Local basketball standout Emilie Lafond has become the first player committed to join the Laurentian Voyageurs women's basketball team for the 2020-21 season.
Standing at 6-3, Lafond will be a force in the paint for the blue and gold beginning in the fall as she pursues a degree in nursing.
“Emilie will immediately improve our rebounding both defensively and offensively. She will immediately be effective in the low and mid post and allow others to play and defend their natural positions,” said Head Coach Jason Hurley. “Emilie is a great low post presence who has the ability to attract double teams and score with both her left and right hand. Her face up game is progressing well and she sees the floor very well with an above average passing ability.”
When Lafond hits the court for the first time come September, she will be looking to make her mark on both ends of the court.
“I feel as though my biggest impact will be on the offensive end of the floor, being able to find the open man and creating shots for others. Defensively, my hopes are that my height, along with my wingspan, will be able to translate into more defensive stops while also clearing out the key and challenging opponents at the rim," said Lafond. "Offensively, my hopes are that my size and strength, with the ability to seal off my defenders, will allow me to be a force in the paint. I am truly looking to expand my game to help stretch the defence when required.”
While there is always a learning curve for student-athletes as they transition into their university careers, Lafond's experience playing at the elite level should help shorten that curve, LU said. Having played in elite organizations like the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) for the past two seasons along with coming off of a rather impressive summer competing at the national championship as a member of Team Ontario, Lafond laced up for Kia Nurse Elite, the only Nike Elite Youth Basketball League team in Canada.
This season through only 10 games Lafonde is already averaging 14.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game.
While often players with the accolades and success that Lafond has achieved are drawn to the major organizations like the NCAA, Hurley said he is excited Lafond decided to commit to staying in Canada and playing for her hometown Voyageurs.
“With Emilie’s experience at Lo-Ellen Prep, Team Ontario and Kia Nurse Elite, it places her as one of the most decorated recruits and she chose Laurentian University and our women’s basketball program over some very established programs," said Hurley. "She is a leader in our community and we are beyond happy Emilie has made the decision to stay and reach her potential with us. It’s a very big moment and we hope that Emilie leads the way for the long list of talented young women that are currently thriving in all age groups in the North.”
As for Lafond her decision to remain at home was made on more than just basketball.
“While making my decision, there were three very important points for me to consider; education, basketball and family. Laurentian has a great nursing program, a great basketball program and this is all in my hometown where my family is," said Lafond. "Basketball in the North continues to be on the rise and I want to remain a part of that.”
Find more information on the Laurentian Voyageurs women's basketball team, or on Lafond's decision here.
Ryan Marcotte is a co-operative education student from Lasalle Secondary School.