Montreal native Alex Kiss-Rusk had one of the most decorated careers in McGill Martlets basketball history.
Canadian basketball standout Alex Kiss-Rusk in action for her university. Photo credit: McGill University Athletics
The 6’4 center played on McGill’s women’s basketball season from 2013 to 2018, earning the school’s Female Athlete of the Year award in 2017 after being named the U Sports Tournament MVP and winning a national championship. During her university career, Kiss-Rusk, whose parents were star McGill basketball players decades ago, averaged 13 points and nine rebounds per game. She’s also spent time on Team Canada at various competitions around the world. In 2017, Kiss-Rusk made the trek to Chinese Taipei for the Summer Universiade.
“I was very grateful for the opportunity I received to play in Taipei,” she said.
Kiss-Rusk averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game for seventh-place Canada, with Australia earning the gold medal. She found the international style of play to be fairly similar to the Quebec conference she competed in for four seasons. “The physicality is very similar at the international level,” she said.
“Of course internationally, the competition is much more vast and you end up playing against some of the best players in the world. So that level of competition is really an amazing thing to experience.”
While the tournament can be hectic, she did have time to check out some of the area’s landmarks. “Fortunately we got the opportunity to hike Tapei’s Elephant Mountain,” she said.
“It was such a hot day, but you don’t always get opportunities like that when you’re at these kinds of events, so we were very lucky to be able to see some of the city.” Kiss-Rusk now plays professionally in Germany with BC Marburg. She appreciates the time she spent as a student-athlete at McGill and Virginia Tech and the lessons she learned.
“It taught me a million different things,” she said. “I learned about everything from time management to knowing how to work within a team and a system, to being a leader on and off the court.” Not surprisingly, she counts her championship ring as the pinnacle of her Canadian university basketball career.
“My favourite memory would definitely have to be winning the National Championship in my fourth year at McGill,” she said. “It was such a long time coming for our school so I was very pleased that I was able to help in making that happen for everyone.” Now in her first year abroad, Kiss-Rusk wants to have a lengthy pro career but isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I would like to see all the places it can take me and continue to explore my abilities and potential,” she said. “This lifestyle is very much decided on a year-to-year basis for me which, although it can be stressful, is a very exciting time in my life as well.”
Hers is a basketball journey that has included a memorable two weeks at the Summer Universiade. “From what I remember, it was very well organized and the competition was high,” she said. “I enjoyed every moment!”