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Maturity and friendship mold star cager

by Archives March 2, 2005

Nearly 24 hours after the Concordia Stingers finished off their regular season with an 83-66 win over the UQAM Citadins, giving them a nearly flawless 15-1 record, Pat Perrotte is back at the high school where he first realized his passion for basketball.

At ESMR high school in Verdun, where Perrotte won a scoring title when he was 16 and earned the nickname “Pet”, he now works as a substitute teacher and operates the gymnasium two nights a week. This is what he does when he’s not playing the post for the Stingers, who are currently ranked third in the country as they head into the playoffs this Sunday with hopes of contending for a national title later this month. “I’m really comfortable around kids and it gives a good feeling to help them out,” says the 26-year-old, now in his third year at Concordia in leisure sciences. “A lot of these kids look up to a guy like me because I play basketball and I used to go to school here. I’m sure if I didn’t play ball and wore tight jeans and a polo shirt they wouldn’t listen to me as well.”

Despite his age, Perrotte has a wealth of experience and is a positive role model for the students he teaches. Not many university players have been through as much as Perrotte has over the last few years. Besides having had great success at every level he played, he also grew up quickly. He made such bold decisions as leaving school at the age of 18 and getting married at 21.

Neither of these decisions was made in haste, as Perrotte was confident he would be successful at anything he did outside of school. He was right.

Although working at Foot Locker might not sound like the most illustrious job, he quickly moved up the ladder to a managerial position and was making an income greater than the average person his age. That coincided with his marriage to his wife Isabelle, whom he met while both were playing ball at Ahuntsic College.

Even on their wedding day the two managed to include basketball into the mix. Perrotte wore a pair of flashy Jordan 11’s for the ceremony and afterwards they took pictures on a court behind the chapel where they had just exchanged vows.

But eventually these two parts of Perrotte’s life began to interfere with each other. “I was working too much and my wife told me I had to make a choice. I love her very much and she’s what I come home to every day. I know that she’ll always be there for me through anything,” he says. Although there wasn’t much of a decision to make in that instance, he was still left with the question of what to do next. That’s when he called on an old friend.

After he played a year at Ahuntsic College, where he won a AA scoring title, Perrotte was lucky enough to sign-up with AAA College Edouard Montpetit. During this time he met Philippe Langlois, who now plays point-guard for the Stingers, but back then played for Montmorency. By the end of the season Perrotte had claimed yet another league scoring title, finishing just ahead of Langlois. The two remained friends and Langlois was even a guest at the wedding.

A couple of years later, when Perrotte was trying to figure out where he wanted to attend university, he went to Langlois and asked if there might be a spot on the team for him. After Concordia had suffered through a 2-13 season the year before, Langlois was fairly certain they would be able find space. “We were looking for a big guy and I knew he could score. When he told me he was willing it was a big relief,” Langlois says. “We had played together for a few years and I knew he was a great guy.”

Perrotte’s feelings are mutual. “The main reason that I’m at Concordia today is because of Phil,” he says. “We have really good chemistry because Phil can pass and I can score. You look at guys in the NBA like Jordan and Pippen or Stockton and Malone and we’re kinda like that, maybe on a lower level though.”

The numbers back up Perrotte’s assessment. He is currently ranked 14th in Canada, in both points-per-game and field-goal percentage, while Langlois is ranked second in assists. The tandem have also provided Concordia with high rankings in several team statistics, including being the third-highest scoring team in the country. “I think everyone here has a lot of respect for Phil. He is a great leader and sets a good example for everyone. This is going to be his last year so everyone feels that he deserves a championship.”

As for Perrotte, he knows he’ll have two more years after this to leave his mark on Concordia. After that, well, he doesn’t seem too concerned. “I have a lot of things keeping me busy right now and I’m doing well. I don’t want to start worrying about things before they happen.”

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