G.W. Graham’s Sydney Ma will soon be shooting hoops in the PACWest athletic conference.
Ma has committed to join the Capilano University women’s basketball team, making the next-level leap after spending several seasons with the G.W. Graham Grizzlies.
“I am about 90 per cent excited about this, with just a tiny bit of nervousness,” said Ma, who has dreamed about this moment for years. “I’ve been working towards this for so long.”
Ma said the last few months have been really stressful as she’s tried to find a post-secondary spot. Like many athletes relegated to the sidelines by COVID, she’s been unable to put recent highlights on video tape.
She hasn’t been able to play with college coaches in the stands and showcase her skills, which is a shame because there is a lot to like about what she does on the court.
“I spent seven hours putting together a highlight video from our three games at provincials in 2020, and that’s all I had to use,” she said. “I was home for hours, emailing a bunch of coaches, and the toughest part was keeping that communication going. A few times I had coaches tell me they’d get back to me when COVID settled down, and that never happened. By the time we talked again they’d recruited someone else, so it was stressful that way.
“When I decided I wanted to go to Capilano, I emailed the coach pretty much every day to make sure it happened.”
Capilano bench boss Chris Weimer was on the receiving end of Ma’s emails and phone calls and was happy to take them. Ma, who started as a Grade 11 guard on the 2019-20 Grizzlies, brings ball handling, quickness and shooting to the Blues’ back-court.
“He (Weimer) said the things I do well are things the team needs,” the teenager said.
Even though Ma’s senior season was completely wiped out by the pandemic, GWG coach Sarah Mouritzen said the guard has continued to develop her game.
“Sydney has shown herself to be a player with great self-discipline, work ethic and drive,” the coach noted. “She is a fierce competitor who decided in Grade 9 that she was going to take her game to the next level after high school and she embraced every opportunity with school and club to reach that goal.”
Ma credits G.W. Graham for helping her get to this point, saying playing for the Grizzlies was “the reason she woke up every day.”
“G.W. Graham basketball has been everything to me,” she said. “It’s the reason I love basketball so much and it’s made me the player I am today. Not getting to play the final season here, it’s been tough.”
Ma has stayed sharp practicing twice a week with BC United, which she said “keeps her in shape and keeps her accountable.”
“I’m mostly working on my court vision and playmaking,” said Ma, who thinks she’ll be a combo guard at Capilano, blending the abilities of a point guard and a shooting guard. “Honestly, it’s going to be a jump playing against older women, but it’s what I’ve been waiting for my whole life and I think it’s going to be really fun.”