By Cary Mellon
Hannah (#14) finishing versus the Mustangs. (Photo courtesy of Greystoke Photography)
Jr. Heat produces another player for the UBC Okanagan Heat women’s basketball program’s 2015-16 recruiting class
KELOWNA, B.C. – Kelowna Secondary’s Hannah Friesen has become the third homegrown women’s basketball player to commit to the program at UBC Okanagan for the upcoming 2015-16 season, bringing with her a strong presence for the Heat at the forward position going into the team’s fifth season in Canada West.
The 6’0 Friesen has been a consistent scorer and rebounder, going back-to-back years of leading her Owls squad in those categories. For her senior year in the black and gold she put up 15 points and 8 rebounds a night.
She capped off her Grade 12 journey this past season as the team captain, earning a second-team All-Star nod at the Valley Championships and multiple Player of the Game awards at the Provincial tournament. The Owls would wrap up sixth in the Province.
Friesen will come from UBC Okanagan’s own Jr. Heat program, having now played U15-17. Most recently she was coached by current Heat assistant coach Bobby Mitchell, who also coaches in the Jr. Heat program. Her team this past year went on to win the championship game in Edmonton.
“Playing Junior Heat had a large impact on my decision to play at UBC Okanagan,” Friesen admitted. “I have a lot of respect for Bobby, and he has played a big role in my decision to play basketball at a higher level.”
For her new head coach in Claire Meadows,Friesen hopes to impress with her athleticism, work ethic, and overall energy level and enthusiasm for the game. Meadows is obviously already impressed, as she reached out to keep Friesen in town after High School.
“There is a consistent theme with this year’s recruiting class and that is work ethic,” said Meadows. “Hannah, like Jordan and Emma, will bring an endless work ethic to the UBCO team that is fuelled by her competitive nature. At 6’0, Hannah has a long reach and a strong frame. She is an excellent rebounder and has a nose for the basketball when she is in the paint. She is spending a lot of time in the gym in preparation for the fall and her impact on the team will be immediate.”
“[I] am so excited to have the opportunity to be on a University team with them,” she said. “They are both amazing players, teammates, and importantly, people. I am looking forward to playing alongside them again.
Friesen will also look to bring her energy and enthusiasm to the classroom, when she begins her studies in the popular and renowned Human Kinetics program at UBC Okanagan, with ambitions to eventually go into physiotherapy. She hopes to translate her combined athletics and academic success—demonstrated by her receiving the Okanagan Valley Scholarship—to her University career.
“I know it’s going to be a big change, but I’ve always liked challenges,” Friesen said, commenting on the jump from High School to University, both athletically in the CIS and academically. “I feel my coaches in high school have prepared me for this jump. I am thankful for the time they have put into helping me develop.”
Watch Friesen and the rest of Heat women’s basketball hit the court next fall when they embark on an exciting new era for the program at UBC Okanagan. Check back at goheat.ca for updated schedules as they become available. Don’t miss any of the action on canadawest.tv.