Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Last year, we started a little segment called #RoadToNationals, and this year we're revamping the headline.
#RepYourRegion is our latest and greatest stories on all of the amazing teams coming to Nationals this summer to represent their region.
To kick things off, we caught up with the Burnaby Knights head coach Corbin Castres to chat about his team's experience from last year. And given the fun that was had by all, Castres says the Knights will be bringing not one, but two teams to the 2019 BballNationals.
"I think for me, the opportunity to meet and connect with a lot of coaches from different provinces was an amazing experience," reminisced Castres. "I still am learning so much from those people as I try to better myself as a coach."
Furthermore, Castres says his players were hype to participate, yet also were excited to watch other teams that they otherwise would not be able to—given the distance between certain club programs. Grassroots, the Elite U15 team out of Ontario, being one of them.
"I know the kids really enjoyed competing and watching different teams from different provinces and the opportunity to play at the LEC, see highlights of themselves, and even watch Grassroots play."
Castres started as an assistant coach in 2014 at his alma mater, St. Thomas More Collegiate. In that year, the STM Knights won the 3A provincial championship. With a shiny banner under his belt, Castres convinced the basketball head to let him coach the Grade 9s which eventually led to a 3-year coaching gig with the Jr. Boys. Along with his former high school teammate Denzel Laguerta, Castres formed the Burnaby Knights club program to help the juniors improve their basketball skills throughout spring/summer.
"I've loved being able to coach some of these guys for multiple years, getting to know them and their families, and really being strict with them on things like being responsible and preaching accountability has been awesome."
Last year, the Burnaby Knights brought one team to Nationals, but this year Castres says they are bringing a U15 and U17 squad.
"With our U17s, Chayze Deza and Alden D'Souza are players to watch for. Angelo Labrador making a return from a torn ACL will be an x-factor for us, as well as shooter Dante DiGirolamo stretching the defense," he reflected on the Knights' strengths this season. "With our U15s, Matthew Lee and Luke Teskey as the 2 Gr9s on our JR team will be huge for them. Rising Gr 8s Tarrence Booker and Marcus Morales are continually improving and should be a big part of that team."
Coach C understands the importance of events like Nationals when it comes to growing the game of basketball in Canada.
"To have a national championship allows the country to connect over basketball. Being exposed to the different levels that are possible really makes every program better.
It's awesome for me to just be able to give back and give these kids a chance to improve as basketball players and experience a tournament as big as this.
"Also keeping these kids playing in the summer and not on Fortnite is a godsend to their parents," he laughed.
Be sure to catch the Burnaby Knights U15 and U17 teams at Bballnationals in August!
Written by: Crystal Scuor