TRU guard eyes UNBC
The UNBC men’s basketball team’s identification camp on the weekend attracted the expected – Grade 12 high school students scheduled to complete their studies in June.
But the sessions included a mix of players with college playing experience, and even one individual with two seasons of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) action under his belt.
Charles Barton, 21, is a six-foot-four guard who previously suited up for the Kamloops-based Thompson Rivers University WolfPack. He’s friends with UNBC Northern Timberwolves guard Joel Rybachuk, the two Vernon products part of the same 2008 high school grad class at Clarence Fulton Secondary.
What he’s heard about UNBC from his peer has him excited about the possibility of shooting hoops for the Timberwolves.
“Joel is always talking off about UNBC and saying what a great school it is, and I never knew much about it until I decided to give it a shot,” he said. “I wanted to play competitively next fall so he was like, ‘why don’t you come out to our ID camp?’ I’ve had a chance to look around and everything he said is completely true. It’s an awesome place. The guys here are awesome too, coaches, everything. It’s just a good atmosphere all around.”
Barton said he’d bring athleticism to the lineup and an ability to fill different roles. Coach Todd Jordan echoed his comments, noting that he could also play forward.
“He’d be very versatile for us and do a lot of good for us, I think,” Jordan said.
Barton was a member of the WolfPack in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns, and the weekend wasn’t his first time shooting at UNBC. During the pre-season prior to the 2008-09 season, the WolfPack travelled north to Prince George for an exhibition doubleheader. The Timberwolves won both games.
Interesting in taking a break off university, Barton spent most of the past 12 months working as a pipe fitter in Fort St. John. While he took Bachelor of Arts electives at TRU, he’s looking at switching over to business courses.
Joining the Timberwolves would represent a move into the B.C. Colleges Athletic Association (BCCAA), a step down from the CIS level. But Barton was impressed with the UNBC players.
“These guys I’ve seen today are really talented too, so it’s a hard league itself, and it’s hard to be good in it,” he said on Saturday.
Thirty-five players participated in the camp, which featured sessions on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon.
“We didn’t really do a lot of skill development stuff this weekend,” Jordan said. “For me it was more about the chance to see these guys play and just see what they can bring to the court, and then I made decisions based on that.
“It wasn’t meant to be a skill development camp. It was meant to be a talent identification camp.”
Team BC coach
While the Northern Timberwolves are entering their offseason, Jordan is taking on entirely different coaching duties this summer.
Basketball BC has named Jordan the head coach of the Team BC U16 squad which will represent the province at elite tournaments in June and July. He’ll begin serving his duties for Basketball BC this weekend at the provincial team’s selection camp .
Confirmed tournaments for Team BC are set for Seattle and Las Vegas in July.
“It’s a great chance to go work with some of the best kids in the province at that age group, and just spread my roots a little bit in the basketball community in this province and those sorts of things,” Jordan said. “I won’t be doing any direct recruiting. I’m not supposed to, obviously, but just as a side effect, it gets the name of the university out there and it does give a little bit of publicity to our program having me coach that team, so it’s good.”