Although the Grizzlies left Vancouver 15 years ago the basketball dreams of west coast ballers are alive and well.
Steve Nash’s B.C. roots have something to do with the belief that young players can reach out and strive to play on the next level, however improbable it may seem at times.
A report by Jose Colorado in the Vancouver Sun recently breaks down the current landscape and outlook of basketball in the province:
“With a love for the sport becoming visible across the region — perhaps none more eccentric than at the Woodward’s Building — it would appear the province’s most celebrated city would be the ideal suitor to challenge Toronto for Canada’s basketball mantle.
Yet of the 12 Canadians currently on NBA rosters, Robert Sacre (Vancouver) and Kelly Olynyk (Kamloops) are the lone representatives from British Columbia while eight NBAers call the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) home.
The discrepancy in top-tier pros points to a number of factors.
In the latest federal census, the GTA tallied 6.054 million people, nearly triple that of Metro Vancouver’s 2.464 million total. More people usually means more opportunities and, with that, a greater chance of players being produced.”
“In this neck of the woods, Richmond, DRIVE and its co-founder, Bains, reign supreme. The academy has had a partnership with the multimillion-dollar facility since 2012 and has steadily produced the most NCAA Division 1 players in the province in the past decade.
Additional gym time, coaching connections and an established reputation are all key factors for the province’s most revered academy, but Bains adds “ultimately all of this stuff can’t happen unless the kid is a talent and works hard at his craft.”
North Pole Hoops NBA correspondent Devin Gray recently caught up with both pro basketball players from B.C. Kelly Olynyk and Rob Sacre while their Celtics and Lakers teams were in Toronto. Watch: