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Representing her country

South Florida forward Melissa Dalembert was born in Montreal, Quebec. After two seasons of playing basketball for the Bulls, she has a chance to play for a team closer to home.

Dalembert has an opportunity to represent her country as a player on the Canadian Development Team.

She has been at a training camp in Ontario with the Canadian team in preparation for a pre-Olympic exhibition series against the Chinese National Team in Shanghai, July 18-22.

Linda Marquis, coach of the development team, said that the new experience will have a positive impact on Dalembert’s playing ability.

“It’s all new for her,” Marquis said. “She has shown a lot of improvement. Her attitude is great.”

Marquis said that the drive to improve is what stands out about Dalembert.

“The motivation is there. She wants to get better and knows what it takes, but she will need more time to realize what it takes to get better,” Marquis said.

During her time in Ontario, Dalembert is writing a blog on her experience as a member of the Canadian team. In her blog, Dalembert describes the differences between playing in Canada and at USF.

“One thing they emphasize is defense. They want us to live low and stay low to the ground when we play defense or have the ball in our hands,” Dalembert wrote.

The Canadian team plays a different style of basketball than the college style of set plays ran by coach Jose Fernandez.

“We run motion plays, and it’s all new for her. She’s used to set plays so she has to read more,” Marquis said.

Dalembert’s brother Samuel has also gotten the opportunity to play for Canada.

Samuel Dalembert is a member of Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team and a center for the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to play for my country and especially an honor that I get to play with the developmental team when Sam is a member of the Canadian Senior Men’s National Team,” Dalembert said in a press release. “This is a whole different style of play that I am experiencing.”

Dalembert finished the 2008 season averaging 5.4 points per game and third on the team in blocks (17).

Marquis said Dalembert has the ability to play against some of the best players in the world.

“She’s physical and she battles inside,” Marquis said. “She’ll have the chance to compare herself to Olympians and great players.”