Terrace youth nets B.C. team spot

Local athlete is one of only two northern B.C. players who made the provincial U14 basketball team

Marek Omerond had to trade in his usual number 7 for this number 15 provincial jersey. Omerond made the U14 provincial team June 2 and will be relocating to Langley to train and compete during the summer.

In his book Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell puts forward the theory that in order to become a world-class expert at something, you need to log 10,000 hours.

If this theory is true, 13-year-old basketball player Marek Ormerod if off to one heck of start.

Since he started training 3 years ago, Marek has amassed over 2700 hours training to compete with the best young players in North America — 2000 hours working on skills development and another 700 in the gym, weight training.

He attended the Drive basketball club, an elite private development program, in Richmond last summer, playing 45 games against some of the top-seeded kids in the continent and has made good use of the gym at Parkside, the school his mother is principal of.

“He’s put in a lot of time at the gym,” said his father, Hugh Ormerod. “And not just with Terry,” added his mother, Louise. “He’ll come down here in the evening on his own to dribble the ball around and practice.”

“Since 10 years old he’s been dedicated, disciplined, and had a strong work ethic,” said his coach, Terry Monture, who has been training Marek from the start.

And two weekends ago, all of that hard work started to pay off when Marek was offered a spot on the provincial U14 basketball team, one of only two players from northern B.C. that made the cut.

“We’re at a distinct disadvantage being so far north,” said Hugh. “The kids down south maybe travel for an hour, we’ve got to drive 15-16 hours to get to Vancouver.” Most of the time, said Monture, the players go right from the car to the court.

But the extra effort it takes for a player from northern B.C. to succeed makes success all the more sweeter.

“I’ve been coaching a long time,” said Monture. “And I was pretty proud this weekend.”

Marek made the trip down to Langley to try out against 47 other kids, a group that had been preselected in May. Over the course of the weekend, the coaches and organizers whittled the group down to the 24 players who will train together and represent B.C. at tournaments all over the United States.

“They’re really nice,” said Marek, of his teammates. “Really good ball players.”

Marek, a straight-A student at Skeena Secondary School, will travel every weekend to the Lower Mainland until school lets out. Then he’ll bunk with a family in Langley for the entire summer, except for two weeks in July when he returns north to train with his team for the BC Summer Games. All of this means a major commitment from Marek and his family, but they aren’t fazed.

“We’ll support him wherever we can, however we have to,” said his dad, conceding that this level of competition and travel isn’t cheap. But his family has their eye on the prize—and it isn’t just about Marek being the best ball player. “The number one goal is academics,” said Hugh.

Marek agrees. For him, the ultimate goal isn’t to become a superstar NBA player, it’s to use basketball to gain a scholarship to a top notch school so he  can study to become a neurologist.

“My grandfather was a surgeon, so I thought I’d take it to the next level and become a brain surgeon,” he said.