Root finds a new home
McGill University was the perfect fit for Alex Root, both on and off the court.
The 18-year-old Welland native was looking for a post-secondary institution where he could study business as well as further his basketball career next season after graduating from Ridley College. McGill checked all the boxes.
“I was looking at a variety of Division 1 schools in the States and a plethora of D2 and D3 (schools) and it came down to factors that had to be balanced for me,” Root said. “Going to Ridley really gave me a broader view on the value of education so McGill really does provide the best balance of all that.
“It’s somewhere where I can play right away and impact the team along with being one of the best business schools in the country. That was one thing that pushed me away from some of the other programs.”
Root was recruited by former coach David DeAveiro, who stepped down in April after a decade to accept the coaching position at Ryerson.
“He recruited me for almost three years,” Root said. “McGill was the first USports team to reach out to me going into my first year at Ridley in Grade 11.”
Ryan Thorne replaced DeAveiro as head coach, but Root isn’t concerned the coaching change will affect his position on the team.
“It was obviously a bit of a shock at first but I still felt that McGill was a place I could have an impact on a team that has a real chance at winning a national championship,” Root said. “They were 12-4 last year and I really believe we can make a run.”
Root, a 6-foot-5 forward/guard, is looking forward to the challenge of playing at the next level.
“I think my style of play may change now that DeAveiro is no longer at McGill but the style of players he recruited will be,” he said. “I feel my role will be dependent on how I perform and what I bring to the team, but my understanding is that I have an opportunity to play my way into a position that can really help the team win.”
Root, who captained the Tigers’ Ontario Scholastic Baseball Association teams in 2019 and 2020 and averaged 15 points and five assists per game, is thankful to have his future mapped out.
“Right now, I can see it through some of my teammates who are going through the recruiting process and it’s very stressful,” he said. “I am really thankful I was able to go through mine fully because it’s very uncertain.”
Root attended Notre Dame for two years before moving to Ridley for his final two years of high school.
“Notre Dame was a very positive experience and taught me a lot of values and work ethic that translated into my development later on,” Root said.
Root said attending Ridley helped take his game to the next level.
“I felt Ridley was the best place in Canada in the OSBA to develop your game competing against the best players, not only on the other teams, but also on your own team. In practice at Ridley, you saw all these national team players who checked their egos at the door and just went into the gym to get better.
“I felt like I had to make that move. It really helped my game and I’m glad I did it.”
Root is doing his best to keep in shape for next season.
“Because of COVID, we haven’t been able to get together and practice yet but it’s a very talented team, bigger guards and versatile wings, so I think I fit right in based on my playing ability to be able to be versatile,” he said.
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