TRU WolfPack will have an abundance of guards when they open their 2016-17 Canada West training camp next month.
The WolfPack and head coach Scott Clark have added more veteran experience to the back court with the commitment of 22-year-old point guard Jonathan Layne of Parkdale, a neighbourhood in the heart of Toronto.
“I have heard that TRU is a good program and I have heard a lot of great things about coach Scott,” said Layne who is a graduate of Bishop Marrocco Catholic secondary. “It seems like a great place to develop and grow as a basketball player and a person.
“Jonathan has had a couple of stops at U.S. Junior colleges,” said Clark. “If you think along the lines of the CFL, you are trying to fill your roster with good non-imports. Jonathan is one of these. He is a quality player. He is a back court guy that can put his team into an offensive mode while at the same time play some defense. He has the ability to score and understands how to run a basketball team.”
Layne attended Western Arizona last year but didn’t play. In 2014-15, he went to and played for the Bismarck State College Mystics in North Dakota. He appeared in 25 games averaging 21.2 minutes shooting 82.75 per cent from the foul line. He averaged 11.4 points per game. He had 17 steals and 64 assists.
He was the MVP of the Michael Jordan basketball camp in California in 2010 (His greatest moment in sports). Jonathan was the #8 ranked guard in Canada by Hoops Canada in 2012. He was an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) all-star in 2012. Helped his team win the Ontario Basketball Association and high school championships in 2012 and was his schools athlete of the year in 2012.
Clark says that was impressive but now he has to concentrate on the present and future.
“He has had some successes. That is great. But now you have to put those aside. Successful people do that. They say they have had some type of achievement but now they want more. That drives them to have more success and that is what we hope Jonathan wants, too.”
Similar to the WolfPack’s other late signing, Derek Rhodes of California, Layne will provide experience and stability bringing the ball up the court. “You like to have a mixture on your roster of veterans and younger guys,” says Clark. “The veteran guys need to teach and direct the younger players in the correct direction so there is a constant flow with graduation. Having 10 or 11 guys finishing the season the last couple of years, we had to go out and increase our roster size so that we don’t have a short bench. In doing so you wind up being quite youthful. You need some ‘veteran pieces’ to continue that development and continuity. Jonathan brings that.”
Layne was looking at the University of Toronto, University of Regina, Acadia Un and North Dakota State University before choosing TRU. He will be taking liberal arts courses while attending Thompson Rivers.
He added: “I just want to thank God for this opportunity. I am ready to get to work with my coaches and teammates.”
Other WolfPack recruits for the 2016-17 campaign: Ryan Miller (6’6” forward, Valleyview secondary); Trent Monkman (6’2”, guard, Smithers, Smithers secondary/Northwest Jr. Timberwolves); Noah Kaefer (6’4”, forward, Courtenay, Mark R. Isefeld secondary); Madhu McConnell (6’0” guard, Victoria, Oak Bay secondary); Jass Singh (6’0” guard, Abbotsford, BC-WJ Mouat secondary -Team BC); Jordan Komarniski (6’0”, guard, Kamloops, BC-South Kamloops Secondary); Maalik Hazzies (6’9”, forward, Sacramento, Calif., USA/ Football High School/American River College (CCCAA); and Derek Rhodes (6’5” guard, Sacramento, Calif., Deer Valley High School/Sacramento City College (CCCAA).
TRU opens its 2016-17 Canada West regular season on their home court. They entertain UBC Thunderbirds on the Warner Rentals Court at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday, Nov. 4. Tipoff is 8 p.m.