Chattanooga Mocs redshirt freshman guard David Jean-Baptiste is joining Haiti’s National Team this summer. The Miami, Fla., native is eligible to participate die to both of his parents being born in Haiti.
The Mocs say it’s always a great honor for any athlete to merit selection to a national squad. The country of Haiti has been near-and-dear to his heart.
“When I first got the email, it was unbelievable,” Jean-Baptiste shared. “There was just disbelief in what happened.
“It means a lot. I’m first generation American citizen with more than half of my family born in Haiti. Knowing the past tragedies that happened there, being able to represent them on the basketball court; it just means so much to have that jersey with the country across my chest.”
Coach Lamont Paris certainly sees the benefit of the experience for the affable wing.
“From a sense of pride, it’ll be something he’ll always remember,” Paris began. “As a basketball player, he’ll face high-level competition with a different set of responsibilities. There’s a lot that happens with growth and development in this type of scenario.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for him to play and represent his (parents) country. I’m excited for him.”
Two members of the squad, which has yet to be fully released, are well-known to basketball fans, especially in the southeast. Dallas Mavericks post Nerlens Noel and Sacramento Kings post Skal Labissiere, both Kentucky alums, are two of three players listed along with former UMass pro Cady Lalanne.
Jean-Baptiste leaves to join the team in June for training camp from the 13th through 21st. The squad takes the floor June 25-29 for the Caribbean Cup in Suriname on the Atlantic coast of South America.
“I have no expectations,” Jean-Baptiste concluded. “I just want to take everything in. I’ll be one of the youngest guys there. So it’s just a great opportunity to learn and grow (in the game).”