Sun to Snow. Basketball Has No Borders
<strong>By Curtis J. Phillips, ACAC Sports Writer</strong>
12/02/2010...Caronport, Saskatchewan - At the time of this writing the temperature in Albuquerque, New Mexico is a balmy 17 degrees Celsius.
Here in Canada the temperature drops to minus 13 Celsius in Caronport, Saskatchewan.
Time for snowbirds to seek some warmth.
The Alberta Colleges Athletic Association has been blessed with a sun bird of sorts as former Albuquerque high school standout Christian Sacoman is enjoying an outstanding rookie season playing hoops for the Briercrest College and Seminary Clippers men’s basketball team.
The 6-foot-3 guard, enrolled in BA business, started playing hoops at the age of three….yes, you read it right, three years of age…and was one of the top rated high school players in the state last season.
Averaging 17 points per game for the Eldorado High School Eagles, his point production in the college ranks has dropped slightly to 13.3 ppg to date with 13 ACAC games under sneaker.
He is also adapting to a new set of rules on the court. “It’s a totally different game for me because of the FIBA rules, the wide key and the 24 second shot clock,” said Sacoman, who models his game after Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick.
Even in Orlando the temperature is just right…today it was 16 degrees Celsius.
So the natural question to ask, why did young Sacoman head north to play ball?
“I came to Briercrest for the chance to play right away and to get the experience of living in another country,” said Sacoman, who is no doubt finding the Saskatchewan winds a bit chilly.
Clippers head coach Gene Wolverton is more than pleased with Sacoman’s hardwood performance to date.
“Christian is a pure shooter with a high b-ball IQ. He brings elite level experience playing for one of the top high school teams in New Mexico. He also brings a learning attitude in which he constantly wants to get better. He knows he can’t just be a shooter to succeed at the college level, so he is dedicated to working on the other aspects of his game.”
In an October 29, 2010 defeat -103-102 - to the SAIT Trojans, Sacoman had an all-around game dropping 22 points with six rebounds and assists along with one steal.
When asked of his season to date in regards to his own game, Sacoman replied: “I want to become the best player that I can and in the system that I’m in right now it’s really helping me to learn different aspects of the game.”
He was also quick to point out the play of fellow teammate Matt Meyers.
“I think that Matt is one of the best players in the ACAC and to go against him every day is really going to make me better,” said Sacoman. “Matt’s a really good mentor to me and he helps me with all the struggles of being a college freshman.”
Meyers, a fourth-year student-athlete enrolled in BA Biblical studies, happens to also be a U.S.A. high school sensation having played his ball in Olympia, Washington.
“Matt is our team captain and he also has a very high basketball IQ,,” said Wolverton of the 6-foot-4 guard who is currently averaging 13.54 ppg while leading the team in assists 4.39 per game and rebounds 7.39 per game.
“He can score in a variety of ways and with his athleticism he can guard any position. He brings experience having played two years at Trinity Western University. He has high expectations of himself and his teammates.”
While Meyers and Sacoman rank second and third respectively in scoring for the 4-6 Clippers, we cannot forget about Gardyn Childerhose a third-year 6-foot-5 forward who stayed home for postsecondary studies having stared for Caronport High School. He is averaging a team high 19 ppg.
It is interesting to note that aside from Briercrest, the Keyano College Huskies also has two USA basketball players on their men’s roster while Grant MacEwan, Medicine Hat, SAIT and The Kings University College each have a player from south of the border.
We asked head coach Wolverton is there is a possible trend here and if so is it benefit the ACAC?
“I think that USA players and other international players have always been prevalent in the ACAC since I have been a part of it. I think today coaches are really making a concerted effort to recruit USA and international talent that can make an immediate impact than maybe more so than previous years.
“I think that the benefit is that it gives every team an opportunity to gain some talent that maybe wouldn’t otherwise be available in Canada.
"The colleges in the cities have a slight advantage in being close to home for many of the top players in Alberta. The reality of our situation at Briercrest is we have 600 students and are in the middle of nowhere so we have to look at alternative places to find talent which are USA and international players.”