LYTES program bringing elite basketball coaches to Whitehorse

The Northern LYTES foundation, founded by Olympians Zach Bell and Emily Nishikawa, is continuing to help Yukon athletes reach their potential.

The Northern LYTES foundation, founded by Olympians Zach Bell and Emily Nishikawa, is continuing to help Yukon athletes reach their potential.

Northern LYTES (Linking Youth to Elite Sport) is supporting a Basketball Yukon-Canada Basketball initiative to bring three elite coaches to Whitehorse for camps this weekend.

“I’m looking forward to it, it should be a very good weekend, exciting for coaches and players and very helpful,” said Tim Brady, president of Basketball Yukon.

“There’s going to be skills, drills, concepts, different activities for the kids to participate in and also for coaches to come together and observe some of the things we’re working on.”

The incoming coaches are Greg Brittenham, Greg Francis and Dawn Smyth.

Brittenham, who lives in nearby Haines, Alaska, has worked extensively in the NBA. He was on the coaching staff for the New York Knicks for 20 years, including with the 1994 and 1999 eastern conference championship teams. Brittenham also had stints with the Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic and is a former director of athlete development with the National Institute for Fitness and Sport in Indianapolis.

Francis, who played for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is the manager of men’s high performance program for Basketball Canada. The Toronto native also played professional ball in Europe and the Middle East.

Smyth, a National Coaching Institute graduate, is the manager of coach education and development for Canada Basketball and works with the FIBA Americas Youth Basketball Commission. She also possesses a number of degrees in various sports-related fields.

The three-day camp will be held for coaches and athletes, male and female, from throughout the territory including Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games training squads and high-performance clubs. The camp begins Thursday evening.

“We are happy to have an opportunity to put the support of Northern LYTES behind another Yukon sport organization,” said Bell, an Olympic cyclist from Watson Lake, in a news release. “Basketball Yukon has a great history of quality programming in the territory, and we know this camp will pay off for hundreds of young athletes for years to come.”

“We are very pleased to support Basketball Yukon with this unique opportunity,” added Nishikawa, an Olympic cross-country skier, in the release. “Having access to learn skills from the best is so valuable, and we couldn’t be happier than to provide that for our Yukon basketball players.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

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