If there’s one factor you need to find out about being some extent guard, in keeping with Shemar Rathan-Mayes, it is this: “Something that occurs is gonna fall again on you.

“Coach will get mad as a result of someone else makes a mistake on the court docket?” he provides. “It is by no means [the other player’s] fault. It is all the time the purpose guard’s fault. As a result of it is the purpose guard’s job to get all people of their spots and ensure the desk is all the time set while you’re getting all people into their performs.”

Initially from Scarborough, Ont., Rathan-Mayes is now averaging virtually 30 minutes a recreation in his freshman season for the NCAA’s Youngstown State Penguins. He had his final 12 months of highschool basketball with the Orangeville Prep Bears — Canada’s prime highschool basketball program — documented within the CBC docuseries Anybody’s Sport. All through the sequence, Rathan-Mayes and Orangeville coach Tony McIntyre are proven to have a relationship that’s sometimes heated, however finally shut. If the 2 sometimes battle like household, that is smart, as a result of in keeping with Rathan-Mayes, they mainly are.

“I began taking part in for Coach Tony after I was perhaps 11 years outdated,” he says. “He coached my older brother, so it is all the time been good, it is all the time been household. After I bought the chance to play at Orangeville Prep I knew I used to be gonna be in good arms, as a result of he is gonna all the time have my greatest curiosity at coronary heart… exterior the sport of basketball, he all the time cared for me as an individual. I felt like I used to be his son. I name him pops to this present day… After my first [NCAA] recreation, exterior of my mother, he was the primary one to textual content me and say that I performed nice.”

At 5’11”, Rathan-Mayes was the smallest participant on Orangeville’s roster final season, and infrequently the smallest participant on the court docket, interval. He says he is been in a position to not simply compete, however excel as an average-sized man amongst giants by doing two issues: out-working them and out-studying them. 

“You simply gotta work two instances more durable,” he says. “Simply staying ready off the court docket by watching loads of movie, finding out guys, what they love to do, what they do not love to do, that helps me get that edge. Mentally, I am the identical dimension as them. My confidence has allowed me to play at that degree, with big-time prospects and big-time athletes.” 

Rathan-Mayes comes from a basketball household. His father Tharon Mayes, and his older brother, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, each performed for Florida State within the NCAA earlier than happening to have careers within the NBA and abroad. He says that having professionals within the household has helped him each on and off the court docket.

“[Xavier] confirmed me the best way to succeed,” he says. “Even when he is had failures or made errors, he is been there to point out me so I do not go in and make those self same errors. That is simply by way of being a person. From a purely basketball standpoint, he is taught me so much. We play the identical place. I choose aside his recreation. We work out and he reveals me the issues I gotta do, particularly being undersized, to have an effect on the sport.”

Shemar Rathan-Mayes throughout a scrimmage at Orangeville Prep in Orangeville, Ont. (CBC)

One large distinction between the 2 brothers, nonetheless, is their path to the NCAA. Xavier took the extra conventional path for Canadian basketball prospects, heading to the U.S. whereas nonetheless in highschool. When he was beginning highschool, there wasn’t a program like Orangeville Prep, with a historical past of sending gamers to main school basketball applications and on to the NBA from Canada. Rathan-Mayes says that having applications like Orangeville Prep, in addition to different, comparable applications arising throughout Ontario and Quebec, is a game-changer for participant growth in Canada. 

“Canadian gamers go over to the States as a result of they need that platform to be seen by Division-I coaches,” he says. “At Orangeville Prep, each observe we now have, there’s division one coaches. There’s all the time gonna be a coach there who will show you how to discover the most effective [college] match. Orangeville Prep is essential for Canadian basketball.”

Watch Anybody’s Sport, beginning Jan. 15 at 8:30 p.m.

For extra tales in regards to the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success tales throughout the Black group — try Being Black in Canada, a CBC challenge Black Canadians could be happy with. You can read more stories here.



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