Standing 6'9", Lasalle Lancers' volleyball middle Jason Diotte was sure to get noticed.
The fact that he got noticed by the Humber Hawks, coming off their seventh OCAA championship in program history, moving on to capture silver medals at nationals, and rising to the podium, provincially, no less than 10 times in the past 17 years, well, that was just bonus.
Diotte announced his intentions to commit to the Toronto based school last week, after narrowing his choices down to a trio that also included the Georgian Grizzlies in Barrie, and the Canadore Panthers in North Bay.
"I heard from a lot of people who said they felt that Humber had the best coaching staff," said Diotte, who will enter the HVAC program (hopefully) in September. "I also like Toronto and wanted to see what it would be like to live there for a bit."
"And they win a lot, so I wanted to help contribute to the best team."
The fact is that Humber head coach Wayne Wilkins recently celebrated his 25th anniversary at the helm of the vaunted collegiate powerhouse, recognized as CCAA coach of the year for the second time at the national championships in Fredericton in early March.
That's good news for Diotte, who still has plenty of room for growth, at least in his game, if not his frame.
"I started playing in grade six, but really wasn't taking it seriously," he said. "Once I got into high-school, I realized that I was really enjoying it and I thought I could do well, because I'm really tall."
"I've really tried to focus on becoming a better passer, because not a lot of big guys out there are very good at passing, so I kind of wanted to break that stereotype." That said, while middle has certainly been the position where Diotte has the most experience, he also played as a right side throughout most of the 2018-2019 season, equipping the local talent with some useful versatility as he prepares for post-secondary volleyball.
"I am going to leave that up to the coaches, I always have," he said. "I'm more comfortable at middle - I seem to have an easier time hitting and blocking from there." And where some view the middle as leaning heavily towards a more defensive role, Diotte disagrees.
"I feel if I don't get up to block and they score, then that's my fault, because I could have gotten up to block them," he said. "But offense is really important too. If a middle can score every time they get a good pass, that can really help the team."
Which, in the end, is priority number one as Jason Diotte readies himself for his freshman season at Humber in 2020-2021. "I am really working on trying to start in my first year," he said. "We'll see how it goes."
"That would be awesome to start, but it's going to be tough in my first year, it's going to be hard work. The coaches told me to just keep working, even with the Corona going on, because the other teams are still working hard, so we have to keep up with them."