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Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018
Seresse seeks to merge sport, family and friends in Sudbury
by Randy Pascal

The new proposed Sudbury entry to the National Basketball League of Canada may not have a bigger fan than College Notre-Dame and Laurentian Voyageurs alumni George Seresse.

Back in the Nickel City area following four years of professional basketball in France, Seresse would be thrilled to resume his career as a player with the local yet to be named entry. The fit seems all-too-natural, given the option of marketing a Sudbury talent to a brand new base of followers.

"As soon as I heard about it, it was kind of a no brainer," said Seresse. "Whenever you have a chance to do what you love in front of family and friends, it's a pretty great thing." A very gifted natural athlete in his youth, the now 27 year-old overcame doubts regarding whether he possessed the intensity needed to compete at the post-secondary level, carving out a very productive stay during his time with Laurentian.

The mindset instilled in him, in part, through the work of Voyageur head coach Shawn Swords, paid dividends once Seresse took his act overseas. "At the pro level, you play with men, and a lot of them are older," he said. "Sometimes, the coach would dim it down in practices. After that, it's whether you want to put in the extra time."

In fact, the long-time Valley East resident tends to boil his approach to basketball in recent years down to a pair of key factors: hard work and confidence. His epiphony would come quickly during his tenure with the blue and gold.

"Stepping out of high school, I was a pretty talented player for Sudbury," noted Seresse. "But going to university, I was kind of raw. The first thing you learn is just hard work. The moment I really improved was between first and second year, spending the summer with Shawn. There's no secret to it. Being in the gym every day, working your craft, that's how you get better."

That workmanlike approach was just what was needed when Seresse looked to turn his talent into a regular paycheque. "As a player, you always try and improve in every aspect of the game," he stated. "You always have to work on the little things, your shot, your dribble."

"Defensively, when it comes to schemes, you know basketball well enough. It's really just a matter of staying in shape. The better shape you're in, the easier it is for you out on the court. This biggest leap is probably confidence wise - it's either going to make or break you."

"Regardless of whoever is the coach, the foundation is always going to be the same. There are only so many variations, no one is going to revolutionize basketball." On the court, this approach would seem to stand Seresse in pretty good stead. Off the court, the realities of the business models of pro sports are accentuated, creating some challenges not unlike those encountered by hundreds of Canadian hockey players, seeking to make a living off a sport that they love.

"The life of a pro athlete, you never really know where you're going to be," noted Seresse. "With guaranteed contracts, it makes it easier to stay in a certain place. Over there (France), it's not like that. The contracts are not guaranteed for that long."

"After my last season, I was looking to move up again, to a higher division, but it's something that's really hard to do as an import player. As I was waiting, I kept hearing that the Canadian league was getting better and better." And, of course, there was the small matter of the basketball news that was coming out of Seresse's home town.

With the Sudbury franchise opting to delay play until the 2018-2019 campaign, the northern lad searched out an opportunity to at least gain a foothold running in those same circles. "To be completely honest, I thought I should have made the team in Kitchener," suggested Seresse, referencing a tryout he was given following a free agent NLB camp in Southern Ontario.

"But one of the reasons that Canadian basketball is getting better is that we're getting more and more players returning who have played overseas." For now, the waiting game continues. "You give yourself a windown and try and do everything you can to be successful at what you do, knowing that it's not all there is in life," philosophized Seresse.

"Regardless of what you do, you have to prepare for what is coming up later." Make no mistake, however - that future is one in which Seresse covets the chance to merge his love of the hardcourt with his love of family and friends in Sudbury.

"Just being part of the organization here would be great," he said. "If I have the legs to play, great. If not, just being around's my passion."

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