VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA - University of Victory head coach Craig Beauchamp opens the door to Vikes basketball team room for Levi Timmermans on his official school visit on October 27th, 2017. Personalized lockers and all, this is a much different experience from the 1960’s built, white brick changing room at G.P. Vanier Secondary in his hometown of Courtenay, B.C.
This is Timmermans next official visit in a string of trips to top USPORT basketball programs. Coming on the heels of his University of Saskatchewan visit on October 17th.
Like many sought-after college recruits in their final year of high school - this is all very new and overwhelming for the young 6’9 forward from Courtenay, BC. Over the course of the high school preseason at G.P. Vanier and summer with The Vancouver Basketball Academy, Timmermans has managed to spark interest from the University of Saskatchewan, Ryerson, Brock, Trinity Western, UBCO, Lakehead University, University of Toronto and University of Victoria - to name a few…Which is quite the accomplishment given that he only picked up basketball in the ninthgrade.
One might ask, how is this possible? How does a seemly green basketball player from north Vancouver Island manage to gain the attention from top Canadian programs?
Work. Unseen hours. Sacrifices. All of the taboo expressions basketball players seem to love to overuse both in real life and online. He would be the first to admit that he has many holes in his game, and is working from behind the curve given that he picked up the game so late.
When vancouverbasketball.com caught up with BC School Sports Hall of Fame inductee and varsity head coach at Georges P. Vanier Secondary, Larry Street, he wasn’t shy to mention Timmermans exceptional work ethic as a big man who came into the game late. Street, who is a SFUmen’s basketball alumni who also discovered basketball late as well in the eighth grade, is somebody who saw the potential in the big man as early as he stepped foot on the court. Timmermans, when asked what he attributed his success to was quick to address the community that surrounds him that has lifted him up and given him opportunities time and time again. A Comox Valley community that has its pillars, but is not nearly as wealthy in basketball resources as a Vancouver or Victoria.
As short as his journey may seem to have been, it definitely wasn't as sweet. Sustaining injuries in each of his organized season or the fact that playing team basketball in a rural area is also an immediate disadvantage. Iron sharpens iron - and the Comox Valley hasn’t produced top-tier talent consistently for at least the past half-decade. Making it difficult for good players to constantly find top competition to play against, or practice with, without traveling three hours to Victoria, or five hours to Vancouver.
Rather than make the commute - this past AAU season, Timmermans elected to move temporarily to Vancouver in order to play and train with the Vancouver Basketball Academy. In what would become a savage Summer of 2017 lead by coaches Doug Plumb, Mark Starkey and Graham Bath.
While sleeping on one of his coaches couches in Burnaby, BC over the summer - Timmermans would go through a gruelling two workouts a day against some of Vancouver’s best and hardest working young talent. An experience he calls “aggressive development”.
Timmermans managed to open the doors to post-secondary basketball over the summer by bringing his athletic abilities to new heights and deepening his knowledge of the game through relentless hours of beating on the craft. Something he will continue to do in his final year of high school at G.P. Vanier, a school that has recently been reallocated down to the 3A division for their Varsity boys basketball program. A shift that provides an opportunity for the school to potentially qualify, and then make some noise at the BC’s.
Going into his final year of high school, still relatively unknown in the larger basketball community in across the country and unranked on any national scouting reports, his confidence doesn't waiver. Rather than reflecting on his scout-less Grade 10 and 11 high school games, he was relentless. Hopping on the computer and sending emails to scouts and coaches at various NCAA Division 1 and USPORT schools. Sending out early highlight tapes, and providing thoughtfully written emails to accompany them. Understanding that less than 1% of high school athletes go on to play on the next level, he wasn’t about to let lack of awareness of his talent and potential be the reason he went unsigned come his graduating year of 2018.
Regardless of his university selection that we expect in the coming month, Timmermans will be a force in high school play this season and somebody to watch out for in post-secondary games in just one short year.