By Brad Fauber
There was a level of disappointment for Kervin Rameau when he realized he would not be able to play Division I basketball straight out of high school.
Rameau was a standout player for Shenandoah Valley Christian Academy and helped lead the Patriots to a National Association of Christian Athletes Division III national championship as a senior during the 2010-11 season.
His ability on the court drew the attention of schools such as Virginia Tech, Kansas State and Liberty, but Rameau's SAT scores were too low to allow him to pursue any of those post-high school options.
Rameau was left with a choice: play basketball at a junior college, or don't play at all. He chose the former.
"It was disappointing because I didn't want to go to junior college," Rameau said in a phone interview. "... but I feel like God puts you in a position where you see what you can do with it. I just have to learn from that, just play at this level and try to master the game at this level, and then if I can play at the next level, do the same. I can't go back in time, so I just have to learn from my mistakes and move on."
Rameau chose to attend Missouri State University-West Plains after high school graduation, but he quickly soured on the school after he received minimal playing time during his first year with the team.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native then turned his sights to Hagerstown Community College in Maryland, a school that had recruited him during his career at SVCA. Rameau joined the Hawks prior to the start of the 2012-13 season, and the move has paid off for both Rameau and the Hagerstown men's basketball program.
Rameau is averaging 16.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game through 30 games this season, good for second on the team in both categories. The 6-foot-6 guard has helped the Hawks to a 26-4 record and a No. 17 ranking in the National Junior College Athletic Association's top 25 poll.
Hagerstown hosts Frederick Community College at 8 p.m. tonight in the semifinals of the Division I, Region XX tournament, with a chance to advance to the NJCAA national championship tournament should the Hawks win their next three games.
Hagerstown coach Barry Brown said Rameau is a major reason for the Hawks' success this season.
"Kervin is literally in the center of everything that is going on," Brown said. "He really has to do a lot of blue collar work for us, and he does it very well."
Rameau is currently second in the Maryland Junior College Athletic Conference in shooting percentage, knocking down an impressive 60.5 percent of his shots. The sophomore possesses the ability to knock down outside jumpers, but Brown said Rameau is at his best when he's running the floor.
"Kervin is a unique player. He's very good when he attacks the basket -- one person can't really stop him," Brown said. "He's got a decent jump shot, but he's most effective when he's running the floor. He's so quick that everyone is just trying to keep up."
Brown said he believes Rameau could have a future in professional basketball, whether it's in a league overseas, the NBA Development League or possibly even the NBA itself.
Rameau said his goal has always been -- and still is -- to someday reach the NBA, but he said he can also see a job as a basketball coach in his future. That idea became embedded in Rameau's mind during his days at SVCA, where he became a role model for the younger players on the team.
"[The SVCA coaches] were teaching me that there was more to life than just basketball," Rameau said. "My goal is if I don't make into the NBA or anything like that, I want to become a coach. I'm just trying to be a better role model, a better mentor and a better person because a lot of kids look up to me."
Brown has taken a similar approach to coaching Rameau, stating that his ultimate goal is to see Rameau get a college degree.
That goal could very soon be realized, as Rameau -- whose junior college eligibility expires after this season -- said he has been receiving interest from multiple Division I basketball programs, including the University of Miami.
"The University of Miami is looking kind of sweet. If everything goes the way I want, I hope to see myself become a Hurricane next year," Rameau said. "If everything goes to plan."
Brown said there is no question that Rameau possesses the talent to compete at the Division I level, and a chance to recapture an opportunity that was once lost would certainly be a good bit of redemption for Rameau.
"He still has plenty of time for his dreams to come true," Brown said.
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org