Picton picks Canada
Maddie Picton has decided the grass isn’t greener stateside.
The 17-year-old member of the Niagara Prep Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association team has chosen to pursue her post secondary hoops career in Canada.
“The education is better in Canada, but also people don’t really understand that U Sports (Canadian university basketball) is not that far off NCAA,” she said. “People think there’s a huge difference, but there really isn’t.”
She also has proof that going the Canadian route won’t exclude her from other opportunities.
“My dad (Dave Picton) went to Brock and he made the Canadian national team. I can create my own legacy here.”
Most of the American schools pursuing her didn’t have the program she wanted and if they did, there were difficulties in transferring an American education to a Canadian career. Her goal is to become a medical doctor.
“It meant I would have to stay there and become what I want to become there,” she said.
Brock has the program (Bio-med) she wants but she doesn’t want to live in her dad’s footsteps.
“Every time I go there, I am Dave Picton’s child and people tell me I should go there, but I want to go somewhere and create my own legacy. But my sister (Natalie) wants to go to Brock,” she said, with a laugh.
Maddie isn’t going to make up her mind until she makes all of her official visits. She has already visited McMaster and Western but has plenty of other Canadian schools left to visit. She has relatives in British Columbia and may check out UBC.
Dave hasn’t pushed his daughter in any particular direction.
“She has been going down this journey on her own with just guidance. I want her to make the decision,” he said. “I have been more a dad than a coach on her choice of schools.”
He feels she has made the right choice by staying in Canada.
“She had great opportunities, but she wants to go to med school and that’s her plan,” he said, “There are too many uncertainties with going to med school in the U.S.”
Maddie finds it hard to believe the time has come for her to choose a university.
“The time is flying by,” she said. “The first day I walked into school it was “Oh my God, it’s my Grade 12 year’ and then there’s all these universities coming in. Then I have to figure out what I want to do for a job and what I am going to do with my life.”
Moving to A.N. Myer from Notre Dame to join the OSBA program has proven to be the right choice for the 5-foot-6 guard.
“I am really happy that I ended up moving to Myer in Grade 11 just because it gave me exposure to very high competition that you maybe couldn’t find at the OBA (Basketball Ontario) level,” she aid. “It also shapes you for the university game.”
That means getting up early for a 7 a.m. practice, going to school and focusing the whole day on academics and then practising again after school.
“It really puts you on the right track,” she said.
She feels her biggest progression as a basketball player is self identification.
“It has been finding myself and finding what my strong things are and what I need to work on.”’
For the past one and a half years, she has had the opportunity to practice and scrimmage against teammate Sarah Te-Biasu, a three-year member of Canada’s national team and arguably the best 18-year-old point guard in Canada.
“It has helped me become the best player I can and it has also pushed me out of my comfort zone so I don’t continue to do the same things all the time,” Picton said. “It was really hard at first because she was coming at my position, but learning from her and playing every day against her has made me a better player.
“I am able to see the court better and I honestly think it’s harder playing against her every day than it is playing games.”
Dave, who is the head coach of Niagara Prep, loves what his daughter brings to the court.
“As a player, Maddie is a kid who brings it every day. You can count on her every single day to bring the same type of intensity and, as a coach, that is something you strive to get from everybody all the time,” he said. “She has a heart like a lion and she shows it on the court.”