The Cape Breton University men's basketball program is pleased to announce the signing of 6'4 guard/forward Mitchell Mersereau for the 2020/21 season.
Hailing from Sydney River, N.S, Mersereau caught the attention of Capers Head Coach Matt Skinn after an impressive 2018/19 season which saw him break into the U17 provincial squad and gain 2ndteam all-star status for his performances at Riverview High School.
Having coached Mersereau in numerous basketball camps and clinics throughout the years, Coach Skinn was quick to make the signing a priority upon his return to CBU.
"He's been coming to basketball camps and Monday night basketball school for as long as I can remember. When I returned to CBU last year I got to watch Riverview play and quickly realized that he was a player we really wanted to have. He's always been a player that we saw as having potential."
For Mersereau, CBU has always been the number one option. With a strong connection to the university and a long-held dream of pulling on the famous orange jersey, the decision was a simple one for the future Caper.
"Both of my parents work at CBU and I've always been in and around the CBU atmosphere. I've always been at the basketball camps and there's been a lot of joy and happiness. I've always wanted to be someone at CBU and this has given me the opportunity for that to happen."
Having gained a level of familiarity with Mersereau over the years, Coach Skinn is convinced that the guard/forward possesses a number of key attributes that will make him an indispensable member of the Capers locker room for years to come.
"I think he's such an overall great person. As a player, he's one of those guys who has all of the intangibles that are so valuable at this level. He's got very high potential and room to grow physically, those are the things we are excited about."
It was in August of this year that Mersereauwas first able to test that potential against Canada's elite. Representing Nova Scotia U17's at the national championships in Fredericton, the talented Cape Bretoner was keen to use the experience as both a learning curve and preparation tool for his future career at CBU.
"I think it showed me that the next level is not that far away. Most of the guys I was playing against at nationals are all next level players and I might see a few of them in the AUS or U Sports. Mentally I was thinking 'these guys are going to be my competition in the next few years' and I think that helped my mental preparation for CBU."
Coach Skinn holds a similar assessment of Mersereau's championship experience and is hopeful that the competition provided a solid foundation for his future in AUS basketball.
"I think it was a great experience for him. His game translates to any level because it's not always predicated on his scoring ability. He does all the little things all the time and he's going to do that wherever he plays. I think he was able to get caught up with high-level speed and high-level athletes. We just need him to continue improving his strength and his overall skill level, particularly his shooting ability. If he can do those things he's going to be a valuable player for us for five years."
In terms of preparation for next year, Mersereau is already thinking of ways to prepare his mind and body for the rigors of AUS basketball.
"I will be at every home CBU game I possibly can be to see what kind of level I need to come with. To see what CBU players do that I should be doing and just try to take it all in and help my team. Matt has put me on a weight program so I think that's the biggest thing for me. I have the height, that's not what I have to worry about. I think just to be able to push around, play with and hit other players and not bounce off is the biggest thing."
The drive to always be better is undoubtedly one of the essential attributes for any player looking to reach their full potential and Mersereau has come to appreciate that process more than most.
"My Dad always wanted me to be the best I can be, to always do things to the best of my ability. I think that stuck with me. I never just want to fool around with basketball, I always want to do the best I can and I think that really pushed me to be better. The fact that I actually got a scholarship out of it puts it in perspective that hard work does pay off."
For hard work to really pay off it must be inextricably linked to innate talent and Capers Head Coach Matt Skinn believes that his latest signing is abundant in both.
"I feel privileged that I am able to coach Mitchell, he's a pretty special guy. For us to have a guy like that on our program and for CBU to have a person like that in general, overall, I think we're very lucky."
With both coach and player having set their sights on the 2020 season, it's evident that CBU basketball has a clear vision for the future and Mitchell Mersereau is certain to play a major role. You can join Mitchell in the stands for the Capers home opener against Memorial on November 9th, tip-off at 8.00 pm.
Josh Lines/ CBU Athletics