Sports

The Charles basketball family bounces around

Little sister Jazmine, 11, is going to be a great athlete in her own right one day from keeping up to brothers — from left — Josh, Jordan and Noah. - Don Bodger
Little sister Jazmine, 11, is going to be a great athlete in her own right one day from keeping up to brothers — from left — Josh, Jordan and Noah.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Here a Charles, there a Charles, everywhere a Charles.

Putting three members of the same family on different provincial basketball teams is indeed unusual. But that’s precisely what Duncan’s Charles family did this summer, with Jordan on Team B.C.’s U17s, Josh on the U15 team roster and Noah on the U14 squad.

Some of the schedules overlapped, but the boys were otherwise heading in different directions that clearly made it a hectic — but rewarding — summer for the family. You couldn’t blame dad Leslie (Junior) and mom Wendy for being a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out who was going where throughout July and into August, but they were obviously proud to have all three boys among the province’s elite in their age categories.

“It was a great opportunity, how much my parents provided for me to do this,’’ said Jordan, who’s in Grade 12 at Brentwood College. “I wanted to make sure I made the most of it.’’

The process of trying out for teams actually started back in April on the Lower Mainland.

“During the school year, weekends May and June, I had to go over and practice,’’ said Jordan.

Once school was over, the process was obviously much easier.

“All you had to do was focus on basketball,’’ said Jordan. “You were there to play. You didn’t have to worry about anything else.’’

Jordan began in a large pool of more than 70 players in the first super camp at Walnut Grove in Langley. The numbers were eventually whittled down to 30 for a selection camp at R.C. Palmer in Richmond.

“At the selection camp, they have nine players they tell for sure that’re going to nationals,’’ said Jordan.

He was fortunate to be one of the nine in an eventual squad of 12 that went to Sherbrooke, Quebec for nationals after previous stops in Lynden (Washington), Seattle and Las Vegas for tune-up events.

At six-foot-four and with experience on the U16 team last year and U15 before that, Jordan was tailor-made for the team.

“I think I built up to this,’’ he said. “In Seattle, we came there against some pretty good competition. That was a big step up from Lynden. Moving to Vegas, we kind of struggled a bit. We had to find ourselves and build chemistry for our team.’’

At nationals, the season culminated for Jordan and his teammates with a bronze medal.

“I definitely feel like I developed over the summer,’’ he said. “But there’s lots more to improve.’’

Cowichan T-Birds’ Jerod Dorby was also a member of the squad with Jordan.

A similar story unfolded this summer for Josh, 15, who’s starting Grade 10 and brought with him experience from the U14 team last year.

“I still knew I had to work for it,’’ said Josh, who’s also nearly six-foot-four, as he went through the selection process.

After regionals, the top 50 were picked to attend tryouts and then two teams were formed — Red and Blue — from the best 24.

Josh’s Blue team was essentially the top 12 and went to two events in Lynden followed by the same schedule as Jordan with trips to Seattle, Vegas and Quebec.

“We had the same team every single time,’’ said Josh. “We played a lot of older teams in the States. That was better when we went to nationals. We were used to the high level.’’

Josh said the playing time was evened out at Lynden, but that all changed by the nationals.

“When we got to nationals, it was the players we needed to score and stuff,’’ he said.

Josh’s role was a combination of shooting guard and power forward.

“I learned to drive harder and square up to the hoop — be an attacker first and then a passer,’’ he said.

Shooting and dribbling remain the primary skills he wants to develop.

At nationals, Josh and the U15 B.C. team also finished third after losing in the semifinals to Quebec and beating Manitoba for the bronze medal.

Noah, 14, is a first-time B.C. rep player who’s six-foot-one and beginning Grade 9 at Mount Prevost Middle School. The process for him started on a team from the island that went to a tournament at the Langley Events Centre.

After that, “they gave us a letter and invited us back to the tryout,’’ Noah said.

“Instead of going to Seattle or Vegas, we had (B.C.) Summer Games for my age. I really enjoyed playing against the different players on my B.C. team from the different regions.’’

Noah’s major tournament was in Spokane where members of the B.C. U14 talent pool made up two teams. Noah’s group took third place over the other B.C. contingent.

“It was pretty nice getting those bragging rights,’’ said Noah.

The whole experience of playing a lot of basketball to get ready for the school season was great for him.

“Everyone there was good, but you can’t be good unless you have a team,’’ he said.

Noah looks forward to taking his new-found skill and running with it. “If I don’t grow, I’ll end up being a guard,’’ he said. “That’s why I have to work on dribbling and shooting.’’

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