Mago inspired by her family

THINKING ABOUT TOMORROW: Senator O’Connor point guard Chloe Mago hopes to attend University of Buffalo in the fall.

Sharing hoop dreams with 18 year old Chloe Mago will fill anyone with the vibrant enthusiasm that she has for basketball.

She’s a self-professed junkie of the sport, cut from the same cloth as WNBA star Tamika Catchings of Indiana Fever.

“Say if I won money or had the chance to play at a school for basketball, I’d rather play basketball than take the money,” she said.

Five years of Senator O’Connor basketball has shaped her into a leader. After making it to OFSAA in 2009-10, Mago was named captain upon her return for a fifth season, coach Sherwyn Benn said.

“Originally it was a different task for her because last year we were pretty decent but there were a lot of supporting players,” he said. “She acknowledged that she’d be the only one, questioned how well she would do and in the end she really enjoyed the challenge.”

Her Blues went undefeated during the regular season, but unfortunately bowed out in the playoffs.

“The loss was obviously hard for her because it was her last year and she felt that she did not accomplish everything she wanted,” Benn said. “That was to take us back to OFSAA.”

Still, averaging 19.8 points per game and 6.5 assists, Mago shouldered the responsibility of captain to a level of flawless efficiency.

One reason: everybody in Mago’s family plays a part in her basketball life.

For the 5-foot-8 point guard, her father provided the introduction at the age of five and continues to motivate her bright and early on weekends.

“Because my basketball net broke, we go to the park every Saturday morning and we work on shooting and play one-on-one,” she said.

Her grandparents are her fan corps, attending every game and not just supporting Mago but her Blues teammates and her club team, Durham Eclipse.

As for her mom, she’s the one who brings Mago back down to Earth.

“Even though I’m a basketball junkie, my mom always makes sure my head is in the books,” she said, affection evident in her voice. “She makes sure I’ve finished my work before I play basketball.”

With a strong foundation, a future at University of Buffalo, home of Victor E. Bull, is not far away.

“They’re the number one for me,” she said. “They’re the ones who talked to me the most because they need a point guard.”

Her mother will be proud because Mago’s academic roster includes a future in either kinesiology or sports management.

Whatever her choice, Benn knows Mago will succeed off the court and most certainly on it.

“If she does not make it to the next level it’s most likely due to an injury or something else — an outside factor,” he said. “She’s destined for something in the basketball world, I can say that much.”

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