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Vancouver Balloholics Set For Inaugural Season In ABA

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As basketball continues to grow in Canada, there remains a strong demand for an NBA franchise in Vancouver, BC.  It’s been 13 long years since the Grizzlies were relocated to Memphis, since then NBA basketball has been played just four times in Vancouver.

Despite being ranked as one of the best cities in the world, a growing market, the strength of the Canadian dollar, an upgraded arena, the city of Vancouver fails to fall into serious consideration for an NBA franchise. Be sure to read our piece on Vancouver being ready for an NBA franchise. 

Over the past decade, basketball has become a big part of the cities culture. Once upon a time, the only way kids could play basketball in the city was if they were in the Steve Nash Youth Basketball League that has changed big time. There are now numerous basketball academies in British Columbia that provide training to youth basketball players from the ages of 6-17.

We also have club/AAU teams that travel to the US to compete in big tournaments, these tournaments provide a highly-competitive atmosphere and exposure for high school players trying to earn scholarships.

Although the game has come a long way since the Grizzlies left, there remains a void in one of the more important parts of the cities hoop culture.

One of the weakest areas of basketball in British Columbia is the level of interest and seriousness at the senior men’s level. Outside of our Ball Don’t Stop Men’s Basketball League in Surrey, BC, a few men’s leagues in Richmond and Vancouver, there just hasn’t been a competitive environment/team where good players who no longer have college eligibility could play.

There are so many players in British Columbia that have great high school careers, play two years of college basketball, fall out of the loop for a year, and are never heard of again. It is truly a shame. For so many good players in B.C., it seems like there comes a time where basketball just stops. The talent level in the province has been pretty strong in the past decade, unfortunately, so many great players never got to where they could have.

However, this could soon change.

This month, Vancouver will be getting a semi-professional basketball team. The Vancouver Balloholics will be playing their inaugural season in the Pacific Northwest division of the American Basketball Association (ABA). The ABA currently fields over 100 teams, this off-season they reached an agreement to have 40 of their games aired on ESPN3.

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This is a big deal for the game of basketball in British Columbia. The ABA features great competition, many NCAA Div 1 standouts, Euro professional players, and even guys that have played in the NBA play for ABA teams. Last year the LA Slam featured 5 former players in the NBA including Doug Christie.

Local college players that are near the end of their post-secondary careers, former high school standouts and serious hoopers in B.C. now have something to look forward to. The ABA is a great league for elite senior men’s players to showcase their talents.

The Balloholics could be a hot destination for the best players over the age of 20 in British Columbia for years to come, as they will give an opportunity to elite players in the province to continue their basketball careers, build their resumes, travel North America, play against some of the best competition at the semi-professional level, receive a ton of exposure and potentially earn professional contracts overseas.

Young players in BC have something to work towards now too. If you missed out on a college scholarship, it’s an opportunity to work harder, train daily and try out for the Vancouver Balloholics, not everyone gets to play semi-professional basketball, but now players in BC will have the chance to.

 

The Vancouver Balloholics will play their home opener at the Langley Events Center on November 21 at 8:00 pm when they take on the Calgary Crush. This will be a great show for local hoops fans and could be a glimpse at the future of senior men’s basketball in BC.

On February 28, 2015, the Balloholics will take on the Arizona Scorpions live on ESPN3.

Check out the full schedule for the Balloholics inaugural season.

2014 Schedule

The  Schedule 2014/15 :

 

Date  Team Location Time Score
Sept 27  UBCO  Kelowna BC  7pm
 Sept 28  UBCO  Kelowna BC  2pm
 Oct 9  UBC  Vancouver BC  7pm
 Oct 12  Douglas College  New Westminster BC  4pm
 Oct 24  Langara College  Vancouver BC  8pm
Nov 1  Lakewood Panthers Lakewook WA  7pm
Nov 8  Kitsap Admirals Bremerton WA  7pm
Nov 14 Calgary Crush Calgary AB  7pm
Nov 21 Calgary Crush Langley BC  8pm
Nov 29  VIU  Nanaimo BC  5pm
Dec 13  Washington Rampage  Langley BC  7pm
Jan 10  Seattle Mountaineers Renton Wa  7pm
Jan 30  Lakewood Panthers  Langley BC  8pm
Feb 14  Seattle Mountaineers BCIT  7pm
Feb 21  Kitsap Admirals BCIT  7pm
Feb 28  Arizona  Phoenix AZ  TBA
Mar 1  Arizona  Phoenix AZ  TBA

 

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The Balloholics roster is set for the start of the season; it will feature some local college standouts that will definitely make some noise in the ABA this season. This great opportunity for local talent in BC to continue playing basketball at an elite level! If you are seriously interested in pursuing a semi-professional basketball career by playing for the Vancouver Balloholics, contact the coaching staff below.

GM Wayne Best stated:

“We are a little disappointed that interest in playing on the team seems to be mostly from outside of Vancouver. We are receiving inquiries mostly from the US, eastern Canada and most recently from China.”

Managing Director Dave Poon Tip said

“This is the next level for college players not drafted in the Pacific Northwest; we are always looking to improve our roster. It’s a starting point but we know there are a whole lot more players out there that still don’t know we exist yet. It’s a huge opportunity for players here; they just don’t know how much we can impact their future in basketball now in Vancouver. The opportunity has arrived.”

ROSTER 2014

Name / Height / College / Hometown

Brody Grieg / 6 ’4″ / Langara / Richmond BC

Michael Berg / 6′ 8″ / UVic  / Burnaby BC

Drew Slaught/  5′ 10″ / TWU/ Douglas / Port Moody BC

Demetri Harris / 6′ 6″ / St Mary’s Univ / Vancouver BC

Yoan Zola / 6′ 7″ / SFU / CCSF/ Paris France

Liam Farrell / 6′ 4″ / Camosun / Irish National Team / Victoria BC

Mark Perrin / 6′ 2′ / TWU / Humber / Toronto ON

Rei Jensen / 6’8” / St Martins / Portland OR

Sinclair Brown/ 6’7” / Acadia University / North Vancouver BC

Jari Deutsch / 6’2” / UNBC / Golden BC

Managing Director:
Dave Poon Tip 
Contact: dave@balloholic.com

General Manager/ Coach: Wayne Best
Contact: GM@balloholic.com

Assistant Coach: Clint Lomax
Contact: clint@balloholic.com

Phone: 604.800.3539                                                                                                                   Fax: 888.595.5720
Website: www.aba.balloholic.com

One of the biggest reasons basketball in Ontario and the US is so much bigger than basketball in British Columbia is because the level of intensity and passion for the game isn’t instilled in our youth at a young age. The approach to the game in Ontario and the US has been much different from that of BC’s approach to basketball.

In order for basketball in British Columbia to catch up to the level of basketball in the US and even in Ontario, it is going to have to be taken more seriously from the age of 6 all the way to the adult level. Basketball culture has definitely grown in the city, but there is still a long way to go.

Outside of being one of the leading basketball media outlets in North America, at Ball Don’t Stop we are coaching, teaching and training the youth in Vancouver, BC everyday to take their game to the next level and achieve their goals on and off the basketball court. We are also trying to keep the game at the senior men’s level alive, the goal is to keep local ballers playing in a competitive environment year-round.

The Balloholics are doing the same thing with their youth programs at Victory Sports Camps, and now are taking things to another level with their ABA team. It is going to be an exciting first season for the Vancouver Balloholics in the ABA, this team has the opportunity to change the landscape of basketball in British Columbia for years to come.

The ability to play the game of basketball is a privilege and a blessing of its own, so remember to never take it for granted, respect it, work hard at it and do everything you can to go as far as you can go with it!

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