Vernon’s Brett Rouault drives the hoop for the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in CIS basketball action this season.

Vernon’s Brett Rouault drives the hoop for the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in CIS basketball action this season.

Rouault makes history with WolfPack

Vernon’s Brett Rouault nicely juggled basketball and studies for five years at Thompson Rivers University.

Larry Read

TRU Athletics

KAMLOOPS – Vernon’s Brett Rouault nicely juggled basketball and studies for five years at Thompson Rivers University.

The Fulton Maroons’ grad was an impact guard with the WolfPack and last week, along with Salmon Arm’s Jorri Duxbury of the female Pack, earned the Dr. Roger H. Barnsley Scholar Athletes of the Year award. Rouault also won the honour last year.

Rouault will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree and look to enter medical school in 2016-17. He was an Academic All-Canadian every one of his previous four years and had a fall GPA of 4.16. Corey Wallis (defender, Enderby) of the Wolfpack soccer team was also nominated.

Rouault helped make history by joining Brett Parker of Langley and Tallon Milne of Vanderhoof as the first fifth-year graduates of the hoop Wolfpack since they joined the CIS.

The two Brett’s joined the program the same time as current head coach Scott Clark.

“We have gone through this together,” said Clark. “They leave the program in a better place from when they came here. The team we inherited when we got here had won two games in league play. We have progressed every year. It’s ‘we’ not just me or the team; it has been everyone. But the constant has been these two guys.”

Clark remembers seeing both players at the 2009-10 BC High School Boys all-star game. He recruited Rouault out of Fulton after he took over at Thompson Rivers.

“My feelings are somewhat bittersweet,” said Rouault, before his final game with the Pack. “I am happy we have been fairly successful for the second year in a row while I am sad these will be the last home games of my CIS career.”

The Pack went 11-9 in the regular Canada West season and stretched their quarterfinal series with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies to a third and deciding game. They took a ‘play in’ series in two straight over the University of Winnipeg Wesmen.

“Since we arrived at TRU, there has been a total change of culture,” said Rouault. “When Parks (Parker) and I came to TRU, our team was pretty crummy and we won only three games over a whole year. It has been nice to see the program become better and better every year. When we first showed up, the team was underperforming and the players were discouraged. Through hard work and the recruitment of new players, we have improved since to the point where we are now where our team is hardworking and expects to win every game.”

Milne – on the verge of a Master’s Degree in Science Research – arrived at TRU two years ago after spending four years (three of them playing basketball) at Simon Fraser University and says he has noticed the improvement in the program and has been happy to be a part of it.

Both Brett’s made their debut in the fall of 2010 against the Bobcats in Brandon.

“That trip was a rude awakening to what travel in Canada West would be like,” said Parker, who is Clark’s step-son.

Clark says seeing the three players move on into the next chapter of their life will be more sweet than bitter.

“The goal is to bring young people in and help them grow and send them on their way. You hope for them to be a success in every facet of their lives. In all three instances here you couldn’t be happier for them. To be part of it has been fun.”

Rouault said he enjoyed being a role model and a part of the WolfPack’s community efforts such as Wendy’s Dreamlift DAY, serving at the New Life Mission during December and Raise a Reader.

Rouault and Parker were two of the leaders of the PACE program which helps WolfPack student-athletes with their studies.

Rouault was joined by his parents – Dave and Debbie – when honoured in February at the Tournament Capital Centre.

Milne says his greatest memory of coach Clark will be his moustache during Movember – an initiative that the coach brought to Kamloops five years ago.

Rouault, meanwhile, has this anecdote: “My fondest memory of coach Clark has to be the repetitive sayings that he spouts off each and every practice. If I had a nickel for every time he has said ‘rim, post, action’ and ‘get your butt to the baseline’, I would be a rich man. PS: He also has a wonderful singing voice.”

Clark has this anecdote about the aspiring surgeon Rouault: “Brett is ultra-intelligent but he has the uncanny habit of leaving things around. Maybe he is thinking about molecules or something. We have a golf tournament every year (Sports Task Force). My first dealing with ‘Rou’ was at the event. He wound up leaving his golf shorts on the course. I don’t know how he got home. But everywhere we have gone since then, he has left something behind: a sock, a shoe. That sums him up.”

Rouault will take a year off, working in Kamloops, before going to medical school.

“My girlfriend (Pack guard Taiysa Worsfold) are going to be spending a month, starting April 28, volunteering in Guatemala with a student group we saw online,” said Brett.