Jérôme Leclair: From High School Hoops to University Ball

BASKETBALL. A few years ago, Jérôme Leclair was inspired by a conference given by William Boyer-Richard to students at Marie-Rivier high school. Today, it’s his turn to pay it forward.

Recruited to the Rouge et Or basketball team at Laval University, Jérôme Leclair was not destined to reach such a level. His time in the multi-sport program at the Marie-Rivier school, training based on the Canadian model of long-term athlete development (LTAD), changed the course of his life.

It is this atypical journey that the 21-year-old from Drummondville came to share with young students from his alma materthus responding to the invitation of physical education teacher Jonathan Lavoie.

Jérôme Leclair and Jonathan Lavoie with students from the DLTA group. (Photo: Jonathan Habashi)

“My story is quite unique,” ​​said Jérôme Leclair. In college, I played in division 2, in a small, little-known CEGEP. The odds were against me! I notice that my journey has an effect on young people who want to go further in sport. When I talk to them, I see stars in their eyes!”

Knowing how to get out of your comfort zone, seek help when the need arises and demonstrate discipline in your sport as well as in your studies: these are some of the messages that Jérôme Leclair transmitted to his young audience. “If there is one word that can describe my journey, it is perseverance. This is what helped me get to where I am. My message to young people is that it’s normal that things are sometimes difficult. You have to persevere and make an effort: only positive things can come out of it.”

Jérôme Leclair also took advantage of his visit to offer a technical basketball workshop to a group from the LTAD program. The young man himself took this path before specializing in basketball.

“When I entered secondary 1, I was anything but an athlete. If I had joined a sports-study program at that time, I might have gotten tired of it. I didn’t love sports enough to play basketball every day. Diversifying activities allowed me to develop my passion for physical activity,” said the man whose father, Christian Leclair, is behind the implementation of this program in Marie-Rivier.

Jerome Leclair. (Photo: Rouge et Or)

“For two years, I had fun! It allowed me to get into an active lifestyle. I also made lots of friends with good values ​​who I am still in contact with today.”

Among his inspirations, the product of the Géants du Cégep de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu cites Christophe Parent, another product of the Riverains who evolved with the Rouge et Or a few years ago. Drummondvillois William Boyer-Richard also had an impact on his career by giving a conference at the time when he was playing in the prestigious NCAA.

“I was in secondary 4. That’s where my dream of playing at university began. Hearing him talk about his journey inspired me and motivated me even more. William is an example to follow. Today, I have the opportunity to do the same thing with young people. I’m always happy to give someone hope, to make them believe in their abilities. It’s always beautiful to see,” summarized Jérôme Leclair.

A season of adaptation

Playing in the winger position, Jérôme Leclair describes himself as a complete player, capable of passing the ball as well as shooting for the basket. The 6-foot-2 athlete stands out for his ability to make the right decisions in crucial moments.

“I’m not one to force action. If the game closes, instead of forcing an attack to the basket, I will be able to make the extra pass to the teammate who is open. I think the coaches appreciate seeing a player who thinks of others instead of wanting to score at all costs.

“My work ethic is what got me to where I am,” he continued. I’m always in the gym shooting hoops or working out. These are things that coaches notice.

Jerome Leclair. (Photo: Rouge et Or)

Having not yet seen action during a regular season game, the sports intervention student is taking advantage of training to adapt to the caliber of play on the university circuit. “Between high school and CEGEP, there is a big step, but between CEGEP and university, the step is even bigger. We play against men aged 25 or 26 who have made a living from basketball for several years. At the beginning, it was difficult, but now I am on an upward slope. I feel like I belong on a university team. I’m capable of competing with these guys.”

Author of only two victories in seven outings so far this season, the Rouge et Or is relegated to fourth and penultimate place in the Quebec university rankings. The Old Capital team will host the Canadian university basketball championship, from March 8 to 10. “We have a good team, but we haven’t had much success so far. Our record is disappointing given that we have a lot of expectations, but we are leaving the first half of the season behind us. Currently, we are on a good path. We are recovering. We are all working together in the same direction,” said Jérôme Leclair.

In its last outing, the Rouge et Or snatched an 80-78 victory from the Bishop’s University Gaiters.

“We are still looking for our identity. We are not consistent offensively or defensively. For now, I think our identity is that we are a hard-working team. Even if we lose by 20 points, we are not going to stop playing. Even if we tend to get ourselves into trouble, we will never give up. We will try to get through it.”

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2024-01-18 21:11:10
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