Vikes basketball head coaches serving as assistants with national teams
By David Conlin, Vikes Communications
VICTORIA – University of Victoria Vikes basketball coaches Craig Beaucamp and Dani Sinclair are set to represent the school on the international stage this summer.
Beaucamp is serving as an assistant coach with Canada’s U18 men’s national team and Sinclair as an assistant with the U17 women’s national team.
Sinclair and the women’s team are in Spain for an exhibition tournament preparing to compete in the U17 FIBA World Championships in Zaragoza from June 22 to July 3 while Beaucamp and the men’s team will travel to Valdivia, Chile, in July for the U18 FIBA Americas.
“Any time you get an opportunity to represent your country in any capacity, as a player or as a coach, it’s an honour and it’s an exciting time,” said Beaucamp. “It’s an opportunity to coach with and against some of the best coaches and players in the world so I’m honoured to have the opportunity to represent Canada again and it’s an opportunity to contribute and also grow.”
An assistant coach with Canada at the 2011 Pan American Games in Mexico, Beaucamp also served as an assistant with the Canadian junior men’s national team in 2006 and 2007. With two Canada West championships and five Canada West Coach of the Year recognitions already under his belt, the decorated CIS coach is excited for another chance to grow on the international stage.
“When you’re exposed to that level of coaching and that level of players there’s only good things that can come out of it,” said Beaucamp. “As much as I’m going to contribute there, there are things that I would like to bring back to my own team.”
Beaucamp has served as the head coach of the Vikes men’s program since 2003 but doesn’t shy away from the challenge of shifting to an assistant role.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Beaucamp. “I know what I want from my assistants and I’m really excited to fulfill whatever role I have with the national program.”
Whatever role that is, it will come with a program that has increased their profile in recent years. Last year, the U19 Men’s National Team went 6-1 and finished fifth at the FIBA U19 World Championship—their highest finish ever at the event. Heading into the championship in July, the program is third on FIBA’s world rankings behind only USA and Serbia.
On the line at the tournament is a chance to qualify for the 2017 U19 World Championships.
“I think obviously the goal is very high and it starts off with the qualifier in Chile—qualifying is obviously the first goal but I think also winning the qualifier is a realistic goal,” he said. “I think Canada has put itself in that position and we’re no longer happy just to place or to be in the top group but it’s a time when we’re looking at winning qualifiers or winning world championships.”
On the women’s side, Sinclair will also be shifting to assistant under head coach Jodi Gram. A former CIS Rookie of the Year and three-time OUA All-Star with McMaster, she has led the Vikes to four straight playoff appearances since taking the role of interim head coach in April 2012 and will bring her valuable experience to a women’s program that continues to grow in quality.
“Young players coming up in Canada have great opportunities in front of them and Canada Basketball continues to elevate itself on the international stage,” said Sinclair. “These young girls are special athletes and people and it’s very exciting to be part of the program, and work with some of the best across the country and the world.”
Last year, Sinclair helped coach Canada’s U16 national team to gold at the FIBA Americas in Mexico—a result that qualified them for the upcoming World Championship. The team will face a number of unknowns going into the tournament but Sinclair is confident they can adapt.
“Our team came together very well at the FIBA Americas tournament last year in Mexico,” she said. “We are working extremely hard in camp right now to prepare ourselves for the Worlds, and hoping to build on the success we had as a team. The team is getting better each day and we’re confident they will be well prepared going into the tournament.
Along with last year’s FIBA Americas, Sinclair has also served as an assistant coach for Team Canada at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. Not every coach gets to work with the national program, and Sinclair notes that adding to her international experience will only be beneficial heading into a season that will see UVic host the CIS women’s basketball championship.
“It is a great professional development opportunity,” said Sinclair. “To have the chance to work with great coaches from across the country is an invaluable experience and there are always countless new ideas that we can bring back and apply in our own way to our UVic program. It is also a great opportunity to see the different styles of basketball played across the world.”