GAZETTE ARTICLE ON DRANADIA ROC
Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Headline: "Cheetahs' Roc fulfills promise:
Realizing pledge to late father with stellar play on court"
Written by ARPON BASU
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PHOTO: DAVE SIDAWAY, GAZETTE
Vanier Cheetahs' Dranadia Roc
moves ball upcourt on Ste. Foy
Dynamiques' Sarah Baribeau.

There is probably no greater insult to a teenage girl than a comparison with a boy. But Vanier College Cheetahs rookie point-guard Dranadia Roc takes it as a compliment.

One reason might be that Roc honed her tremendous basketball skills playing against - and earning the respect of - boys on the playground.

"I would stay on the courts until midnight playing with the guys, and they wouldn't even know my name. They'd call me by whatever T-shirt I had on, like, 'Hey swoosh!' " Roc said recently. "It hit them when I started shooting it in their faces. I would come each day with a new move to work on. Eventually, I earned their respect."

"I would stay on the courts until midnight playing with the guys, and they wouldn't even know my name. They'd call me by whatever T-shirt I had on, like, 'Hey swoosh!' " Roc said recently. "It hit them when I started shooting it in their faces. I would come each day with a new move to work on. Eventually, I earned their respect."

That's not surprising, because Roc's game is eye-catching. Her jump shot is right out of a textbook and she has a handle on the ball that's rare in 18-year-old girls from Quebec.

But what is more unique in CEGEP girls basketball is seeing someone dribble at full speed, come to a complete stop and go straight up for a jump shot - a skill Roc has in her back pocket.

"That's why I am where I am," Roc said. "People tell me all the time: 'You play like a guy.' It's not insulting, it's pretty funny."

Considering how advanced she is in the game, it is amazing to learn she only began playing organized basketball when she arrived at Wagar High School six years ago.

She already had blinding speed and planned to use it on the track team, but she was eventually convinced to try out for the basketball squad.

That same year, Roc was devastated when her father died of lung disease.

The second eldest of seven children, Roc made a promise to her father, and there was no way she would let him down.

"That's what kept me going. I wanted to fulfill my promise to him to finish high school and get somewhere in basketball, and that's what I've been doing. I've just been getting better and better," she said. "I think that made me stronger as a person, it made me more mature."

Despite coming off the bench most of this season, Roc is the sixth-leading scorer in the CEGEP league at 12.8 points per game.

That number would be a lot higher if Roc asserted herself more on the offensive end.

"She's a gem, a great athlete," said Trevor Williams, a former national-team star and coach of arch-rival Dawson College. "She's definitely a (U.S. college) Division 1 player."

In a recent 65-61 home-loss upset to Ste. Foy, Roc had 11 first-half points, but only four in the second half, continually trying to create shots for her teammates.

"Honestly, I've always looked for my teammates more. My coach has to tell me not to pass," Roc said with a laugh. "That is my dream, to be able to take control of a game. But I'm in my first year, so I don't know if that's my job. I don't mind being the main attraction, but I'm not too fond of it."

Whether she's fond of it or not, she'd better get used to it.


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