LEE, Maine — When Lee Academy admissions officials went to Bangor International Airport to greet a couple of new high school students from Senegal, they were stunned by what they saw, according to athletic director Randy Harris.
“We were told there were two kids from Senegal [on the west coast of Africa],” said Harris, who is also the high school boys basketball coach at the school a few miles east of Lincoln.
All Harris knew was that one was a boy and the other a girl.
“We knew nothing about her,” said Harris. “I thought she would be the usual 5-[foot-]6, 5-7 girl. Instead, this 6-5 girl comes off the plane.”
The girl is Khady Toure (pronounced Ha’-dee Touray, the “K” is silent) and she will have an immediate impact on a Panda girls basketball team that is seeking to improve on last year’s 0-18 record.
Toure, a junior, isn’t the only addition, though, as senior Jordan Maxwell transferred from Hampden Academy two weeks ago after moving in with her father.
Maxwell is very familiar with the town and school.
“She was born and raised here, and she lived in Lee until her freshman year,” Harris said.
Maxwell started at guard for the Broncos last year and can be a hot 3-point shooter.
Ollie Faulkner, the assistant headmaster, said Toure applied to Lee during the summer and trying out for sports is open to everyone.
“We admit 270 kids, and they all have the chance to go and try out,” he said.
No one at the school has any idea of the athletic potential of the students, including the foreign ones.
“There’s no place for height and weight on the application form,” said Faulkner.
Faulkner said Toure made quite a first impression.
“She was a huge surprise to see, physically,” he said, then pointed out that she’s trying to fit in, and apparently succeeding.
“She’s wonderful around campus, always happy,” Faulkner added, “and she gets along with everybody.”
With Maxwell’s ability and experience on the outside and Toure’s presence in the paint, the Pandas of first-year head coach Candace Gifford could prove to be a much more formidable opponent in Eastern Maine Class C this year.
UPDATE: This story has been corrected. Athletic Director Randy Harris did not pick up the students from Senegal when they arrived in Bangor.