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Toby Fournier: Woman, Myth, And Future Legend

It's the end of another basketball season, and many wonder who the next stars will be when the new year tips off. While many eyes will be on the historic freshman class becoming sophomores, the incoming freshmen won't be denied. Highlighting the group is the 18-year-old forward/guard from Canada, Toby Fournier (FOR-NEE-A). She will be playing at Duke in a revamped, highly competitive ACC conference next season. While Fournier has never seen a minute of college action, basketball fans around the world will love seeing what she can do.


Fournier possesses a unique ability, that very few women's players have been known to do. With her distinctive 6'5" wingspan and special vertical, she can dunk a basketball on running attempts. While dunking is a regularity in men's basketball, it's a rarity in women's, which sets Fournier apart. However, while this ability will put more eyes on her, she is much more than a slam dunk. Fournier's talents were on full display during the Nike Hoop Summit, an event held in Portland, Oregon for some of the best 17-18 year old's across the country. In case fans are unfamiliar with Fournier's game, she grew up as a post player, but she's always looking to grow. "Right now I'm more of a poster player and I play inside, but then also expanding my game to the level where I can shoot a three and pull up for a jumper." While her abilities already set her apart from the competition, she hopes to develop into the player she wants to be. With the help of the Blue Devils head coach Kara Lawson, Fournier hopes her guidance can bring her closer to her goal. "I really like her style of play and how she's gonna play me as the player I want to expand to be." With her goals in sight and her God-given abilities already on display, Fournier will rapidly be under the national spotlight.


Fournier is ranked 10th in ESPN's top 100 ranking, already establishing herself as a highly endorsed recruit. Before her first year, she already has high personal goals and wants to establish herself against great competition. While she wants to become the top freshman, Fournier also respects those who paved the way last year. "I would love to be freshman of the year; the freshman right now are showing us that it's possible. Just being able to play up to that level and beyond is definitely one of my biggest goals." The collegiate level comes with a lot of pressure under the bright lights, but Fournier doesn't seem to be phased. While pressure is something all athletes somewhat face, she relies on herself to take that extra load off her shoulders. "Being able to take a deep breath and just know I can rely and be myself always that takes the pressure off." The Hoop Summit was an opportunity for Fournier to showcase her game, and despite being 6'2", her wingspan disguises her shot contesting prowess which will be useful in college. With her desire to develop her outside shot and skills in the post, it's only a matter of time before she sets the college spotlight on fire.


There's no question Duke is getting a special player in Fournier, but they are also getting a great person and teammate. Fellow Hoop Summit competitor and future Blue Devils teammate Arianna Roberson spoke highly of her in both aspects. "Not a lot of girls can do what she does. She's a great player and a great teammate, and she lights the room up getting to meet her for the first time." Fournier has already earned the respect of her coaches and teammates before arriving on campus, which is a positive start to her career. As the new generation of players start their college journey, they will quickly get compared to the greats of the game. While no one will replicate Caitlin Clark's impact on the game, she possesses a unique skill like Fournier does that made her a superstar.


Early in Clark's career, she demonstrated her shooting ability, taking 35-40 foot jumpers with ease. She became the game-changing talent she is now by practicing this skill while developing other parts of her game. Fournier has a never-before-seen skill like Clark, and although she doesn't have to develop her dunking, it will make her stand out in the public eye. At such a young age, she has the potential to be a game-changing player if she follows her goals. While player comparison's are a fallacy, they are often made with greats that have the same skillset as the player compared. Fournier has similar traits to some of her favorite players, like Giannis Antetokunmpo (Yee-ON-is Ann-tuh-tuh-KOOM-pow), Breanna Stewart, and Elena Delle Donne. While she is different than these elite players, they inspired her growing up to be who she is now.


In the Nike Hoop Summit game against Team USA, Fournier scored 11 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals, showing her special potential. While there are many names to remember in women's college basketball next season, one that must not be an afterthought is "Toby Fournier".  


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