TRU WolfPack have upped the number of players who are from northwestern B.C. on their men’s basketball roster.
Head coach Scott Clark and the WolfPack are announcing that six-foot, one-inch guard Trent Monkman of Telkwa, B.C., will be joining the Canada West silver medalists beginning in September.
Monkman is graduating this June from Smithers secondary school.
“TRU was a great fit for me both academically and for basketball,” says Monkman, who was a second team all-star at this season’s BC “AA” High School Championships. His Smithers club won their first senior boys championship since 1994-95 as they finished 15th at the provincials.
Monkman will be taking courses aimed at earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at TRU with an eye to going into the faculty of education afterwards. “It’s beautiful in Kamloops and I like the impression I got as far as class sizes and the campus. Kamloops is a great fit. I come from a town with a population of 5,000 so it’s nice to not be going somewhere too huge.
Monkman played senior basketball the last three seasons for the Gryphons but also spring basketball for the Northwest Junior Timberwolves.
His coach for both was Matthew Lowndes who is a Sa-hali secondary grad (Kamloops). “Trent was our point guard and our captain and averaged more than 40 points per game. Trent has tremendous jumping ability. He should finish on the podium in high jump at the B.C. Track Provincials this spring. He can shoot from anywhere.”
“As a high school player my strength was getting to the rim,” said Monkman, who turned down offers from UNBC, Camosun (PACWEST) and Vancouver Island University (PACWEST). “My athleticism and ability to beat defenders off the dribble made a big difference in my scoring output.”
He set his school record and tied a BC “AA” record when he scored 61 points in his team’s final game. “I’m very excited to be joining a team that’s finding its groove in the CIS. It’s a privilege to be joining a program on the rise.”
Monkman averaged 45 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, four steals and three blocks per game in 2015-16.
“Trent is from a smaller school but very athletic,” said Clark. “He knows how to score. I think he can run and jump and physically he has some gifts. Physically, he has to get stronger. He is a very good student. He is very driven both athletically and academically. I think he is willing to do what is needed to be successful.”
Lowndes believes TRU got a good one. “I’m just excited to see him develop. He has tremendous potential and is coming from a community where basketball is not overly supported at a young age. Essentially, he has been playing since grade nine. To be able to accomplish what he has in such a short time is tremendous, and I’m looking forward to seeing him continue to grow. “
Clark adds: “He will have an opportunity to develop but he will have to work. His development is down the road but he has the academic and athletic make up to be successful. He has the attitude to have success at this level.”
The WolfPack finished the season with one player from northwestern B.C. on its roster. Kyler Eckess (1st year, guard) is from Prince Rupert. Monkman played against him in grade 10 and 11. He also knows former TRU player Corey Martens who played for the ’Pack in 2010-11.
Monkman is the WolfPack’s second high school recruit to commit for 2016-17 joining Ryan Miller of Valleyview secondary in Kamloops. More recruit announcements are expected to follow.
DOUBLE DRIBBLES: Monkman has a 44 inch vertical. He beat the 25 year Northwest zone high school high jump record by jumping 191 centimeters last season.
Lowndes favorite anecdote about Monkman: “Not basketball related: I was invited over to his parents’ house for dinner one night, and I was complaining about how I wasn't having any luck catching fish. Their house is on the Bulkley River, mine was as well, a few kilometers downstream. Trent said he'd take me down for a quick lesson on how to catch a steel head. We walk down to the river, he starts talking about technique, drift, how many times you want to cast in a spot, patience ... bang. First cast he hooks a steelhead. All he says is, 'See coach, it's not that hard.' I think he was more embarrassed than anything else. The kid is good at everything. I still haven't caught one."
Lowndes goes onto say: “He is a classy young man, from a solid family. With our program we do some work with youth, running camps and whatnot. He's always the first to help coach. He has worked in the past as a counsellor at a summer camp in the Bulkley Valley. His family is always involved with local events. He will be a great ambassador for your program. “