By Matt Stefanski
On the morning of October 17, the staff and students of Victory Christian Academy (VCA) were in for a little surprise. Well, not exactly a little surprise. 6-foot-2-inch senior, Leventes “Lee” Strong entered the doors of VCA that Monday morning anxious to see what lay ahead.
However, Strong was not the only one awaiting his first day at VCA. Athletic Director Derek Chirch was looking forward to see what leadership and athletic skills Strong could offer the student body and basketball team.
Chirch was facing a rough patch after losing four seniors, who also happened to be starters. Once Strong came along, Chirch was filled with excitement. Chirch said, “The advantage of having Strong is that he brings a lot of scoring to the team. Without Strong here, we would have to have many other players act as scorers. This way, they can play different roles on the team.”
At one point last season, Strong was ranked fourth in the state in varsity basketball by the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA). Among Strong’s extra-curricular activities include: Amateur Athletic Union Basketball (AAU), NBA training, and a leadership role on Victory’s basketball team.
Strong transferred from Calumet High School to Hanover Central High School in Cedar Lake for his senior year. He was staying with a family in Cedar Lake and did not have a legitimate change of address, therefore he wasn’t able to play basketball at IHSAA-member schools.
Vaughn Staab, a VCA parent, met Strong through the AAU basketball team “Indiana Dawgz”, on which his host student Adeleke Solanke also plays. Staab, who also offered to host Strong, suggested that he pay the school a visit. Strong was impressed by the small-school atmosphere of VCA and decided to enroll. Since VCA is not a member of the IHSAA, Strong was eligible to play on the basketball team.
As soon as Strong arrived at VCA, he noticed that teachers at VCA pay more individual attention to students, than teachers did at his previous school. “The education at VCA is up-close and personal. Everyone here is kind to others,” said Strong.
However, Strong was most looking forward to his leadership role on the basketball team. He said, “My leadership skills can help the team progress. Me teaching the other players can make us better as a team.”
Other players were first unsure what to expect of Strong, but have now welcomed him as an essential member of the basketball team. Freshman Jacob Pawlicki said, “I was intimidated at first, but once I got to see Strong play, I saw that he was really good.”
“Hoops Hysteria,” an event in which the current basketball team will face alumni and parents, is Friday November 11. Coach Derek Chirch, and the 2011-2012 basketball players greatly anticipate this day where they can finally showcase their talent, along with a valuable new addition to the team.