For St. John’s graduate transfer Ron Mvouika, last weekend’s tragedy in Paris hit home.
The Missouri State transfer was born in Versailles, France and played three seasons for the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain before going to Huntington Prep in West Virginia for his senior year of high school. His collegiate adventure has included a stop at Sheridan College, where he spent two seasons, and Missouri State where he averaged 6.8 ppg as a junior but missed the majority of last season to injury.
“Everybody’s okay, one of the explosions happened 20 to 25 minutes away from where I’m from,” Mvouika said, whose hometown is Paris. “I know some people that lost a lot of people during that time. It’s always hard, especially with social media videos showing up and you can actually see people getting hit.”
“It touched home when you see those kind of places, that I go when I’m back home, so I definitely had them in my prayers. I had them in mind and I’m going to dedicate that win to them.”
Mvouika scored eight points in each half to help lift the Red Storm to a 75-53 win over UMBC on Monday night. Ever since the opening night win over Wagner his weekend had been filled with phone calls due to the ongoing situation.
“My phone’s blowing up, the coaches told me in the locker room that something happened in Paris, so I had a lot of phone calls,” Mvouika said when he first heard of the news Friday. “I had to call my mom first, call my brothers, everybody in the neighborhood and see if everybody was okay.”
“I mean thank God none of close friends of mine got hit out there… You live in a crazy world, you can’t prevent none of that stuff. Whatever’s going to happen, you just got to keep your faith up send your prayers up and keep on pushing.”
Despite the distraction of the last week, Mvouika has managed to make a good impression on Red Storm fans, showing off his ability to shoot as well as attack the basket through their first two games. He scored nine points against Wagner and on Monday he drained four three-pointers and registered 16 points. The last time the Missouri State transfer hit four three-pointers was last season against Northern Iowa, when he scored a career-high 28 on Jan. 18.
“I try to never get too high, never get too low, I’m in a rhythm,” Mvouika said. “I had a game to play, followed the game plan and we’re the older guys, so the younger guys need us.”
“I can’t come out here with my head down. I got to do my job and my job is to lead, our job is to lead, so regardless of what’s going on I got to come to work every day and do what I’m supposed to do.”
Ryan Restivo wrote the America East conference preview for the 2015-16 Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. He covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference among others for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.