In recent years, the Laurentian Lady Vees basketball program have enjoyed some success in recruiting home grown talent — Lisa Furchner (Lasalle) and Katie Goggins (Lockerby) will close out their OUA careers just as Erin Simpson (Lockerby) completes her freshman season.
But the harsh reality of trying to attract players is simply than you can't win them all. Tiye Traore, the Lockerby standout and latest in the string of local female basketball talent to have enjoyed some success at the top-end provincial level and beyond, has confirmed that she will attend McGill University in Montreal next fall.
Currently completing her Grade 12 studies, the 17-year-old who is gifted with natural athleticism, searched and studied long and hard in deciding upon a post-secondary institution, though she said the option of remaining at home was one she always considered.
"The idea that I wanted to go out of town, or didn't want to go out of town, never really passed through my head," Traore said earlier this week. "It was always whichever school is the right fit. It could have been in town, it could have been two hours away, it could be in another province."
Perhaps as gifted academically as she is athletically, Traore eventually wishes to pursue a career in medicine, so there was little surprise that her studies would remain at or near the top of her own personal criteria in selecting an institution.
"Academics were always number one, and (McGill's) academic program is very strong," she said. "I went for a school visit and it was kind of like, 'Wow, I could really see myself being here.' You just kind of have that feeling that this is the right choice."
A well-known local basketball commodity for quite some time, Traore started to develop to her full potential during her high school career, both locally and beyond.
"Making the provincial team for the first time, that was a big one, just because I really worked towards it," she said. "I ended up being a starter, and then was MVP of the final game — it was something where I was really proud of myself."
The teen noted that her versatility might well come in handy at the university level.
"I will probably be playing the three, four and possibly even two position — a small forward or tall guard," she explained.
Between now and the time training camp opens in September, Traore said she knows she must continue working on dribbling and shooting under pressure, making the adjustment to bigger and quicker defenders.
Having taken in many a game at Laurentian University's Ben Avery Gym, the three-time city champion will be experiencing completely new surroundings and unfamiliar opponents come the fall.
"It's weird, because I've seen most of the Ontario (university) teams play at Laurentian, but the only Quebec team I've seen is Laval."
Enrolling in general science in year one, it is during her sophomore year that Traore will need to decide which stream of science to pursue. And while some might dread the inevitable balancing act of off-setting a demanding team practice schedule with an even more demanding academic regimen, Traore seems well-prepared.
"I've been able to develop a really good work ethic with my involvement in sport,” Traore said. “I find that I'm more organized when I have more stuff to do."
The local prospect will join a McGill squad that currently leads the Quebec university standings with a record of 8-1, but features only four different opponents in Concordia, UQAM (Université de Québec a Montréal), Laval and Bishop's.