Hey everyone and Welcome! Thanks to Vancouver Basketball for asking me to share my hoops journey and some current updates with you.
Right now, I am in grade 12 and playing at London Basketball Academy in London, Ontario. I moved out here in September to play prep basketball with and against the top players in the country. I felt it was my best option to further my game and prepare me the best for the next level. My recruitment has really picked up and I have improved a ton in just 3 months here. It has been a long and hard journey to get here so let’s start at the beginning and work our way back.
I first started playing ball in grade 3 on a local team coached by my dad and another, but it was all fun and I didn’t take it too seriously. I played multiple different sports like lacrosse, and track and field. Up till grade 6, track and field was my main sport.
In grade 7 I decided I wanted to focus on basketball and I stopped competing in track and field. My dad and I put in countless hours in the driveway working on my shot and learning the game. I learnt what it meant to work hard and set goals. Coach Don Van Os was, and still is, one of my biggest supporters and teachers that has made me the player and person I am today. He took me on his grade 8 club team when I was in grade 5 and pushed me to get better everyday. I played on his club team till grade 8 and then he coached me my grade 9 year as well. By the time I was finishing grade 8 I was starting to be recognized as one of the top players for my age in the province. For my 3 years of high school I played for Terry Fox and there is no place I would have rather played. Playing for Terry and his legacy was a true honour. In grade 9 I played junior, then senior for both grade 10 and 11. I started working even harder once I got to Fox and really focused on getting better every single day. Every morning from 6-730am me and my dad would be in the gym getting up shots and working on other skills. Special thanks to coach Rich Chambers for always letting us in and coming to say hi. I’ve always loved the grind, the early mornings, late nights, and any type of workout I could get my hands on. I was never one of the most gifted players, and never the most athletic but my work ethic allowed me to compete. As you can tell my parents have played a massive roll in my basketball success and I am extremely grateful for all that they do.
My 10th grade year was a breakout year for me. I was playing up on senior and we had a very special team that year coached by Brad Petersen another coach that has been with me throughout this journey. We were ranked #1 in 4A rankings for most of the year and ended up finishing 4th in provincials. I was named a first-team all star at provincials as a 10th grader and had some really good games. The senior level was a real test for me after playing junior the year before. It definitely had its ups and downs but overall, I really improved my game and helped me realize what I needed to improve at.
Over the summers were when I really separated myself I felt. I would do 2 or 3 a days 6 days a week all summer. I would play against pros and university players at Doug Plumbs Grit workouts. I also played for team BC 3 times and played AAU against top American competition throughout the west coast.
I was always told I was to skinny, not strong enough, and not athletic enough. I used that as fuel and really started focusing on the weight room after my 10th grade year. That’s when I met Jim Diehl. He took me under his wing and taught me how to lift and improve my athletic performance all while staying healthy. His workouts were some of the most difficult and mentally challenging things I have done to this day, but built a great bond and over two years he took me from doing layups to windmilling with ease. We still do zoom workouts across the country and he is a great mentor for me in and out of the weight room. For any young kids reading this, improving your body and strength is a must.
Jump to 2020 and this summer was going to be another big one, but then COVID-19 hit hard for me as it did for all players. I was about to be leaving to Toronto for the final team Canada tryout but then everything shut down. It was definitely really hard not being able to play or get into any gyms, but me and my dad made the most of it. I have a small weight room in my basement and a driveway hoop. My tan was definitely the nicest its ever been as I was spending all day everyday outside. The whole experience made me feel very grateful for my health, family, and a basketball gym.
After multiple discussions with my coaches, and my family, we decided playing prep basketball and getting to compete against the top players in Ontario, Quebec, and Canada was the best option for me improve my game and recruitment. There are a ton of prep programs across Canada now so it was definitely a tough choice to pick but I really fell in love with LBA and what they had to offer. It felt like a real family and I was able to build a great relationship with coach Provenzano and the whole LBA family before moving out. My family and I knew I would be taken care of, and it was a place that was happy to have me both as a person and player.
Now jump back to today and obviously things are very different these days with COVID-19 but the work hasn’t stopped. Everyday I get in my lift and extra skill work and then team practice. Can’t forget about the academics too one of the key pieces. School is a lot different then it used to be but the focus and goals stay the same. Our season is still a go and I look forward to playing a real game soon!
I have loved every minute of my time out east and am very thankful for all the support around me out east and back home. One of the great things about sports, is the places and people that you meet along the way. It has been far from easy getting here, but the journey is what makes everything worth it. As I always say, if you put in the work and do things the right way it will always pay off in the end.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know a bit about me and my basketball journey. I will be checking in again for Vancouver Basketball next month with some more updates!
- Cam Slaymaker
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2019 HS Mix (British Columbia: https://www.instagram.com/tv/B-a5xtZh9OT/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link