USA Scholarship

Montreal Alliance | James Jean Marie saved himself with basketball


Basketball saved my life. »


Posted May 20


Catherine Harvey Benard


Catherine Harvey Benard

This sentence, uttered by James Jean-Marie twice within a few minutes, Monday appeared, in an interview with Journalism After the first training of the Montreal Alliance. Still wearing his brand new training uniform, the 24-year-old doesn’t hesitate to tell us about his journey, and thus his story.

As a child, an Anjou neighborhood native took his brother, who is ten years older than him, to the local park. Since he was not “strong enough to play with adults”, young James noticed his brother and trained him himself. This is how he fell in love with the sport, which is now the focus of his life.

As a teenager, Jean-Marie attended Anjou High School for three years before transferring to Jeanne Mance High School, where he played with the Dragon. But off the field, things weren’t going so well.

In my environment, there were many influences. At the time, I had many friends in prison or in trouble with the law.


James Jean Marie


“Honestly, when I was young, I was more easily influenced than now,” he continues. I didn’t necessarily understand what was going on around me. But basketball helped me save my life. »

The many hours he spent in the gym was beneficial in two respects: firstly, because it made him a better basketball player, and secondly, because it kept him off the streets. “It helped me focus in school and in basketball,” he says.

With the help of his coaches, the young man created a “working routine” for the first time in his life. In 2016, in his final season with the Dragons, he was named Quebec Student Sports Network (RSEQ) Most Valuable Player.

Photo by Catherine Lefevre, special collaboration

James Jean Marie (right)


James Jean Marie’s offers earned him a scholarship to Athlos Academy in San Antonio, Texas, where he graduated from high school. Bye, Quebec, hello, United States.

“This has been my dream since I was very young,” he says. When I went to Jeanne-Mance, that was my goal. I wanted to take control, get better, and have a chance to leave. My coach was really honest with me. He said to me, “James, if that’s what you want to do, you really have to work every day.” »

He simply adds, “That’s what I did.”

After high school, the 6’8″, 235-pound Giant attended Indian Hills Community College in Iowa in the National Athletics Association (NJCAA). Discover basketball culture south of the border.

When I was in Montreal, I thought I was strong. But when you go to the other side of the border, there are other types of athletes. Basketball is more serious, it’s really business.


James Jean Marie


Mentally, he wasn’t “strong enough”. But Quebec isn’t the type to give up, no. a job. He has improved “mentally and physically”. He has developed a “real work ethic”. So in 2019-20, he jumped to the NCAA Division 1 with the University of San Diego Toreros for a season before signing with the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Which brings us to this year, in 2021-2022. The winger played for the Portland State University Vikings, scoring 12.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 26.6 minutes of play per game, in addition to shooting 52.2% of which 41.7% came from the three-point line.

« [Aller à Portland]He says, it is the best decision of my life. I met great people and my football career exploded. »

Photo by Catherine Lefevre, special collaboration

James Jean Marie


Over the past few months, James Jean-Marie has been receiving calls from various teams in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (LECB). But with the alliance he wanted to get his first professional experience.

“I want to develop as a player and forge lifelong relationships with my teammates,” he explains. I want to win as many matches as possible. And I want to dominate personally. I know I’m one of the youngest, but that’s what I think. »

I’m ready to take on a big role right away. It’s my goal.


James Jean Marie


Head coach Vincent Lavander was very clear in a recent interview Journalism : During training the players must earn their playing time. It was already evident during the first training session on Monday. “I give everything I have,” he says about it.

Then, he will have every reason to want to play for as many minutes as possible, and for the first time in his life, his family will be in the stands this season.

“My parents never saw me play in my life,” he recalls. I didn’t really have a support system because they had to work. They couldn’t support me in basketball for personal reasons. But now, because I’m a professional in Montreal, everyone will be there on May 29th. [pour le premier match à domicile]. »

James Jean Marie also intends to take advantage of his return to the capital to socialize. Already, on May 13, he visited his former high school youth with his classmate, Hernst Laroche.

I try to guide young people on the right path and help them protect their dreams. “You have to make the right decisions off the field to achieve your dream,” he said.

“I love it, getting involved with young people, talking to them,” he continues. Even on social networks, if I receive messages, I answer all the time. Because I couldn’t find anyone to do that for me when I was in Jane-Mance. »

About the author


Leave a Comment