J.R. Cadot had a goal.
For the better part of his youth, he pursued his dreams like every other young kid growing up in Nassau, The Bahamas. Cadot was born in 1987 to Mary Cadot and Michelet Thomas. Growing up with five siblings, Cadot said his dad was his role model.
“I tried to be like [my dad],” he said. “I tried to live through him. I tried to do the stuff that I knew would make him happy. My dad prepared me and made me the guy that I am today.”
Getting his parents’ attention was not easy. Basketball was a way to make his family proud, he said. At C.V. Bethel Senior High School, Cadot made a name for himself on the court. His ultimate goal was to get a Division I scholarship to play in the United States.
In his junior season, he led his high school to a state championship and was named the tournament’s most valuable player after a 36-point, 12-rebound performance. His success on the court continued as he was selected for The Bahamas’ junior and senior national teams.
He said representing his country was a great honor, but he knew he wanted to continue his basketball career in the U.S.
“I knew coming out of high school that I didn’t have all the credits I needed,” he said. “I knew I would have to take my journey a step at a time. I had to go to junior college because I made some mistakes in high school. But I manned up, and became an All-American there and a 3.0 [GPA] student at junior college.”
Cadot enrolled at Sheridan College in Wyoming to improve his academics. With his eye on a Division I scholarship, Cadot worked tirelessly on the court. Hard work produced success for the 6-foot-5 shooting guard.
“It was a culture shock, but it was something that I told myself I wanted to do,” he said about moving to the U.S. “I pursued my dreams of coming here because I knew that it would set myself up to achieve great things after college.”
Following his sophomore season at Sheridan, Cadot became one of the most sought-after junior college guards in the nation.
At season’s end, he was named a junior college All-American after he shot 60 percent from the floor, averaged 17 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game and led his team to a 27-7 season.
His dream started taking shape when TCU head coach Jim Christian called Cadot to offer him a scholarship.
“I challenged myself on and off the court to fully prepare myself to take the next step,” Cadot said.
Then, that February, Cadot’s life changed. His father became seriously ill and Cadot got a call from his brother telling him there wasn’t much time left. Michelet Thomas died in early 2010.
“I got a call from my brother and it hit home,” Cadot said.
Cadot went home for the funeral. He said losing his dad just put his life in perspective.
“Everything I do on and off the court now, I do for my dad,” he said. “Hopefully, when I have kids years from now, I will have inspired them to do that same for me.”
Cadot said losing his father was the toughest adversity he has faced in his life. But, he said the adversity in his life has made him strong enought to deal with life’s challenges.
“Situations in life like my dad’s passing either make you or break you,” he said. “I look at the situation, and I will keep building so I can achieve all the stuff that my dad wanted me to achieve when he was living.”
When life seems to hard, he just remembers his dad, he said.
“At times, I feel like giving up, but I can’t because I have someone upstairs looking down on me that wants me to be great,” Cadot said as he reflected on his dad’s vision for him. “Losing my dad was hard. It was really hard. But at the end of the day, things happen in life, and you have to put stuff like that behind you,” he said. “You keep on rolling. Losing my dad is what I use for that burning desire now to be great.”
When he graduates from TCU in May with a degree in communication studies, he said he knows his father will be looking down on him. But, he said, he knows his TCU career is just one small step toward the great things that he can accomplish in life.
“The future is so bright,” he said. “I hope to get a chance to play professionally because of my heart and because of the drive I have. What coach wouldn’t want a player who will do anything for him on the basketball court? I believe it is rare that you find guys like that.”
Most of all, Cadot said he knows he’ll be fine because of his faith. “Whatever God has planned for me, I just look forward to enjoying the rest of my life on earth,” he said. “I am truly blessed.”