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For Olivier-Maxense Prosper, the lessons and experiences just aren’t there for him as he inches closer to a potential shot at his NBA dream.
They’re also one for the Montreal native to share with her younger sister Cassandre, who is following a path she hopes leads to the WNBA.
“Growing up, I was trying to be the best role model I could be for him,” he told The Canadian Press. “All the experiences I went through, I just help her get better, so her experiences get better than mine.
“He’s my only sibling and me and him are really close and as a big brother, I just want to do everything I can to help make his basketball journey the best it can be and guide him through it.” I can.”
Olivier-Maxens is a 6-foot-8, 230-pound junior forward for the Marquette Golden Eagles, who are ranked 16th in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
Meanwhile, Cassandre, a six-foot-two guard, recently joined the seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish as a 2023 five-star recruit out of the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association’s Capital Courts Academy.
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Both born and raised in Montreal, the children belong to mother Guillén and father Gaetan, who both played basketball at the collegiate level in their 90s.
Guillén played one year of Division I basketball at Manhattan College before returning to compete for Concordia University, where she was a two-time RSEQ All-Star. Gayton also played at Concordia where he was a three-time RSEQ All-Star.
Olivier-Maxens said, “My parents won basketball … I won basketball, so it went great.” “Having your parents and people around you who play sports is great because it makes it easier for me to grow up in that kind of environment.”
Basketball was something that was “instilled” into 20- and 17-year-olds from a very early age.
Cassandre said, “Honestly, I always joke and say that I was brainwashed into playing basketball and loving basketball, but it’s great.”
For Cassandre, however, her brother’s influence played a major role growing up.
“I think the way I look at him, … he was such a great player on the court, but the way he carried himself off the court is what made him so great on the court,” she said.
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“I think what I love about him is that he always understood that I was his little sister and I looked up to him. So everything he did, he did it with the intention of, ‘I have someone That’s what I’m trying to inspire,’ and he always did the right things on the court.
Marquette head coach Shaka Smart says intent played a factor in Olivier-Maxens’ breakout junior season.
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The forward is averaging a career-best 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, both good for second on the team.
“O-Max has really worked. He’s been an everyday guy,” Smart said. “Staying in the gym, doing extra, spending time with many of the members of our program, getting better and being very intentional about the areas where he needs to grow and wants to grow.
“He has done a great job using his experiences from his first few years of college.
Becoming an older, more confident, more mature player this year and that doesn’t just happen.
Olivier-Maxens was a four-star recruit from the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico, where he played his senior year with Indiana Pacers rookie Benedict Maturin, also from Montreal. He then signed with Clemson before transferring to Marquette for his sophomore season.
Before that, he moved to Chicago at the age of 16, where he began his journey south of the border with Lake Forest Academy. His high school, L’Académie Ste-Thérèse in Blainville, Que., did not have a basketball team. He played for a local Amateur Athletic Union team, the Brookwood Elite, before looking for a new challenge.
He said of Lake Forest Academy, “That year was really great for me because it helped me mature not only as a basketball player, but also as a young man who left home early ” “Living on your own and starting to really mature and be disciplined to do things on your own.”
Cassandre also left Montreal and moved to Ottawa at age 15 to play for the Capital Courts.
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There, he finished his career averaging a league-best 25.1 points, while averaging 13.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.6 blocks per game, and led the team to its first OSBA championship in 2022. He was also named league and Final 8 MVP.
For Notre Dame head coach, Niele Ivey, mother of former WNBA player and Detroit Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey, Cassandre’s talent and potential are immense.
“I think his talent is changing the program. We have a bright future with him here,” Ivey said. “She’s preparing herself for collegiate play, but she’s going to make an immediate impact. … I think she’s going to play a big part in what we do and that’s exciting to me.”
© 2023 The Canadian Press