Like most Americans, Evan Ravenel feels a little powerless and plenty concerned at the moment.
The former Ohio State player and member of Carmen’s Crew The Basketball Tournament-winning team has enjoyed a global professional career, one that has taken him currently to Argentina.
Now, with the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the world, he’s essentially stuck inside his house unsure if he’ll play again this season or when he will be allowed to return home.
“It’s a weird time, but a lot of the guys don’t want to be here,” he told The Dispatch. “Personally, if I’m going to get sick I don’t want to get sick in Argentina. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to deal with this kind of health care. If I get sick, I want to be in America.”
>> This story is being provided free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. You can find more stories on coronavirus here. Please support local journalism by subscribing to The Columbus Dispatch at subscribe.dispatch.com.
On the court, Ravenel got to experience what had initially been planned for both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournament until they were canceled last Thursday. After Ravenel’s Quimsa team had handed perennial South American power San Lorenzo a home loss in the first of a three-game Champions League series, the team hosted the second game of the series Thursday.
No fans were permitted inside the arena, although Ravenel said thousands were outside watching on projector screens near the arena. They saw Quimsa fall behind by 20 and never climb back into what Ravenel said was a disappointing game.
“It’s completely different,” Ravenel said of playing in front of no fans. “Without any fans to support you, when you make a run it’s not really like a run. It’s just that you scored a couple baskets. Then when you have to draw your own motivation; you see where the talent takes over.”
It also might have been the last game of the season. During the weekend, the league announced that it was suspending games for a week, and it’s unclear if or when play might resume. Late last week, Ravenel said Quimsa’s general manager spoke to the team to give them an update on the situation ― entirely in Spanish.
“I didn’t understand a word, but my teammate’s translation was we’re not playing with fans,” he said. “The league is being (cautious) in their eyes by stripping the fans from the game. Our domestic league, no one’s playing with fans.”
For now, all Ravenel can do is work out in his home on his own to try and stay prepared for whatever might be next. The reality is that his next game in uniform might not be until the summer, when he is expected to return to Carmen’s Crew and try to defend last year’s title.
He’s worried about his parents, who are in their 60s and among the most susceptible to the virus. He’s not too worried about getting home, saying he spoke with fellow alumnus Will Buford, who was able to get back from Italy before the country was shut down.
“I don’t want to be over here and God forbid my mom or dad get coronavirus,” he said. “I just hope that the league does what’s right by us imports. I think they’re going to suspend the league because it’s just going to keep getting bigger and I feel like if that happens I’ll just ask to be released.”