John Desormeaux - A Life of Basketball
by Gianni Ubriaco
In his college days, Sudbury native John Desormeaux was only 5”6, but that never deterred him from pursuing his
love of basketball. His hard work and dedication paid off as Desormeaux enjoyed a successful OCAA career, suiting up with
both the Canadore Panthers and Cambrian Golden Shield.
For the last 23 years, he’s tried to pass on those same personal traits he showed in his playing days as a coach
at various levels of local competition. Currently, he is focused on his Junior Vees Basketball program.
“I think we’re going to win a few medals at the provincials with some of our teams,” says the basketball lover. “Our midget
boys are very strong, so we have a good chance to win the gold, and our bantam girls are very strong as
The Junior Vees program, which started back in 2003, is both a developmental and competitive basketball program for boys
and girls between the ages of 11 and 16. There are 150 athletes involved at the developmental stage and 40 at the
competitive level. Since the club has only operated for three years, Desormeaux feels its still at the grassroots
stage but he is happy with the development to date and has clear goals in mind.
“The long term goal would be to see our boys and girls play for the Voyageurs and the Lady Vees - that’s why we call
them Junior Vees,” he explains. “The short-term goal is to see them develop their skills.” He expects the Junior Vees to
compete at the Ontario Championships in the spring, as well as four tournaments this year, including Burlington in
November, Waterloo in December as well as Hamilton and possibly Mississauga.
No matter the final results, the coach expects to have a very satisfying season. “I just love the game,” he says. “I
like to see the kids grow, develop, and succeed through what I’m teaching them.” Desormeaux is not only involved with the
Vees, but he has also worked closely with the ontario CanStars provincial program for the past six years.
The program includes players from across Ontario competing in tournaments both in Canada and the United States. He has
enjoyed plenty of success with the program, winning tournaments in Toledo, Connecticut, Michigan and Minnesota. One of the
program’s Grade 6 girls team also won a bronze medal at the nationals this past summer.
Furthermore, Desormeaux has also coached numerous high school teams over the years and started his own juvenile club
team for 16-year-old female basketball players in the 1990s known as the Lady Rattlers. Although the team
no longer exists, they captured the Ontario Championship with a Bantam Girls team in 1997 as well as a silver medal at the
Ontario Championship in 2000.
Even with all this success and involvement in basketball, Desormeaux has not lost his dedication and passion for the
sport. “I continue to enjoy seeing the kids grow and seeing them succeed through their understanding of the game and the
development of their skills,” he says. “My main objective is to see young players develop in the community
through grassroots basketball and to eventually see them have success at the
high school and university level.”