My first season as a pro has come to an end, and what a season it was. I don't think I have been through a season with so much adversity to overcome. Despite all the ups and downs and a few minor injuries, here I am a better player than I was coming in after finishing up school at Cape Breton University and beginning my pro career last summer. The most important part of it all: Gaining and embracing experience.
As a team coming in with the top four scorers all being rookies, a new coach, losing players throughout the season to injury, we had so many different situations we had to adapt to playing in Holland for Aris Leeuwarden.
The toughest part of it all was the physicality. Coming from Cape Breton, I was used to being the biggest and most dominant player. That all changed when I came to Aris Leeuwarden (12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1 assist per game -- FG% 57, FT% 67). Having to face much bigger and stronger players I had to adjust my game in season to cater to my strengths and mask my weaknesses. I now can take what I've learned this season to help train myself to become a better player both from a game standpoint and IQ. I am now officially back in Canada and the cold weather hasn't been the best to me but like they always say, there's no place like home -- although I would call Leeuwarden a second home to me. I loved that place and being able to start my career in Holland. Being back home, the time adjustment wasn't as bad as I thought it would be so that has been great. I spent some time the first couple weeks visiting my girlfriend, her family and some friends in Nova Scotia, before heading back to Ontario to see my beautiful family.
This summer my plan of attack is to improve my body, rebounding, and midrange shooting. During the summer, I usually play at different gyms and train with different guys, and believe different trainers can have something different to offer, so getting knowledge of the game from different people would be something I am more than willing to do. There are a few men's leagues I usually like to be a part of to help me stay in game shape. My favorite men's leagues are the Pro-Ams because the level of competition is much higher and I get to compete against other pros who are usually seasoned, so I tend to have my hands full but it's great training to help keep me on my toes.
I have a good friend in Toronto who has connected me with some skills camps that I would be volunteering in the summer. I think it's important to give back to the community especially kids because the knowledge we have should be passed down to those who will come after us as athletes. We play a big part as role models to be a positive examples to young athletes. Like those who came before me, I follow that same lead. I hope to become a much more well-rounded player and while I know everyone loves to score the basketball, but how many really like to defend and do the dirty work? Defense has been something over my university career that I have made a staple of how I play and I can't wait to keep working hard to make a defensive impact as a pro.
My first year playing pro ball was a bit of an adjustment but I'm ready to take my game to the next level.
I believe firmly in being a two-way player because you have more value to any team, so little things like working on my strength, my bounce, and strengthening my core will help take my game to the next level athletically. An underrated part of being a pro is having something to fall back to help provide motivation and support along the way -- from family, a ritual, or something important to you when times get rough. For me that is my faith. I'm a Christian and a strong one and my faith has helped me out of the most adverse situations I've found myself in. Faith has also put things in life into perspective for me and helped keep me level headed. My faith is something I will take with me everywhere.
In the coming months of this offseason, this will be a summer full of hard work on the court and off of the court, with friends, family, developing my game and being thankful each step of the way. Thank you to Scorers 1st Sportmanagement for their guidance and support and the great fans in Holland with Aris Leeuwarden. I will never forget my first full season as a professional and I am excited to keep getting better this summer.
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