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
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.
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.
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.’