Quaintance is new kid on block

Nate Stuart

Center Haminn Quaintance stands at the free-throw line during the game against Ohio State on Sunday at the Value City Arena in Columbus. The Buckeyes defeated the Flashes 81-59 to win the BCA Classic Championship. AMANDA SOWARDS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Steve Schirra

As the Kent State men’s basketball team’s new center, Haminn Quaintance will finally get a chance to prove himself after sitting out a year due to transferring from Jacksonville University.

Everyone who knows Quaintance simply calls him “Q.” He said he’s been known as “Q” since before he got his real name.

While he played at Jacksonville, the 6-foot-7 Quaintance was named an All-Atlantic Sun performer twice. He led his team in scoring, rebounding, blocking and stealing in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. During his freshman year, he was the Atlantic Sun Conference Freshman of the Year.

Quaintance dominated at Jacksonville — so what made him come to Kent State?

He said the reason he went to Jacksonville in the first place was because he had a lot of respect for the head coach, Hugh Durham. Durham retired after Quaintance’s sophomore season, so Quaintance said he felt it was in his best interest to go elsewhere.

“I didn’t come here to be nationally known,” he said. “I came here to play basketball.”

Quaintance said he wanted to play for Penn State but he didn’t have enough academic credit to transfer there. Arizona State was his second choice, but he felt he wouldn’t get much playing time because of the team’s youth.

He decided to come to Kent after he was impressed with coach Jim Christian who had been recruiting him the entire time. Quaintance said he has a lot of respect for the entire Flashes’ coaching staff.

“He’s gone through a lot to come up here and play,” Christian said. “He is a pleasure to be around, and I enjoy coaching him.”

Quaintance said the transferring process was difficult.

“When I first came here it was a struggle,” he said. “Nobody wanted me to transfer here. If I transferred, they wanted me to go to a big school. They couldn’t see why I would go from a mid-level school to another mid-level school.”

Quaintance said his family and friends in Florida were disappointed after he decided to transfer to Kent State. But since then, he said everyone is “cool.”

One of his worries was adapting to the drastic change from sunny and warm Florida to cold and snowy Ohio.

“Everybody told me about how hard it would be to transfer, so I was prepared for the worse,” Quaintance said. “It is not as bad as they said.”

As far as his game, Quaintance said he has a lot to improve.

“I want to get better,” he said. “I can do a lot of stuff, but I’m not great at one thing. I try to get every rebound, every loose ball I can when I’m out there. I want to continue the success I had at Jacksonville.”

He said the transition from being a center will be a tough one for him, but it is going smoothly. At Jacksonville, he was a small forward and was used to penetrating on offense and using his speed to score. As a center, he will use his speed as an advantage but will have to get used to posting up more often than driving to the basket, he said.

“He continues to get better and better,” Christian said. “I love his work ethic.”

Quaintance said the team anticipates him getting a lot of rebounds.

He expects the team will be a smaller, faster one — a team that will win the MAC this year.

“Our team is very balanced. Every night there could be a different leading scorer,” Christian said.

“The team is fitting really well together,” Quaintance said. “Everyone is trying to get everybody shots. I feel like I made the right move leaving Jacksonville.”

Contact sports correspondent Nate Stuart at [email protected].