JOHN KOVACH | Colleges Augustin credits playing time at Rayen for skills
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Canadian Romuald Augustin credits The Rayen School for helping to prepare him for college and to play big-time basketball.
After relocating from Montreal, Quebec, to Youngstown and Rayen about seven years ago to start his sophomore year, Augustin now is in his third season as a starter for the Providence College basketball team, and also is succeeding academically.
"[Rayen] prepared me a lot because, first of all, the level of basketball was a step higher than in Canada. We played a lot of Cleveland schools. It got me ready to face the best players out there," said Augustin, a 6-foot-7 junior forward who leads Providence in 3-point-goal percentage with 43.3 on 29-for-67, He is averaging 8.1 points and 3.2 rebounds.
Augustin also said he got national exposure playing for Rayen.
"The summer before my senior year, I always played AAU ball in Cleveland. That helped me to be seen by teams around the country," he said.
And academically, "[Rayen] prepared me a lot before leaving Canada. I had never been exposed to ACT scores. [Rayen] had me pass my proficiency and exams. The teachers and coaches focused me on how important grades were, and they encouraged me to concentrate on my grades."
Now, "I am doing well," said Augustin, who is majoring in business management.
Showers is guardian
Why did Augustin come to Youngstown?
"There were players before me in Canada that had gone to high schools in Ohio and were pretty successful. Some went to Akron. I just went to Youngstown," he explained.
Augustin was brought to Rayen by his guardian, Floyd Showers III, who was a member of Rayen's 1985 state-championship team under coach Frank Cegledy. Showers now serves as an assistant coach for the Tigers.
Augustin said he is grateful to Showers and other Rayen personnel like principal Henrietta Williams, coach Phil House, former assistant coach Rick McGee and former athletic director Chester Leone, for their support and encouragement while getting him ready for college.
"I considered them part of my family," said Augustin, who made his home with Showers.
His mother, Marie Augustin, still lives in Montreal with his brother, Jacques, and sister, Lindsay.
Redshirt last year
Augustin has been a starter ever since coming to Providence, although he missed most of last season as a redshirt after suffering a groin injury.
"I got [the injury] after the first two exhibition games of the year last year," he said. But, "It's doing better. I had to do a lot of pool work, a lot of swimming, heat and cold treatments and [get] a lot of rest."
Entering this season, he was averaging 7.6 points and 3.0 rebounds for his Providence career.
The Friars entered last Saturday's home game against Connecticut with a 10-9 record under coach Tim Welsh, including 3-5 in the Big East Conference, after losing at No. 4-ranked Pitt last Tuesday, 68-61.
Learned to shoot 3
Augustin said he learned to shoot from the outside and long range while at Rayen.
"Coach McGee and House are great coaches and they led me to my outside game," said Augustin. "When I came in as a 10th grader, I was playing mostly inside. By my senior year, I was playing outside. And I was shooting the 3 at that point."
In Augustin's first year at Providence in 1999-2000, he scored 21 points against West Virginia.
Then in the summer of 2000, he represented Canada at the World University Games in Beijing, China, and in the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia.
And the next season in 2000-2001, he won the Providence Coaches' Award, which goes to "the player who best exemplifies what the coaches want," he said.
Augustin is hoping for more international play this summer.
"Canada has contacted me to play for them this summer," said Augustin. "I may play in the World University Games in Korea and also in the Olympic qualifications [for Canada]. I am hoping to qualify for the  Olympics."
While Augustin still is not a U.S, citizen, he is hoping to become one.
"I got to do some research on it but I am hoping to become a U.S. citizen in the near future." he said.
In his senior season at Rayen, he was named Northeast Ohio Player of the Year, averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots as the Tigers went 21-6. He made first-team All-State, All-NEO and All-City.