Wesley’s leadership sets tone for Yoemen

Looking back on when he was younger, one of Kevondre Wesley’s fondest memories was the trips to Cameron and the times when he was able to pick berries in his grandmother’s garden. 

Wesley had spent the first several years of his life in Bay Minette, Ala., before making the official move to Cameron during his eighth-grade year. 

“My family had some issues and my mom was forced to move here and ever since we have stayed,” said Wesley.  “It’s been my home ever since”

During his youth, Wesley got his first experience with basketball on a court down the street from where he was living.  He said his brother Robert was the one that introduced him to the game of basketball - now his favorite sport.

“My brother played a little bit, but he wasn’t all that into sports, but for some reason he was attracted to basketball,” Wesley said.  “I came out there and was asked to play and at that time I was only like 5’2” or 5’3”. I was very short. I got out there and got my tail whooped.  Since then, I have just stuck with it and I wanted to get better at it. That has been my drive.”

Now a senior, who said one of his favorite hobbies is fishing, will try to help the Yoemen reel in its first playoff appearance since the 2011 season. The 6’1” forward has been an important part of Cameron’s return to playoff contention, averaging 10.5 points per 20-3A contest. 

“He is a great kid,” said Yoe head coach Ed Glendening.  “He has been doing this for three years on the varsity.  He is a quiet leader and always knows right from wrong.  He is soft spoken but you can count on Kevondre.  He is accountable and never misbehaves.  We are going to miss his tremendously.  He takes care business.”

Part of the reason for his success is the dedication to the game.  Wesley has played in select basketball leagues, which has allowed him not only sharpen his on-court skills, but also his knowledge of the game.

“It’s just as important,” said Wesley.  “Having the knowledge of the game and knowing where to be and what play to make is very important.  Skill comes along, but if you know the game you are going to make it just fine.  That is not only important for myself as a player but for our team.”

Wesley also takes pride in being a full-time student-athlete.  He and teammate Royce Reynolds were two students to compete in the Texas Academic Challenge.  Wesley’s team finished second and has advanced to state.  

“It was a good experience and we finished second and we will go to state and that is very important,” he said. “The scholarship money can get up to $10,000 total. Grades were always important and it’s key to my life. The last four years going through high school, I knew that without my grades that I would not be going anywhere.”

“He knows what we’re doing,” added Glendening.  “If you have five Kevondre’s you’re never going to lose. You may lose a game, but you’re never going to lose in life. He is going to go places later in life and he is going to be a great success. He is really what a Yoemen is all about on and off the court. He is a great kid.”

Cameron lost to the Jarrell Cougars in the 20-3A finale at Yoe Gym on Tuesday. The loss sets up a play-in game with Academy for the final spot in the 2017 playoffs. Even with all of the excitement surrounding this year’s team and the moment at hand, Wesley manages to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Making the playoffs would be great for him and his teammates, but it would also set the tone for future Yoemen that will one day be in their shoes.

“It would be great for the program,” said Wesley.  “The underclassmen deserve to go through this so they know what to expect.  It’s been awhile since we have been able to raise a banner up.  I think raising up a banner would open up a lot of doors for these kids and will give a little bit of basketball back to Cameron.”

Spoken like a true Yoemen.