BC High School Hoops Player’s Hard Work Pays Off

Santhosh Nandakumar, a grade 12 student athlete at Walnut Grove Secondary, received Second-Team All Star honours in this years BC AAAA Provincial basketball championships. He credits his recent success to the “work (he) put in the off season and all the help from all the coaches..”

6’2 Nandakumar did not play very much last year as a grade 11 student on George Bergen’s senior squad. It didn’t look like that this season as Nandakumar emerged as a starter for the number 4-ranked Walnut Grove Gators. His stellar play and confidence was a crucial factor in leading the Gators to a third place finish at the BC championships this month. The senior forward’s work ethic enabled him to “stay committed..and get better.”

He averaged 24.5 points, 6 rebounds, 51.9% field goal percentage and a ridiculous 49.1% 3 point field goal accuracy rate over the 4 Provincial games. In the semi-final, the Gators fell short to eventual champion, Kelowna, despite 29 points from Nandakumar.

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“Closer to the end (of the season), we started to implement certain things that our coaches were telling us, we came together, played tough defence together..”-Santhosh Nandakumar on the improvement of his 2015-16 Gators Senior boys team. (Cashton Byns)

WHY I KNEW HE WAS GOING TO BE A STAR

The summer of 2012, I was playing pickup basketball at the Walnut Grove Community Centre. The opposing team needed an extra player and this quiet, lanky kid was shooting on the hoop adjacent from our court. I asked if he wanted to play on the other team. Little did I know how good of a player he actually was. Santhosh lit my pickup team up with an array of lightning quick released jump shots and high-arching teardrops and floaters. Later, after talking to him, he told me he was attending Walnut Grove Secondary in the fall, where I would be commencing my grade 12 senior year.

Nandakumar was born in Vancouver, then raised for 8 years in St.Louis, Missouri before relocating to Mississauga, Ontario. He spent 4 years or so there before his dad received a job back in British Columbia. Entering his ninth grade year in his first stint back in BC, I noticed something different about this kid.

He has a quiet demeanour, but is one of the most confident, polished sharpshooters I’ve met. Nandakumar spent countless hours in the gym afterschool, wether that was at the local community centre or in one of three gyms at Walnut Grove Secondary. The kid is a pure gym rat.

He’s one of those special kids, where his doubters are his motivators. Getting better is all he cares about.

Santhosh is also a straight A student, always amongst the best academic students in his grade. When asked about his future for basketball he replied:

“I’ll still play basketball because I love it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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U15 NLBA Playoffs Are Here!

The North Langley Basketball Association playoffs are back!! After 5 months of competitive basketball and highlight finishes, 8 teams will duke it out for the 2016 championship at the Langley Events Centre, St. Nicholas’ Church and the Langley Fine Arts school.

After changing the age format this year, the U15 division (formerly U16), has featured top-tier talent and an essentially fair disparity between teams.

The playoffs will feature some player’s first taste of must-win basketball. The North Langley Basketball Association , commissioned by Melanie Laird, wants her “kid to play well, as well as some fair referee-ing, hopefully {her} team steps up to the occasion like they did last year”.

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2015 U16 Champions. Melanie Laird’s son featured bottom row, second to the left.

 

In what is probably the most competitive basketball league other than high school and club ball, The NLBA offers a cheap fee for entry and allows you to watch your kid develop into a better and more confident player. All coaches volunteer, making every practice and game equally as valuable to them as their players. This is a great league for children that wish to polish their skills or just to receive some healthy exercise.

One of the main factors in this being a great league to join is the “evenly distributed playing time.” All kids are playing the same amount on the court as the best players.

The 2016 playoffs will provide drama and heartbreak for kids, spectators and parents guaranteed. Close games and crucial plays will dictate who will be wearing medals in the middle of March.

Last week, The Raptors and Celtics went head-to-head in the regular season finale. The Raptors had an early lead but late in the first half and early in the second, they allowed the Celtics to pull away. They now meet each other again, in consecutive games. This time, for all the marbles.

“I don’t think we were supposed to turn the ball over 40 times..” Says Melaine Laird.

Turnovers have been the achilles heel of the bottom feeder teams this year but the playoffs allow all teams to start a new slate and write their names in history.

Playoffs commence, Thursday, February 25th, at the Langley Events Centre. Here are the first round match ups:

6:30 South – (1)Thunder vs (8)Hornets

6:30 North – (2)Celtics vs (7)Raptors

8:00 South – (3)Wizards vs (6)Heat

8:00 North – (4)Magic vs (5)Warriors

 

“Terrance’s team (Magic) is the team to look out for I think.” The Magic possess the best tandem in the league in Matthew Martens and Amara DePradine. Matthew is a “one man show”.

“I’ll probably have to go for the Raptors,” Laird states with a laugh when I asked her about who she is rooting for.

The Raptors, coached by Liam Foley and myself, have Jeremy Laird on their team for the second straight year with championship aspirations. Finishing the season at 3-8 doesn’t do a lot to intimidate other teams but their last 6 games they went 3-3, all without one of their stars, Lucas Cooper.

The seventh seeded Raptors will look to build on that decent 6 game stretch which 1 of those losses came down a missed call by the referee in the last minute of the game.

Click here for full standings.

 

 

 

 

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Do We Want Marijuana?

Canadian citizens are in favour of the legalization of marijuana. The new federal government, the Liberals, have stated that they plan on legalizing, regulating and restricting access to marijuana.

Cannabis or marijuana has been a topic of discussion amongst Canadians for years. Finally, the federal government has introduced a glimpse of hope for pro-marijuana citizens.

“Having the same limitations as liquor stores will give it a pretty smooth transition,” says Yonella Marcu, a BCIT student when asked about how legalization should be implemented in the country.

“Whoever’s going in {should be} getting ID’d properly.”

Yonella also believes that, “it’s going to better {her} community just because it’s gonna get it off the streets and out of the hands of the people who are underage.”

Taylor Dergousoff, a part time BCIT student, agrees when it comes to putting “restrictions in place.” He believes that “everybody knows that everybody does it,” so why not have it legalized? He continues and explains it is a “time consuming issue that won’t be set in stone for months..even years.”

“I already smell it everyday,” Dergousoff adds.

Marcu also applies, “it is becoming more widely accepted that {cannabis} does have medical uses.”

 

 

 

 

 

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TOP 5 SKATEPARKS IN LOWER MAINLAND

As a skateboarder, you’re always looking for the best places to rip, grind, flip and fly. Here are the top places to visit in the Lower Mainland to fulfill your needs based on various factors scored out of 10.


5. THOMAS HANEY SKATEPARK

23000 116th Avenue- Maple Ridge.

Located right beside the Thomas Haney Secondary School, this skatepark features a bowl, rails, stairs, granite ledges and several other fun obstacles for beginners and intermediates. The spacing of everything is quite ideal but this place will get busy during the after school hours come early Fall or early Summer.

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SIZE: 7.5/10

FUNFACTOR: 7/10

SMOOTHNESS: 8/10

OBSTACLES: 7/10

POPULARITY: 8/10

ACCESSIBILITY: 7/10

 

4. VANCOUVER SKATE-PLAZA

Corner of Union and Quebec Street (Underneath Georgia Viaduct)-Vancouver.

Placed in the middle of downtown Vancouver, Vancouver’s Skate Plaza is home for hundreds of locals and skateboard enthusiasts from around the lower mainland. From a 7 stair to quarter pipe, Skate Plaza has everything to offer for all skill levels. The ground is fairly smooth and most ledges are waxed to perfection. It can get crowded at times as the size is relatively small for such a premier location. The skytrain station is also only a 3 minute skate away as well!

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SIZE: 8/10

FUNFACTOR: 8/10

SMOOTHNESS: 7/10

OBSTACLES: 8/10

POPULARITY: 8.5/10

ACCESSIBILITY: 7.5/10

 

3. BONSOR SKATEPARK

6789 Jubilee Avenue-Burnaby.

Bonsor Skatepark is a must-go to if you’re a skateboarder in the Lower Mainland. Equipped with a massive bowl, a rip section and street-style park, Bonsor has it all. All ages and skill levels are welcomed. Metrotown mall is only a 5 minute skate away and the community centre is right next to the park as well. The ground is incredibly smooth and it’s a guaranteed great time when you visit.

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SIZE: 8/10

FUNFACTOR: 9/10

SMOOTHNESS: 9/10

OBSTACLES: 8.5/10

POPULARITY: 8.5/10

ACCESSIBILITY: 7.5/10

 

2. CHUCK BAILEY SKATEPARK

13458 107A Avenue-Surrey.

Chuck Bailey Skatepark is modern and easily one of the best places to skateboard in the Lower Mainland. Built in 2011, Chuck Bailey’s street and bowl sections are extremely smooth and its “hood” that it features provides shade and/or shelter from rainy days so that it won’t stop you from skating at least part of the park.

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SIZE: 9/10

FUNFACTOR: 9.5/10

SMOOTHNESS: 10/10

OBSTACLES: 9/10

POPULARITY: 9/10

ACCESSIBILITY: 8.5/10

 

1. NEW CLOVERDALE YOUTH PARK

17816 64th Avenue- Cloverdale, Surrey.

The original Cloverdale skatepark up the road was torn down and demolished after years of wear and tear so the people of Surrey gave their two cents to the city’s Mayor and associates. The best decision ever made by Parks and Recreation Surrey was this new, state of the art park, completed in 2014. NEW Cloverdale Youth Park has the full package. See for yourself.

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SIZE: 9.5/10

FUNFACTOR: 10/10

SMOOTHNESS: 9.5/10

OBSTACLES: 10/10

POPULARITY: 9.5/10

ACCESSIBILITY: 8.5/10

 

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Guadalupe Fur Seal Saved In Joint Rescue Effort

A Guadalupe fur seal was rescued this past Thursday, January 22nd by the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

This Guadalupe fur seal was rescued off the coast of Vancouver Island.

The Guadalupe fur seal; Dehydrated and lethargic after rescue. (CBC)

“This species is usually found off the coast of Baja, California and breeds on Mexico’s Guadalupe Island,” says Dr. Martin Haulena, head veterinarian at the Vancouver Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

The adult male was spotted by Wendy Szaniszlo, a Vancouver Aquarium research associate in Ucluelet on Tuesday originally.

But the seal was located at the Pacific Rim National Reserve and is currently under intensive observation at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

 

WHERE GUADALUPE FUR SEAL WAS FOUND

 

 

“Parks Canada protects the habitats, wildlife and ecosystem diversity within each national park on behalf of all Canadians.”- Mark Young, resource conservation manager at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

 

 

“Although he is very lethargic and has no interest in food at this time, he’s responsive and aware of his surroundings,” Dr. Haulena concludes.

 

 

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Night School @ BCIT Downtown Campus

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