Kanester Heating up
Fruit isn’t the only thing the Okanagan Valley is producing these days.
There is an ever-growing list of homegrown athletic talent being snatched up by college recruiters, with Vernon Panther grad Emily Kanester the latest to be signed to the college ranks.
A standout combo guard with the Cats, Kanester recently committed to Heather Semeniuk’s UBC Okanagan Heat for the coming Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) season, the Heat’s inaugural year at this level.
Semeniuk knows it can be difficult to make the jump from high school to the university level, but she believes Kanester can handle the pressure, and she fully intends to test her work ethic in practice.
“Emily played the point guard position for both her high school team and for her club team. She will have to transition to the CIS level and be able to handle off-guard duties as well,” said Semeniuk. “I really see her pushing the veterans for playing time.”
The 5-foot-6 Kanester appears ready to embrace the opportunity.
“I look forward to challenging the incumbent guards in practice,” she said. “I’m willing to fight for whatever role on the team that I can.
“I will work hard, especially on defence, which I really enjoy playing. I really like to play a full-court, man-to-man up-tempo style, pressuring the ball all the way up the court.”
Kanester’s high school coach, Bobby Mitchell, can confirm her work ethic.
“It is some of the best I have ever seen. She was always in the gym working on her weaknesses or improving on something, which I think will carry over to the next level.
“Her potential as a CIS player is big, and the main reason why she is as competitive as she is, it drives her to win and be a winner, which is something you can’t teach.”
Kanester averaged 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists per game in her senior year and has always had a nose for the hoop, constantly finding different ways to score.
“Many of my points come from the charity stripe,” she said. “I like to go to the rim and draw the foul, but if my defender backs off I will knock down an open shot.”
In addition to the Heat’s reputable basketball program, Kanester chose UBC Okanagan because it is just as strong academically.
“I felt this school best fit with my academic goals,” she said. “I will enrol in the bachelor of science program with hopes of majoring in biology and then on to marine biology.”
Semeniuk’s coaching style was also influential in her decision.
“It is the same type of playing atmosphere I experienced in high school and I wanted to continue on with that same style, when the team is like a family. I like that and I really like the girls that are already on the team.”