The court was filled with the screeching of basketball shoes struggling to grip the surface as the players wearing them ran around the court completing complicated drills. The teamâ€™s coach issued instructions in his typical booming voice; his language consisting almost exclusively of basketball jargon. The entire drill went like a Swiss watch and at the end of that eveningâ€™s practice session, Island Stormâ€™s new coach Tim Kendrick agreed to a quick courtside interview.
As the former head coach of UPEIâ€™s basketball team, coach Kendrick has had a long and illustrious career. In his twenty-nine years of coaching basketball,Â coach Kendrick has had a long list of accomplishments associated with his name.Â His tenure at Horton High School resulted in a national record-setting winning streak, at that level, of seventy-three wins. Earlier this year,Â coach Kendrick turned his attention toward Island Storm.
â€œYou can expect Island Storm to be a faster and more aggressive team this year,â€ said coach Kendrick energetically. â€œWe are running an offensive system and really trying to play a 94-foot game. We donâ€™t want them (opponents) to walk up the ball to our half. Weâ€™ll try to meet them and take charge of the entire courtâ€, added coach Kendrick when asked about how his team was planning to approach this yearâ€™s season.
He also mentioned that he is eagerly looking forward to the performance of all the players on the team: â€œIâ€™m very excited about each and every player on our team, both new and returning. We have players with great NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) experience and CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) experience. We have three players from UPEIâ€™s camp and one player from Holland collegeâ€™s camp. We have some big names on our team this year. Itâ€™s a great mix of young players.â€
Coach Kendrick was very clear about the importance of a sport like basketball in the lives of young individuals: â€œIt is the most humbling part of my job in spite of having coached for 29 years. I have met some truly remarkable youth that have turned their lives around with the help of this sport. This is a sport filled with flair and intensity and there is much to be learned from how a team approaches a challenge.â€
He continued, â€œI am a stickler for the respect shown both on and off court. My job as I see it is not just to groom these players for the game but also to facilitate them to be the best young men and women in life. There is a reason why I always instruct my players to not swear while playing. We understand that itâ€™s a popular sport and there may be children in the audience. Weâ€™d like to play this game with some class and really set an example for everyone else.â€
As his team prepares to take on this yearâ€™s season, coach Kendrick encourages fellow islanders to come out to the teamâ€™s home games. Island Storm plays their first home game of the season on November 18th. On November 23rd Island Storm will face off against Moncton Magic 23rd; this game is free for anyone who is 25 and younger.Â
By: Adi Vella
Photograph by: Alkarim Bhalesha