Written by Daniele Franceschi; Photos by Alex D'Addese, Mathieu Belanger
Mariah Nunes always believed she could go pro.
There was, however, doubt and apprehension, which is often common for student-athletes who struggle to find a home at the post-secondary level.
Nunes, 24, began her collegiate basketball career at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, an institution which currently holds NCAA Division I status.
The appeal of playing Division I basketball is often a primary pursuit for many high-level hoops prodigies hailing from Canada. Given the scope and reputation of the NCAA, there is immense pressure for promising Canadian prospects to migrate south of the border for the purposes of refining their craft at the collegiate level.
For Nunes, however, the appeal of playing D-1 basketball was eventually displaced by a natural desire to be happy. Basketball, after all, is a sport, and fundamentally, sports are meant to be enjoyable.
“I wasn’t happy at Fairleigh,” admitted Nunes, a five-foot-10 combo guard. “The coaching style didn’t work well with me as a player. I just felt very undervalued and mistreated. I was looking for a program where I would feel welcomed.”
Enter Ryerson University, an institution which, at the time, was in the midst of a significant Athletics overhaul.