Heading into Grade 11, talented athlete's skills taking shape
For Noah Lapierre, the bounce is everything.
As far back as he remembers, the bounce of the basketball enraptured him, creating a base for hundreds upon hundreds of hours spent in various gymnasiums. He would establish a city-wide reputation for his basketball prowess at Northeastern Elementary School.
Now, just days away from his graduation from Grade 10 at Lasalle Secondary, Lapierre already ranks among the top few high school basketball talents in the city, if not right at the top of the heap, with two years of high school still remaining.
Yet the beauty of his bounce is not limited to basketball. Earlier this month, Lapierre captured a silver medal at the 2014 OFSAA track and field championships in Mississauga, finishing second in the junior boys high jump.
Considering that SDSSAA medal winners at OFSAA track typically number anywhere from zero to four in any given year, this is pretty elite company indeed. And while basketball rules when it comes to Lapierre's hopes and dreams, he does see a cross-over to his track and field prowess.
"Even though the high jump is an individual sport, the mentality is the same," Lapierre said, just prior to the House of Kin Sports Hall of Fame Dinner, at which he was one of three finalists for high school male athlete of the year.
Fortunately for him, genetics has blessed him with abilities suited to both sports.
"Basketball has really helped me with my explosiveness," he said. "My strength in track would definitely be my speed, especially being a shorter jumper. It brings all of my momentum into my jumps.
"I'm really explosive off the ground, but next year, I need to work at getting my arms more into my jump," Lapierre added. "There is room for improvement."
But critical to the two-sport approach is that the training tends to work one with the other.
"A lot of sprinting, jumping, bounding, it all helps a lot with my basketball," said Lapierre. "Areas like being quick off the dribble, exploding to the hoop — they complement each other well."
Lapierre competed at the annual regional Royal Canadian Legion track and field meet June 14 and hopes to follow it through to the provincials in early July, but that will wrap up his high jumping for the year, so he can focus on his first love.
"In the summer, it's critical for me to improve at basketball," Lapierre said. "That's when I can get into the gym with my coach and my teammates. That's what I look forward to in the summer, waking up and going to the gym every morning."
That single-minded fixation on basketball is what makes his high jump performance at OFSAA all the more remarkable.
Either way, for Noah Lapierre, it's all about the bounce.