Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team will have its share of provincial high school champions when it hits the court for the 2018-19 Canada West season.
Head coach Scott Clark has secured the services of a pair of key members from two time BC “AA” champion Brentwood College on Vancouver Island.
Clark and the WolfPack are pleased to announce that guards Brendan Sullivan and Nathan Pasloske are joining the program as of September 1st.
“After visiting a couple of other schools I chose Thompson Rivers because their program seemed very committed and the environment there will help me become a better player, “says Sullivan, who will be taking courses aimed at earning a Bachelor of Arts degree. Sullivan also looked at UBCO, Simon Fraser (NCAA Div II) and Vancouver Island University (PACWEST).
He says his main strengths are playmaking and three point shooting and led Brentwood College in every shooting category.
The 6’4” Pasloske agrees that the ‘basketball culture’ was one of the reasons he chose to come to Thompson Rivers after contemplating UBCO, Queen’s, Western, Waterloo and Vancouver Island University (PACWEST). “All the guys were really helpful and nice when I had my visit to TRU. They made me feel included and appreciated.”
Pasloske will be looking to earn a Bachelor of Science degree during his time at Thompson Rivers and says his main strengths are ball handling, shooting and playmaking. He played multiple positions during his high school career. He was second at Brentwood College this year in scoring and assists and third in rebounding (averaging seven per game).
“Both have been well coached by Blake Gage and have great skills,” Clark states. “In terms of Basketball understanding, they have a good grasp. Their maturation process to becoming seeing court time will depend on how they grow and develop in the weight room. Both players have a lot of upside.”
Gage is the coach at Brentwood College and has coached Sullivan for the last five years with Pasloske being under his direction for the last three. “They are smart and they listen,” he says when asked about how the two have developed under his direction. “I think mostly things evolved naturally as they gained experience and became bigger, faster and stronger. They definitely both made huge gains defensively in the last couple of years. Offensively the biggest growth has been understanding how to get the most out of the players around them-particularly with each other-they really find each other well and play effectively off one another much better than they did two years ago.”
Sullivan, who stands 6’1” and Pasloske have been teammates since they met during the summer going into grade eight. This season with Brentwood College, they won their second straight provincial title with the MVP award going to Sullivan. Pasloske was a first team all-star.
Both are happy that they will get to continue their basketball careers and keep their friendship close for the next five years while attending Thompson Rivers. While Coach Clark recruited them individually (first seeing both of them at a tournament in the Victoria area, although he had previously coached Sullivan’s father Liam at Malispina College (now VIU) in the 1990’s), both players say they mutually committed to TRU on the same day.
“Yes my relationship with Nathan was a big factor in choosing Thompson Rivers,” Sullivan said. “Although my dad’s connection with Coach Clark also was an influence.”
“We committed on the same day because we knew Thompson Rivers was the best fit for us,” added Pasloske, who was born in New Jersey and spent some of his younger years in Australia. “We talked about going together and we are glad it worked out.”
“Having Nathan here will certainly make the transition from high school to university that much easier for both of us,” Sullivan states.
“I am really glad we are going together,” Pasloske explains. “It will be nice to have a close friend to help with the adjustment to university. We plan to room together and I anticipate we will enjoy TRU.”
And they agree that they will have to get bigger and stronger to be effective and see court time in USPORTS.
Sullivan and Pasloske become the Pack’s third and fourth high school recruit signings for the upcoming season joining Nick Sarai of South Kamloops Secondary (who played Team BC with Pasloske and like Sullivan, is a BC high school championship all-star and champion (AAA division) and Richie Mageto of Clayton Heights Secondary in Surrey, BC.
Clark says his high school recruits are proven winners, “They are guys who know what is required to win. They have been in winning situations and know the expectations that go with that. Those are things you really value when you look at recruits.”
It might seem to some that both players were destined to become members of the WolfPack. The first time they were teammates was with the BC Games Island team in the summer of their grade eight year. The coaches that year were former TRU assistant coach Mark Simpson and ex WolfPack star Reese Pribilsky.
RIMSHOTS: Clark comparing Brendan Sullivan to his father Liam, “Liam was more of a point guard while Brendan is more of a combo guard. Brendan shoots the ball a lot better than his Dad. Brendan’s mom also played at Malispina, so maybe he got his shooting prowess from her, “he laughs. “Both are very nice people. Their son is a very nice boy.”
Gage has high praise for both his ‘soon to be’ former players, “They are kind and caring young men. I think just being part of a team like ours the past few years you cannot help but be a great teammate-they share the ball and revel in team and teammate success. Both players could have average 5-10 points per game more if they had chosen to be selfish but they were interested in winning. They have both come through a boarding school education so I would say that by living with other people, their ability to empathize and be considerate of the needs of others is well beyond what we might normally expect of young men their age.”
Brentwood College won three tournaments (Kodiak Classic, UVIC Alumni, and Brentwood College Invitational) along with the North Island and Island playoffs.
Pasloske on coming to Kamloops where the team gets a lot of media attention on all activities including community work, “This year with our teams success, we got a lot of media attention. I think that will help prepare us for TRU. We will always be responsible and set a great example. Brentwood is very community oriented and we became brothers with the other guys in our house. I’m looking forward to contributing to TRU’s community in the same way. I want to learn from the older guys and seek their advice. That way, I can become a better leader and role model in the community.
Sullivan on being a part of the WolfPack’s community endeavors including Raise a Reader and Terry Fox Runs, “I am excited to be a good rep of the team, the athletic program and the university.”
Pasloske adds, “ I would like to thank my coaches Mr. Gage and Mr. Sullivan (Brendan’s father Liam) for everything they have done for me the past three years. Their support has been incredible and I wouldn’t be here without them. I also want to shout out the group of hardworking and talented teammates I had. We accomplished some amazing things together, but more importantly, we became family forever.”