Thursday July 31, 2014






Campus Corner: Slam time for TRU assistant coach

Chas Kok will step right out of the classroom and onto the basketball court in April.

He's already champing at the bit.

Kok, a former TRU forward who now is an assistant coach with the WolfPack, is set to start his second season in the International Basketball League once he is done his schooling this spring. Last year, Kok helped the Bellingham Slam to the championship in the IBL, a professional league based in the Pacific Northwest.

Kok played two seasons with the WolfPack, and earned a reputation as a hard-nosed player with a competitive streak. That competitive side continued last season, when Kok joined head coach Scott Clark's coaching staff.

There were times when Kok looked ready to explode on the bench as the WolfPack struggled to an 8-14 record and missed the playoffs. He's more than excited, then, to get back on the court in April.

"Absolutely," said the 24-year-old native of Lynden, Wash. "I have a punching bag at my place - I'm always hitting it. I'm incredibly competitive."

Although the IBL is considered the minor leagues, it's also very competitive. The Slam's roster is filled with former college players and others who currently play professionally overseas.

With that in mind, Kok has enlisted the help of personal trainer Kimo Jandoc in Lynden - Jandoc, a former Kamloops resident, has Kok working out.

"He has me doing some difficult workouts," Kok said. "I do an hour and a half or two hours lifting each day, and an hour and a half or two hours working on basketball.

"I've always taken basketball very seriously, and training is the one thing I can control."

Kok is currently in TRU's bachelor of education program. He will miss the first few Slam practices due to a two-week practicum at Pacific Way Elementary, but will return to Lynden the day after his last class and will be ready to play the Slam's first game at the end of April.

He's looking to improve on his first season, in which he averaged 6.4 points per game off the bench. Kok likely will come off the bench again this season, but wants to be more prepared.

"My last season (at TRU), it was different - I was playing out of position (at centre)," said the 6-foot-6 Kok. "In Bellingham, I was playing shooting guard. It was a big change.

"I was a bench player — if I came in and made a three, I was getting more minutes. If I missed my first three, I might be back on the bench."

Kok, who averaged nearly 20 points in his final season at TRU, will play behind Paul Hafford again this season. Hafford, at 28, "is getting older," Kok said, "which is something I like to remind him about."

After this semester ends, Kok will have a year remaining in the education program.

"This is an opportunity for me to keeping playing," Kok said. "If it turns out I can keep playing and get my degree . . . maybe I'll put some feelers out in the winter."

Kok is thinking about Australia, where he could teach and play. Or, if that doesn't turn out, he would consider coming back to Kamloops.

* * *

Diane Schuetze has been named a Canada West all-star for the second straight season.

Schuetze, a 6-foot-3 centre from Vernon, wrapped up her collegiate career after five seasons with the WolfPack. In 2012-13, she led the conference in rebounds (11.3 per game) and was third in scoring (17.8 points per game.

She was named to Canada West's first all-star team, just as she was in 2011-12. Joining Schuetze on the first all-star team was Michelle Clark of the Regina Cougars, Dalyce Emmerson of the Saskatchewan Huskies, Debbie Yeboah of the Victoria Vikes and Kris Young of the UBC Thunderbirds.

Young also was named conference MVP.

* * *

A familiar name is joining the WolfPack.

Jodi Hutton has signed with TRU women's soccer team for the 2013 Pacific Western Athletic Association season. Hutton's father, Tim, starred with the UCC Sun Demons in the 1980s.

Jodi Hutton attends St. Ann's Academy and plays defence. She will join a WolfPack team looking for its third straight conference championship - it also is getting ready to jump into the CIS in 2014.

TRU already had signed defender Megan Baird of Cloverdale and defender Isabella Lord of Langley.

* * *

The WolfPack men's volleyball team has added a 6-foot-4 setter out of Kelowna.

TRU announced Wednesday that Tyler Pomietlarz of the Kelowna Owls has committed for the 2013-14 Canada West season. He is TRU's second recruit, after 6-foot-6 middle Jordan Foot from Prince George.

Pomietlarz helped the Owls to second place at the B.C. AAA high school championship and was on the B.C. team that took second at Western Elites in 2012.

* * *

Although it has one game remaining in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League regular season, the WolfPack has signed a player for 2013-14.

TRU will wrap things up Saturday against Simon Fraser in Burnaby. The WolfPack and SFU also will play each other in the first round of playoffs, on March 8, 9 and 10.

TRU general manager Chris Hans announced Wednesday that forward Brandon Watson, who currently plays for the KIJHL's Osoyoos Coyotes, will join the team next season. Watson, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound Keremeos native, had 45 points in 41 games during the KIJHL regular season.

Watson previous played for the BCHL's Quesnel Millionaires and Prince George Spruce Kings.

* * *

The WolfPack baseball team's spring training will continue this weekend in Washington State.

TRU, whose Canadian College Baseball Conference season won't start until late March, is scheduled to play doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday against the host Big Bend Community College Vikings in Moses Lake. TRU makes this trip each year, and was 1-3 in 2012.

* * *

Two Salmon Arm players have committed to the WolfPack's badminton for the 2013-14 PWAA season.

Joel Feenstra and Nathan McNeilly, both of King's Christian School, have signed on with Alex Perkin's squad. They are the first King's Christian grads to move up to the post-secondary level.

mhunter@kamloopsnews.ca


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