LANGLEY — Here’s four things I will enjoy watching as I stroll, broadcast, and photograph the action over the next three days, beginning Thursday, at the 2018 Tsumura Basketball Invitational (full draw below).
And just in case you think it ever gets old having a tournament named after you while you’re still (somewhat) young enough to enjoy it, it does not.
1 THE DUDE
I don’t care who he’s got around him, whether it’s a phalanx of highly-skilled lieutenants or a crop of young up-and-comers, Oak Bay senior guard Diego Maffia is so skilled and so fun to watch that if you had to pick one guy to watch this week, he would be that guy. The senior is one of the greatest long-range shooters this province has ever produced, but he is also the kind of talent who can put an entire team on his back and show them the way.
And oh by the way, he’s TBI’s reigning tourney MVP after pouring home 27 points in last season’t tourney final, an 86-68 win over Holy Cross.
2 WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
Speaking of Holy Cross, the line-up for the Uyi Ologhola fan club starts at the left.
What’s the best thing you can say this school year about the Crusaders’ incredibly talented 6-foot-3 Grade 11 guard?
The kid could have spent a few hundred extra hours in the gym honing his roundball skills, but instead, he goes out for the football team and is named a Subway B.C. provincial all-star on defence while dishing out just as much punishment on offence rushing the ball.
This is what it’s all about.
The football Crusaders made it all the way to the B.C. Double A Subway Bowl semifinals and by the measure of the scoreboard things didn’t go too well.
Yet not only did his head football coach Conrad Deugau appreciate everything Ologhola brought over a year which was marked by his incredibly tragic personal loss, his basketball coach Anthony Pezzente showed up, too, strutting up and down the sidelines at B.C. Place to offer his support.
Again, being there on that very sideline to watch this stuff happen is what convinces you there is no better beat to cover than the high school sports beat.
3 INCREDIBLE SERVICE
Every time I think I’be been in this racket too long, I need only think of one of my old teachers from North Delta Secondary School.
Bill Edwards taught at NDSS when I survived its hallways back in the early 1980s. I didn’t know back then that he had led the Huskies to the 1975 B.C. top-tiered title.
But I did get to know him as an adult when I covered his second coaching run at North Delta, which began in the mid-1980s and included a 1990 B.C. title.
And the most beautiful thing is that he’s still coaching.
For a kid who was too scared to even go to tryouts, now having the honour of being able to invite a North Delta team on which Bill Edwards is the coaching Yoda-in-residence, and to a tournament named after me?
How did this happen?
Whenever my career ends, I will have no complaints, and Bill has been there with me virtually every step of the way.
4 A TRUE COMMUNITY
And speaking of coaches, I love to see the influence that all head coaches and their respective staffs have on their players.
The 16 that are a part of TBI 2018 are all cut from the same cloth as far as caring for their kids and wanting the best for our game in B.C.
Yet in the same breath, they are all super competitive, but in the right way.
To all of you: Thanks for bringing your teams to TBI 2018, but also thanks for continuing to be as enthusiastic as I am about the magical time that is the start of each new season.
I look forward to seeing you all come Thursday.
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