SURREY — To some, Miguel Tomley’s basketball future may appear to have been cast along a road less travelled.
Yet ask the superstar point guard with Surrey’s Tamanawis Secondary Wildcats what the main reason was that he chose Cal Baptist University over a number of other higher-profile schools as the place to continue his fast-rising basketball career, and the answer is simple.
“I have always been a person to accept challenges and I think I do better when a challenge comes my way,” Tomley told Varsity Letters Wednesday morning, just in advance of signing his national letter of intent.
Cap Baptist is in the midst of an ambitous transition from NCAA Div. 2 to full Div. 1 status, so the challenge is definitely there. Yet as part of that transition, the Lancers will not be eligible for the NCAA tournament over Tomley’s entire four-year span at the school.
“Not being able to make the tournament, it kind of sucks but I want to help them transition from D2 to D1 and I think it’s going to be cool to be a part of something like that,” he said.
Tomley will also not deny the fact that a part of his heart is already on the school’s Riverside, Cal., campus.
His girlfriend is former Lord Tweedsmuir superstar point guard Maryn Budiman, who after being named AAA B.C. MVP in leading the Panthers to the provincial title last March, has begun her own collegiate career this fall as a freshman with the Lancers’ women’s basketball team.
“I wouldn’t say it played a huge role on me going there, but it’s definitely a benefit that she is there as someone I know,” added Tomley. “It will make a things a lot easier and we might take some of the same classes because we’re going to be in the same major (kinesiology).”
Budiman and the Lancers are atop Burnaby Mountain for a Nov. 13 non-conference game against the SFU Clan.
Last season, Tomley left Tamanawis to play for Orangeville Prep in Ontario, but after appearing in a handful of games, elected to return home to be with his mother Alisha, who had just given birth to a baby girl, Maliya.
Tomley had hoped to be able to play for Tamanawis the rest of the season but had his appeal for eligibility denied by B.C. School Sports.
As a Grade 10 in 2016, Tomley helped lead Tammy’s Wildcats to the B.C. Quad A championship final where they were defeated by the juggernaut Kelowna Owls.
Last year, the Wildcats soldiered on without Tomley but missed qualifying for the B.C. tournament.
This coming season, however, with Tomley back at the controls, Tamanawis opens at No. 1 in the Varsity Letters’ preseason Big 10 B.C. rankings
“I had a lot of people pulling me in all different directions,” said Tomley, “but at the end of the day I sat down with my mom and we decided that we would go with the staff that believed in me the most.
“My dream, ever since I’ve been a little kid, has been to play in the NBA and I just felt that with guys, they believed in my game, and they believed that one day I could make it there. It’s not as much about playing in the (tournament) as it is about making the NBA, and having them on the same page as me helped make my decision easier.”
Tomley toured the new arena on campus, one which will seat 10,000 next season, and said it reminded him of the Langley Events Centre’s centre court.
“It feels really good being home and getting the chance to play for a B.C. championship in front of my family for one more year,” Tomley added. “This decision makes it easier. A lot is off my back.”
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