-Looking to play hard whilst making education a “priority”
By Shaquawn Gill
Two outstanding national basketball players recently begun their scholarship journey in the United States and are both excited for what the future holds.
Akeem Crandon, 21, and Israel Yaw, 20, are now 2 of 3 athletes who have been offered and have accepted scholarships at institutions abroad after stunning play at international competitions.
The other athlete to be given this opportunity was Stanton Rose in 2018.
The two athletes have been accepted into Associate Degree programs at the NCJAA Division I Asa College and have officially begun classes yesterday.
In an exclusive interview with this publication, Crandon expressed his extreme gratitude for being afforded the opportunity to play the game he loves the most. “I am elated and…grateful for this opportunity to play basketball at such a high level and it means a lot to me. The real work starts now and I’m ready for it,” the 20-year-old explained.
Both Crandon and Yaw caught the eye of scouts from colleges in the United States after their World Cup Pre-Qualifiers stint in El Salvador earlier this year.
Crandon was also able to head to the US in the summer to participate in a few summer tournaments, where he was able to get the attention of three schools in the New York area.
When asked why he chose Asa College, Crandon said “[The] ASA coaching system is more like family and I have already grown to love the experience [here],”.
Crandon will be pursuing an Associates’ degree in Medical Information Technology and Yaw will be studying for a degree in Business Administration.
With this in mind, Crandon has made it clear that although the duo’s mind is set on playing the game professionally, their first goal is to ensure that they complete their education at the institution. “We are trying to change the idea that people have that Guyanese athletes are receiving scholarships and not…completing college with a degree or whatnot. So, education is a priority,” he noted.
As official games are set to commence on November 14, Crandon and Yaw have already begun intense training with 6 days of workouts with one day having a double session.
Crandon showed appreciation for the likes of Stanton Rose, who has become arguably Guyana’s most outstanding player, who he says blazed the trail for opportunities like this to be afforded to athletes. “I am glad that those guys were here before and I’ve learnt from them how it is to be a student-athlete,” the Stevedore housing scheme native said.
Of most importance to the culmination of the entire process, Crandon expressed thanks on behalf of the duo to Gordon James, the brother of the latest senior men’s team captain Delroy James, for his assistance in affording them the opportunity, through his H.O.P.E Foundation.
Not only will the foundation be looking to guide the two exceptional athletes through their collegiate process, but to allow other young talented Guyanese players to play the game at a high level.
This, Crandon says, is just as important to him.
“It is evident that we have a lot of talent in Guyana that is not given the [opportunities]. With this foundation, we will be having that become a reality for more athletes in Guyana,” Crandon explained.