Flying across the country for the U17 division of Bballnationals, the North Stars are one of the top club basketball teams from the province of Ontario. Started just two years ago, they will be taking their talents to the Langley Events Centre in August.
“We wanted to play a bit more inside Canada” said assistant coach Jordan Pickens. “We don’t think the guys get that much exposure in the United States, [so] we wanted to expose them to different areas in Canada.
We also have a lot of kids who don’t get the opportunity to travel outside of basketball, so it’s a good chance for them to see different parts of Canada. See what’s basketball is like on the West Coast, not just Ontario, Quebec, and the East Coast. It’s going to be different everywhere we go, and the more exposure the kids can get the better.”
One of the best things about Bballnationals is how it brings the best from across Canada in one tournament. After finishing in the top two in tournaments in Chicago as well as winning tournaments in Boston, Pickens and his team are excited about challenging themselves against the best that this country has to offer.
[Playing against] some new competition is going to be really nice” Pickens explained on participating in bballnationals. “That’s one of the things we’re looking forward to the most, because a lot of the times we play the same teams.”
As well, it allows young basketball players to continue playing and strive towards something after provincial tournaments are finished for the summer.
“It seems like there’s just a lot of stuff that just ends at the provincial level” said Pickens on why a tournament like bballnationals is important. “We have provincial championships, and then there’s nothing. A lot of these kids who are playing club ball, there’s nothing, it’s just provincials. So they go on and look for something more with AAU programs.
[Bballnationals] allows us to showcase more Canadian skill and Canadian talent, with an actual club basketball final. It just gives us more of a pinnacle than ten provinces doing their own thing.”
The boys tournament at bballnationals begins August 8th. Spots are still open for U13, U15, and U17 age groups and each team is guaranteed a minimum of six games.
Written by: Nick Bondi