Calvin Ahoume hasn't even played in a regular season basketball game for Sandhills Community College and he's already set a team record.
According to Google Search, the rugged 6-foot-7 forward is 5,956 miles from his home in Bamenda, Cameroon. Well, perhaps it's too close to call in terms of a record. The same source shows that Zezva Liluashvili, who played two years with the Flyers, ending in 2017, was 5,955 miles from his hometown of Kutaisi, Republic of Georgia.
Ahoume saw just over 12 minutes of action in last Thursday's scrimmage at the Hangar against Hines Prep of Charlotte. He scored 18 points, making eight of his 10 shots from the field and both free throws. He was also credited with six rebounds and three blocked shots.
"It's just amazing to me sometimes how small the world is," Flyers coach Mike Apple said about Liluashvili and Ahoume finding their way to Sandhills. "There is no slowdown in Calvin. He's always going as hard as he can and that's a dream as a coach. He's a specimen as an athlete, he jumps really well and he's one of our fastest guys.
"He's kind of infectious and the guys kind of feed off of him. The scary part is that he is still learning the game."
Twenty Players saw action in the scrimmage including seven returnees, one red-shirt freshman and 11 other newcomers. Leading up to the regular season-opener at home against S4G Academy on November 2, the Flyers have home scrimmages scheduled against Washington Academy on Wednesday (7 p.m.) and two on October 24 against Littlejohn Prep (5 p.m.) and Stillwater Prep (7 p.m.).
Ahoume is a transfer from St. Andrews in Laurinburg where he averaged 6.5 points per game with a season-high of 23 points and two double-doubles. He heard about Sandhills from Knights' teammates, and former Flyers, Christian Lathan and Jeremias Easterling.
One of the seeds for coming to the United States was planted when he attended a basketball camp in Yaounde, Cameroon in 2015 run by Luc Mbah a Moute. One of three players from that country currently on NBA rosters, Moute is about to begin his 11th year as a pro as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.
French was the official language in the part of Cameroon where Ahoume lived. When he first came to this country he lived with an aunt in Rochester, N.Y. and attended classes to learn to speak English. A tryout camp in Orlando, Fla. led to him receiving a scholarship to play at St. Andrews.
The 20-year-old has a younger brother and an older sister and says that he talks to his parents back home about every two weeks. He is taking courses toward being a physical therapist, shares an apartment with teammates and works at Vito's Restaurant in Southern Pines. He felt the opportunity for more playing time at Sandhills would give him a better chance gain a scholarship at an NCAA college for his final two years.
"They are really good guys and easy to get along with," he says of his Flyer teammates.
Apple plans to use the remaining pre-season games to give the new players a chance to show where they fit. They include guards Winston Bryant, (RS, Dudley), Niem Ratliff (Scotland), Elijah Idlett (Cary), Devian Smith (Elevation Prep), Sayaun Dent (West Bladen), Tyrell Allmond (Pinecrest), Delton Davis (Bunn) and Savion Staton (Southwest Edgecombe).
Forward Holt Walker (Terry Sanford) led the team with 12 rebounds in the Hines scrimmage. The other freshmen in the front court are Cameron Williams (Union Pines), Charles Thomas (West Mecklenburg) and Evan Davis (Garner).
"I think the nice thing about the additions is that they really complement the players we've got coming back," Apple says.
The seven returnees from last season's 27-6 squad include three of the team's top five scorers and the top three in assists.
"As far as experience, Casey (Clarkson) and Donnie (Haith) at point guard have a wealth of experience and understanding about what we want to do tempo-wise," the coach says. "Chase (Morrissette-Barnett) and Tavarus (Peterson) both had several big games for us last year and the good thing about them is that they are complete players.
"Damauri (Sexton) got great experience last year and we're looking at him as one of our cogs at forward. Xavier (Grissett) is an excellent defensive player and Zion Copeland is a really good rebounder. I'm really excited about who we have coming back."
Flyers' Extra – Liluashvili will be a senior on the Aquinas College (Mich.) basketball team. St. Andrews used the Hangar for basketball practice during the week following Hurricane Florence.
by Charlie Bergmann