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3 Surrey students set to play for U15 Team B.C. at basketball nationals

Grandview, Holy Cross, L.A. Matheson students head to Toronto in August
Surrey high school students Jaiden Shergill (L.A. Matheson), left, Connor MacLellan (Grandview Heights) and Adrian Mackenzie (Holy Cross) will play for Team B.C.'s U15 provincial boys basketball team at nationals in Toronto in August.

Three Surrey high school students are headed to York University in Toronto this August.

But they'll be focused on something other than education. And with good reason.

Grandview Heights student Connor MacLellan, L.A. Matheson student  Jaiden Shergill and Holy Cross's Adrian Mackenzie have all been selected to play for Team BC's U15 boys provincial basketball team, which means they'll travel to Toronto for U15 national championships Aug. 5-10.

All three players previously participated in a basketball camp for a chance to be chosen to the elite squad, with only 12 of nearly 100 players selected.

Head coach Aurel David, from Surrey himself, is looking forward to nationals. 

With players participating from all over the province, they practise together in several weekend camps, with open gym nights and video workouts held regularly as well.

"We have three more training camps — I'm going to set up some more tune-up games and hopefully, we're able to polish a few things and then we'll be ready to go to Toronto," David said Tuesday (June 11), adding he feels Surrey is well-represented with the players selected.

MacLellan, a 6' Grandview Heights Secondary Grade 9 student, has played for his school the past two seasons, and also plays club basketball for UPlay West, which is represented by players from local basketball clubs, Drive and Athlelite and competes against top teams across the U.S. 

He credits his father, Ian, for getting him into basketball.

"It's fun ... it's competitive. My dad played when he was young. I think that's what got me into it. ... I've always played basketball, but not competitively until three years ago," MacLellan said. "It was an honour to make the team. It was a pretty special moment."

The shooting guard and point guard describes his role as "kind of like a combo guard."

"I can handle the ball, but my main role — I'm a really good shooter, so my main role is to hit threes, shoot the ball," he said. 

He's looking forward to representing B.C. at the national championships.

"It's a lot of hard work, a lot of early mornings practising and late nights ... I've worked for it," MacLellan said.

Mackenzie, also in Grade 9, was glad to hear he'd made the team.

"I was very happy and proud of myself. I knew I put in a lot of work to get there," the 6'5" forward said. 

He credits his grandfather for getting him into the sport, and enjoys playing regularly. 

"I feel like it pushes me to be the best I can be. It shows me how to be a hard worker, and that anything you put your mind to, you can achieve," Mackenzie said. 

At nationals, "Obviously, we want to win the gold medal — that's a team goal that we all have," he said. "We know we have to put in the work now to see the results there."

Shergill, 6'3", started off in soccer and taekwondo, but started to get more into basketball as he entered high school.

He was delighted to hear he'd made the team.

"It was a really good feeling because it was a goal ... I wanted to represent my province playing basketball," he said. 

He plays wing and guard position, and is looking forward to the upcoming national tournament.

"I'm hoping to go out with my team and win the gold medal," he said. "I feel like this will be a really good learning experience for me and my growth as a basketball player."

David said he's hoping it will be a great experience for all, and with more than just basketball, as he hopes to help develop well-rounded players with high character, who are equipped for life on and off the basketball court.

"Of course we're aiming for gold," he said. "The main thing is that they're equipped later down the line — both on the basketball side of things, and also on the interpersonal side, just making sure they're able to succeed in whatever they want to succeed at, in the future." 



Tricia Weel

About the Author: Tricia Weel

I’ve worked as a journalist in community newspapers from White Rock to Parksville and Qualicum Beach, to Abbotsford and Surrey.
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