Eddie D’Haiti has endured plenty in the last few days. Both of his parents were born in Haiti and he has many relatives and friends who still call the Hispanolia Island their home. D’Haiti has had contact with family since the January 12 earthquake which rocked the island and has claimed an estimated 200,000 lives, or 20% of it’s total population. Relief efforts have been hampered due to aftershocks and difficulty getting to the heart of the disaster. Meanwhile, back in Youngstown, a worried student-athlete can only pray for the safety and comfort of his own while trying to maintain some semblance of focus on his studies and playing basketball.
Paneech: In what way are you affiliated with Haiti?
D’Haiti: My parents are originally from Haiti. I have a long history of family still living in Haiti as we speak. From what I understand, everyone came through ok. My grandmother, and all of my family and friends still there came through it. It has been difficult to reach everyone back in Haiti because all of the power is down, so it is taking time. I understand they are doing allright, but how allright are they? Are they eating? That kind of stuff.
Paneech: Do you endorse a charity or a particular type of fund?
D’Haiti: The easiest charity that I can ask people to get involved with is texting on their phones. Alot of the carriers like A T & T and Sprint are offering a program where you can text donations, you don’t even have to get off of your couch.
***Ed. Note – By clicking this link, you can also donate used cell phones for recycling in which all proceeds will go to the Haitian relief effort.
Paneech: Were you born in Haiti?
D’Haiti: I was born in Orlando, Florida. My parents were originally from Port-au-Prince and moved to Orlando before I was born. I was lucky enough to go to Haiti. Growing up as an American kid visiting Haiti, it was very cultural and fun, now it’s not the same.
Paneech: Talk about how you end up leaving Orlando for Youngstown. It has to be culture shock when you look over your shoulder growing up and see Disney to looking over your shoulder now and seeing where there used to be a bunch of steel mills.
D’Haiti: I love Orlando to death, it is just a wonderful place. I felt it was very important to make a change in my life, I wanted to move out of state just to see more of the world. When I came here on my visit, I really liked the campus. The people were nice and the coaches were great guys and I wanted to be a part of it. Youngstown, at least the campus, is a very peaceful place. I’m really liking it and the people have been so wonderful here.
Paneech: At the start of the season, the coaches and players of this team took exception to being picked to finish seventh in the Horizon League. So far the team is playing like the seventh best team in the Horizon League. What is the hurdle that the team is struggling to get over?
D’Haiti: Once we can get over the hump, the sky is the limit for us. I don’t want to say it’s mental or physical. It seems like we don’t have all of the pieces to the puzzle in place yet. Once we find those pieces, we can be rolling. I came into this not physically ready, and that’s what I am working on getting better with right now. I am learning so much from Dallas Blocker and Dan Boudler every day.
Paneech: You pass well for a big guy. Is it something you work on or is it instinct?
D’Haiti: I believe it is a combination of both. I like sharing the ball with my teammates, it’s no fun unless we all get some.
Paneech: What is the mood of this team right now?
D’Haiti: We just want it so bad. We’re not laid back, we definitely want to win badly. We are just going after it and practice has been so much more intense. Sometimes when we don’t get it and fall short, we grow as a team. I don’t think we have the best talent in the Horizon League, but, I also don’t think there is a team in the conference who wants to win as bad as we do. There is alot of obvious frustration. We are going after all of the little things and striving for perfection.
Paneech: How much attention are you paying to the media coverage of Haiti?
D’Haiti: I watch it every day, but I can’t watch it for too long because it makes me sick to my stomach. Honestly, I can only stand watching it for about five minutes a day. I just talk to my mom who has direct contact and she gives me all of the information as to what is going on.
One Word Answers
Favorite Meal Of The Day: Dinner.
Favorite Breakfast Cereal: Lucky Charms.
Favorite TV Show: Family Guy.
Favorite Video Game: I don’t play that much, I have more fun watching Ash [Ashen Ward] and Kelvin [Bright] play against each other.
Biggest Phobia: Right now, the condition of my loved ones in Haiti.
Worst Habit: Biting my nails.
Best Class You Have Taken At YSU: Healthy Lifestyles.
Best Movie Ever Made: Crash.
Who Was Your Favorite Disney Character Growing Up? (laughs) Mickey Mouse.
Who Was Your Favorite Orlando Magic Player? I was kind of forced to be a Penny [Hardaway] fan. I had the shoes, Little Penny. Kevin Garnett is my overall favorite player of all-time.