“These girls are fifteen? They’re this advanced, already? That’s how good our girls can be? And then you realize that there’s no ceiling.”
Jermain Franklin, who can usually be seen reporting on the Calgary Flames for TSN in a suit and tie, is sitting in the bleachers in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. His daughter, Micah, is wearing a white jersey with the number 5 on the back and “RISE” written on the front. The other team is fitted in black jerseys that read “FYBA” on the front and they’re up big. The score would end up being 62–26 as FYBA handed Franklin and Rise Up Hoops a tough loss.
“We knew they were going to tough,” said Franklin about his daughter’s game against FYBA, referring to a loss they faced against FYBA in a tournament in Calgary. “In the rematch they taught us a thing or two again, but it’s a great learning experience to see how good these teams can be at this age.”
For the Franklin's, who drove from Calgary, their first ever trip to Langley has been an eye-opening experience all around.
“I didn’t know what to expect but I did have a feeling there would be a lot of good teams,” said Franklin.
Franklin also feels that Bballnationals has been a great learning opportunity for his daughter. “She plays power forward and centre a lot, but she probably realized pretty quick that she isn’t the tallest girl on the court,” said Franklin of Micah. “She had to deal with a lot of size and athleticism, and I think that really opened her eyes and helps her prepare for her game moving forward.”
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Micah Franklin of her experience at Bballnationals so far. “You see a lot of different teams; they’re a ton of different skill levels and you go out there and you’re kind of nervous but once you start playing it all melts away.”
“The crowd is cheering; the teams are great – it’s just a lot of fun,” said Micah, effectively summing up the whole vibe of Bballnationals.
For her dad, he can see how valuable a tournament like this can be for young basketball players. “I thought the experience for the girls has been tremendous,” he said.
But it’s not just that the games that are being played but also where, and for Franklin, the Langley Events Centre has been nothing short of impressive.
“This is outstanding,” said Franklin of the tournament’s venue. “The whole area is so impressive. Love both buildings, there’s so much space and the courts are in pristine condition, it’s just outstanding.”
It’s things like that – picking a good venue for a tournament like this that can go a long way.
“I think it’s growing the game,” said Franklin about Bballnationals. “And like I said earlier, we got taught a few lessons from this FYBA organization, and now you know and some of these girls, you’re like ‘These girls are fifteen? They’re this advanced, already? That’s how good our girls can be?’ And then you realize that there’s no ceiling and there’s no limit.”
“I think it’s huge when national tournaments like this come about because it’s an opportunity to see what other programs are capable of and what other programs are doing and then you know what you’re capable of doing,” said Franklin.
Of course, everyone knows the affect of the Toronto Raptors championship and what it means to Canadian basketball, but here in Langley, the game is growing too. “It starts in your neighbourhood, it starts in your city, but its not just about your city or neighbourhood. Its about growing the game, its about seeing what other cities, other programs are doing,” said Franklin.
Under the bright lights of the Langley Events Centre, TSN’s Jermain Franklin can see basketball getting bigger right in front of him.
By: Mohak Sood