(1977 - )
A Quebecois, Alex Bougaieff (pronounced Boo-guy-off)
is a French Canadian who played college basketball at Rice University
in the late 1990s, and is currently playing for Lauretana Biella in
Italy's Serie A. He explained in an interview with Scott Granowitz of
JewishSports.com that he began playing basketball in the eighth grade
because, "I was very tall for my age...so the natural thing was
to try basketball..." Unlike in the United States, where young
players develop their skills through AAU teams, basketball camps, and
school teams, Canada has no such system, as Bougaieff told Granowitz.
"I never went to any kind of [basketball]summer camps. I only played
with the Quebec camp in the summer."
Bougaieff played basketball in school at College Montmorency,
a post-graduate high school, and was named All-Canadian twice. During
his senior year, he led his team to a 24-5 record and the Quebec Provincial
championship while averaging 22 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks
per game. In 1996, he accepted a basketball scholarship from Rice University
and said, "I thought it [Rice] was the best combination of athletics
and academics I could find in the States at the time...playing college
basketball in the NCAA was always a goal."
Bougaieff began his college career for Rice's Owls
weighing only 210 pounds, although he beefed himself up to 240 pounds
by his senior season. He played as a true freshman and averaged 2.2
points and 5.0 rebounds per game. The following year, he increased his
output to 2.7 points and 5.9 rebounds, and improve again to 8.3 points
and 7.6 rebounds as a junior in 1999 (he led the team in rebounding).
That year, he also had 36 blocks and appeared in 27 of Rice's 28 games.
The Owls finished the season with a record of 18-10 (8-6 in the Western
In 1997, Bougaieff played in the Maccabiah Games as a member of the Canadian team that captured the
gold medal. Named MVP of the tournament, the 6'11" center scored
28 points in the final, a 76-60 victory over Great Britain.
The summer before his senior season, Bougaieff played for Canada in
the World University Games and led his team to the quarterfinals. Although
Canada was eliminated by the U.S., Bougaieff scored 22 points and added
eight rebounds and two blocks against the Americans. Alex had previously
played for the Canadian Under-22 National team and was a member of the
National team in 2000.
Bougaieff returned to Rice in 1999-2000 as the team's only senior.
The Owls' basketball coach Willis Wilson said of the unique situation,
"...he's handled it very well, understanding the heavy responsibility
to be a leader, especially with the freshmen [Rice had seven freshmen
on its squad that year]. He does a fine job of being an example and
being available for them...he's very selfless, doing whatever it takes
for the team's success. He's also very versatile, doing so many things
offensively and defensively."
Although Bougaieff played well during the season, inexperience and
injuries caused Rice to struggle. At one point in the season, they lost
15 consecutive games. They broke the streak toward the end of the season
with a 62-59 victory over UTEP when Bougaieff blocked a shot in the
final seconds of the game. The block not only sealed the victory, it
also broke the school record for career blocks.
Following his college career, Bougaieff played basketball
professionally in Italy with Fila Biella. In 2000-01, he averaged 5.8
points and 4.7 rebounds per game in the Second Division. The following
year, he signed with Lauretana Biella of Serie A (the top league in
Italy) and appeared in 34 games, averaging 3.2 points, 2.9 rebounds,
and 2.0 assists per game.
Sources: Jews in