Schomberg native took the road less travelled and now he’s finding success at SPIRE

December 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Robert Belardi

Schomberg native Riley Melvin understands what it’s like to not be gifted with a talent, but to achieve it through belief and effort.
In an exclusive interview with the King Weekly Sentinel, the 18-year-old joked that he had zero athletic ability growing up.
“I was probably the least athletic kid. I hated gym class. I was 12 years old and I was a total nerd,” Melvin told The Sentinel, in an exclusive interview last week.
Despite being enrolled in martial arts from a young age, Melvin explored some sporting options while at St. Patrick Catholic School. Basketball was one of them, and if you asked him at the time what he thought of it, he probably would have told he was bad it at the sport for starters.
But at 12 years old, something seemed to of clicked in his brain. While watching a television show with his mother on Friday nights, basketball was a part of the program. It simply clicked. Melvin began to fashion a love for the game and he decided he wanted to play it.
He joined the IEM Spartans and also played for his middle school. But, Melvin decided he wanted to take this a step further and pursue basketball completely.
In his first year of high school, Melvin attended The Orangeville Prep Athletic Institute for basketball, following the footsteps of a Lithuanian-Canadian player, named Ignas Brazdeikis. The best part of it all? His athleticism began to get better and better.
“I think it shifted pretty quickly because I began to shift the way I worked out. My dad is a huge gym rat. So, I always worked out, but I think once I got into basketball and I switched to cross-fit and started working out more, the shift in the way I trained and it began to come to me a bit more,” Melvin said.
But after a year, Melvin decided to move to Dr. J.M. Denison Secondary School near in Newmarket. It was here he formally transitioned from previously being a power forward, to a full-blown point guard. His creativity on the curt began speaking for itself and his I.Q. for the game continued to grow.
But in his final year of high school, Melvin faced a huge obstacle.
“My final year started to ramp up a little bit and I was talking to a couple of different schools. Things flatlined when I tore my meniscus because I was out – luckily it wasn’t too long only six or seven weeks – but it definitely flat lined because they were expecting a lot of film,” Melvin said.
“I had to tell them I have a torn meniscus, you won’t get to see film for another two months. A lot of coach’s kind of lost interest in keeping in touch. I mean, it happens. I’m not too offended by it. I had a pretty rough November that year. The meniscus was kind of the cherry on top. I had gotten COVID the week before I tore my meniscus. So, I just off delta, it wasn’t the fun one per say and just mentally, I was going through some stuff with some friends and people close to me in my life. I was definitely in a dark space. Then the meniscus tear happened and I went downhill.”
Through his trepidation, Melvin had fought through everything with the help of basketball. The sport, had come to be his safe haven. Even while injured, he attended all of his team’s practices and even showed up early in the latter of his injury to take shots.
When he fully recovered, instead of slowing integrating back into the game, Melvin joined multiple teams; most notably, YNBA and Northern Kings.
“I think it was three different types of opportunities. With YNBA, I had the keys to everything, I was setting up plays. I was doing everything that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. With Northern Kings, it was a different opportunity. I had to earn a little bit more, but that part was exciting and practices were a little bit more intense. It got me more excited to be there because we were competing against high level teams. I think that team we had a really good bond and we all still talk until this day,” Melvin said.
“Getting to play six times a week was all I wanted because I never really had homework. I finished all of my work in class I was never a bad student.”
As a part of the Ontario Basketball Association, Melvin ended off the season with 17 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, shooting 48 per cent from three. It was a massive reassurance in his life and he said to himself that yes, he can do this and he can make it in this sport.
In his pursuit of everything basketball, Melvin had verbally committed to a school named Royal Crown. But SPIRE came along and assistant coach Michael Dooley, had been in communication with the 6-foot-1-point guard.
SPIRE, is a prep academy in Geneva, OH. It is a program offered in the United States for students one-year removed from high school. The academy, would be competing against D3 schools and other high schools, in the Ohio Prep Conference. Melvin decided to go visit the school and never looked back.
“Once I got there, there was nothing better in mind. I had never seen, a bigger, better, opportunity. It’s like being in NBA facilities. The coaching staff. The training staff. Every bit of SPIRE, it was a perfect fit. I’m glad it has ended up being as good as I thought it would be,” Melvin said.
At SPIRE, he immediately left a great impression on his coach, Jeffrey Sparrow.
He continues to improve at SPIRE and hopes to be noticed from schools. With a desire to get into Sports Management, Melvin wants to coach one day and SPIRE, could also be a place to work in the future.
Having been at SPIRE since August 26, Melvin is currently in the process of speaking to schools. Currently there are no offers on the table. At least, not yet.
He is hoping to be scouted by a school that wants him and through SPIRE, he has no shortage of confidence that something will happen this year.



Readers Comments (0)

Sorry, comments are closed on this post.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support