Two terrace basketball players had the opportunity to participate in Drive basketball selections, and both have made the elite team.
Kenneth Monture is a part of the elite U17 team, and Marek Ormerod has made the elite U13 team. Both will now be playing with the club organization for the next three months.
Monture and Ormerod went down to Richmond early in April to attend tryouts.
The Drive basketball club is an elite private developmental program started in 2004 by Pasha Bains and Chad Clifford. The program focuses on increasing skill level, confidence and the overall fitness of young basketball players.
The Drive basketball program also participates in American tournaments, offering young athletes a higher level of competition as well as a wider range of exposure to scouts from post secondary institutions.
“It’s a program where we just want to seek out the best competition for these kids to help them maximize their growth as players,” Clifford said.
Monture is a Grade 11 student at Caledonia Senior Secondary and has one more year of high school basketball to go before he plans to play university basketball.
“It’s a huge opportunity, I am pretty excited for the summer, it’s going to be fun,” Monture said. “It’s fast paced and you have no choice but to improve.”
Clifford said when looking at prospective players, they are searching for athletes who not only have potential but work hard and are good team players – playing an unselfish game with true love for the sport.
“We think Kenneth is one of those kids,” Clifford said, adding the high level of training Monture will gain from the program will help grow and develop his game.
Tryouts were open to anyone, and Monture competed against 40 other players to grab a spot in the top 10 on the U17 team.
The elite teams are the highest level in the program, followed by premier and developmental teams, for age levels which range from 10 to 17-year-old players.
“He is a really good kid,” Bains said noting that Monture has had a solid upbringing off the court.
“On the court he really impressed us, we had heard a lot [about Monture] so we expected something coming in, but he exceeded our expectations for sure,” Bains said. “For his grade I would definitely put him in the top 10, maybe top 15, in the province.”
Cam MacKay is Monture’s regular season coach and said he feels that Monture has huge potential.
“Just in [his] sheer size and how he sees the court, it’s really great,” MacKay said.
MacKay said for Ormerod it will be a great thing experience-wise, and that both players are lucky to have such supportive parents.
Ormerod is in Grade 7 at Uplands Elementary school and is very pleased to be a part of the elite U13 team.
He has been playing basketball for two years and is coached and trained by Kenneth’s father, Terry Monture.
“What Marek has done as a Grade 7 is unheard of,” Terry said, in regards to making the elite team, as well as Ormerod’s overall athleticism.
He points out the players Ormerod went up against to make the elite team have all had the opportunity to play between 100 to 150 games, while Ormerod has only had the opportunity to play between 10 to 15.
According to Terry, what sets Ormerod apart from other players his age is the fact that he has put in 1000 hours in skill development and training in the past 13 months.
“I am a firm believer that you need skill, and his skill level is good or better than anybody there. The only thing he is lacking is games,” Terry added.
“It’s really fun,” Ormerod said about playing with the team.
He will heading down to Richmond just before the end of the school year to billet with a family and be closer to Drive.
“It’s going to be tough,” Ormerod said, adding he knows this is what he has to do to play basketball and compete for scholarships.
However, he said he enjoys the competition.
Ormerod stood out against 60 other players to earn himself a spot as one of 10 who made the elite U13 team.
“He is a good kid too,” said Bains, who added hopefully they will find more kids like these two from Terrace.
The tournaments with Drive will culminate with a tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada from July 22 to 26.
“It’s a huge event,” Clifford said, explaining that the best players in the United States will be there to compete, as 600 to 700 teams with ages ranging from nine year olds to 17 year olds hit the courts.
“This is where all the next future NBA players play when they are still in high school,” Clifford said.