Team Ontario U17 Roster Announced
Published by Michael Henry on July 7, 2012
Year in and year out the Team Ontario U17s are perennial favorites in the hunt for Gold at the Canada Basketball National Championships, which sees the best squads each province can assemble, play each other for national supremacy. This year’s Championships are being held in Fredricton, New Brunswick from August 6 to August 11, and Team Ontario, a perennial favorite, will look to build upon a very rich winning tradition that has seen the team win seven Golds, one Silver and one Bronze over the past 9 years.
Thoughts on Tradition: what does it mean to be leading this team that has had all of this success versus the other provinces in the rest of the country?
At first glance, the amount of names on the roster may seem excessively large but, with many candidates still in contention for a spot on either the Canadian Cadette or Junior National teams, special accommodations needed to be made. This year’s selections were enough to break from Team Ontario tradition, and form two squads. Gram, who is also an assistant to Canadian U18 Cadette Team Head Coach, Carly Clarke, had to also consider the possibility of having several of her players not available for the Canada Basketball Nationals when she came to her final selections.
“The cool thing about being able to carry some of the potential National Team kids with us that are still in contention for the Cadette National team and the junior National Team, is that it allows us to reach out and carry more people from Ontario than we usually get to,” said Gram, fresh off of making the official roster announcement. “I’m lucky because I am on the Cadette team staff and I had an idea of who would still be in that pool. Our hope for those kids is absolutely…as tough as it is that we might be to loose six of our best athletes, the best thing that we could dream of as a program is that we could have those six kids represent Ontario, on a National team, in a World Championships.”
As any coach has to consider when selecting their team after tryouts, the goal is to find that perfect mix of abilities in order for the vision to be executed just right.
“We have a really interesting mix of strength, we got a lot of size , we’ve got some great Guard presence, we have a couple Wings that are really coming along.”
Determining who would end up being on either of those squads was yet another challenge for Gram and her staff. All while ensuring that everyone was firing on all cylinders for whatever their perspective fates would be later on this summer.
“What we’ve attempted to do is keep the kids within the national team who might be playing together, supplemented by some team Ontario players, along with some positional considerations coming into account. But, we also wanted to make sure that we were giving the rest of the Team Ontario kids the exact same experience in making sure that they’re getting quality time to play together and gel, so that they’re given an opportunity to make sure they’re peaking for [Canadian] Nationals at the right time. Just like those potential National Team kids that are getting an opportunity to peak at the right time to try to make the team and then train to go to Worlds.”
Gram has already had a couple of years under her belt with the core of this group of players from her previous involvement with Team Ontario’s U15 teams in 2010 and 2011. So, making the jump this year to the 2012 U17 was a natural jump. And through it all, it seems as though Gram really has a sense of appreciation of being able to assemble a special bunch of players
“I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to work with athletes that are this motivated and this goal oriented and, as much as we had some amazing outcomes, and experiences, you know we won a National Championship ring, more than that, at the end of every summer, in reflecting as a coach every single play has left the program better than they were and has reached some individual goals as well, we have been lucky to attain a lot of our team goals.”
NAME HEIGHT POSITION HOMETOWN CLASS
Alexandra Hay 5’8″ G Barrie 2014
Ashley Polacek 5’4″ PG Ottawa 2014
Bridget Atkinson 5’7″ PG St. Catharines 2014
Cassidy Crowe 5’10 Wing Sarnia 2014
Cheyanne Roger 6’2″ Post Toronto 2013
Christina Buttenham 5’11″ Wing Hamilton 2014
Danielle Marion 5’11″ Wing Welland 2013
Emma O’Brien 6′ Wing Brockville 2013
Hilary Hanaka 5’9″ PG Hamilton Transway 2014
Kia Nurse 6′ PG Hamilton 2014
Mackenzie Puklicz 5’9″ Wing London 2013
Megan Smith 6′ Wing Barrie 2014
Mikalah Mulrain 6’2″ Post Brampton 2014
Nancy Kessler 6’3″ Post St. Catharines 2014
Saicha Grant-Allen 6’4″ Post Hamilton 2013
Samantha Cooper 6’1″ Wing Sudbury 2013
Shay Colley 5’8″ PG Brampton 2014
Victoria Rampado 6’1″ Wing/Post Niagara Falls 2013