Kemy Osse Montreal Alliance interview CEBL

Photo by @jaybasketballtv

Kemy Osse is first up with the Montreal Alliance

We spoke to the Parc Ex-raised CEBL point guard about being signed to a brand new hometown team.

The prime of a basketball player is thought to begin in the athlete’s late 20s. This puts Parc Ex-raised, 29-year-old point guard Kemy Osse in the perfect place to lead the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Montreal Alliance into their inaugural season.

The signing, the team’s first, was announced in a March 23 press conference at Verdun Auditorium, which will serve as homecourt come May.

“We are extremely excited to announce Kemy as our first official signing in franchise history,” said General Manager Joel Anthony. “Kemy’s leadership and experience in our league will play a large role for the team, along with his ability to contribute on both sides of the ball.”

Osse is no new face in the CEBL. The baller spent his last two seasons with the Saskatchewan Rattlers, averaging 11.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists. 

Kemy serves as a symbol of hope for aspiring hoopers across Montreal. His signing with the Alliance launches a new era of basketball in the city. Now, players need not leave home to have a sustainable career on the court.

We spoke to Kemy Osse at the Alliance’s presser event about his role with the team and his ideas about what the future of the sport could look like in Montreal.

Mr. Wavvy: What are your expectations with the first Alliance season?

Kemy Osse: I’m working with General Manager Joel Anthony, I’m working with team President Annie Larouche and Coach Vincent Lavandier. When you work with people like that, your expectations have to be high. The goal is always to win every single game. Every other team feels the same way: We’re gonna compete and want to give ourselves a chance to win every single game.

MW: What do you think your role will be in terms of team? You’ve had a couple years of experience in the league. I’m sure there will be a lot of newcomers that are entering their first year of professional basketball. Do you expect to take a vet leadership role in some sense?

KO: Yes, and doing anything that’s required for us to win as a team. It’s a team sport. It’s not like boxing. So you’ve got to bring what you do best and what may be missing to the team.

Once we have the whole team together, I think you’ve just gotta sit back as a leader and see, “Okay, what’s missing? Is it more communication? Is it maybe taking on more defensive responsibilities?”

MW: You’ve had some time in the CEBL, having played two seasons in Saskatoon with the Rattlers. How was it playing in a bubble for the 2020 season?

KO: It was interesting. It was fun because I like new challenges. It was only a month and a half. Everybody lived in the same hotel. It was fun though. It was a different experience. I’d rather play in our arena. It was different but was still competitive. At the end of the day, it was still basketball.

MW: How was it playing in Saskatoon? I find the CEBL so smart, placing themselves in many mid-sized markets because a lot of those cities don’t have teams to cheer for. The fan dedication must be so different.

KO: The fan base, that was crazy. Shout out to them. They gave me a lot of love and I appreciate them. But it was a no-brainer to come home and play for the home team [in Montreal].

MW: How do you find the Montreal basketball landscape has developed since you were growing up? There are a great number of players from the city in both the NBA and NCAA, and now a team of our own.

KO: It’s right here. You work hard. You do what you got to do to be seen, nowadays, with social media and connections. Now you have people like Joel. We bring in people that are connected. You have people from (Montreal in basketball) everywhere, whether it’s college basketball, prep schools, high schools… we’re connected. So I think kids nowadays, they’ve got a bright future if that’s what they really want to do.

MW: How do you think the French language plays into Montreal’s basketball landscape? Some NBA players are already wishy-washy about playing in Toronto, I can only imagine what Montreal would be like.

KO: Montreal is very multicultural. The culture here is why the name of the team is Alliance. Yeah. Because it’s a bunch of communities here but they accept it. Obviously, it’s a French-speaking city, but they’re open to English people. I mean, look at how you are speaking to me (in English) and you live here, right? They accept you. I think you can do it here.

MW: It’s interesting, you guys have got a coach from France, too.

KO: Crazy! But we’re probably gonna have some English speaking people on the staff, too, which won’t matter for me, personally.

MW: Do you guys have your eyes set on any rivalries? I know there is also a Toronto/Scarborough team beginning this season.

KO: Nah man, everyone. Every team is a rivalry to me. I think every time you step on that court, you try to win. You try to just kill that team. So I think every game should feel like a rivalry. ■

This interview with Kemy Osse was originally published in the April 2022 issue of Cult MTL. 

The 2022 CEBL season begins on May 25. For more about the Montreal Alliance and to purchase tickets, please visit the team’s website.

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