Have ball, will travel. And shoot until she drops.
Jordyn Cullum’s intense three-and-a-half month basketball journey with Team B.C. Under 16 girls is over and it’s a trip she will cherish for some time.
The VSS Panther forward made the provincial team in mid-April and then played in three Washington State tournaments, others in Portland and Las Vegas, and finally the Western Canadian championships in Edmonton, in late July.
“It was amazing,” said Cullum, entering her Grade 11 year in the East Hill. “I had the most fun summer I’ver had. The coaches, Anthony Luyken, who coaches the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades, and assistant Alyssa Gaukel, who used to play for Anthony, were so awesome. I learned so much from them. They were demanding, but in a fun way. They wanted us to improve a lot.”
Cullum, a starter who played for the U15 Reds and the U14 main team the past two summers, did not want the experience to end.
“My teammates, I loved them so much. We had such a great bond; we were a very tight team. It was tough to say goodbye.”
The U16s were competitive at all the American tournaments, winning at least two games in each event. They settled for a silver medal at the Western finals at the University of Alberta.
“We beat every team there by a lot and then we played Alberta in the final and we lost by four or five,” said the 6-foot-1 Cullum. “We beat them by 34 and then we couldn’t put the ball in the hoop in the final. It was just one of those games.”
Cullum has just been identified as one of 14 players to take part in elite pod training with the provincial basketball program. She will receive more hours of specific training which will allow her to grow as a player to play at her highest potential.
“I definitely want to get a scholarship after high school,” said Cullum, who turns 17 in early February.
Luyken has no doubt she will, and loved what she brought to his team this summer.
“We didn’t determine our starters until we were in Vegas, but as we moved forward, we had a good idea she would be starting,” he said. “The thing I like the most about her is she’s tough. She was very aggressive and now she has to learn when to use her physicality.
“She’s a wonderful giver. She gets the ball and she wants to give it to somebody, wisely. I had her on my U14 team and she has improved immensely.”
Some 50 players attended the selection camp, April 11-13, in Langley. They cut down to a dozen on the final day. Nicole Hart of Kelowna was the only other Okanagan girl named to the roster.
Cullum was coached at VSS last season by Lonny Mazurak and John Keeley.