Friends and family of Ryan Kabuya-Ntumba want him to be remembered as a focused and driven athlete as well as an all around good person.
Kabuya-Ntumba, 21, was shot in the ByWard Market at around 3 a.m. on Monday and died soon after in hospital.
Kabuya-Ntumba was born in Montreal and moved to Ottawa when he was a year old — the middle child of three siblings.
His elder brother, Jordy Kabuya-Ntumba, said some of his favourite memories involve watching Ryan impress on the basketball court.
“I really loved when I watched him play in the all-star game,” he said. “Those were the best moments.”
Basketball is a particular special bond for the brothers as the two grew up playing together. But beyond the sport, Jordy said he wants his brother to be remembered for more.
“I just want him to be remembered as a great kid, loving heart, a lot of potential,” he said.
“Ryan was like a little brother to me,” said Braden Wilkinson, a childhood friend of Kabuya-Ntumba. “Ryan was a very quiet and humble kid … Never had problems with anyone and was always good to be around.”
Wilkinson said some of his favourite memories with Kabuya-Ntumba involved sports, something he thrived in. Wilkinson said Kabuya-Ntumba originally excelled in football, largely due to his size at six-foot-two, but quickly picked up basketball, leading his high school — St. Patrick’s High School — to numerous championships.
According to an Instagram caption by mybasketballteacher, Kabuya-Ntumba joined the varsity team in his sophomore year.
“As a sophomore, Ryan demonstrated the ability to compete at a high level and finish well against bigger, stronger, and older competition,” the caption says.
In his sophomore season, he helped St. Patrick’s claim the Antique Bronze medal at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ provincial championships.
“He started picking up basketball and you could tell how much potential he had,” Wilkinson said.
In a YouTube video, a St. Patrick’s coach talks about how Kabuya-Ntumba will be one of the keys to success in the 2015 season. That clearly came to fruition as Kabuya-Ntumba helped lead the team to back to back city championships in 2015 and 2016.
Wilkinson said Kabuya-Ntumba’s success on the court exemplified how he was as a person.
“That’s a memory that stuck out to me,” he said. “It showed how passionate and dedicated he was when he was focuses on something.”
Jeff Wilson, an Ottawa Carleton District School Board middle school teacher and organizer of the yearly National Capital All-Star Classic competition for middle school players, followed Kabuya-Ntumba in the Ottawa club basketball scene, as well as coached him for a few months on a U15 team.
“He had a great deal of potential … (he was) a very, very strong, power-forward type of a guy … rebounding was his forte, and his scoring developed over the years and stuff,” he said.
Wilson said Kabuya-Ntumba made a huge impact on the city’s basketball scene.
“The basketball community’s kind of tight-knit, so when there’s players out there that show potential or anything like that, you get to know them,” he said.
Which struck a particular cord for Wilson as he said given the chance, Kabuya-Ntumba would likely have had a shot at playing in USport. But beyond his basketball skills, Wilson said Kabuya-Ntumba was an all around good guy.
“He was an easygoing guy, always very polite and very respectful, and he was a good teammate, all the guys enjoyed playing with him,” he said.
Wilkinson agreed as he said Kabuya-Ntumba never had issues with anyone, adding he would be missed.
“You could feel the confidence and good energy from him, always,” he said. “Ryan was a very quiet and humble kid … he was always to himself, but very lovable.”
Late Tuesday night, police still had no suspect in the killing.
Source: Ottawa Citizen