15U NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SET TO BEGIN

The 15U Men’s and Women’s National Championships are set to take centre-stage in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The 2013 edition of the annual event will kick-off on August 5 with play on both the men’s and women’s sides.

The National Championships are a piece in the continued growth and development of the sport in Canada. The event serves as an opportunity for the best players in the 15-and-under age-group to compete against the talents of their Canadian peers. The experience gained in meaningful competition between the provinces and territories allows these young men and women to further hone their skill sets.

The tournament also provides coaches with the opportunity to gain insight into the different practices and techniques being used to educate players across the country. The chance to exchange information and see the practical application of different methodologies enhances the ways in which Canadians learn the game.

Michele O’Keefe, executive director of Canada Basketball, sees the National Championships as another opportunity for player development en route to possible participation in the national team program. “The young men and women gathered at this event represent their provinces and territories today; in the near future, through perseverance and hard work, they may represent their country.”

The two tournament MVPs from last year’s national championships went on to represent Team Canada this past season. Marcus Ottey of Ajax, Ont. captured the bronze medal at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men in Maldonado, Uruguay with the Cadet Men’s National Team. Tamara Farquhar of Cote St-Luc, Que. played a vital role in the Cadette Women’s National Team’s silver medal performance at this year’s FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women in Cancun, Mexico.

St. John’s, Newfoundland will open the doors of Memorial University and the Newfoundland and Labrador Sports Centre to host the event. “Our committees have been planning for this event for the past 6 months. We are excited and looking forward to hosting our first Nationals in 27 years,” said Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association executive director Bill Murphy, when asked about the opportunity to take-in Canada’s next generation of basketball talent.

The six-day competition will conclude on August 10 where one men’s team and one women’s team will be crowned national champions. The players and coaches gathered for the event will then return to their respective provinces and territories where they will transfer the lessons-learned in St. John’s to the next stages of their basketball journeys. For additional information regarding the 15U Men’s and Women’s National Championships, please visit the tournament’s official site.