Provincial

UBC's Hanson takes on Under-17 provincial team, helping relations between clubs, Basketball B.C.

Kevin Hanson is trying to do his part to unite Basketball B.C. and the various clubs and academies across the province.

Hanson, the longtime bench boss of the UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team, has signed on to be the coach of the Under-17 boys provincial team this summer.

Such gigs are usually resume-builders for coaches. Hanson is past that. What’s happening here is that several high-profile players in recent years have opted against playing on the provincial team in the summer and strictly played club ball, and Basketball B.C. has turned to Hanson to help rectify things.

Hanson says that the plan is to work out schedules so that players can play both club and provincial-team ball this time around.

The Basketball B.C. website lists the Under-17 identification camp as running March 30-April 1. The national championships are Aug. 6-11 in Kamloops. Contact Basketball B.C. for more information.

“There’s been a terrible relationship between a lot of clubs and Basketball B.C. in recent years for a variety of reasons,” explained Hanson. “There’s been a huge gap. I do believe that we should all be working together and I’m glad I’m getting an opportunity to help with that.

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Kevin Hanson makes a point during the team's practice before the CIS men's basketball championship Final 8 tournament at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at the University of B.C. in Vancouver on March 16, 2016. Ric Ernst / PNG

“The club guys that I’ve talked to so far have been receptive. I know there’s bound to be a little mistrust on both sides for awhile. But everything I’ve been hearing so far has been quite positive. The clubs I’ve been talking to now seem to be on side with this.”

Hanson likes the idea of working with some young players with the provincial team, which will give him a chance to focus on the “technical side rather than the tactical side,” which is what he does in his day job now.

He also doesn’t shy away from the fact that it could help build relationships for the University of B.C.

“Our livelihoods are based on recruiting,” Hanson said. “The more time I get with top players and they get with me is only a benefit to what we’re doing at UBC. I won’t try to hide that fact. I can’t hide that fact.

“At the end of the day, though, how basketball in this province really grows and develops is the most important thing to my everyday life.

“I get that going with your club team to a tournament in the States and having NCAA college coaches watch you is appealing. And, for the clubs, it’s a selling point for their business. I’ve also been an advocate of Basketball B.C. and national championships, and what it means to play for a national title. I think there’s room for both.”

Capilano College men’s coach Cassidy Kannemeyer has been named coach of the Under-15 boys team. Trinity Western University women’s coach Cheryl Jean-Paul is the Under-17 girls coach and UVic women’s assistant coach Leanne Evans is the Under-15 girls coach.