Olivier Maxence Prosper is having a great year while helping star Sister Cassander

For Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the lessons and experiences aren’t just for himself as he approaches a potential shot at his dream NBA.

For Olivier-Maxence Prosper, the lessons and experiences aren’t just for himself as he approaches a potential shot at his dream NBA.

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

“Growing up, I was trying to be the best role model I could be,” he told the Canadian Press. “All the experiences she’s had, I’m just helping her to be better, so that her experience can be better than mine.

“She’s my only sibling and I and she is really, really close, and as an older brother, I just want to do everything I can to help her basketball journey be the best it can be and to guide her through it.”

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

Cassandre, meanwhile, is a six-foot guard who recently joined the seventh-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish team as a 2023 five-star recruit from the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association’s Metropolitan Courts Academy.

The two were born and raised in Montreal, the children of mother Guillen and father Gaytan, who both played basketball at the collegiate level in the 1990s.

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

“My parents lived basketball… I live basketball, so it was cool,” said Olivier-Maxence. “It’s great to have parents and people around you who play the game because it makes (growing up) easier for me in an environment like this.”

Basketball was something that was “instilled” at a very young age at the ages of 20 and 17.

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

For Cassander, however, her brother’s influence played a major role in growing up.

“I think the way I look at him, … he was a great player on the field, but the way he acted off the field made him great on the field,” she said.

“I think what I love about him is that he always understood that I was his little sister and looked up to him. So whatever he did, he did it with the intention of, ‘I have someone to try to inspire,’ and he always did things right on the court.”

Marquette coach Shaka Smart says intention played a factor in Olivier Maxence’s rookie season.

The forward averages 14.0 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, both good for second on the team.

“O-Max has been really successful. He was an everyday guy,” Smart said. “Living in the gym, doing more, spending time with many of our program members, getting better and being very focused on the areas where he needs to grow and wants to grow.

“He’s done a great job building on the experiences he had during his first two years at university. To be an older, more confident and mature player this year and that just doesn’t happen.”

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

Prior to that, he moved to Chicago at the age of 16, where his journey began south of the border with Lake Forest Academy. His high school in Plainville, Kew, Lacadémie St. Therese, did not have a basketball team. He played for the local Amateur Athletic Union team, the 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 guy who leaves home early,” he said of Lake Forest Academy. “I have to live on my own and really start to mature and be disciplined to do things on my own.”

Cassander also left Montreal and moved to Ottawa at the age of 15 to play for the Capital Courts.

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

For Notre Dame coach Niele Ivey, former WNBA player and mother of Detroit Pistons rookie Jaden Ivey, Cassandre’s talent and potential is enormous.

“I think her talent changes on the show. The future is bright for us with her here,” Ivey said. “She kind of adjusts to the team game, but she makes an immediate impact. … I think for us, she’s going to play a huge part in what we’re doing and that’s exciting for me.”

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

Abdel Hamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press

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