“The Smartest On The Court”
Schneiders Suffrard Doesn’t Study in the Conventional Sense
Schneiders Suffrard is studying. A video plays, and on the glowing screen, men are playing basketball. On the other side sits Suffrard, watching and learning. Instead of memorizing formulas, he keenly observes plays, team systems and strategies.
For Suffrard, hours spent watching and committing the movements of the game to memory are just as important as the time spent on the court.
“I watch basketball everyday,” Suffrard said. “I watch NCAA basketball everyday. I’m trying to understand why they are good.”
In addition to pulling all-nighters to study for exams, he stays up studying footage to become a better player. Suffrard is not only a student in school, but also a student of the game of basketball.
Born in Montreal, Suffrard has been playing basketball from the age of nine. It was only natural for him to follow his older brother, who took up the sport at the age of 14. It was his brother who pushed him to be the player he is today.
“I was able to be skilled more early,” Suffrard said. “My brother really wanted me to play basketball, so I followed his steps.”
His passion for the sport only grew from there. Now, Suffrard likes the competitiveness of the game, as well as the fact that basketball requires a lot of skill to play.
Prior to his arrival at Concordia, he admitted to being recruited by other Canadian teams, and Division 1 National Collegiate Athletics Association squads. But to join an NCAA team, Suffrard would have had to spend another year in CEGEP—something that wasn’t in his plan. He only has two things on his mind: being the best player he can be and winning.
“I want to be the best on the court, the smartest on the court,” Suffrard said. “In every team I don’t really give the coach the option to not play me, because I always do something.”
Suffrard watches all levels of basketball and is constantly analyzing his own games with the Stingers coaches to learn where he needs to improve.
“He’s a great talent, but the last few games he’s been struggling offensively. Defensively he does a lot of good things for us, but my job is to try to push him to get better,” said head coach Rastko Popovic. “I think he’s improved in a lot of those places, but we got to keep working at it everyday.”
It’s the passion for basketball that keeps Suffrard going, and why he’s always trying to improve his game.
“Some first year guys don’t understand the constant effort that’s required at this level if you really want to be a great player,” Popovic said.
Suffrard claims that he can play all four positions offensively on the basketball court, and all five defensively, to give his team a boost in momentum, even if he’s not scoring all that much.
That doesn’t mean Suffrard doesn’t need a little luck on his side. As superstition, he wears a headband, often red, during games. He admitted that ever since he started wearing it with his last school, the Vanier Cheetahs, he’s grown accustomed to having it on.
“One of my teammates just gave it to me, it felt nice,” Suffrard said. “I played a good game with it and I just kept it.”
A first-year player, Suffrard still has a lot to learn according to Popovic.
“I’m always a core piece in winning [teams]. I take charge,” Suffrard said. “I’m aware of the fact that the coaches need a player like me, so that’s why I keep watching basketball.”
“He understands the game, he knows how to get to his spots,” said fourth-year Stingers veteran Michael Fosu, “I would say that he has a high IQ for basketball.”
Suffrard finds himself fitting with a new team and new system, on top of being at a new school.
“Schneiders is athletic, he’s long, he’s able to get in passing lanes defensively and offensively, he causes a lot of mismatches,” Fosu said. “He’s a difficult player to guard and that helps us tremendously.”
For his future with the team, Suffrard wants to be a part of a championship-winning Stingers squad.
“I think he can be an All-Star, an All-Canadian by the time he’s done, but we’re going to take it one year at time,” Popovic said.
For Suffrard, being on a winning team is his goal, and that’s how he wants his time as a Stinger to be remembered.
“I want to win everything, I want to win the provincial and the national. That’s why I’m here,” Suffrard said. “That’s what I’m striving at, and that’s how I’m going to make my name.”
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