Michael Rouault, left, and volleyball player Kaitlin Lomas receive the Thompson Rivers University Cliff Neufeld Leadership Awards from Neufeld, former vice-president at TRU. (Andrew Snucins/TRU)

Michael Rouault, left, and volleyball player Kaitlin Lomas receive the Thompson Rivers University Cliff Neufeld Leadership Awards from Neufeld, former vice-president at TRU. (Andrew Snucins/TRU)

Rouault big leader of the Pack

Third-year TRU guard wins two major awards

Michael Rouault’s role as a captain with the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) WolfPack hardly stops once he’s showered and put away his basketball jersey and shoes.

There are community charity events to attend. There are student-athletes who need help with Physics 16 or Computer Science 225. Oh, and he requires a few hours each day to maintain his 3.75 Grade Point Average (GPA)

Rouault finished second on the WolfPack in rebounds (162 and 8.1 rebounds per game). He also led them in assists (41) and steals (25).

A three-time USPORTS Academic All-Canadian, the Fulton Maroons grad anchored the PACE student-athlete academic assistance program. He won the Cliff Neufeld Leadership Award named after the former TRU vice-president and the Skye Buck Character Award which goes to the player who best embodies the core values of the basketball team and displays those qualities on a daily basis.

“I am happy for Michael,” said WolfPack head coach Scott Clark. “He puts a lot of effort into training, leadership of the basketball team, into his performance on the court and does an incredible job in terms of his academic performance in the classroom. He is an academic leader with the team and the athletic department. For him to be recognized for these things is wonderful. He is deserving of it. He is exactly what you would want a student-athlete to embody.”

Rouault, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard, loved his third season in Kamloops, making an impact at every turn.

“I enjoyed helping the other student-athletes; it’s mainly the younger guys,” he said. “Our team helped serve the Christmas meal at the New Life Misson and some of us have done the Radiothon for the hospital the last two years. I did a little reffing in the Special Olympians (hoop) tournament. It’s an awesome feeling.”

Sports information officer Larry Read was stoked to see Michael follow his older brother Brett (medical student) to the school. Their sister, Megan, a 5-foot-8 forward, just finished her freshman year with the TRU women’s team.

“Mike came to Thompson Rivers University with some big shoes to fill based on what his brother Brett achieved off and on the court,” said Read. “I think this was his breakout year not only to establish himself as a key player on the basketball team but also as a leader in the classroom and in community activities. It’s exciting to see what he will accomplish in his final two years of USPORTS eligibility.”

The WolfPack were knocked off 93-68 by the host Regina Cougars in a one-game ‘play-in’ tilt, but Rouault is positive looking forward.

“We have nine or 10 players possibly returning,” he said. “It was a little different for me starting this year. I think I was 30-something (minutes a game) and I think I was ready each game. I’ll play the whole game if I can. I didn’t get many minutes the first year so I’ll take what I can get. My three-point shooting wasn’t very good so I’ll be really working on my shooting for sure next year.”

Rouault, who is in sciences, recorded a 4.0 GPA in high school, where he averaged 25 points and 14 boards a game for coach Dale Olson.

“I can take it to the rack with a spin move, finishing with a left-handed finger roll and I can knock down jumpers.”

TRU went 11-9 in league play this season.

“We had some success this year,” said Clark. “Obviously we had a winning record and were able to make the postseason. The playoff game didn’t go as well as we hoped because of injuries but that’s five years in a row we’ve made the playoffs. That is a testament of the work ethic of the guys and their ability to embrace the process of trying to continue to get better and see how that takes you.”

The WolfPack had only one fifth-year player in Luke Morris (forward, Mission) and one fourth-year athlete (Derek Rhodes, forward of Antioch, Calif.) Clark is expecting Rhodes, Joe Davis (third year, forward, Kamloops) and Rouault to take the leadership torch from Morris and be successful.

“All three took major steps forward,” said Clark. “I think all three aren’t satisfied with that. They are kids that want to continue to improve and won’t sit back and do nothing. I am really happy for them that they all got some recognition but because each and every day they bring their ‘hard hat and lunch pail’, the recognition gets glossed over. It is fun to be able to coach these guys.”

Rouault will spend the summer in Vernon, working with his father’s boat lift company and playing slo-pitch in the Funtastic extravaganza.