There’s a good reason Nik Vischschraper quit playing high school basketball in his native Ontario.
He stopped growing.
“I was always the tallest player on the team in grade school and junior high, then I stopped growing and I wasn’t the tallest player anymore,” laughed Vischschraper, who keeps involved with hoops as an official.
This week, the Vernon resident and manager of Quilakwa Stop and Shop (Quilakwa Investments) in Enderby is in Kamloops where he’ll don the grey and black official’s jersey and pants for the Canadian U17 boys’ basketball championships. He expects to officiate a half-dozen or so games during the week.
Vischschraper referees high school basketball in Vernon and the North Okanagan and is entering his third season at the collegiate and university level as a member of the Canada West basketball officials panel.
He is one of five officials from BC who will be officiating at the national championship.
“I started at the low levels (of basketball) and learned as I went along,” said Vischschraper. “Two years ago, I did my first provincial championships. Now I’m going to my first national championship and I’m totally excited. It’s been on my mind the last little while.”
A graduate of London, Ont.’s Fanshawe College and Western University in recreation club management, Vischscraper headed west the day after he graduated because “I always wanted to move to B.C.”
He landed in Merritt, where he was officiating hockey when one of his fellow Zebras asked if he had any interest in refereeing basketball. He decided to give it a go.
“It’s probably the most challenging sport to officiate out of the sports I’ve done,” said Vischschraper, who is vice-president of the Vernon Basketball Officials Association. “It’s extremely fast and very technical. You have to be decisive so quickly. But it’s a great way to keep healthy and stay involved in the sport.”