Olivier-Maxence Prosper enjoys a great year while helping his sister Cassandre

For Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the lessons and experiences are not just for him, as he gets ever closer to a possible opportunity to achieve his NBA dream.

For Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the lessons and experiences are not just for him, as he gets ever closer to a possible opportunity to achieve his NBA dream.

They are also for the Montreal native to share with her younger sister, Cassandre, who is embarking on a path that she hopes will lead to the WNBA.

“Growing up, I was trying to be the best role model for her,” he told The Canadian Press. “All the experiences that I went through, I only help her so that she can be better, so that her experiences can be better than mine.

“She’s my only sister and I and her are very, very close and as a big brother I just want to do everything I can to help make her basketball journey the best it can be and guide her through it.”

Olivier-Maxence is a 6-foot-8, 230-pound junior forward for the Marquette Golden Eagles, ranked 16th in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.

Cassandre, meanwhile, is a 6-foot-2 guard, who recently joined seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish as a 2023 Five-Star Recruit from the High School Basketball Association’s Capital Courts Academy. ont.

The two were born and raised in Montreal, the sons of mother Guylaine and father Gaetan, who played basketball at the collegiate level in the ’90s.

Guylaine played one year of Division I basketball at Manhattan College before returning to compete at Concordia University, where he was a two-time RSEQ All-Star. Gaetan also played at Concordia, where he was a three-time RSEQ All-Star.

“My parents lived basketball… I live basketball so it’s been great,” Olivier-Maxence said. “It’s great to have parents and people around you who play because it makes it easier for me to grow up in an environment like that.”

Basketball was something that was “instilled” in 20 and 17 year olds from a very young age.

“Honestly, I always joke that I was brainwashed into playing basketball and loving basketball, but it’s great,” Cassandre said.

For Cassandre, however, her brother’s influence played an important role growing up.

“I think the way I look up to him…he was a great player on the court, but the way he carried himself off the court made him so good on the court,” he said.

“I think what I love about him is that he always understood that I am his little sister and that I look up to him. So whatever he does, he did it with the intention of, ‘I’ve got someone I’m trying to inspire,’ and he always did the right thing on the court.”

Marquette head coach Shaka Smart says intent has played a factor in Olivier-Maxence’s great junior season.

The forward is averaging a career-high 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, both good for second on the team.

“O-Max has really worked. He’s been a run-of-the-mill guy,” Smart said. “Living in the gym, doing more, spending time with various members of our program, getting better, and being very, very intentional about the areas where you need to grow and want to grow.

“He has done an excellent job using the experiences he has had during his first two years of college. Being an older, more confident, more mature player this year and that doesn’t just happen out of the blue.”

Olivier-Maxence was a four-star recruit to the NBA Academy Latin America in Mexico, where he played his senior year alongside Indiana Pacers rookie Bennedict Mathurin, also from Montreal. He then signed with Clemson before transferring to Marquette for his second season.

Prior to that, she moved to Chicago at age 16, where she began her journey south of the border with Lake Forest Academy. His high school in Blainville, Que., L’Académie Ste-Thérèse, did not have a basketball team. He played for a local Amateur Athletic Union team, Brookwood Elite, before looking for a new challenge.

“That year was really great for me because it helped me mature a lot, not only as a basketball player, but also as a young man who was leaving home early,” he said of Lake Forest Academy. “Having to live on my own and really start to mature and be disciplined to do things on my own.”

Cassandre also left Montreal, moving to Ottawa at age 15 to play for Capital Courts.

There, she finished her career averaging a league-best 25.1 points while grabbing 13.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.6 blocks per game and led the team to its first OSBA championship in 2022. She was also named league MVP and of the Final 8.

For Notre Dame head coach Niele Ivey, a former WNBA player and mother of Detroit Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey, Cassandre’s talent and potential are immense.

“I think his talent is to change the program. The future is bright for us with her here,” Ivey said. “She’s getting used to the college game, but she has an immediate impact. … I think for us, she’s going to play a huge role in what we do and that’s exciting to me.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on January 24, 2023.

Abdulhamid Ibrahim, Canadian Press