beneficial to them and it is something wonderful,” Evans said.
Evans was joined by coach Brent Higgs from Supreme Ballers who he partnered with in making this a possibility.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism
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