NB Pro Packs His Bags to Join Japanese Franchise

Erik Nissen of Quispamsis will leave for Japan early next month. (CB Clavijo Photo)

  Erik Nissen is making travel plans.

 Hello, Japan.

 The New Brunswick professional basketball player is off to Japan in early August to begin preparation for his new club, Iwate Big Bulls in Morioka.

 Nissen turned professional last season after graduating from Acadia University where he was a USPORTS star with the Atlantic University Sport Axemen for four seasons.

 He turned pro with CB Clavijo in Spain on a one-year deal and put together a solid rookie season. Nissen appeared as a regular with CB Clavijo, one of its top point getters, minute eaters and rebounders.

 Nissen was drafted by the Hamilton Honey Badgers in the second round of the first-year Canadian Elite Basketball League. He is listed on the active roster as Hamilton visits the Fraser Valley Bandits in British Columbia on July 18.

 He has appeared in six games for Hamilton, making one start and averaging 13 minutes per outing along with 3.0 points per game and 3.2 rebounds.

 The CEBL finishes its season in August, but Nissen will be bound for the 12-team Japanese circuit early next month.

 The Morioka squad is Division III in Japan and features teams in Anjo, Gifu, Kagoshima, Kanazawa, Saga, Tokorozawa, Chofu, Hachioji, Kiyosu, Okayama and Shizuoka.

Summerfest Ready to Touch Down on Port City Courts

 The job you don’t want is scheduling.

 But you sure as heck want to be playing.

 It’s almost time for Basketball New Brunswick’s smorgasbord of hoops as Summerfest gets set to take over the Greater Saint John Area from July 19 to 21.

 It is expected 80 teams will compete from under-14 youth to open men’s and women’s classifications.

 ‘This tournament is a signature event for Basketball New Brunswick and our staff has been all over it since May to ensure we’re ready to roll,’ said BNB interim executive director, Tyler Slipp of Fredericton. ‘From scheduling to rosters to facilities and apparel, it’s a pretty well-oiled machine. Summerfest is like a great big basketball family reunion and we look forward to it producing some outstanding basketball and experiences.’

 There are plenty of BNB teams in the fray including its under-15 and under-17 boys’ and girls’ teams that will use the event as a final tune-up in preparation for Canada Basketball championships Aug. 5 to 10.

 The boys’ nationals are set for the Richard J. Currie Center in Fredericton and the girls are in Victoria, BC.

 BNB also offers its Provincial Team Program squads its final summer tournament play and eight teams will emerge from the bantam elite camp program where players under-14 get their first experience to wear New Brunswick uniforms.

 ‘We get to see wide-eyed 14-year-olds pulling on our BNB jersey for the first time and playing together with others from across the province and we see many of our graduates playing at the university level coming back and competing,’ said Slipp. ‘There’s so many faces to see and so many coaches to catch up. It turns into an information sharing event with so many people all talking basketball.’

 Division frays can include up to 16 teams in one bracket including the men’s open class.

 The Summerfest schedule will be released next week, but you can view the divisional fields here - http://basketball.nb.ca/page.php?page_id=116785

Next Wave of BNB Players Settle Into U14 Elite Camp

Neil Smith is Basketball New Brunswick's Technical Director. (BNB Photo)

 The training camps have been intense, travel has taken Basketball New Brunswick across Eastern Canada.

 All in the pursuit of preparation for Canada Basketball under-17 and under-15 championships in August and numerous boys and girls playing for BNB’s highly successful Provincial Team Program under-16, 15 and 14 teams.

 For almost all of the players donning BNB jerseys in the Summer of 2019, the road wearing provincial colours stated at bantam elite camp.

 The time has come again, after a spring process where young players and numerous coaches committed to BNB’s Elite Development Program, to showcase some of the province’s top young basketball players, preparing them for that next step. A total of 80 players, 40 boys and 40 girls, will gather at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John from July 8 to 12.

 ‘Many of the athletes participating in bantam elite are finding out for the first time they have a chance to build on their basketball success, but they’re also finding out just how difficult the process of reaching the next level or levels really is,’ said BNB Technical Director Neil Smith of Grand Digue. ‘When you earn a spot in the bantam elite camp, you are starting to map your future. Does a player understand the commitment to play at the highest level possible? Does a player understand fitness, nutrition and attention detail are all critical details? For many it’s the first real exposure to competition. But there is also a very big carrot they can chase in front of them.’

 Part of that carrot is a chance to play on one of eight under-14 teams – four boys’ and four girls’ squads – as part of BNB’s hugely popular Summerfest Tournament in Saint John in July.

 This year’s event will be July 19 to 21 and features almost 80 teams.

 In order to wear that provincial jersey for a memorable weekend, players have to bring a work ethic under Smith, a long-time provincial coach. Smith will be joined by boys’ coaches including Ryan Chase, Nate Horsman, Shawn Nickerson, Adam Lambert and Jamie White.

 Horsman is an assistant coach with BNB under-15 boys’ team for the second straight summer. Nickerson is a veteran BNB coach and joins university players Lambert (who played for University of New Brunswick Reds last season) and White, a member of the St. Francis Xavier University X-Men.

 Both are former BNB age class players.

 On the girls’ side, coaches are Mikaela Dodig, Bailey Black, Rachel Farwell and Torrie Janes.

 Dodig and Black are teammates with UNB, Farwell is with Toronto’s Ryerson University Rams and Janes enters her first season with Saint Mary’s University Huskies.

 ‘When we scan the rosters of the bantam elite camp for our under-15, 16 and 17 teams in boys’ and girls’ this year, it’s remarkable how many of those players attended the week long camp or played for our under-14 teams,’ said Smith. ‘This is another side of the basketball game for many and with the coaches we have assembled, there’s a tremendous amount of coaching, playing and managerial success. We had hundreds of athletes attend competition day. That is a great news story and we look forward to bantam elite camp just like we always do.’

 Smith also said it’s a great chance for young coaches to become immersed in the game.

 ‘When you have players who are playing at the university and want to learn more about the coaching aspect of the game, this is the perfect for them, too,’ said Smith. ‘They learn a different side of the game and the big goal is to hope they remain in the game long after they are finished playing.’

Hoops A Piece of Capital YMCA Multi-Sport Camps

 With three hours of sport specific training for participants, a weekly outing and experienced counsellors, YMCA of Fredericton camps are open for registration.

 There are counsellor specific training for basketball, foundations and trampoline as part of a gymnastics program and multi-sport opportunities.

 A summer long promotion for families referring a friend to the YMCA sports camps is also available. Referring a friend to the camps earns you a 50 per cent off one week of your children’s registration.

 It’s a simple matter of the referral registration at the Welcome Desk and letting staff know your name, leading to the 50 per cent off credit.

 There are up to seven possible referral credits available per child.

 The YMCA of Fredericton is located at 570 York St.