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GOT NEXT: Tristan Etienne

Published by on June 6, 2011

In the U.S., big body type high school players with the ability to play a perimeter game is becoming a norm. 6’6” to 6’10” kids are developing ball handling skills, athleticism and the ability to attack and run the floor like point guards. In Canada however, kids 6’3” and up are traditionally prone to having their backs to the basket, limiting their skills and therefore restricting them to post positions throughout their high school and college careers.

That mentality is changing. Maybe not as quickly as it has with our friends south of the border but, increasingly, we are seeing our younger talent striving to emulate the likes of Kobe, Garnett, Durrant and Lebron. Enter the stage is a young, budding kid by the name of Tristan Etienne. Possessing all of the tangibles required and with time on his side, the B.C. native may just have what it takes to create the game’s new prototype multifaceted player.

Standing 6’9” and only 15 years of age, Etienne is long, rangy and gaining athleticism as he grows. Being from the west coast of Canada, he may not yet be a household name but that is destined to change. This spring and summer is becoming the perfect stage for the rising star to show the country his game.

Tristan is coming off a successful high school season and the whispers of the young and physically attributed player are blowing in the right ears. Just recently he was invited to try out for Canada’s U16 Cadet team by renowned coach, Roy Rana. Rana, who has been very successful over the years, including a Bronze at last year’s FIBA U16 World Championship, is always willing to embrace the talent this country has to offer. “Tristan made a very strong impression at the Cadet Assessment recently. As one of the younger players, he will certainly be on the National Team radar for years to come,” stated Rana. “I was really impressed by his talent and approach to the game. This young group of B.C. talent is emerging as another special cycle that will be making noise on National team circuits.”

Etienne’s experience at the tryout was, to say the least, overwhelming. The fact that he was given an invite to tryout with the nation’s best 15 and 16 year olds was an honour and an incredibly motivating experience. “I was a bit nervous at first. There were some big strong players out there. But after talking with Coach Pasha Bains, I calmed down and something clicked,” explained Etienne. “I took a lot out of the Cadet tryouts, learned a lot.” It lit a fire in him that would show in his play with his AAU squad out of B.C., Drive Basketball, run by a former collegiate player, Bains. Tristan exhibited his passion recently at the Seattle, WA Rotary Classic where he demonstrated significant improvement and, at times, dominance. In one game there, he had a triple double, posting 14 points, 15 rebounds and an astronomical 11 blocks. Etienne made good use of his wiry frame to drive to the basket and was a strong presence defensively, rebounding and blocking shots. “Tristan is a special talent. He really excels at the defensive end where he does just that; rebound and block shots,” says Drive AAU Coach, Bains. “Since (he began) playing with us in the 7th grade, he has shown continued improvement each year.”

With so much more to gain, Etienne knows he has a long way to go and is taking it all in stride. As his offensive game improves, it is drawing some interest south of the border from a number of Pac-10 schools. For him to follow in the footsteps of big men who have the ability to play other than post positions, such as Gonzaga forward and B.C. native, Kelly Olynyk, Etienne knows he needs to work very hard. He will definitely be a more dominating force on the B.C. high school scene and, with a few more years to go, the country hasn’t yet experienced the best of him. “I need to continue working extremely hard to make it to the next level. Can’t just listen to the praises,” Etienne concludes. “I want to prove I can really play basketball and am not just all hype!” Sounds like this kid’s got his game plan for the future.

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