GREENSBORO (March 21, 2018) -- The North Carolina A&T men's tennis team will soon see seniors Brett Caban, Dreshaun Jarmon and John Wilson IV play in their final collegiate matches. They are a special trio not because they have broken numerous school records or they are about to sign lucrative pro tennis contracts.
These three gentlemen were at the forefront of bringing a country club sport like tennis back to a predominantly African-American campus. The Aggies disbanded men's tennis in 2006. In 2015, the sport was reinstated. Caban, Jarmon
The threesome led the Aggies into a non-conference match against Morgan State at Barber Park's indoor facility on Thursday. It was a match the Bears won 6-1.The Aggies are 0-16 on the season, while Morgan improved to 9-13. While all three seniors say it has been a tough season, all three also see the big picture.
"I'm cherishing this moment," said Wilson about seeing his career close to an end. "I'm looking forward to the program getting consistently better each year. It's hard to rebuild a program in four years. But I think with (head coach William Crutchfield) it's going to move in the right direction, and I'm proud to be a part of that. We've played some good schools, top (Division I) schools, so our record doesn't show how much hard work has been put in and how much talent there is on the team."
All three men understand the significance of a senior class that is exclusively African-Amercian because many schools, not even historically black universities, can make that claim. N.C. A&T showed a commitment in its return of tennis to give black student-athletes an opportunity to play tennis.
Caban said if it were not for an African-American alumnus of Howard University informing about the return of men's tennis to N.C. A&T, he may have never been an Aggie. All three plan to teach and train others in the sport after they graduate from N.C. A&T.
"There were times I wanted to quit, and we didn't feel like we were supported," said Wilson. "But we stuck with the team and played the sport we've played for pretty much our entire lives because we saw it as important that we finished for the African-Americans who played here before us and the ones who are coming after us."
"I would say we have had to deal with adversity and different obstacles," said Jarmon. "We've had a new everything every year since I came in. We have had to adjust to a lot of new people and we've had to make a lot of first impressions. I think that's prepared me the most for life after tennis."
Wilson is an aspiring lawyer with his sights on being who is involved in politics or corporate law or maybe even both. Wilson, who was introduced to tennis by his late grandfather, hopes believes the things tennis taught him such as leadership, work ethic
Caban is a computer science major with the goal of starting his own video game studio. He is working on an app scheduled to be released next year. He already has his own logo and company name -- Log Caban Productions.
"When we first started we didn't have a lot of resources," said Caban. "I'm really proud to see how far this program has come since I walked in. I've always been a fan of building something from the ground up and being able to start a legacy that will lead to future success. I like where the program is going under Crutchfield, and I'm looking forward to great things happening for this school and the team.
It was Caban who had one of the more entertaining matches of the afternoon. He took Morgan State's Serhii Kharchev three sets at No. 6 singles by forcing Kharchev to use a forehand riddled with errors. Kharchev countered by pushing to Caban's backhand while also using an effective serve and volley game. Kharchev came out on top 6-4, 4-6, 10-7.
"It would have meant the world to me to win," said Caban. "I want to get a win before it's over. I want to win for my parents, everybody back home and everybody at the school," said Caban.
Caban epitomizes Crutchfield's senior class and their attitude toward the program.
"The players want to do well," said Jarmon. "I've enjoyed my time. I'll be happy to hang it up, but I want to put my best foot forward for the guys who will be here next year. It would not be a good idea for me to be playing but not caring. When I got out there I am going to give my full effort."
Morgan State vs North Carolina A&T
Morgan State 7, North Carolina A&T 0
3. LOPEZ,Sebastian (MSU) def. WILSON,John IV (NCATM) 6-3, 5-7, 10-4
1. CEYLAN,Oguzhan/LOPEZ,Sebastian (MSU) def. BARTRA,Adair/WILSON,John IV (NCATM) 6-2
Morgan State 9-13
North Carolina A&T 0-16