When theWolfPack men’s basketball team hits the floor to begin its 2016-17 Canada West season, they will feature two players from the state of California.
Head coach Scott Clark and the ’Pack have announced that six-foot, five-inch guard Derek Rhodes has signed a letter of intent to join the program effective Sept. 1.
Rhodes attended Sacramento City College the past three seasons. After redshirting the first year for the Panthers, the 23 year old played the two years before sitting things out in 2015-16.
“I have a friend who played for the University of Saskatchewan (Jamelle Barrett—2010-12 and Canada West MVP) and told me Canada was such a great place,” Rhodes said. “Thompson Rivers University seems like a place where I can become better as a person, student and athlete.”
Rhodes will be taking courses in the Bachelor of Arts program with a future goal of Police and Justice studies.
“Derek is a bigger guard, fairly long and shoots the ball well,” says Clark. “He has a good ability to see the floor and pass the basketball. He provides a dynamic I think we need. Derek provides some stability and experience in the backcourt where we are fairly youthful at that position. It’s a good fit for us and for Derek.”
“I think I’ll be able to adjust quickly to the Canadian game,” Rhodes said. “The 24 second shot clock is much faster than the 35 that I am used to but that means I’ll have to get the ball out fast and attack in transition. It’s the type of system that I thrive in.”
He played 26 games for Sacramento City in 2014-15 averaging 10 points, 2.4 rebounds, and shot 73.3 percent from the free throw line. His team went 8-6 in their Big 8 division in the California Community College Athletics Association.
Barrett contacted Thompson Rivers last season but Clark had already allotted his scholarships. The two sides got in touch over the last few months and the result is him coming to the WolfPack to be the team’s third international player along with Canada West all-star Volodymyr Iegorov (5th year, Donetsk, Ukraine) and six-foot, nine-inch forward Maalik Hazzies (3rd year, Sacramento).
“We are excited to have Derek,” added Clark. “He is a good student, good player and a longer guy who can shoot it. He is able do a pretty good job of guarding the basketball. I think he will fit in with our guys.”
“I am really excited about joining this team,” Rhodes stated. “The last few years they have been improving and were a top team in the league last season. I’m ready to join in and help all I can to make the program even better and become a force in the CIS.”
Other recruits signed by TRU for this coming season are: Ryan Miller (6’6” forward, Kamloops, Valleyview secondary), Trent Monkman (6’2”, guard, Smithers, Smithers secondary/Northwest Jr. Timberwolves), Noah Kaefer (6’4”, forward, Courtenay, BC-Mark R. Isefeld secondary), Madhu McConnell (6’0” guard, Victoria, Oak Bay secondary), Jass Singh (6’0” guard, Abbotsford, BC-WJ Mouat secondary, Team B.C.), and Jordan Komarniski (6’0”, guard, South Kamloops secondary).
Thompson Rivers opens up its regular season on the Warner Rentals championship court at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday, Nov. 4, when they entertain the team they knocked off enroute to winning the Canada West silver medal: UBC Thunderbirds. Tipoff will be 8 p.m.