For Matt Robertson, putting his career on hold was an easy choice.
The former St. Thomas University journalism student is finally pursuing his dream: he’s going to play professional basketball in Canada.
When Robertson traveled to Toronto to participate in the inaugural National Basketball League of Canada’s rookie combine, his expectations of getting drafted weren’t exceedingly high.
“I didn’t think I had a really great shot, but thought I had a small one.”
And even though Robertson, a former award-winning, power forward and center for the STU Tommies, didn’t get drafted that day, he didn’t let the discouraging news stop his pursuit to play professional basketball.
Robertson, who played for the Tommies for four years, also served as a residence advisor during his tenure at STU and was an active member in the STU community.
During the combine, Robertson was able to talk with the Moncton Miracles head coach Norris Bell. Robertson, a Moncton native, chatted with Bell for over half an hour. The two talked about the city, and the prospect of playing for the Miracles. After Robertson went undrafted, Bell offered him a contract as an undrafted free agent.
“I was ecstatic for a bunch of reasons. To represent my city is unreal. I’ve represented the province one time, my high school, my university, but never my home city. That means a lot to me. It is also important for me to be able to continue playing, to keep getting better, and to play at an even higher level.”
The NBL of Canada is a seven-team league and advertises itself as the first Canadian professional basketball
league. There are professional teams from Moncton, Quebec, Oshawa, Summerside, Saint John, Halifax and London.
Robertson knows that there will be sacrifices now that he has decided to pursue professional basketball, such
as putting his career in education on hold.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime, dreams-coming-true kind of stuff. I couldn’t pass it up. My education will be on hold for at least a semester.
“I’m just happy to have been given the opportunity,” Robertson said, adding that he’s ready for whatever
the league brings his way, including the bigger and stronger players and shifts to different positions.
“This is my job for the year. “I’ll accept the role and the challenge that goes along with it gladly. To be part of something like that is a once in a lifetime thing, so needless to say, I’m over the moon about it.”
As to the debate over whether or not Moncton can support a team for the NBL? Robertson remains optimistic.
Reports say that Moncton needs to average at least 2000-2500 fans to make the team break even, something
that Robertson thinks is very attainable.
“There is a buzz in the city about this team, and although only time will tell, I’m very confident that this city
can sustain a team.”
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