Vancouver, British Columbia -Tara will journal exclusively with Vancouver Basketball as she prepares for her Freshman season at Washington State. She prepares for the move down south after helping lead her Semiahmoo Totems to back-to-back 4A Girls Provincial Championships. Now, with no Senior Season and her attempt at a three-peat all but halted, she reflects, trains and prepares for next season.
Hi everyone! I’m so excited that I was asked to share my basketball journey and experiences with you all!
Currently, I’m in grade twelve at Semiahmoo Secondary. I first started playing basketball in grade two in the Steve Nash league for boys and girls. The team was coached by my best friend’s dad. As well, my two older brothers were playing on a club team too which was coached by my dad which sparked my interest in playing basketball. Growing up I was very fortunate to be given an opportunity to compete in various sports such as soccer, and volleyball alongside basketball. Looking back on it I can say it has made me a more versatile player on the court and allowed me to incorporate different skills I picked up such as quick feet from soccer.
Around grade five I was with my club VSC team and we were informed that moving forward we would be coached by Allison McNeil, former Women’s National Basketball Team Coach. She has helped coach the vast majority of that VSC team since we all go to school together and have been playing together for seven years. It’s really an honor to be coached by Allison since she is very empowering and truly wants the best for you.
Fast forward to grade eight the school basketball team finished first at Provincials coached by Allison McNeil and Lori Pajic. That summer I played on the club BC United coached by Brian Lee. We were lucky enough to travel to Indianapolis, Chicago and California. Those trips were a great experience because we were competing against some of the highest ranked girls in our age group. Also, there were university scouts watching some of our games which allowed our names to get out there.
Then grade nine we helped the senior team win fourth at Provincials. I think moving up allowed my teammates and I to get the exposure as to what higher level basketball was like which further helped us be successful in grade ten. That summer I was able to represent BC in a tournament in California and then at Nationals in New Brunswick where we competed against the best girls in Canada of our age group. This was a phenomenal opportunity because it was held by Canada Basketball which is where they watched me play and later on offered me to come to their National Team assessment camps/tryouts in Toronto for the following three years now.
Then grade ten rolled around where we challenged ourselves to be the best version of ourselves which worked out in our favor since we won the Senior Girls Provincial Basketball Championship. To win that title helped complete our goals and I know for sure it’s a memory I’ll always remember. As well, after provincials my club team BC United coached by Rich Chambers travelled to Pennsylvania and New York for another great opportunity to be scouted. Also, I started training with XV and was trained by Manny Dulay who has really helped improve my game.
As well, that following summer I was very lucky to compete on the Cadette National team in Chile where we placed 2nd. That trip was so amazing and I learned a lot about myself and what it’s like to play internationally.
Next came grade eleven which was a very memorable season since we won back to back Provincial titles and I received MVP of Provincials. The team and I worked extremely hard that season because we knew nothing would be handed to us and we had to work every day in practice in order for it to translate into the games.
Also, during my grade eleven semesters I was finally able to have universities contact me regarding their schools and basically start my recruiting process. If I’m being completely honest at the start of grade eleven I frankly had no clue what I wanted in a school. However, through the process of a lot of phone calls, texts and facetiming with the coaches you begin to picture yourself at the school and grasp a better idea of what you want. For me, I went on five unofficial visits during January of 2020 and that really helped me get a good feel of the different types of campuses, team practices and the coaches. Even after coming home from those visits I still wanted to explore my options which is why I had planned to take some official visits around February/March. Then Covid hit and it was very difficult since I was no longer able to visit the universities I planned on seeing. This meant I had to build trust through zoom calls with the coaches and I ended up verbally committing before I visited the university. Luckily for me, my friend who committed to the school I was very interested in was able to give me an inside scoop of the school because she visited it during her official visit. This helped me understand the school, the team and build trust with the coaches so at the end of the day I know I’ve made the right choice of picking Washington State University.
Wow, finally grade 12, the saying “High school flies by” is very true right about now. It’s hard to believe I’m graduating this year, especially with Covid it’s uncertain if there will be any grad events for my graduating class. Although, I’m just forever grateful for my loved ones good health and safety right now and hopefully the vaccines will take a big step into a better year for everyone.
Covid has been really impactful for different reasons for everyone but this year was a year of personal growth. During quarantine I can strongly say I have grown as a person and improved as a basketball player. I really focused on myself and I think that was a really important part of 2020 to take a step back in quarantine and realize what you appreciate most in life and focus on that.
With this being said, I’m so excited for what’s in store for my basketball journey and the next chapter of my life once I graduate high school. As of right now, I’m eager to hopefully play a game soon and maybe get some normalcy back in the near future.
Well if you’ve made it this far… Thank you for letting me share some things about myself and my basketball journey. I’m excited to update what’s new with me in the next month! If there are any players going through or will be going through the recruiting process and would like to ask some questions or just don’t know where to start, you can always reach out to me!