Javon Masters is all about the challenge, pushing himself to the limit and proving the doubters wrong.
Masters, the all-time leading scorer in Canadian college basketball, recently entered his fifth professional ball season as the starting point guard for Stade Rochelais Basket in France. The team is located in La Rochelle, a picturesque town of around 75,000 on the west coast of the country, and competes in Pro B, the second tier of the French basketball league system.
“It’s a great opportunity, and I love the challenge of being in a new league, new country, different teammates, different style of ball,” said Masters, a 27-year-old Kitchener native. in a video chat.
“It’s something I wanted to happen, and I did, but I’m not satisfied, always trying to improve.”
The Masters selected Stade Rochelais over opportunities to play in Germany, Belgium and Finland. This decision comes after three seasons in Romania and a year in Spain. The 2019 University of New Brunswick graduate also enjoyed a cup of coffee with the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Hamilton Honey Badgers.
Masters made his regular season debut for Stade Rochelais last week, scoring 17 points in a 70-65 loss to Antibes. On Tuesday, he scored a team-record 24 points in an 82-81 loss to Le Havre in the French Basketball Cup.
Masters said playing with a chip on his shoulder is one of his greatest assets, a condition that has fueled him since he was rejected in 2013 by Cape Breton University. The former Forest Heights Collegiate student had committed to Cape Breton while still in high school, but later discovered the program had recruited other players who would be ahead of him in the pecking order.
He signed with New Brunswick instead, and the rest is history.
Masters played five seasons in Fredericton and led the Reds to an Atlantic University Sport title in his final season, ending his career with the all-time U Sports record of 2,407 points in 96 games.
He was a five-time All-Canadian – three first-team selections, two second-team selections – as well as a five-time Atlantic Conference First-Team All-Star and three-time NBA Most Valuable Player. conference.
He was also twice named University of New Brunswick Athlete of the Year and was Canada’s top rookie in 2014.
The Cape Breton snub was an inspiration throughout his academic and professional career.
“I’ve had that chip on my shoulder ever since, to be honest,” Masters said. “I never lost that edge, that dog that I always had.”
The Pro B season runs until May and the Masters hope a successful season with Stade Rochelais will provide new opportunities in the years to come. He sees himself playing until his mid-30s, depending on his health, and hopes a second basketball career will follow.
“I always feel like I can play at a higher level, but I have to be sure that I’m playing at my best, that I’m not on the decline,” Masters said.
“Right now I’m with a great organization, with a great group of guys, and I just want to keep improving.”