BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) It's not particularly common for a basketball player to play their college ball closer to home than their high school...but that will be the case for incoming Hoopcat freshman Georges Lefebvre.
"During my last three years here, my family hasn't had as much opportunity to come," said Lefebvre. "So next year only being two hours away from home, they'll definitely be able to come down and see much more games."
The Montreal native has spent the last few years at Cape Fear Academy, a private school in Wilmington, North Carolina. He says his time there has been crucial for his development as a student athlete.
"As I kept working, there was always talk of me going to play abroad in the US, and as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it," Lefebvre said. "And I'm happy, I'm proud of my decision and I'm glad for the strides that I've taken."
Now it can sometimes be tough for new arrivals in Vermont to adjust to the Winter climate, but for obvious reasons, Lefebvre isn't worried about it.
"Three years in Wilmington, North Carolina will change you, but I grew up in the cold and I'm just headed back home."
While proximity to home is certainly an added bonus, it's just one of many reasons why Lefebvre chose Vermont.
"I mean as soon as I stepped on the campus, the energy was there," he said. "I met up with the whole team and by the end of my visit, I knew that's where I wanted to play."
When asked about his game, Head Coach John Becker will be happy to hear which side of the ball Lefebvre mentioned first.
"I've developed as a really solid defender to be able to defend multiple positions, I'm continuing to improve my ability to knock it down from the three, I can finish with contact and I feel like with the right help and the right mentality and the work I'm gonna keep putting in, I feel like I'll be able t have an impact."
Like the rest of us, Lefebvre is adjusting to life in the age of the coronavirus, but he's doing whatever he can to stay in basketball shape.
"I try to always keep the different aspects of my day in a consistent order, so I make sure that I get my schoolwork done and I'm able to go outside, run, workout, you know, shoot a bit," Lefebvre said. "We actually set up a basketball hoop outside which is a really good thing. So I'm able to go out there and shoot, I'm able to go out there and work on my handle."
Now Canadian basketball has exploded in recent years, with the country putting more and more players on college and NBA rosters. Lefebvre says that has provided some inspiration as he continues to grow as a player.
"Me and a few other guys have been lucky to be close to guys like Lugenz Dort," Lefebvre said. "We've seen him working at it, playing AAU and you know being in the NBA. It's a very very very positive thing for Canada."
And UVM is certainly a program where Canadians have thrived. From Maurice Joseph to Trae Bell Haynes to Stef Smith, the track record speaks for itself, and Lefebvre says that connection stood out to him.
"Ever since my visit, me and Stef have been in contact. He's definitely a guy that I'm excited to be playing with, a guy that I'm excited to have sort of as my mentor. Vermont's history of developing Canadian Players is great, it speaks for itself, and I'm just excited to be a part of it."
Now with the coronavirus situation, Lefebvre isn't sure when he'll be able to get up to Burlington, but hopefully he and the rest of the Cats will be able to get back on the court soon.