On the Right Path: Meet CJ Bennett

After graduating with a Sport Management Diploma from Humber College, Brampton’s CJ Bennett was searching for a program that would allow him to fast track his undergraduate degree while playing out his final years of basketball eligibility. With the support of his coaches, he discovered Cape Breton University and quickly decided it was the perfect fit. 

“I joined the Capers as a fourth-year transfer and was able to make the best of my time here because of the ongoing love and support from CBU fans,” says CJ. “Their energy is so contagious and I’m thankful to all of them.” 

After completing his Bachelor of Arts Community Studies with a focus in Sport and Physical Activity Leadership, CJ is currently finishing up his final year with the Capers and plans to pursue a Bachelor of Education at CBU this spring. He says the small class sizes and athletics program at CBU have allowed him to receive personalized attention from both professors and coaches, enabling him to excel in both the classroom and on the court. CJ was named an Academic All-Canadian for the 2021/22 season, meaning he achieved an average higher than 80 per cent during his studies. 

“The tight-knit community and support from everyone on campus has made balancing life as a student-athlete much easier,” says CJ. “Playing for the Capers has been a grind but in my few years on the team my teammates have gone from strangers to family.” 

CJ says he has his parents to thank for his success, saying they have always encouraged him to continue pursuing both sports and academics. His close friends and mentors support CJ day after day, keeping him on the right path. “Besides COVID cancelling sports for over a year, the hardest part of my journey has been not being able to see my family and friends back home,” he says. 

Looking back on his time at CBU, CJ says the experience of living with his teammates has been one of the highlights. “I always thought I would have done that at a younger age,” he admits. “But being able to do it now has been a great experience.” As the Capers prepare for AUS Championships this week, it is the close team bonds that will allow them to stay focused and motivated. 

To anyone on the fence about taking a risk to advance their academic journey or career, CJ’s advice is to bet on yourself. “I did and I will have earned two degrees in four years while having an amazing basketball career,” he says. “Don’t be afraid of what will happen; be afraid of what won’t.” 

Join us in cheering on the Capers this March 17-20 as they compete in the AUS Championships. Tune in live at austv.ca 

The women’s team will take on Memorial at 1:00pm on Friday, March 18, followed by then men’s team against UPEI at 8:30pm that evening.