For Montréal native Olivier Cadieux, the dream of playing NCAA Division I basketball was achieved when he committed to play for the Fairfield Stags in 2016. Now, after two seasons, he is prepared to return home to Canada in search of a bigger role and greater success with the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Cadieux played his Cégep career in his hometown at Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf before joining the Stags in Fairfield, CT. With the Dynamiques, he was named an RSEQ Second Team All-Star in 2016 after averaging 17.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game that season.
“When you’re a Canadian kid, you think a lot about D-I and playing in the NCAA, you feel pressured to jump at offers when you get them,” said Cadieux. “This time around, it was about finding somewhere that trusts me to come and have an impact and are there for me to help me get better as a basketball player and a person.”
In his first season at Fairfield, Cadieux appeared in 18 games as a reserve and averaged 7.6 minutes of playing time per game. Last year, a bone spur in his ankle cut his playing time short and after only suiting up for two games, he was ready for a change. He underwent a successful minor surgery to and is now ready to tackle a new challenge in a new setting.
“I loved it the first time I got to Ottawa, when I was doing the other recruiting visits, Ottawa just stuck out more than anything else,” he said.
The Gee-Gees represented a good chance to mix familiarity with new surroundings. Being a short two-hour drive from Montreal, he gets to remain close to home, but play in the most competitive conference in the nation with some familiar faces on the roster.
Cadieux is excited to share the floor with fifth-year captain Brandon Robinson, who he played one game against during Robinson’s last year at Dawson College. He also reunites with former teammate Guilliame Pépin, who he played with at the end of his time in Cégep. Finally, he will be on the same team as Kevil Civil, who led Brébeuf rival Collège Montmorency in battles in the final year of his time in Montreal.
“I’m very excited to play under Coach Jimmy, I felt so comfortable talking with him. I love that we get to play in the OUA against schools like Carleton, Ryerson, and Brock. Success is the goal every year and I feel like we can compete for a conference and national championship right away.”
“We are thrilled to add Olivier to the program,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “He is an extremely dedicated young man who will bring a work ethic and a skill level that will only elevate our program.” There will be an even more special homecoming for Cadieux in his first games as a Gee-Gee. The team kicks off their NCAA exhibition schedule with two games at Jean-de-Brébeuf on Aug. 5 and 10, both against D-I competition.
“During my time at Brébeuf I started the whole process and became more mature, so to go back and play my first games against NCAA Division I teams will be special,” he said. “I’m going to have a lot of family and friends there that haven’t had a chance to see me play in the last two years. To start this new chapter there is going to be fun.”