Sun Youth’s Malakai Williams-Whittaker, Devawn White and Philip Bou Khalil off to The Carmel School in Virginia

Egbert Gaye

Three young Montreal high school basket-ballers, Malakai Williams-Whittaker, Devawn White and Philip Bou Khalil are primed and ready to take their game to another level.
The talented trio, alumni of the Sun Youth Basketball Program, have accepted scholarships to The Carmel School, a highly regarded preparatory program in Virginia, and are off to the US to pit their skills against some of the best players in the world, in their age group.
And according to one of their long-standing coaches, Rodney Skerritt, who is coordinator of the basketball program at Sun Youth, the three, who have been friends and team mates for much of their lives are taking with them some amazing skill-sets and a common will to win and to succeed.
Williams-Whittaker is a graduate of the International Program at Marymount Academy, White attended Lower Canada College and Bou Khalil was at Evangeline High School. They met at Sun Youth when they were ten years old and have been playing together ever since.
While there, the hard-driving trio made their team a force in the Montreal Basketball League, winning the Midgets title in 2017-18, with Malakai grabbing the MVP award, scoring an impressive 34 points in the final game.
Skerritt, their first coach at Sun Youth when the boys were ten years old and playing at the AAA level, saw a common thread in their lives that helped propel them to success on and off the court.
“They had mothers who cared for them and were committed to their success,” he says. “Also, those mothers trusted us and believed in our programs.”

Just as important he says, is that the trio brought “a workman-like attitude to the game.
They followed instructions and were never afraid to fail or to try harder.”
But he added that each of them came with individual traits that helped propel him to the top of his game.
“I think of the three, that workman-like attitude was most evident in Devawn, who had to work harder for all that came his way,” say Skerritt.
“I will say that he’s the hardest working student/athlete I’ve seen so far. And he is where he is because he brought that attitude at a very early age and applied it in school and on the court.”
He says Malakai was different in that his drive to out-do and outshine anyone around him was spezcial.
He, Malakai, has always been the ultimate competitor, always wanting to take it to the next level.

“I remember that even as a ten-year-old, Malakai was not going to be outdone by anyone in anything. He had to do it better than everyone else. So he worked hard at being the best.”
Today, Skerritt sees Malaika as one of the top five playing guards in Quebec.
The coach sees Bou Khalil as a player with “heart.”
“Phil is the ultimate teammate. He’s highly skilled, but he doesn’t putting the well-being of the team and his teammates first. There is a place on every team for a player like Phil.”
Skerritt says they Montreal trio will be a bonus to the basketball program at The Carmel School.

They are lucky to have them because those three were highly recruited by every English-speaking CEGEP in Quebec. In fact, before the offer came from the institution in Virginia, they had signed to play at John Abbott.
Pauline Williams, mother of Malakai, voices a heartfelt thank-you to Skerritt and other coaches at Sun Youth, such as Jerome Antoine and Peter Robinson, all of whom have extended themselves to ensure the success of her son and the other two players.
She says she’s extremely grateful for the role that Sun Youth has played in helping to shape the life of her son so far.