Chatham basketball player Maggie Denys has committed to playing OUA basketball with the Windsor Lancers, this fall. (Photo sourced from Maggie Denys YouTube)

Chatham basketball player commits to University of Windsor

After years of practice and dedication, a Chatham basketball player is poised to play at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) level, keeping her talents close to home.

Since she was in Grade 3, Maggie Denys practiced basketball with her father, David. A post-player by trade, Denys said her father taught her how to be physical in the key and how to out-rebound an opponent. It was the countless hours and preparation that have now turned the combo-guard into the latest player to dawn a Windsor Lancers jersey.

At 5’10, Denys is one of the latest recruits for head coach Chantal Vallee’s women’s basketball program.

“Chantel is a well known and strong female influence,” said Denys, of her decision to commit to the Lancers. “I thought it would be really cool considering I want to become a coach when I’m older.”

For as long as she can remember, Denys has had a connection with the University of Windsor program. While playing for the Chatham-Kent Wildcats organization she took trips down the 401 to the St. Denis Centre and watched the then five-time national champions dominate their competition. As a young player, she looked up to point-guard Miah Marie Langlois who eventually went on to play with the Canadian Women’s National Team.

“I really like being a court general. I love moving the ball up and really being a quarterback for the team,” said Denys. “I’m a shooter, I love shooting. It’s something that I’m good at and I love doing.”

In order to get to the next level of skill development, Denys left the Wildcats organization and went to London to play with the London Ramblers JUEL prep team – the same program which developed fellow Chatham player Bridget Carleton.

Although it is a team geared toward high school students, Denys made the Ramblers roster in Grade 8, learning more advanced basketball concepts and developing her off-court presence as a leader, according to head coach Rob Angione.

“Maggie has been a constant leader in our program from day one, by setting the culture,” said Angione, who spent one year with the Western Mustangs as an assistant coach. “She is one of the most intelligent basketball players I’ve ever coached in terms of management of the game, understanding the game, and kind of just having a feel for the flow of the game.”

In Grade 10, Denys decided to leave the JUEL program and commit to the Southwest Basketball Academy, a scholastic-based program which is similar to prep schools in the U.S.

She has spent her last two years as captain with the program, and Angione said during that time Denys has shown she can be an elite talent in OUA competition.

“Maggie has a true identity,” said Angione of her shooting ability. “As a player I see her having a chance to be on the all-rookie team and then hopefully being an OUA and U-Sport all-star moving forward.”

Despite offers from other universities such as Brock, Ryerson, Western, and York, as well as U.S. schools William & Mary and North Dakota, Denys said she is looking forward to the education she will receive from the University of Windsor. She is taking sociology with aspirations to one day become a coach.

The Lancer’s season begins October 23 at the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse against the Western Mustangs.

Complementary to the game, Denys said she is excited just being able to have her family come down to watch her perform at a level of basketball she has been dreaming about since childhood.