Young Quebecer Cassandre Prosper's first NCAA points with the prestigious Notre Dame University Fighting Irish have now been scored.
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Just 17, Prosper celebrated the New Year on Jan. 1 by first hitting a three-pointer in an easy 85-48 win over Boston College.
“It' was a very beautiful moment for me, Prosper agreed, when reached on the phone. After that three-point basket, I immediately felt the fans applaud. I also appreciated the reaction of the coaches and my teammates. Everyone was happy for me and it warms my heart.”
Employed for 16 minutes, the athlete from Rosemère finally finished the game with seven points and a brilliant total of nine rebounds.
The female counterpart of Mathurin?
In South Bend, Indiana, the University of Notre Dame women's basketball squad is well aware of the gem they have on their hands. At 17, the Quebecer is the youngest player on the team.
Still unknown in the Belle Province, Prosper is a bit like Bennedict Mathurin, of the Indiana Pacers, represented among boys not so long ago.
“Bennedict is a friend of the family, mentioned the young basketball player. I know him a little because he played with my brother [Olivier-Maxence] during the summer in Montreal, but also at the NBA Academy in Mexico. Bennedict knows how to stay humble and if I have the opportunity, for sure I would like to see him play with the Pacers later this season.”
It is only a few hours drive from Notre-Dame University.
It was last November that Prosper , greatly sought after by American universities, has agreed to join the Fighting Irish program. Previously, the 6 ft. Quebecoise. 2 in. had notably played in Laval, Pierrefonds, then refined his talent in Ontario, illustrating himself with the team of the Capital Courts Academy in Ottawa.
Prior to the infamous Jan. 1 game, Prosper had his first three minutes of college action on Dec. 29. Quickly, despite her young age, she gained the confidence of coach Niele Ivey. At the same time, the crowd gathered at the Joyce Center discovered the Quebecer.
“The atmosphere is extraordinary, commented Prosper. Fans have a connection to the team. When we win, they also win. It's really cool to be in an environment where women's basketball is embraced and well represented.”
Dreams to accomplish
Prosper didn't say it like that directly, but that's different from Quebec, where hockey remains king and master.
Sooner or later Later, her Quebec supporters are likely to multiply, as she touches on her next dreams: a possible participation in the Olympic Games with the Canadian team and a career in the WNBA.
For now, Cassandre Prosper's next game at Notre Dame University is scheduled for Sunday, January 8, away, against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Talented Basketball Family
Basketball success is a family affair with the Prospers.
In addition to Cassandre, there is his older brother Olivier-Maxence who, at 20, is also continuing his career in the United States, in the NCAA. If the little sister is just beginning her college career with the Notre-Dame Fighting Irish, Olivier-Maxence is a well-established player with the Golden Eagles of Marquette, Wis.
“To see my brother to excel has always been motivating, said Cassandre. He's a great example and a role model for me.”
In 16 games with his team this season, the NBA prospect, who is 6 ft. 8 in., averages 15 points per game. On November 17, he scored a game-high 31 points in just 20 minutes in a 95-58 win over Long Island University.
Just last Tuesday, Prosper had 29 points as Marquette rallied from a seven-length deficit at halftime to win 96-85 against St. John's. The Quebecer then scored 25 of his 29 points in the second half.
In the genes
Long before their children, Gaétan Prosper and Guylaine Blanchette each played basketball with Concordia University in Montreal, appearing on the first all-star team of the Réseau du sport sportif du Québec (RSEQ).
“Each of them brings a different perspective and helps me on my journey, noted Cassandre, about the different members of her family. After all, they are all excellent basketball players.”
Guylaine led Cassandre, with the help of Gaétan, in the Nobel Elite program in Laval. At 14, she was already playing with the juveniles.
A glorious past
Before going to Concordia and possibly teaching basketball, the mom had her own stint in the NCAA First Division at Manhattan College in 1993-94. She had also been selected on the rookie team of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC).
About the father, he had won, at the end of the 1995-1996 season, the Dr. Robert J. Broderick Award – named after the former Montreal Expos doctor – which is awarded to the Stingers Athlete of the Year, all sports combined.
December 11 last, Olivier-Maxence was passing through the University of Notre Dame, where his sister is now evolving. Marquette had then won against the Fighting Irish by the score of 79 to 64, the Quebecer taking advantage to score 14 points. In the crowd, Cassandre had discreetly encouraged her big brother.
To add to the family portrait, it should be noted that Jay Prosper, former star player at Concordia and now assistant coach for the men's team of the Montreal University, is the uncle of Olivier-Maxence and Cassandre.