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Charlotte Church finds a fit - with the University of Toronto Blues
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For Charlotte Church, it's all about the fit; and the best fit of all, she hopes, begins this fall when the Lo-Ellen Park Prep graduate begins her post-secondary basketball career with the University of Toronto Blues.

The fact that it's even basketball that she continues to pursue as the athletic passion of her late teens is also a function of fit, or the lack of one when she first contemplated tackling the sport way back in grade four.

"My dad (Tony) really wanted me to do it; he had played in high-school and helped coach when he was at York," stated Church recently. "I really did not want to do it, initially, because gymnastics was my thing at the time."

"Gymnasts are usually really strong and it's one of the areas that I struggled with, because my gymnastics movements were all based more on power and all of my teammates were more graceful."

"I had a hard time doing certain movements."

Thankfully she would relent, giving the Sudbury Youth Basketball League (SYBL) a shot. What was once a drawback was suddenly now an asset, flipped to the other side of the ledger.

"In basketball, being strong was a huge advantage, a much better fit for me," said the 17 year old who plans to study in Life Sciences.

A few years with the Sudbury Jam would pave the way for an early entry to the local crew that competes in the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association.

"When I joined Lo-Ellen Prep in grade ten, I had played senior ball with the Knights in grade nine - I was the youngest player on that team," said Church. "I knew then that I wanted to follow this beyond high school."

That said, there was plenty of work to be done.

"I really wanted to improve the offensive side of my game, specifically the shooting. The Covid year turned out to be really critical for my development. And there are other aspects that I've worked on: ball handling, having confidence with the ball in my hands."

Conversely, there were certainly elements of her game that appeared to be university ready, relatively speaking, quite early on.

"My defense is very strong; I take a lot of pride in my defense," said the eldest of two siblings in the family (younger brother William is also a competitive basketball talent).

"It's always been a big part of my game. I was put in the post (when I was younger) even though I was not one of the tallest kids on the team because I wasn't afraid of contact."

"I like to battle for rebounds."

Armed with a pretty good handle on her personal scouting report, it was time to find a team that could build around her strengths and help her continue to enhance the skills that needed more work.

"I reached out to the Toronto coach when I saw their team play at Laurentian," said Church. "I loved how their team plays - and my dad saw the exact same thing."

"I went to do a workout with her (Tamara Tatham) and one of her players. Their style of play is exactly what I was looking for."

While Church would love nothing more than to contribute immediately in 2022-2023, the academic prospect is focused on keeping an open mind. "I'll go wherever she wants me to go, whether that's as a top 12 player or as a redshirt," said Church.

"I want to be the hardest worker and a great teammate, super positive, super supportive."

One would have to think that all of this would make Charlotte Church a perfect fit with her new U of T team - which is exactly what the well-spoken young woman is really all about.

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