Olympian to direct Whitehorse basketball camp

Basketball Yukon is looking ahead. The sports administration body is laying the foundation for a bright future with the Future Stars All Girls Territorial Basketball Camp in Whitehorse from Dec. 21-23.

Basketball Yukon is looking ahead.

The sports administration body is laying the foundation for a bright future with the Future Stars All Girls Territorial Basketball Camp in Whitehorse from Dec. 21-23.

Directing the camp, which is limited to 20 athletes between the ages of 11 and 17, will be Canadian Olympian Kim Smith.

“This will be the first time this camp is taking place in Whitehorse. I know similar camps have been run in different jurisdictions in the Lower Mainland in British Columbia,” said Tim Brady, technical director of Basketball Yukon.

“This is the first time we’ve had an Olympic athlete of this stature directing the camp for women.”

Future Stars Camps, a Vancouver-based organization that offers young athletes the chance to learn from Canadian Olympians in various sports, approached Basketball Yukon with the idea.

Smith, who was raised in Mission, B.C., has played at the highest level the sport has to offer. In addition to sharing her technical know-how, Basketball Yukon hopes her story will inspire the territory’s up-and-comers.

“The reason why we like bringing up Kim is that this camp features a Canadian Olympic woman basketball player who has a very interesting story of her own that hopefully will inspire some young, inspiring basketball players,” said Brady.

The six-foot-one guard is a 10-time member of the Canadian Senior Women’s National Team.

She represented Canada at the 2012 London Olympic Games, helping Canada reach the quarterfinals where the team was eliminated by the Americans. The Canadian team placed eighth for its best finish since the inception of Canada’s women’s program.

Smith, who currently plays pro in France, was the 13th overall pick in the 2006 WNBA draft. She has played for the Phoenix Mercury and the Sacramento Monarchs.

She played for the University of Utah in her school days, becoming the first female player at the school to have her jersey number retired at the school. She was named Player of the Year in the Mountain Western Conference from 2003 to 2006.

Basketball Yukon is in a building phase. Although Yukon’s boys and girls basketball teams won gold at the Arctic Winter Games this past March, currently it doesn’t look like Yukon will be sending teams to compete at the 2013 Canada Summer Games.

“We don’t envision that we will be sending a Canada Summer Games team for women or for men this year,” said Brady. “We don’t have a nucleus of players of that age to be competitive and to represent the territory at the Games, which is a very high level of play. The girls in our programs are younger.”

Basketball Yukon plans to run a boys camp in conjunction with all three of Canada’s territories in 2013.

While in town, Smith will take part in Basketball Night in Whitehorse at Boston Pizza on the evening of Dec. 22.

“I think Basketball Night in Whitehorse is going to be fun; it should be an enjoyable evening,” said Brady. “It’s open to the general public … Kim will be there and they will be showing some of the Canadian Olympic basketball games on the big screen. Kim will be able to meet people, talk with them.”

Smith will be the fourth Olympian to visit Whitehorse in two months.

Montreal’s Antoine Valois-Fortier, who won a bronze a bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, was in Whitehorse at the start of November.

Scott Dickens, who represented Canada in swimming at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 2004 Olympics in Athens, came up a few weeks later to visit the Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club.

Watson Lake cyclist Zach Bell, who represented Canada at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympic Games, was in Whitehorse a couple weeks ago for the Sport Yukon Awards Night.

Bell, who finished eighth in the men’s omnium at the London Olympic Games in August, was given the International Male Athlete of the Year award.

Members of Whitehorse’s Arctic Edge figure skating club will soon get pointers from some former national champs. Canadian Olympians Anabelle Langlois and Cody Hay, who competed together in pair skating at the 2010 Olympic Games, are coming up from Calgary to hold a two-day seminar on Jan. 3-4.

More information on Smith’s visit can be found at www.basketballyukon.ca.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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