Humber’s rising star: Ceejay Nofuente
HumberSports Mar 21, 2017 Devon Imrie
With five minutes left in the 4th quarter, number 24 for the Humber Hawks dribbles down the court and pulls up behind the three-point line for a contested shot. The basket counts and Ceejay Nofuente has just broke history. 55 points and 13 three pointers against Redeemer.
Fourth year sports management student, Nofuente beat the 2008-09 record for points previously set by Natasha Thombs by one point. She shattered the three-point record by making four more threes than the previous record.
Despite the high praises and awards she has received the past two years, Nofuente comes from humble beginnings where she remembers following her two idols to the gym everyday.
“Just wanted to tag along with my uncles. When they would go to the gym I would try and go with them and I would be that little rat they couldn’t get away from. Growing up around it and watching them, it was in my blood to play basketball,” said Nofuente.
Being the player she is now and having people know her name she goes back to her old community centre to give back to the youth. Nofuente says her presence helps lifts the kid’s spirits and wants to help build them up into any sport they want to pursue.
Wednesday, January 11, 2016 will be a day Nofuente never forgets.
“Making history. Breaking records. It’s all fun to be a part of, it’s one of the reasons I play.”
Head coach, Ajay Sharma said that he’s never been apart of something like that before.
Sharma has been the coach of the Hawks for six years and has been named OCAA Coach of the Year two times while also winning the National Championship last season.
Before the match Nofuente had an oddly awful warm-up, which might have been the reason for her slow start.
“I remember shooting with a couple guys from the men’s team at warm-up and I was missing every shot and thought I was going to have a bad game,” said Nofuente.
She eventually started to heat up and poured in an incredible 36 points in the second half including 26 points in the third quarter.
“The most special thing is we were only winning by 1 at half, so the pressure to win was still there, the pressure to play team basketball was still there, she just decided that she was going to take it on her shoulders and score the ball,” said Sharma.
Even during the biggest game of her career she was focused on only securing the victory for her team.
“Im always aware of records, but it’s never about records or stats in a game. For me it’s all about winning and getting my teammates involved,” said Nofuente.
Nofunete is used to making history, as she was the first student-athlete from a school within the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA) to win National Player of the Year.
“She’s the face of our program. She has certainly put us on the map and certainly been a big part of our success the last couple of years,” said Sharma.
Following a great season, Nofuenete has raised her game even more as she is averaging 24 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.4 assists and has been the main reason for the incredible 47 game win streak.
She attributes her success this season on focusing more on her own offensive game, more specifically her personal scoring.
“Taking more shots and also being more consistent and even when to take certain shots. Being the go to player when it comes to scoring. Knowing when to take the shot and be selfish at the right times,” said Nofuente.
“She’s highly competitive, doesn’t like to lose and is willing to do whatever that moment needs for her and her team to be successful. She’s our best player and not only our best player but she might be the best player in Canada,” said Sharma.
This may be Nofuente’s last season with the team and says, “I want to win the OCAA championship and the National Championship again. Going back to back as Ontario team that would make history all over again.”
Being one of the top players in Canada, Nofuente may have a choice as to wear she would like to continue her basketball career.
“Sky’s the limit, she plays the game at a very high level and she’s a very smart player. She has the chance to be a professional player at some level whether at a professional league in Europe or in the US but it’s within her grasp for sure,” said Sharma.