Noah Jansen and Alton Neid will have to make sure their passports are in order as the two 14-year-olds have played their way onto the U14 B.C. provincial boys basketball team.
The 24-man provincial team will travel to the U.S. to play five tournaments.
They will play back-to-back tournaments in Las Vegas, play two in Linden, Wash. and one in Seattle, before a sixth tournament in Vancouver.
Jansen and Neid will be based at Langley, B.C. basketball’s headquarters, starting June 26 and travelling in between to the various tournaments.
Living arrangements are still up in the air; however, as their parents search for billeting, camping and hotel options.
“This is such a huge experience and it is going to be a huge step up from playing school basketball,” said Neid.
In a month’s time, the pair will be engrossed in practices and games, only having three days off to rest.
“I can’t wait to show off my skills, and play to the best of my abilities,” says Jansen.
There has not been a boy from Salmon Arm make a provincial basketball team since 2003 when Spencer Fife-Wilson made a B.C. team.
This is the first time two players from Salmon Arm will represent the province on the same team.
“It’s a historic event for both of these boys to make the team at the same time. I think we are starting to put Salmon Arm on the map for boys basketball,” said Rob Neid, the boys Synergy basketball coach.
“There are more players coming up that could achieve the same thing Noah and Alton have,” said Rob. He estimates more than 5,000 eligible basketball players were whittled down to 170 for the regional jamboree tournament, and then down to 36 for the official tryout for the provincial team.
The pair are remaining humble despite the immense accomplishment and are quick to thank their current and previous coaches including Rob Neid, Aaron Smith, Marianne Van Burskirk, parents and volunteers from the Salmon Arm Secondary senior basketball team.
King’s Christian student, Jansen describes himself as a big, post player and a strong rebounder.
Neid, a Shuswap Middle School student, refers to himself as a jack-of-all-trades kind of player with a flair for defence.
Both players share lofty aspirations to play the highest level of basketball they can, whether it’s in the NBA or college, and both say they will do whatever it takes to get there.
“Noah has been playing for two years, and his growth in the game just took off. And he still has a lot more potential,” says Van Burskirk, a Synergy basketball coach.
Neid is not a newcomer to the sport, he grew up playing basketball since Grade 3.
Jansen and Neid are both involved with Synergy basketball, which is run by Rob Neid.
“The boys play as much as possible. They play on their school teams, and with us at Synergy in the off season. Aaron [Smith] also opens the SMS gym at 7 a.m. so the boys can play,” said Van Burskirk.
Synergy offers the pair and many others up to six hours a week of court-time, which has helped accelerate the boys success in the game.
Jansen and Neid admit they would not be where they are, and contribute their success in the sport they love to being a part of Synergy.
The prospect of playing in the States has the boys eager to play as much as possible and make an impact for their team to catch the scouts’ attention.
“Not only will the U15 coaches be there to watch, but scouts from the U.S. will be there too, it’s very exciting, and it will be great exposure,” said Jansen.
For those interested in catching a glimpse of the pair in action, Synergy will host a tournament this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Sullivan Campus.