NPH Trailblazers: Randy Nohr, The Heart of a Champion
Randy Nohr has won at every level he’s played at…and he’s still winning.
The 6’0 lead guard from British Columbia won back-to-back high school championships at Aldergrove secondary, then followed up with back-to-back CCAA titles at Langara.
In his final season, Nohr set the St FX single season assist and steals record, averaging 6.7 APG and 3.1 SPG.
As for the Canadian National team, Nohr played behind Steve Nash as the back up point guard, but was fighting for a roster spot at every try out, ending up as the final cut.
On my trip to British Columbia back in March for the high school provincial championships, my friend and colleague Sunny Ahluwalia (@Sunny_NPH) exposed me to the local men’s league scene (Guildford league) where I had the opportunity to catch Nohr live.
It was then that I learned he was diagnosed with Cancer and that he had been receiving treatment, but that he had not missed a men’s league game, and for good reason as he was taken the young pups to school.
Much like his basketball career where he defeated everything in his way, he took down cancer as well. After watching his men’s league opposition look silly, it was then that I realized what a special player he must’ve been in his prime. He lead a team composed of former CIS players vocally, and by example.
You backed up Steve Nash on the national team, how was that experience?
My first year was when I was trying out for the Sydney Olympics (2011) and I was the last cut, I actually stayed after they made the team because we were training in Vancouver. At the time, Steve’s hamstring was acting up, so they asked me to stay around for a few more days.
So for me, I kind of got a bum deal because the five years I played on the national team– four of which Steve was a part of — pretty much what would happen is I would play on all the events throughout the summer, until Steve showed up and I would always get bumped.
Seems Harsh…did that experience help your game at all? If so, how?
My first year on the national team I got to get to know Steve Nash, we partied a bit; there was a month stretch where I played against him twice a day. I tried every which way to guard him and started to figure out his game more…the experience greatly helped my game.
That following year I was an All-Canadian, lead the nation in assists and our team won nationals at St. FX. Steve had the biggest influence that way.
Jay Triano had a big influence on my life…Rowan Barrett (Canada Basketball Assistant GM) I had chance to spend time with…Peter Guarasci (UBCO head coach) was another guy that I always admired his work ethic, and Todd McCullouch (former NBA player), got to spend time and hear the stories, he’s such a normal guy but was fortunate enough to be seven feet tall…met so many guys through the national team.
Jon Lee, strength and conditioning coach for the Raptors, he was the one I give a tonne of credit. On my first year on the national team, Lee was the manager of the Olympic team…he really helped my game. There were so many camps that I had no business being at, from an athletic standpoint, but I would go into the camp in such phenomenal shape because of the work that I would do with Johnny before hand. It made a big difference in my basketball career.
Positives taken from national team experience?
I was always a realist, I mean I’d love to be on the national team and love to be part of it…I did a camp for them the other day actually. There’s not a better feeling in the world than having that leaf on your chest. The only other thing you can compare it to is being part of the army, navy or something like that where you’re representing your country. I realized that I was competing for one spot — because lets face it, Steve Nash should have his spot.
After my first year trying out, I didn’t know how close I was. The one I probably took the hardest was the 2012 world championship team [Indianapolis] because it was my third year with the national team, it was my best camp, we went to pre-world championship tournament and played really good.
What was the most memorable university experience for you?
Winning a national championship in my last game, exhausting all my years of eligibility, that was great.
Where did you play after your university career?
My first year after CIS basketball I took a year off. Then I went to Sweden…the year after I went to Denmark where my team won both the cup and league championship.
On my last trip to BC, I heard that you were diagnosed with cancer but you are still playing recreationally…how are you doing health wise?
In September of this year I was diagnosed with Cancer, skin cancer that went up to my neck so I’ve had three surgeries…but now I am cancer free as we speak. My first five weeks I was literally bed-rested, I couldn’t walk, it was not good. After that, they pretty much told me to act as normal as possible, so when it came to basketball, that was normal for me.
After watching you playing men’s league ball, your leadership qualities really stood out…communicating with your team and being a presence on the floor. Where did you get that from?
I’ve been fortunate enough to play under a lot of great coaches, and it kind of developed as I got older…I got more confidence in myself; the funny thing is I’m actually a quiet guy by nature. Whenever I play sports, people are always amazed just because I don’t shut up and I’m bossy.
I tell kids all the time that I feel like I made the national team because I talked. There always used to be ongoing junk about my teams never losing at national team stuff [he laughed]. You just get so much more out of people when you’re communicating and talking.
At men’s league, some players were complaining about you getting all the calls…what’s that all about?
I’ve heard that my whole life [big laugh]. It’s been the way that I always played. I remember when I was at Fraser Valley, before AND1 was popular, the school paper made the nick name “Randy And1 Nohr” but it wasn’t because of the trick dribbles or any of that stuff, it was literally because I was at the free throw line all the time.
My game evolved after my grade twelve year; I went from a guy that shot a lot of threes, to a guy that looked to penetrate all the time, and then I learned how to use my body. I learned when to jump into people and when to angle away from them.
People always think I get all the calls but I think that their warranted in that, I’m the one drawing the contact. It’s a tough one for guys but that’s where people struggle with it…they either have to draw the charge or something of that nature.
How long will you continue play men’s league ball?
I just love to play; I”ll play against girls, boys you name it. I’d rather run on the court than run on a treadmill. As long as my body will allow me to do it, I’ll be playing.
What are you up to currently?
I run a sports pub out in Langley – Jimy Mac’s — when I had my second child I had to make the decision whether I wanted to go around the world with coaching, or something where I could make my own schedule…so I switched up and never looked back.