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A slam dunk of excellence

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BAKER LAKE - A total of 12 players and three coaches represented Nunavut at the first all-territory men's high performance basketball program and team tournament in Yellowknife from April 11 to 16.

NNSL photo/graphic

Troy Owingayak of Baker Lake, left, will be travelling to a national selection camp in Whitehorse this coming July. - photo courtesy of David Penney

The event was attended by players and coaches from Nunavut, the NWT and Yukon to expose them to a week of personal development on and off the court.

The camp is part of a pan-territorial basketball player development initiative designed to help promote participation, excellence, capacity and collaborative interaction among the territories.

University of Alberta and Canadian national junior men's basketball team head coach, and former Olympian, Greg Francis was the program's technical director.

Attending the camp from the Kivalliq were coaches David Penney and Lazarus Attungala and players Jarrett Seeteenak, Troy Owingyak and Eric Perkison of Baker Lake, as well as players Greg Jr. Tanuyak, Peter Jr. Kattegatsiak and Brandon Ipkarnerk of Chesterfield Inlet.

Penney, who helped co-ordinate Team Nunavut's involvement, said there's a good working relationship between the three territories.

He said after the last Arctic Winter Games, Yukon coach Tim Brady put forth the idea of the camp to involve the best basketball players across the three territories in a large project.

"There were two kids from Nunavut selected to the team Tim (Brady) put together this past year to compete at the national level, and the same thing is going to happen this year," said Penney.

"Not only was the camp a week of technical and skill development; it also gave athletes from across the North an opportunity to be seen, continue to evolve their own game, and bring back what they learned to share with others. It was a big deal and I'm glad Nunavut was a part of it."

Penney said the players received world-class instruction at the camp.

He said a lot of time was spent on the fundamentals of footwork and shooting, which many Northern players need to improve.

"As a coach, I took a lot of things away from the camp to bring back to Baker Lake and implement into my own practices.

"It was very exciting to have Troy (Owingayak) officially ask to participate in the selection camp in Whitehorse this coming July, and then on to the nationals with the Yukon team.

"Troy's indicated he plans on attending the camp, and Baker coach Lazarus Attungala has been asked to attend and help facilitate the Whitehorse camp.

"It also sounds like the all-territory camp is going to be held again in the future, and that's also exciting news."

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