The Razorbacks are celebrating International Student Week Monday-Friday, Nov. 15-19. We will be highlighting a couple of standout student-athletes who have embraced the challenges of school and athletics in the United States. They face many obstacles from language to food to customs and styles but all of them share one thing-they are Razorbacks.
Athletic teams all want to win and to do that, they search out the most talented student-athletes.
But it takes more than just talent to win. A team must have good chemistry, a strong work ethic and must have a balance of intangible elements that come together at the right time.
International student-athletes can contribute on all of those fronts and Drouin, Victoria, Australia, native Skye Rees is a perfect example.
It’s never easy for a new player to step in and play in her first season with a team – especially in the SEC – but Rees became a go-to player for Arkansas as a first-year junior in 200-10. Rees finished her first year with the Razorbacks averaging 3.4 ppg and 1.7 rpg improving with each contest. Coming in from the bench at the first of the year, Rees worked her way into the starting lineup for the first time against No. 20 Vanderbilt. She earned the start, in part, to a break-out game at No. 25 Kentucky where she posted a career-best 10 points in 16 minutes. Rees started eight of the last 10 games shooting over 36 percent. She matched her career-best with 10 points at No. 24 Georgia in the final game of the regular season.
Rees is now one of three seasons for the Razorbacks in 2010-11. Her experience with the coaching staff and the SEC will help her not only on the court but as a leader in her final year with the Cardinal and White.
A post player who can step out and shoot the three, Rees began her collegiate career at nearby Northeast Oklahoma A&M.
She played all 33 games in 2008-09 for the Lady Norse, averaging 16.9 ppg and 6 rpg as NEO went 24-9. Rees hit 49 percent from the field and 78 percent from the line for coach Jim Rowland. Rees was named to the first-team Bi-State East squad as the Lady Norse went 46-16 in her two years at Northeastern A&M. She poured in a JUCO career-high 30 points against Northern Oklahoma-Enid in 2008-09. As a freshman, Rees averaged 9.5 ppg and 7.8 rpg in 29 games. A 3.5 student in kinesiology, Rees earned Dean’s Honor and Phi Theta Kappa academic honors at NEO.
Prior to coming to the United States, Rees played state basketball in the southern state of Victoria from 2003 to 2007. She was a member of the Victoria Under 20 team that won the national tournament in 2007. She also played for the Dandenong Rangers’ amateur youth squad, Victoria Country and in the Nunawading leagues. She was the top scorer for the Rangers in 2007, hitting 12.8 ppg the year before she enrolled at Northeastern A&M.
Rees also played for Vic Country in the U18 Australian National Junior Championships, with a highlight game of a 12 point-11 rebound double in the final rounds of the national tournament. She was among the top rebounders at the 2006 national juniors. Rees was in the Australian junior camp in 2004 and 2005, and toured the U.S. in the fall of 2006 as a member of Melbourne Roos. Her highlight of the 11-game tour against west coast Division I teams was a team high 13 in the Roos exhibition at then-top 15-ranked Cal.
Born Jan. 10, 1989, Skye Janelle Rees is one of four children to Glen and Wilma Rees. Her siblings include Keira, Calvin and Stephanie.
The men’s basketball team added Marvell Waithe to the mix this fall from Tallahassee Community College in hopes that the 6-9, 212 pounder could bolster the front court. Waithe hails from just north of the border in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and is versatile player who can step out on the perimeter.
An accomplished player, Waithe was highly recruited during his two years at Tallahassee and deservedly so as he was a National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American and two-time Panhandle Conference first-team player. Waithe averaged 15.5 points and 6.9 rebounds as a sophomore and 18.9 points and 8.6 rebounds as a freshman. Last season, Waithe led his squad to a 25-6 record and a spot in the FCCAA Championship game.
As a high school player for Sir Wilfrid Laurier CI, Waithe was named Mr. Basketball in Canada in 2006 after averaging 35 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks as a senior. He scored 40 or more points two times during his prep career and was a participant at the Nike Hoops Summit as well as the U.S.-International All-Star game. As is the case with several international student-athletes, Waithe went to prep school for one season before pursuing the junior college circuit.
In Arkansas’ season opener against Grambling State, Waithe played 16 minutes and scored three points while grabbing a game high seven rebounds. He was 1-of-3 on his shots from the floor and added a pair of assists. During Arkansas’ exhibition schedule, Waithe averaged nine points and five rebounds in two games.
Born Oct. 20, 1987, Waithe is the son of Florence Haughton and Francis Waithe.