Next Level Basketball Club head coach Warren Cullum (right) has a laugh with club players Sarah Boyd (from left), Julie Francis, Kelsey Watts and Ashley Budgen as they participate at a camp at Spokane’s Gonzaga University. (Next Level Basketball - photo)

Vernon club basketball program expanding

Next Level Basktball adding U17 division, beginning fall academy

Vernon’s Next Level Basketball Club program has taken big strides this year.

The program, operated by Warren Cullum, has gone from having two girls spring teams (U13, U15) in 2018, to three girls in 2019 by adding a U17 squad.

“We’re incredibly proud of the leaps we’ve made. We have helped more than 50 young women from Salmon Arm, Armstrong, Lumby and Vernon develop their skills and understandings of the game in 2018/19,” said Cullum.

Next Level staff consists of talented USport players Megan Rouault (Thompson Rivers University), Jordyn Cullum (University of Calgary) and Kelsey Watts from VSS.

READ MORE: Cullum high on hoops

“Kelsey Watts is one of our up and coming coaches that has provided great support to our program by assisting with many coaching opportunities throughout the year,” said Warren Cullum. “We have a unique program in which we have talented female coaches that have excelled at a high level giving back to the young female players in our community. They are all excellent role models that understand what it takes to help our players get better.”

Next Level will continue to provide development opportunities this August with its Youth Summer Basketball Camp for Boys and Girls going into Grade 6-8 at Vernon Secondary School from Aug. 20-23.

READ MORE: Vernon Panthers host zone finals

The club has also developed a Fall Academy for Girls in grades 4-12 in Vernon.

Our program is designed to build and develop fundamentals from the ground up,” said Cullum. “The academy sessions are teaching-focused, while still allowing athletes to get a variety of game-speed repetitions in to improve at a faster rate. There will be a large focus on offensive decision making, footwork and shooting. There will be a game night once a week where girls will apply the teachings from the session before.”

The academy will start middle of September and run through to the middle of November with 16 total training sessions.

The NLB Academy will have four training sessions available this fall:

Session 1 – Grade 4/5s training is absolutely free to the first 16 girls that sign up. There are a lack of girls playing basketball in our community in Grades 4/5 and Next Level would like to change that by offering free training to help build the involvement and excitement in this sport.

Session 2- Grade 6/7s;

Session 3 – Grade 8/9s;

Session 4 – Grade 10/12s;

Please go to for more information and to sign up for the Summer Camp (boys and girls), the Fall Academy and the Spring Basketball Club Teams (spring of 2020).

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