Sands Scorpions head coach Matt McKay (crouching) isn't able to coach up his teamm during timeout this season, but the North Delta-based bench boss is hosting a series of online basketball clinics featuring coaches from all over North America. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2021. All Rights Reserved)
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It’s a continental hoops cuisine! Matt McKay’s virtual Sands Basketball Clinics unite B.C. & North American coaches in the name of the game!

NORTH DELTA — They say that silence is deafening, and in perhaps the cruelest of ways, that was the auditory state most common among both high school basketball players and their coaches as each began 2021 by walking into gymnasiums normally teeming with the activity of a season in progress.“We all realized that last Wednesday […]

Steveston-London grad Fardaws Aimaq is a rebounding machine with a firm grip on his basketball future just seven games into his sophomore season with the Utah Valley Wolverines. (Photo by Jay Drowns property of Utah Valley University Marketing 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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Fardaws Aimaq: From Steveston-London to the top of the NCAA D-1 rebounding charts at Utah Valley…is the NBA next for B.C.’s rising 6-foot-11 star?

Look up… look way up!Okay B.C. basketball fans, do you see that name right at the very tip-top of the list of the leading rebounders this season for all of NCAA Div. 1 men’s basketball?In case you were wondering just where the winding basketball roads had taken Fardaws Aimaq ever since the 6-foot-11 centre took […]

In February of 1952, Bill Russell (right, pictured in his USF days) came to B.C. with a touring California high school all-star team, playing teams like B.C. champion Duke of Connaught. Vancouver's John Oliver Secondary gym played host to one of the games. (Photo graphic by Gabriel Lynn property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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A SUNDAY READ: It’s no fable! In 1952, before his 11 NBA championship rings, a 17-year-old Bill Russell toured B.C. high schools and discovered his hoops identity!

Malcolm Reid had heard the story many, many basketball moons ago.Last week, the head coach of the Vernon Panthers’ senior boys basketball team recounted it to me, and just like the day he first heard it from a man named Dick Abbott, it almost sounded like a fable.Earlier this month, Abbott — the father-in-law of […]

Just nine days after facing each other in a pivotal Game 6 of the 1958 NBC Finals, Boston's Bob Cousy (left) and St. Louis' Bob Pettit opposed each other on the floor at UBC's War Memorial Gymnasium as part of the league's 21-game tour of non-NBA cities. Vancouver was the tour's only Canadian stop. (Photos copyright NBA Photo Library/NBAE via Getty Images. All Rights Reserved)
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A Sunday Read: In 1958, UBC hosted the greatest group of NBA talent in B.C. history! Here’s how 15 future Hall of Famers hit the parquet at War Memorial Gym!

VANCOUVER — Cloudy, sunny periods, scattered showers, and a chance of … a lifetime.Excuse my indulgences today as I supplement the weather forecast of a certain spring day here almost 63 years ago because through the gift of hindsight, it all seems especially apropos.April 21, 1958.That’s the day on which perhaps the most amazing collection […]

Stu Graham (front row, 15) and the rest of the North Delta Huskies pose 50 years ago with the spoils of victory. (Photo courtesy BCHSBBA 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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VL Podcast 12.10.20: Basketball B.C. prez Stu Graham on the culture of hoops in his early-1970s North Delta Huskies neighbourhood and beyond!

The Varsity Letters time machine spins the knobs and dials and heads back to the year 1971 to celebrate (a wee bit early) a very special 50th anniversary BC high school moment! Our guest? Basketball B.C. president Stu Graham has worn so many hats, and he brings the entire rack to the fore as he […]

Thirty years ago this month, UBC's J.D. Jackson (centre) played on the same floor at B.C. Place Stadium as UNLV superstars Stacey Augmon (left) and Larry Johnson. (Photo graphic by Gabriel Lynn property of Varsity Letters 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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A Sunday Read: Why Dec. 1, 1990 – the day the UNLV Rebels came to town – was the day Vancouver came of age as a basketball city!

VANCOUVER — I can still remember the day that the late, great Jim Taylor, the newspaper sports columnist of my youth and later a co-worker at The Province newspaper, invited me over to his Vancouver home so that I might conduct an interview for a feature story I wanted to write on him for my […]

Langley-Walnut Grove's Ty Rowell has come into his own as a redshirt junior with the Western Athletic Conference's Lancers. (Photo property of Cal Baptist Athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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“Ty has one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever coached!” High praise as Walnut Grove’s Rowell drops 32 points in Cal Baptist’s OT loss to USC Trojans

Longtime followers of the B.C. high school basketball scene will remember how Ty Rowell had a penchant for sinking baskets that could take your breath away.On Wednesday, however, as the NCAA Div. 1 college hoops season continued its run of season-opening games, Rowell turned the trick on his biggest stage yet.Almost a full year after […]

Vancouver College's Jacob Holt joins the B.C. quartet of Messrs. Nash, Denison, Trasolini and Tomley as Santa Clara Broncos. (Photo by Wilson Wong 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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Climbing Jacob’s Ladder! VC Fighting Irish big man Jacob Holt stokes Santa Clara’s gilded B.C. tradition! Broncos get another one of our very best!

VANCOUVER — Jacob Holt admits he was originally leaning towards playing his university basketball in Canada.One day over this past summer, however, Vancouver College’s then-rising 6-foot-9 senior forward decided to test the waters with a highlight tape he’d put together all by himself.“I probably got 40 calls… it was surreal,” the affable Holt recounted Wednesday. […]

David Penney (centre, 3) and the rest of the 2020-21 Simon Fraser basketball team will hold an intrasquad scrimmage early next month. (Photo property of Simon Fraser athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
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Simon Fraser men’s basketball: An ‘attitude of gratitude’ remains their daily motto as 2020-21 season hangs by a thread

BURNABY — Simon Fraser basketball still has about two weeks to wait before it learns whether or not it will be able to beat the odds and have some semblance of a conference basketball schedule.That said, the odds seem longer than a full-court Hail, Mary prayer to beat the buzzer at the team’s West Gym […]

The simple idea of collecting memories from its vast tree of alums has helped bring the UBC men's basketball program closer together than ever, despite the global pandemic. Pictured clockwise from bottom left are UBC stars Ron Thorsen (with ball), Paul Johannson and Kevin Hanson, and J.D. Jackson (14). (Photos property of UBC athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved. Photo collage by Gabriel Lynn)
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A Sunday Read: How the storytellers of UBC men’s basketball wrote their own history and strengthened bonds in a time of disconnect!

VANCOUVER — In these most disconnected and fractured of times, when our most basic instinct of reaching out to others in an act of the heart is so often compromised by the frustration of new realities, here is a story about finding connection.“Early in COVID, I would be out on my walks… I was doing […]