The longest conversation I’ve ever had with Robert Morris point guard Kavon Stewart over the past three years was about shoes. Anytime I’d asked one of his teammates about what Stewart’s personality was like, they’d always crack a smile and say that he’s simply “Kavon.”
However, beyond the quick exchange about the midnight navy, red, and white Curry 2.5’s he was wearing, many of my questions didn’t bring out that unique personality. He did elaborate though on what this team needs to move forward from a disappointing finish last season:
“I think we should learn from it, with the experienced guys that we have coming back. Learn from it and that should humble us. Well for myself I’ve seen the highest, and what it takes to get to the highest and what guys coming into college basketball are dreaming of doing. I can say that I’ve been there and done that. Obviously, we didn’t do well. We don’t want to get back down there.”
Stewart leaves everything he has on the court. While his detractors still point to his inconsistency from the charity stripe or the fact he hasn’t fully developed his off-hand, there is no deny that he plays with a competitive fire. As my time with Kavon was nearing a close, there was one question that brought that on the court fire to our off-court interview.
I asked Stewart if he played with a chip on his shoulder, having never made an All-NEC team. His response changed the entire complexion of the conversation: “Do I think I am the best point guard in the NEC? Of course, hands down. But now it’s on my shoulders. I have to prove that every night. But do I think I am, yeah, facts. Some of those guys that were up there have yet been to the NCAA tournament have yet been to the NIT tournament. That’s all I want to say. I just have to back that up every night.”
The kid from Jersey, who, despite being a senior and having been exposed to several post-game Q&A sessions, perked up in his seat and began answering questions with conviction. Oftentimes, he would stare off while shaking his finger or stroking his chin, as if he was envisioning exactly what he was telling me.
But the fact that Kavon has a supreme confidence in his own abilities doesn’t mean he’s wrapped up with individual accolades. His number one priority is regaining the same level of success he enjoyed during his first two season at Robert Morris: “Winning a championship and leading my guys is way bigger than that. Way bigger than that.”
The Colonials brought in six newcomers to go along with nine returning players for this season. Stewart spoke highly about every one of his new teammates but couldn’t hide his Jersey pride when describing freshman guard Dachon Burke: “He’s from Jersey so you know he brings that toughness. He’s real good, has a chance to really do something for us this year.”
Kavon knows just what type of leader he needs to be this season with this group of players: “I can be a leader, but I have to be consistent leader. That’s the only thing about me; I am trying to be a consistent leader.”
He understands the weight on his shoulders in his final season with RMU, and he embraces it. He isn’t concerned about individual honors. To him, hoisting another NEC tournament trophy is more than enough to prove that he’s the best point guard in the conference, All-NEC team or not.
Oh, and as far as the various shoes he’ll be sporting this season, “I’m not trying to get too much in detail about it, but stay tuned. It’s definitely crazy though.” That’s all part of what makes Stewart simply “Kavon.”