Thompson Rivers University might have to change its name to The Rouault University since Vernon’s Michael Rouault has committed to play for the WolfPack men’s basketball team for the 2015-16 season.
Michael’s older brother, Brett, just graduated from the hoops program last winter.
“I’m just relieved that I found a place to play and it’s a program I am familiar with,” said Michael.
It wasn’t a smooth ride from the Fulton Secondary Maroons to TRU for Rouault. He held out from TRU last summer for multiple reasons and tried to walk-on with the UBCO Heat, but was cut.
“It was pretty disappointing, I thought I was good enough to play for them (UBCO), but I guess not,” said Rouault. “It’s okay though, it looks like everything is going to work out.”
Dale Olson coached both Rouaults and had Michael during his Grade 11 and 12 years with the Maroons.
“We were surprised he didn’t get a lot of offers last year; he had a great year,” said Olson.
Rouault, 18, was a beast in the paint and in the classroom in Grade 12. He averaged 25.1 points per game, 14 rebounds and eight assists while carrying a sparkling 4.0 GPA.
Rouault was named the Most Outstanding Men’s Basketball Player at the Rotary High School Athletic Awards.
“He needed to work on some things this year and I think his game is right where it needs to be heading into college,” said Olson.
“Mike did everything for us, he played one through five, he rebounded well and took the ball to the basket well. He’s long and lanky, he is 6-foot-5 but is 6-foot-8 length-wise.
“I think he’s going to have an awesome college career.”
Living at home this past year, Rouault took general sciences at UBCO and scrimmaged with the junior Heat team to stay in game shape.
A year later, he is taller, stronger and is accustomed to the university life and is ready for the bright lights of the Tournament Capital Centre.
About a month ago, Brett told Michael to get in contact with TRU’s head coach Scott Clark about the possibility of playing for the WolfPack next season. After a few e-mails, Michael was invited for a tryout. After a couple scrimmages and workouts, the two sides came to an agreement for next season.
“I was really excited when I found out I would be going to TRU,” said Rouault. “I missed playing basketball this year.”
Michael, along with his parents and brother and sister have been travelling to Kamloops on the weekends to watch Brett play for years.
“I think Mike is quite similar to Brett. He is a very intelligent kid, a good student and a very polite young man,” said Clark. “Mike has the chance of being even a bit better basketball player when it is all said and done. If he does what he is supposed to do and works hard, he will have a good career.”
The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder is a mismatch for defenders. Playing as either a shooting guard or small forward, Rouault can take it to the rack with a spin move finishing with a left-handed finger roll, or crosses up defenders, creating space for his knock-down jumper.
Off the court, Rouault will study sciences with plans to major in biology.
“It looks like a good place to be. I know a few of the guys on the team from playing with them at Funtastic last year and from scrimmages and just from watching them the past couple of years,” said Rouault.
The WolfPack just finished their best season in school history. They made the playoffs for the first time and swept the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in the opening round of CIS West playoffs.
Michael is looking forward to stepping into Brett’s shadow. Brett was on fire against the Saskatchewan Huskies, scoring a playoff-career high 33 points, knocking down seven three-balls, but the ‘Pack was eliminated in Game 3 of the quarter finals.
“It would have been nice to play with him, he had a great year and the team was strong,” said Michael. “I’m hoping we pick up right where he (Brett) left them.”
In Rouault’s spare time he likes to watch TV, shoot hoops, cheer on LeBron James, workout and eat.
The WolfPack open their exhibition season against the NAIT Ooks Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the TRU Old Gym.