WOLFVILLE, N.S. - Nothing but net is a common occurence for two Annapolis Valley basketball players selected to play on the U15 and U16 Basketball Nova Scotia provincial teams this summer.
Asa Hood and Kaj MacVicar are among five male basketball players who have made the cut at the competitive teams for summer play. Hood will play on the U16 team and MacVicar has been selected for the U15 team. Meanwhile, Braeden MacVicar, an Evangeline Middle School student, Aidan Clarke from Hantsport School and Will Deveau of Wolfville School have all been selected for the U14 team.
“They’re a great group of kids,” said Stan MacVicar, coach of the Horton High School basketball team and the division one Valley Hawkes team. “They’ve definitely all worked hard to earn their spots on their teams this summer.”
The five students – three from Wolfville Middle School, and two from Horton High School – were all members of the Valley Hawks minor basketball team, coached by Stan MacVicar. The team was the 2017 Boys U14 D1 provincial champions last year.
The players, he said, have been putting in plenty of extra work to earn a coveted spot on the provincial roster. It’s been a long process – tryouts took place in December at Mount Saint Vincent University, with approximately 100 young athletes vying for a spot on the team.
The U14 prospects are selected into two 12-person teams, meaning three of the 24 students selected for the U14 teams came from the Valley.
The U15 team – as well as the U17 team – is one of the more difficult teams to make, as it travels to the national championships every year, the coach said. The U16 team tends to be made up of the younger players that are being developed to be part of the U17 team in future years, which bodes well for the future prospects of the young Kings County athletes, said MacVicar, who co-coaches the teams with Mark Clarke.
Passion for playing
One of the oldest players, Hood will be playing on the U16 team this summer.
The Grade 9 Horton student has been playing basketball since the age of six and said he made the choice to continue with the sport over his other passion – baseball.
“I played baseball around the time I played basketball,” said the Port Williams native. “But I found something different about playing basketball, I was better at it, so I continued playing it.”
Hood began playing with Basketball Nova Scotia on the U14 provincial team when he was 12 years old. Now, the 14-year-old guard has skipped the U15 team to play on the U16 team this summer.
His first time trying out for, and making, the U14 team, is a favourite memory.
“It was a great moment for me,” said Hood.
“Going to the tryout, I knew I had a good chance… I thought maybe if I could just get looked at, then I’d be able to make it for the next year. Then when I saw I made the team, I was so excited.”
While Hood found this year’s tryouts to be less intimidating, they were still just as competitive and required a lot of work.
“The tryouts this year weren’t too intimidating, I knew most of the guys,” said Hood. “But it was still really competitive, and I knew I’d have to work hard, so I did. And then after seeing that I was selected, I was happy to see that my hard work paid off.”
Hood is passionate about basketball and hopes to be able to someday play it at the university level.
“It’s my greatest passion,” said Hood. “I practice in the mornings before class and after school. I want to keep getting better, and just be the best and a high level, so I can play in university.”
Kaj MacVicar has been playing basketball since the age of four and attributes his love for the sport to the exposure he gained at a young age due to his father being a coach.
“I grew up with it,” said MacVicar, now 15.
“My dad was coaching it all the time, and we’d watch the games all the time. I got used to it and really liked playing it.”
The Grade 9 player from Horton says the team aspect of the sport has a lot to do with why he continues to love playing.
“It’s about being part of the team,” said the Port Williams teen.
“Working together, having fun with friends, and having the chance to motivate others and be motivated by something.”
MacVicar began playing with Basketball Nova Scotia last year on the U14 team. This year, the forward/guard was selected to play on the U15 team and will get to represent Nova Scotia in the U15 National Championship Tournament in Kamloops British Columbia this August.
“I’m very excited to be part of this team,” said MacVicar. “I’ve put in a lot of work over the past few years to get to where I am now.”
Prior to the national championship later this summer, MacVicar and the U15 team will travel to Pittsburgh and Montreal to take part in exhibition-style tournaments.
MacVicar said he’s excited for the opportunity to gain experience both playing with his new team and against some larger teams before heading to Kamloops in August.
“It should be fun,” said MacVicar. “Hopefully, it’ll be good experiences and opportunities for playing against bigger and better teams, so we can get better ourselves and better as a team.”
Like Hood, MacVicar is passionate about basketball and works hard to be the best he can be for himself and his teammates.
“Basketball is my passion and I want to work hard to further myself, and get better, and become a leader in my team,” said MacVicar.
“Hopefully, I can work hard and get better throughout high school, and hopefully get a university scholarship and play university basketball.”