Rwandan going places in Uganda Basketball League

Patrick Habiyaremye Mwihoreze plays in Uganda’s first division with the UCU Canons. He has impeccable records. In three years, he has made it from playing in the third to the first division. Dean Karemera caught up with him and below are the excerpts.
Habiyaremye Patrick Mwihoreze receiving the Division three championship trophy last year.
Habiyaremye Patrick Mwihoreze receiving the Division three championship trophy last year.

Briefly, introduce yourself?

I am Patrick Habiyaremye Mwihoreze. I’m Rwandan, 22-years old. I graduated with a Second Class Upper degree in Bachelor of Business Administration from Uganda Christian University where am currently playing for UCU Canons Basketball team in the first division.

When did you start playing basketball and what motivated you to start playing?

I started playing basketball in 2001 at Lycee de Kigali. I was motivated by seeing other students play and during the Inter-class competitions I joined and I have never looked back. When I joined UCU, I joined UCU Junior Canons.

At university, how did you manage to balance books and sports?

Hard work made it possible for me. Since I love Basketball, I reserved time for it but also made a commitment to study hard. Besides, studying has never been a problem to me.

How many seasons did you play with the UCU Junior Canons and how did you join?

I played three seasons with the UCU Junior Canons. I used to pick up with the team back in late 2008 but I had not joined because the season was almost over, so when the 2009 season began, I was recruited.

According to FUBA statistics and UCU sports department, you were instrumental in helping the UCU Junior Canons to their maiden trophy from the third division to the second division, how did that make you feel?

It was awesome, a great feeling and a memory that will never leave me and my former teammates. Nonetheless, it wasn’t my own doing, the whole team was instrumental. We were like brothers to each other on and off pitch and made a commitment that we complete unfinished business; which was to upgrade ourselves from third division to second division.

What was your reaction when you were promoted to join the UCU Senior Canons team in division one?

Well, I was overwhelmed. I accepted the offer without hesitation because I knew it was and still is a chance for me to improve my game and a chance to be more competitive in the toughest league in the country.

How do you feel about this season and do you think your impact will reflect on the team’s success?

It is actually every season; I start it with the goal of being a better player and a better person. The team is quite skilled and determined to win the championship and I will be there to contribute along the journey so as to accomplish our goal.

How many games have you played so far and what are your average match statistics?

We have played four games but I have not yet seen my statistics but it is close to 7 points per game coming off-the bench.

How do you find your new teammates?

Well, before I joined them…I was their small brother and now I don’t know what I am to them now (hahahaha) but they are the best. They keep on encouraging me to step up my game; I get to work out with them to improve my skills; I mean they are great individuals not only on court but also off-court.

The Uganda basketball league is very competitive, how prepared are you for the challenge considering you are playing against big names like Norman Blick, Issac Luggude, Ivan Enabu……?

That is the beauty of the game. Playing with the best makes you a much better player. I am aware of them and others but I know if I keep working hard and harder…with time I will be a better player too. But I like it though, it is pretty cool and I am ready for the challenge.

How have you adjusted your game to that of your new team considering that you are now playing top-flight basketball in div. 1?

Well, I think there are no short cuts! You have to put in a lot of work. Right now am working very hard personally and with the team wise to gain more skills and knowledge necessary for me to be mature in the game. It is fun.

How is the team’s performance this season?

Not really bad. We have so far played four games; we won two, lost two.

Would you consider basketball as a full time career in relation to Africa’s sports base?

I would not consider it as my career in Africa’s sports base because it does not cater for your financial well-being. The pay is not attractive but it can be a side source for extra income. In Africa, I think it’s better to earn more from the academic source since sports is not big like in the Western world.

What have been your achievements so far?

I was the top scorer in Division III in 2010, Champion of Division III in 2010, MVP Regular season in Division II in 2011, Makerere Open Champion in 2012 and Finalist at 7th East African Inter-university games in 2010, Finalist at East African Inter-city championship in 2012

Who is your favorite player internationally and locally?

My favorite player internationally is none other than LeBron James of the Miami Heat and here locally is Stephen Omony of Mogas Falcons

What are your greatest strengths?

I am hardworking, quick to listen; I have great desire and determination in everything I do.

Any weaknesses?

Well sometimes I tend to be a perfectionist where I feel I can’t make mistakes when actually everyone fails at some point or the other
Where do you see yourself five years from now and your dream?

I will be a better player than I am now…and my dream is playing for the Rwanda National Team.

What are your other interests besides basketball?

I love movies, making friends and leadership.

Who has inspired you in your life and why?

My mother has greatly inspired my life by her words of wisdom; she has been there for me through thick and thin providing support and care wherever and whenever she can. I love her so much.

Lastly, any advice to aspiring young Rwandan basketballers?

Well, someone said that: “Success is as far as you wish it to be”. To all young basketballers back home (Rwanda), my advice is, work and work harder for rewards await those who put it the effort and keep playing basketball!!!


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