VSS Panther star Leon Schenker has signed with the UBCO Heat for next basketball season.

Schenker signs with UBC Okanagan Heat

VSS Panther star one of four prized recruits

Cary Mellon

UBCO Media

Leon Schenker rarely left the floor in his Grade 12 season with the Vernon Panthers, averaging 25 points a game.

The athletic 6-foot-3 guard was noticed everywhere the Panthers went and today, he signed to play basketball with the UBC Okanagan Heat in Kelowna next season.

A graduate of the Junior Heat club program, the Heat believe Schenker has the speed and athleticism to match up with the bevvy of other quick guards on the rosters throughout the conference.

“UBCO is known for great academics,” said Schenker, who earned multiple tournament MVP and all-star awards with the Panthers. “I been around the Heat program for years and want to help establish a winning culture and I am excited to try and help create a winning culture and put this program on the map in Canada.”

Schenker was born in Amsterdam and will enter the human kinetics program with an eye towards physiotherapy as a career.

Schenker has played for the Junior Heat for the past four years and in the summer of 2016, he was a member of Team BC U16s.

Schenker’s older brother Enzo Paal played soccer at UBC Okanagan for three seasons (2013-16) and scored 16 goals for the Heat — tied for the highest total in school history.

Heat coach Pete Guarasci on Leon Schenker: “Adding a Junior Heat athlete is always a big success for our men’s basketball program. We’ve watched Leon develop over recent years and are excited he chose to continue his development here at UBC Okanagan. Leon provides great size and playmaking ability to our backcourt. He’s familiar with our systems so should have a seamless transition to the style of play.” Leon Schenker on coming to UBC Okanagan.”

Looking to increase his team’s ability to score, Guarasci brought in two other players who all averaged over 20 points a game for their high school teams.

High scoring guard Jarrett Larsen of Kamloops joins small forward Garret Riley from Whistler and Schenker. The Heat also signed guard Avery Hutcheson of Calgary.

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