Saturday, November 03, 2007

From The Observer

Strength from tragedy
Forward Meno copes with brother's on-court death

DAVIDSON --Boris Meno's quiet confidence has been built through an inner peace.

Meno's brother, Yannick, died after collapsing on the basketball court in his home country of France six years ago. Yannick, three years younger than Boris, had an undetected heart condition that led to his death, his brother said.

Few in the Davidson community know about Yannick's death. They only know Boris Meno for his basketball improvement.

The senior forward has boosted his scoring and rebounding each season, yet that progress hasn't come just from long hours in the weight room and practice court.

It has come after being able to cope.

"Boris and I will talk about our siblings because we have sisters the same age," said sophomore forward Max Paulhus Gosselin. "And eventually, his brother will come up. It was hard for him for a while, but at least now he can talk about him without tearing up."

It took a while for Meno, 23, to adjust to the loss of his brother, and the new culture he came to at Davidson.

He became homesick at times, and the skinny, 6-foot-8 forward struggled to match up against bigger opponents for his first two seasons.

"You can see (Yannick's death) impact Boris every time he's out here," coach Bob McKillop said. "His brother died on the court, and everyday he goes out and is reminded of that. It has been so hard for him and his family."

Meno carries a quiet, reserved nature and doesn't talk about his brother's death often.

He still visits home when he can -- Meno missed a photo shoot last week to make a quick trip to France -- but slowly, he's learned how to adapt.

He's become more outgoing with teammates, and isn't afraid to joke around at times.

He's become one of the Wildcats' best inside scorers and rebounders, and averaged 11 points and eight rebounds a game last season. And, he's done more than value his time on the court.

"You can tell he really values the relationships he has with his teammates now," assistant coach Matt Matheny said. "Every time we are in the locker room or in a pregame meal he's one of the last to come out because he savors the time he has with them. I think his brother's death has something to do with that."

Meno said his brother's death was a jolt, but said he has learned to appreciate what he has now.

"I think about him everyday," Meno said. "He still motivates me to do well."

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