It's been two years since Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the southeastern shores of Texas and left the surrounding areas reeling from the damage. Over the course of those two years, many individuals impacted by the historic storm have found a way to overcome its devastation, but few more so than Tevin Baker.
A Port Arthur, TX native and recent graduate from Lamar State College Port Arthur (LSCPA), Baker was set to head off to college and compete for the Seahawks' basketball program in August 2017 before Harvey's destructive path made landfall. As Baker's home took on critical levels of flooding, his real-time plea for help made strides on social media and a last-ditch effort led to his family's rescue.
In an interview with JUCO Advocate following the destruction from the hurricane, Baker expressed his new-found motivation to succeed. "I plan to still grind when I get myself settled because I feel that basketball is the only thing the storm hasn't taken. That and my life."
Baker's statement was just the beginning of a two-year journey that led to numerous accolades and a current home with East Texas Baptist University where he will continue to play basketball and major in Sports Communication for the 2019-20 year.
"Harvey woke me up from being a kid to start being an adult because I felt that I was on my own when I first got to LSCPA. My mom stayed busy trying to rebuild the house and working so I couldn't turn to her all the time. I knew my mother was working her butt off so that made me want to also."
That passion to thrive led to more than just success on the court – Baker achieved an overall 4.0 GPA as a Business Administration major both years as a student-athlete and was named to the NJCAA All-Academic First Team for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic year.
"LSCPA helped me to mature enough to know my priorities and organize my work well enough so I wouldn't be so clustered. Junior college was actually a second chance for me to do what I didn't achieve when I was in high school and I took advantage of that opportunity."
On the court, the Seahawks claimed 35 victories during Baker's tenure, including a 20-12 mark for the 2018-19 season that saw Baker start 19 of those contests.
"I really enjoyed being at a school where there weren't many people so I was more focused on my work off the court. On the court, I loved the way coach (Lance Madison) pushed us to be the best we can be and that's really what got me to be a better player and person."
While Baker found a welcoming home at LSCPA, the impact from Harvey and its aftermath in Houston stayed on his mind. During his freshman year, Baker returned home to help rebuild a house and lend a helping hand where needed, showing the storm could not break the community pride of Houston.
As Baker turns to his next chapter at East Texas Baptist, the remnants of Harvey, coupled with his two years as a student-athlete at LSCPA have opened a multitude of opportunities previously unimagined.
"Being hit by Harvey was like the fuel I needed to be the best that I could on and off the court."