New basketball league gaining support
Former Harlem Globetrotter Pascal Fleury is now playing in the Ligue de Basketball Quebec (May 27, 2012)
MONTREAL - Basketball may have been created by a Canadian, but it's often treated as a second- or third-rung sport throughout the nation.
Even thought the number of student-athletes playing basketball in Quebec is high, and the players are very skilled, especially at the university level, many Quebecers would like to see the players take their game to new heights.
That may happen with the new semi-pro Ligue de Basketball-Quebec Elite.
The first games began six weeks ago, and Luc Filiatrault, GM for the Revolution des Laurentides, says so far the season is running without any missteps.
"Games haven't been cancelled. Games have been on time. Referees and officials have been on time and everything has been on schedule and that's very hard for a first-year league," said Filiatrault.
Any new league needs marquee players to attract and sustain attention.
For the LBQ, one of those figures is Pascal Fleury, the 7'2" former Georgetown Hoya and Harlem Globetrotter.
"I've played all over the world for the Harlem Globetrotters and all that. A little bit like the Impact that started slow and now they are MLS. I hope this league in the future they will grow," said Fleury.
Though the league only has five teams, expansion is in the cards and considering how well the first half the season has gone in 2012, the expansion could be considerable.
Bobby Miller, a player with the Revolution, says teams in three cities are interested.
"A lot of teams want to get in as far as Quebec City, Three Rivers, Shawinigan. Right now we want to keep it local for traveling expenses, hotel costs, but I can see it expanding definitely," said Miller.
The former professional player says the league will encourage college and university players to continue playing at a high level.
"Quebec is expanding in basketball with over a half a million kids registered, so why not, if we can do it, let's do it," said Miller.
Emmanuel Lezoka played at Dawson College, and are encouraged by the trend.
"Just to have the opportunity to play against guys like Pascal Fleury and Bobby Miller who went far to the next level, and to bring that knowledge here, it's a blessing."