LCA Making News
Freeport News: Coach Evans guiding young Bahamians in Canada
February 08, 2012

By Sheldon Longley

Guardian?Sports Editor


Yet another Bahamian is overseas paving the way for his young countrymen to receive educational opportunities through sports.

Coach Ray Evans, who accepted the Athletic Director's job at Life Christian Academy in Ottawa, Canada last semester, currently has nine Bahamians under his wing – eight young men and one young lady.

All of the youngsters are between the ages of 16 and 19, and all are a part of the varsity basketball squads.

Coach Evans said that the transition has been a difficult one, but they are all adjusting very well. A number of the players are strong contributors on the senior boys squad.

"It was tough for all of us initially, especially for me and my family because my wife had a government job and was in line for a promotion.

"To uproot my family just like that and move to a foreign country was quite an experience but it is one that I don't regret.

"I just want to thank my wife for allowing me to pursue this professional opportunity. I love her dearly because she really gave up a lot to help me have this opportunity to help others – to help young Bahamians fulfill their educational and athletic aspirations."

Young Bahamians up there with Evans are Donald Gibson from Tabernacle Baptist Academy, Jordan Jones and Justin Smith from Eight Mile Rock High School, Bijan Duncombe formerly of Catholic High School, Nathaniel Newbold Jr. from Jack Hayward High, Linroy Russell from Sunland Baptist, Demario Hepburn from St. Georges and Alex Delancy from Gateway Academy in Bimini.

Evans currently has his senior boys sporting a 14-3 win/loss record in their basketball season. In their last game on Tuesday, they prevailed by one point, 73-72, in double overtime.

"All of the boys are playing well," said Evans. "In the last tournament they played in, Justin Smith was the Tournament MVP (most valuable player), and Demario Hepburn was the 'Defensive Player of the Tournament.'

They were joined on the All-Tournament team by Donald Gibson; so they are contributing very strongly to the program.

Justin was unable to play in the last game but the back-up point guard from Bimini, Alex, had a very good game. Donald led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds and hit the game-winning shot.

More importantly, these young guys are getting the opportunity to be seen.

"A good number of NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) scho-ols, D-II schools and junior colleges are interested in our kids.

"The numbers might not be there for the D-I schools but the goal is to get these kids tertiary level scholarships so that they can have the opportunities to be seen by D-I scouts and further their collegiate careers.

"They are drawing a lot of interest from the Canadian schools as well."

Evans, who served as the basketball coach of the Teleos Christian Cherubims before jetting for Canada, is hoping to recruit another six or seven Bahamians this September.

He actually stumbled across the Athletic Director's job by mistake.

In the summer of 2010, he was trying to get some of his players at Teleos off to schools in the United States when a school called Life Christian Academy in North Carolina was brought to his attention.

He searched for the institution online, and ended up calling Life Christian in Canada as opposed to Life Christian in North Carolina.

Be that as it may, the principal of the Canadian private high school expressed interest; they developed a good rapport, and a few months later, Evans was offered the Athletic Director's position.

"It's a great opportunity and I'm thankful for it," said Evans.

"I'm just trying to help as many kids as possible from back home. Here, everyone likes the style of play that we use.

"They see that it has been successful. These kids are going to be able to adapt to college easily because of the many styles of play that we teach here at Life Christian.

"A lot of college coaches are liking what they see. The main difference between here and back home is that these boys wouldn't have the opportunities to be seen by so many coaches back home.

"I just want to say thanks to all of the parents who entrusted their kids in our care. They allowed them to be a part of our program, and I'm thankful for that."

Evans and his senior boys will finish their season in two big tournaments, the National Capital Classic from February 1-4 and the Falcon Classic from February 9-13. During the Easter break, Evans and some of his colleagues from Canada will come down here to The Bahamas to scout some of the local talent, and hopefully offer them scholastic opportunities in Canada.