Team Canada dropped into a West Shore basketball camp last week while the team was in town.
The men’s national basketball team was in Victoria to play Argentina in a FIBA qualifier on Aug. 25. Canada won 99-87 against Argentina in front of a buoyant crowd in the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. But during their off-court time, some of the players dropped into a basketball camp held at Belmont Secondary School. Approximately 80 kids, along with 15 high school-aged student coaches, got to meet the players and learn from them as they ran drills.
Paxton Jones, 12, said he felt “very small” standing next to the players, but had fun trying to compete against the players in a dribbling competition.
“It came together quickly but it came together really well,” said Westshore Basketball co-founder Brad Lidstone. “It was amazing, for a lot of these kids it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
The national team also donated tickets so the camp members could come to the game. Some got to go one step further and step onto the court, with a small group of kids playing a game on the Save-on-Foods court at halftime.
Ben Bergen, 13, was one of those who played at halftime.
“I kind of just felt like I was in the moment … They’ve got this little shuffleboard that you can go onto to clean your shoes off before you go into the court. And I’ve always seen NBA players do that and I’m like, ‘why did they do that?’ And now I know.”
Westshore Basketball is still registering players ahead of its new season. More information can be found on their website, westshorebasketball.com.