Ibrahim Appiah (Social Science, 2007) works as the Assistant General Manager and director of player personnel for the Montreal Alliance Professional basketball team.

He has managed to make a successful career out of his passion for basketball, having worked at the Alma Academy where he coached and took on the role of manager for Chris Boucher of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

Appiah’s interest in sports began at an early age and he played basketball for the Cavaliers during his time at Champlain Saint-Lambert.

“My time at Champlain basketball-wise was amazing,” he said. “I loved the community piece of it. I feel like ever since I left, I haven’t gotten that community feel.”

During his time with the Cavaliers, the men’s basketball team made it all the way to nationals taking home the bronze medal. His star continued to rise and after graduation, Appiah was considered by many to be one of Canada’s top prospects.

He went on to play basketball at High Point University and the University of West. After bouncing around to a few different schools, Appiah ended up finishing his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Carlton University in Ottawa.

“I always liked psychology. Once I started playing Division 1, I was also coaching youth teams. I felt like my strength came from being able to motivate the players, connect with them, motivate them to perform at a higher level,” he said.

“The tools that I learned in psychology helped me to be a better coach and a better mentor.”

At Carlton, Appiah connected with the group who was working to open the basketball academy in Alma, Que.

“They asked me to get involved. I loved the idea. Sitting behind a desk was never really my thing,” he said.

Appiah worked at the Alma Academy and then Team Thetford in Thetford Mines, Que., for almost a decade where he played a key role in developing many athletes who would go on to play in the NCAA’s Division 1, top U Sports programs, in the CEBL and professionally abroad.

He said he’s proud of the impact he was able to have working with and mentoring younger athletes.

“I wanted to be basketball player at the highest level and obviously it didn’t happen that way. I didn’t end up in the pros but I think my impact is a lot more this way,” he said. “I didn’t see it happening this way but I always saw myself in the basketball world.”

When a local group started working to get a pro basketball team off the ground in Montreal, they approached Appiah to bring his expertise to the effort.

“They felt like I knew the grassroots of basketball in Quebec because I’ve been around,” he said.

The Montréal Alliance is a professional basketball team competing in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL). The team has had two seasons so far, playing to sold out crowds in the Verdun Auditorium.

Appiah said everyone involved has been encouraged by the support from fans.

“Montreal is very supportive. Our first year, we didn’t win a lot of games, and they were still there supporting us,” he said.

Working with the Montréal Alliance, Appiah says he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be.

“When you’re a player, you have an expiry date. You’ll have to retire. Being associated to a pro team now, I can kind of realistically do this forever,” he said.

Appiah’s advice for current cegep students and recent grads: “Stick with it. Consistency over time is the most important thing. A lot of people see me now and say ‘you’re so lucky.’ And I say, ‘you should have seen me in 2012. You see me at my 10th year and it looks good right now.’ I stuck with it and I never gave up. The road it wasn’t always clear and that’s the biggest thing. I couldn’t have told you in year two or three that I was going to be here. But I believed I was doing the right thing. Don’t get tired of doing the boring stuff, the fundamentally sound stuff. Something positive is going to come out of it.”