WolfPack Men’s Basketball Sign First Recruit for 2017-18 Season (Halcrow)
Kamloops, BC—He might be finishing grade 11, but there was no question where Devin Halcrow wanted to play his CIS basketball. And that was in his hometown of Kamloops, BC with the Thompson Rivers University WolfPack.
The 6’8” NorKam Secondary Student has committed to the WolfPack effective September 2017.
“I wanted to come to TRU for a few reasons, ‘ Halcrow said. “ I feel that staying here is the best situation for myself. I will get a chance to become a better player as well as getting an education and helping to give back to the community. The basketball community in Kamloops is so tight knit that I wanted to be a part of it.”
“Devin is a good basketball player,” says WolfPack head coach Scott Clark. “He can do lots of things He runs and moves well. He can shoot the ball facing the basket. He handles the ball—he is a good basketball player. He is a good student, a nice guy. He will fit in with our players. I first saw him a few years ago when he came out for our Regional Training Centre. He has a lot of upside. Having a local kid who is good to stay local is a ‘no brainer’.”
“My strengths are my height,” Halcrow says. “I am faster than a lot of big men. If I am able to draw them out away from the basket a little bit and use my speed: it’s pretty effective for me. I do like to put up a shot when I can. I have worked on my jumper for a number of years and it is finally starting to come around.”
Clark first heard about Halcrow from former University College of the Cariboo player Will Blair, who started working with him at Brock Middle School at the end of his grade eight year. “ The first thing that stood out to me about him was he was such a sponge,” said Blair. “All you needed to do was show him something once and he put it into practice until he perfected it. He was tall for a grade nine (6’4”or 6”5” but very lean. He had good footwork in the post and a nice touch around the basket. Defensively, he kept his hands up and played good position defense to really protect our basket. I never wanted to take him out of the game because he was so important to our team on both ends of the floor. His understanding of the team game, his selflessness and his popularity with his teammates made him the glue for our squad. If he had any weakness at that time it was probably his physical strength (he was so slight) and being too unselfish at times. He has developed into a prospect through his own work and putting in the time to improve the individual game, but also being all about the team and what he can do to help it.”
Halcrow has been working out with current members of the WolfPack and the alumni for a while. He says it’s helped him get a ‘head start’ on being a CIS basketball player. “It’s great. Training with these guys is definitely a lot more physical than my high school basketball. Having the chance to compete with them at this stage of my career can only benefit me. It’ll mean I will have less catching up to do when I come here in September, 2017.”
As far as moving into CIS “Once I get here and start playing with these guys it will feel pretty natural,” Halcrow says. “I will have a year and a bit of experience playing with them will help.”
Halcrow says his former and current coaches: Blair and TRU alum Mantej Mahil along with current NorKam coach Kyle Beday had a big influence on him deciding to stay home. “With my coaches, we didn’t talk directly about what school I would go to, we just chatted in general. Coach Blair is the one who made me believe in myself. He told me that if I stuck to it and worked hard I could make something of it (playing basketball). Coach Mantej did it as well but he more of a ‘life mentor’ for me. If I asked him a question he will give me a response in full detail and take time to explain it. Kyle was really the one who made me realize I am a ‘game changer’ on the court. He stressed to me to be a leader.”
Mahil was Halcrow’s junior coach at NorKam. “He is hard working, talented, cerebral and an unselfish player. He is the model player that every coach wants. He will do what is asked of him and do what it takes to make the team better. Obviously, he would like to score 40 points per game and win all of them. Given the choice, he will choose team success over individual without hesitation. He displays that attitude every day on and off the floor. He is not a one dimensional player and extremely strong in multiple facets of the game. Most bigs can’t keep his pace for the entire game nor match his speed down the floor.”
Beday has only coached Halcrow for one year and says he is something special. “Aside from his skills , he is able to fulfill whatever role his coach wants him to. If you ask him to rebound and defend he will do it. Having a strong work ethic and always wanting to improve and expand his game will be a great asset for the WolfPack. I think he is a great fit for TRU. I am very proud and excited to see him move to the next level after playing for me this coming year.”
Halcrow says making the decision on where to go to University before entering Grade 12 relieves a lot of pressure. “It is definitely a weight off my shoulders. When coach Clark gave me the offer and we started looking into it, there were a few bumps. I was enrolled in the Millright and then ACE IT program through the school district. I was going to continue on with that. I had to make a big decision on what to do. It wasn’t hard but making transition from trades to a Bachelor of Science is big.”
The WolfPack are involved in a lot of community initiatives, something Halcrow is looking forward to aa a challenge. “I am willing to take it on,” he says “Right now I have a few younger players who say they look up to me. It is a bit of a strange feeling because I never thought of myself as a role model. It is a great honor. “
As far as playing in the Canada West in two years? “Physically it is going to be a big jump. Definitely I need to get a lot stronger. I’ll be working out with the guys and on my own. I think it will take a little while to adjust but I am confident I can get the hang of it pretty quick.”
DOUBLE DRIBBLES: Halcrow worked last summer with former WolfPack players Tallon Milne and Kevin Pribilsky at the Regional Training Centre along with current TRU player Volodomyr Iegorov. “There was a mentiorship for Devin there,” said Clark. “That will continue this summer and next year. By the time he starts school here he should be able to ‘hit the ground running’ basketball and academic wise.”
Clark adds: “It is essential we keep our best players at home. They get to play in front of their friends and family where they’ve grown up. But also to make a name for themselves in the community if they plan to live afterwards. That is a big part of meeting the community’s needs with the athletics program.”
Mahil on Halcrow’s character: “n Devin is a great role model and he embraces that responsibility. This past season he helped coach a grade 8 team at Brock middle school. In 2014-15, he helped me with an after-school sports and arts initiative and came into the program multiple times to help coach/teach/participate with grade 4-7 students’ basketball and to play along in the activities with them. Devin and another one of his teams would come in full uniform and be like stars to the little ones. Devin led by example with these little ones and had them all looking up to him figuratively and literally. Honestly those days that Devin and his teammate would come in to volunteer with the program, while watching them interact with those kids I was extremely proud of those two and their ability to take on that role and represent their school, me their coach, and themselves at such a high level. I hope now that Devin has committed that he has even more opportunities to reach more students as he is definitely one they can look up to and he will without hesitation accept that responsibility and embrace it. “
When asked about an anecdote about Halcrow, Blair stated: “He lives a block away from me so I would drive him home from practice each day. I really valued those conversations because I probably learned more from him about the other guys on the team, things he found challenging, getting feedback from him about practices and games, and being able to give him different feedback about his play that you don’t really have an opportunity to do in practices or games. I just remember reminding him at times that basketball provided me with the opportunity to move to Kamloops and get a university education. In the process, I was involved with great teams as a player and a coach, met many people who have been great influences on me, and I am lucky enough be in a profession where I can continue to be a part of basketball and give a little back to a game that has given me so many opportunities. I remember telling him that he some natural gifts (size, coordination, smarts, and great character), and if he continues to work, basketball will provide him with many opportunities and great experiences. I may have said that staying home to play at TRU would be cool to play in front of friends, family, and save a little money too.
I am very excited about him staying in Kamloops to play. The more Kamloops natives we can have stay and play for TRU, the better, but only if they are deserving of the position and the playing time. I think Devin will take advantage of the opportunity. I think he sees the big picture; he is preparing for a 5 year commitment to TRU, with big goals for the team and for himself, athletically and academically, along with the opportunities that may come after. I think he understands that it will be a process, some growing pains, but he will work through whatever challenges come his way. I told him how happy I was for him, but now he needs to put in the work to prove to TRU that they made a good choice – I know that he will. I can’t wait to watch him play.”
As far as playing in the Canada West in two years? Halcrow states: “Physically it is going to be a big jump. Definitely I need to get a lot stronger. I’ll be working out with the guys and on my own. I think it will take a little while to adjust but I am confident I can get the hang of it pretty quick.”