Walk-on hopeful makes basketball team, has ‘a lot to prove’

by | Oct 11, 2019 | Feature, Sports

Francis Commey, Sports Reporter

Shevon Noël travelled a long and difficult road to become a basketball walk-on for the Humber Hawks.

The 20-year-old General Arts and Science student comes from the LaSalle neighbourhood in south Montreal and from a childhood that made him the person that he is today.

“My mom passed away when I was only six, and my father had to get to more than two jobs to try and support my dreams,” Noël told Et Cetera. “I practically grew up alone, many nights spent where my stomach was empty, and alone.” 

But it turned out he wasn’t, at least not always. He had his coach, Robert Gibbs.

Shevon Noël is the first player in four years to make the Hawks mens’ basketball team by trying out.Hawks basketball season starts Oct. 18. (Humber Athletics)

“He is more than a coach to me, he was always honest, no matter what and he always had my back,” Noël said.

Gibbs told him to be true to himself but always be open to learning, work hard, never give up on his dreams, even when others might have their doubts.

Noël has yet to make his regular season debut, but the explosive 6-foot playmaking guard is ready to prove to the OCAA that he belongs here come Oct. 18. 

“I was never ranked as a top player in my country,” Noël said. “I never was ranked in my own province.”

He said he was always known as an average player although he played for Divison 1 Vanier CEGEP College in Montreal.

But when it came to basketball, Noël always felt like he had something prove.

“I want to be the best,” he said. “Therefore, I have to practice like I am the best.” 

Andy Nguyen, manager for the Hawks basketball team, said Noël still has room to grow.

“I feel like he can develop and become better than he is now,” Nguyen said.

The values Noël absorbed growing up influence his life beyond the basketball court. 

“As a student-athlete, the amount of sacrifices and targets you have on your back are immense,” he said.

Noël said everything he does affects his future. 

“I had to make a lot of sacrifices and that involved letting go of people to make it here at Humber College,” he said. 

One of his biggest risks was leaving home to come to Toronto and participate at the Humber basketball training camps, which led to making the Hawks’ roster.

“I did what I had to do at the training camps, which led the coaches to telling me they liked my game and told me to come back Sept. 3,” he said.

When school started, Noël was no longer in contact with his father. 

“I had no income, I had no family, but luckily I made some great friends who I’ll always be grateful for,” he said.

His Humber teammates have stepped up to play a big role in his life.

“He’s family,” said Hawk Shae Phillips. “We’ve grown to be really close. He’s my brother.”

As for the young man from Montreal, he’s got all the motivation in the world and the pride that comes from beating the odds.

“I didn’t leave everything behind to not prove to you that I am one of the best 14 guys,” he said.

“I still have a lot to prove and I’m going to prove to everyone that I’m one of the best players.