Vancouver, British Columbia - Each week we will profile those at the forefront of the growth of the game here in our province and country. First up: Joe Enevoldson. In his first year as Head Coach of the Fraser Valley Cascades, Joe faces unprecedented challenges but he is no stranger to being the underdog - and rising to the challenge.
VB: It's been a while since we've caught-up, catch us up on your journey.
JE: Coaching and basketball has always been in the foreground for me as I was playing and growing up. Surrounding myself with passionate like-minded people and being mentored by some of Canada’s best coaches helped to develop not only my technical knowledge of the game, but how sport (and particularly basketball) can develop holistic people. Basketball has led me to various colleges and universities (SAIT, Mt Royal, TRU, UBC, Douglas and now UFV) but more importantly has led me to numerous life-long relationships
VB: Who Was Your Hero Growing Up?
JE: I grew up in the Jordan era and the Fab Five freshmen timeframe. So from a basketball sporting hero perspective and an idolization it was definitely MJ, but at a deeper look/glance definitely was the rock in the house, my mom.
VB: What are you most excited about with the opportunity at UFV
JE: The opportunity to compete night in and night out against some of the best players and coaches in the country. If you are anything of a competitor you want to test yourself at the highest level and that is what USport is. The highest level of amateur sport in our country.
VB: State of Team - players to profile?
JE: A wide gambit of skill and potential – a few players to profile would be Vick Toor (4th year guard and leading returning scorer); Zubair Seyed (3rd year transfer from Ryerson and Dixie State)
VB: How Covid has affected them / what they are doing about it?
JE: The squad has been relatively upbeat and opportunistic about Covid. It’s been a long haul so the group is definitely celebrating the little victories of being able to compete in practice through intrasquad and small-sided games, and they have been diligently working to increase strength and conditioning in Zoom sessions.
VB: How has Covid positiviely affected your life? How have you grown as a person / coach / professional development?
JE: The number one positive would be the considerable amount of family time that has come about through Covid. Seeing the little guy’s first steps; first run; first fall, all of these moments might not have happened in a "normal" environment. As far as a person / coach / PD, I bumped up to the USport level during Covid at UFV, so a lot of development has occurred. Even though no games, I am a way WAY better communicator, organizer and coach throughout this process. Covid has wreaked havoc on normalcy and routine, so your ability to communicate through drastic change has to be on point.
VB: Coaching Philosophy? Non X and O cornerstones of your coaching outlook
JE: Coaching Philosophy is one that is quite simple: Incorporating a servant leader in the development of the holistic student-athlete. In simpler terms, we are there to help are student-athletes grow, not only from an athletic perspective, but all avenues that can achieve growth.
VB: Which coaches have you pulled inspiration / learnings from over the course of your coaching career?
JE: I have been very fortunate to work with some of the best basketball minds in BC including (and definitely not limited to), Scott Clark, Kevin Hanson, Ken Olynyk etc...so I have really taken a lot from each of them and disregarded the stuff that wasn’t true to me. I think that this profession is so much about who you are and putting your spin on growth, but you are always evolving and growing as well. Surrounding yourself with the "right" people is paramount
VB: What are 3 non negotiables you look for in an student athlete?
JE: I think first and foremost a level of trust and honesty. A very early message to incoming freshmen is "Tell the truth". Seems easy, but quite often student athletes are trying to please and don’t always tell you what you need to hear.
VB: A second non-negotiable would be to over-communicate. Why? Because you want transparency within your program at all levels. It provides the quickest opportunity for growth
JE: The third from a non-technical/tactical perspective would be to "Conquer your Controllables". Don’t be content with controlling them, attack them. Be the earliest to the gym; be the last to leave; conduct yourself like a professional. There are many examples of great ballers being unable to do this and it greatly affecting them.
VB: Advice for young athletes trying to play college basketball?
JE: Work, grind, believe in yourself. Write down your goals and then work, work, work. Nothing great ever comes easy. Deal with adversity and loneliness as it is hard. From a basketball perspective, put yourself in game like drills as much as possible, while still working on simple fundamental skills. If you are the best player in the gym...go to another gym where you might get picked last. That’s where the growth occurs. Being uncomfortable
VB: What do we as a basketball community have to look forward from the Joe Enevoldson UFV Cascades in the coming years?
JE: A program that works extremely hard in developing holistic student-athletes, excelling in the classroom and the local community. A program that through it’s deliberate efforts is competitive on the floor allowing for an opportunity to become one of the nation’s elite programs
VB: Any words of wisdom you have for upcoming coaches in our country?
JE: Surround yourself with people that are as like-minded as you. Learn from the great coaches out there, take notes (lots of notes). Be passionate and be generous in your time and emotion. Be prepared for long days, lots of video, new exciting interactions, lots of firefighting, and enjoy and embrace it as it’s what you love to do!