Aces All-State senior forward Yohanny Dalembert announced his decision to attend James Madison University during a press conference at Lower Merion on Monday afternoon. Here's a transcript of his remarks:
I would like to thank everyone for being here with me today. I would like to thank my family, friends, coaches, teammates, teachers and all of Aces Nation for supporting me throughout this long journey.
When I arrived at Lower Merion four years ago, I was coming to a new place, leaving my friends and family behind. I really didn't know what to expect but I knew this was going to be the best thing for me and my future.
There were so many new things I had to adapt to when I arrived. A different way to dress, a different culture, just a different way of life. I admit that it was tough -- that first year was really tough.
Haiti will always be my home and will always be in my heart. But there were so many people here who welcomed me, who made me feel at home and helped me to get to where I am today.
I would like to thank my parents for letting me come to the U.S. at a really tough time for all of us. They knew that this was the right thing for me and my sister and made a huge sacrifice with our best interest at heart.
I would like to thank my cousin Cassandra, my brother, Sam and Jamie for taking care of me. None of this would have been possible without them. And of course, my older sister, Severine. I love you and thank you for being there for me all my life.
I would like to especially thank the Shapiros for opening up their home to me whenever I needed a good time or a meal.
The coaching staff -- I want to thank all of you for making me who I am today, not only on the court but also off the court as a person.
And last, I want to thank Mrs. Freeland for all of her support and friendship and guiding me along the way.
You know, when I got here, I didn't even know if I wanted to play basketball. I did it at first because my brother did it. But over the past three years I learned to love the game. It has become a huge part of my life and has taught me important lessons about hard work, being part of a team and accomplishing goals. Winning the state championship with some of my closest friends was the greatest experience of my life.
And now, I'm looking forward to taking the next step. I am excited to announce that I will continue my basketball and academic career at James Madison University.
This is a great opportunity for me. I was lucky to have interest from some other great coaches and schools. At the end of the day, I chose James Madison because that's where I felt most at home. I like the coaches, I fell in love with the campus and I just think it is the best fit for me. I wanted to be able to get away from home, but not too far.
And just so you know, Virginia is a nice place for a road trip, so I hope to see you all down there some time.
Thanks, again to all of you for coming out today. I really appreciate it.