By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
GRAND Bahamian Nathan Bain had a season to remember as his collegiate career came to an end with the Stephen F Austin Lumberjacks men’s basketball team just before the cancellation of the prestigious March Madness men’s basketball tournament.
Still in Nacogdoches, Texas, where he’s dealing with the coronavirus pandemic like everybody else confined to home, the 25-year-old Bain said he will cherish the journey because he got to accomplish so much in what has been a nostalgic senior year.
The Lumberjacks had an impressive 19-1 win-loss record, including an historic game-winning basketball from Bain in a thriller over No.1 ranked Duke in November. On a steal and a fast break lay-up, Bain scored the winning basket to highlight his season as the Lumberjacks pulled off a stunning 85-83 overtime victory over Duke that sent shock waves throughout the sport as they ended the Blue Devils’ 150-game winning streak at the Cameron Indoor Stadium against nonconference opponents - a run that extended nearly 20 years.
Right after their victory, Hurricane Dorian struck the Bahamas and Grand Bahama and Abaco in particular.
Bain decided to open a GoFundMe account to assist his family, headed by coach Norris Bain, and the people of Grand Bahama. He was able to raise more than $117,000 in assistance for repairs on the island.
If it couldn’t get any better for Bain, he proposed to his girlfriend, American Lyndsee Lemacks, who accepted his marriage proposal and the Lumberjacks were booked to play in the NCAA March Madness before Covid-19 struck the world and ended the magical year.
“We’re limited in what we can do because right now the place is pretty much closed down,” Bain said.
“The movement isn’t too much restricted, but there’s not a lot that you can do, so I’m pretty much staying at home.”
The 6-foot, 6-inch forward said he’s going through everything as normal as he can, trying to complete his studies at Stephen F Austin in order to secure his degree in kinesiology with a minor in science.
“This year, we accomplished a lot. Too bad that it had to end so early,” Bain said. “We had set a lot of goals early in the season before it started and accomplished just about all of them, except for playing in the NCAA, which got cut short because of the coronavirus.”
The Lumberjacks had the best record in their conference and because their conference tournament was called off after the coronavirus surfaced, Stephen F Austin was awarded a spot in the NCAA March Madness. However, before the biggest collegiate basketball tournament was set to get underway, the NCAA cancelled it. “Nobody was happy about it. Everybody wanted to finish what we started,” Bain said. “We felt we had a chance to make a deep run with a 28-3 record overall and make some more history.
“Ultimately, it was the best decision that they could have made. We didn’t know how bad the virus was, so we trust the NCAA on the decision that they made.”
With his collegiate season now complete, Bain is looking towards the next phase of his life. He intends to pursue the professional ranks, but not necessarily the National Basketball Association.
“I’ve been talking to a few agents and I’m still trying to make a decision on my future,” Bain said. “I have to be realistic. If I get an offer, I would look at the NBA, but it’s not the end of the road for me. I will look at all options that are made available to me, including playing verses (in Europe).
“I don’t have any place specific. Wherever I can get an offer, I will look at it. I just want to be able to go in and make a contribution wherever I’m needed.”
To the Bahamian people as we deal with Covid-19, Bain left a simple message.
“Take the virus serious. It’s real and it can overwhelm a lot of people,” he stated.
“Just take it seriously and take the necessary precautions that the government has given.”
And to the young people, who would like to follow in his footsteps at the collegiate level, Bain’s advice was just as important.
“I just want them to continue to work hard and form relationships with your coaches because they have your interest at heart,” he added. “You can do it, but remember that hard work does pay off.”
Once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided, Bain said one of the first things he would like to do is travel out of the state of Texas and enjoy himself.
He said he wouldn’t mind, if travel restrictions are lifted, to come home and spend some time with his family and friends in the Bahamas as well, especially in Grand Bahama.