The team crowds around Robert Myles III to congratulate him after being named second team all-start for the CCAA national tournament.
The Lethbridge College Kodiaks men’s basketball team tipped off against the toughest teams across Canada last weekend. The men took over Prince Edward Island to compete in the CCAA championships.
After upsetting the nationally second-ranked Medicine Hat Rattlers in the ACAC finals, the Kodiaks earned a spot to take on the best.
“We went in to compete and didn’t want to lose, so we left it all out onto the court every game,” said fifth year guard Robert Myles III.
The men unfortunately were not able to bring home a title out east after losing to the eventual champions by two points in the first game. The team went in with the right mindset, but ran into tough competition.
“Our hope was to go in and win the whole thing, but we came up just short,” added Myles.
After looking back at how the weekend played out, the coaching staff was confident anything was possible.
“There was no team out there that we didn’t think we could beat,” said head coach Ryan Heggie.
Travel has been a big part of the regular season Kodiaks played 21 games outside of the Val Matteotti
gymnasium. Heggie wanted to make sure his players were relaxed and able to enjoy playing on a national level.
“We’re a team where as the coaching staff we allow the guys some freedom on the road. We have a strict
schedule where the team meets for breakfast,” added Heggie who understands the players have additional priorities in their lives other than basketball.
A few player’s families made the trip out to PEI to watch the Kodiaks try to be the first men’s team to win a national championship. International guard Cory Richardson’s father even made the two-day trip from Australia to watch his son play on the national level.
“They still have that life outside of basketball. I couldn’t make the decision to be strict with every schedule, but that’s not who I am. So I give them some freedom,” said Heggie.
The mens coach makes sure the team is prepared before each game by being diligent about watching the game film and showing up to practice.
The Kodiaks will now head into the off-season with a lot of work to do after coming so close to adding more hardware to the trophy case. Looking for more players will be on the list for Heggie and he will try and leverage the team’s success as a key point in making sure the team reaches their goals next year.
“Our program has been to get to nationals two out of the last three years. In the recruitment process I’ll let kids know how my style of coaching is and what we expect from them and that we are a successful program,” said Heggie.
The men’s head coach won’t have to go far to get a little advice and may already have someone in mind who could help.
“[I’ll be] getting some tips from our women’s coach on recruiting and winning national titles,” joked Heggie.
The men’s squad now takes a much deserved break after a hard-fought season.