Rousseau finds a home at Niagara
Joining the Niagara College women’s basketball program was an easy choice for Jamira Rousseau.
On Wednesday night at Niagara’s gym, the Grade 12 Notre Dame student officially signed with the school in front of friends, family, coaches, former teammates and the current members of the Knights women’s basketball program. Also signing Wednesday was Denis Morris standout Lexxus Bell (story coming Friday on BPSN).
“I just wasn’t into leaving home,” the 17-year-old Welland resident said. “I wanted to stay close to my friends and family and they have what I want to do here in terms of my program. And I get to stay with my teammate (Bell) as well.”
The 5-foot-8 guard plans to study corrections at Niagara College.
“I want to work with troubled youth, maybe working as a juvenile counsellor or something like that,” she said.
Her goals for her first season of Ontario Colleges Athletic Association basketball are to carve out some playing time and make herself comfortable on the team.
“I want to learn new plays, learn from Chris (head coach Rao) and make connections with the girls on the team.”
The top 10 Zone 3 all-star knows she is going to have to work hard to succeed at the post-secondary level.
“I have to stay focused, work my hardest and leave it all on the court,” she said. “That is what is going to get me where I need to be.”
Rousseau has played the last two seasons with the Niagara Girls Basketball Academy’s Juel team under head coach Tara Poulin and feels she has improved in a number of areas.
“I have definitely become more of a leader and more of a shooter as well,” she said.
She is looking forward to the next step in her basketball career.
“I’m really excited just to start playing with new people and a new coach, and running new plays.”
Rousseau has been on Rao’s radar for a while and he had initial discussions with her after Notre Dame coach/teacher Agi Mete mentioned he should come talk to her because she was considering Niagara College.
“We are really excited to make it work and that we are the right fit for her,” he said.
Rao likes a lot of things about Rousseau’s game.
“She knows the game, she gets to wherever she wants to on the court and she is starting to knock her shot down with a little more consistency,” he said. “She had a great Niagara College tournament where she showed that a lot. Watching her Juel games playing for Tara (Poulin), she’s doing a lot of things like being a second ball-handler and doing a lot of real good things with that too.”
Poulin has coached Rousseau for the past four or five years and describes her as one of the most athletic kids in her age group.
“She definitely a leader,” she said. “She gains the respect of her teammates and because of that she become the floor leader, the communicator and the vocal leader.”
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