My Basketball Journey

Born and raised in Kingston, ON I have been around the basketball scene in Eastern Ontario for the last 15 years of my life.

Early Days

I began my basketball journey in the Steve Nash Youth Basketball Program. Sunday mornings were spent at our local YMCA while dedicated volunteers helped us learn the basics of basketball and develop our fundamentals. Who would have known that this little Kingston kid would end up going on to pursue basketball at its highest level in our country? What I did know was that Steve Nash was my idol and I dreamed about wearing the number 13 one day while leading a fast break. 

After 2 years I moved on, joining the Kingston Impact house league - just like so many other young basketball players in Kingston. We continued working on our fundamentals and tried to implement the skills we were learning in 5 on 5 games. I was far from the best player at these sessions, but I loved being in the gym with my friends as we developed our skills.

I eventually progressed into the Kingston Impact competitive program when I started grade 5. We travelled to Ottawa almost every weekend to compete in the EOBA (Eastern Ontario Basketball Association) against the likes of the Nepean Blue Devils, Gloucester Wolverines, Ottawa Shooting Stars, and many more. At this age I was a top 3 player on our team and my skills were continuing to progress, but I doubt anyone would have predicted that I would move on to play at the university level.

This might have been the moment that "the switch" flipped for me and the idea of playing in university crossed my mind. What sparked this thought? It was the spring of 2009 and my family and I had made the trip up to Ottawa to watch three Kingston basketball stars compete for a national championship. Who were they? They were three starters for the Carleton Ravens - Stu Turnbull, Aaron Doornekamp, and Rob Saunders. On that particular night the Ravens faced off against the Western Mustangs. Late in the fourth quarter the Ravens trailed the Mustangs 65-64. With 5 seconds left Turnbull took the ball down the length of the court, making a move to his left and pulling up to shoot just outside the key. I remember watching the play unfold from our seats behind the far bench - the ball hanging in the air, the buzzer sounding, the ball barely touching the rim as it dropped into the hoop and madness that broke out at the (then) Canadian Tire Centre. I had just witnessed one of the greatest shots in Carleton Ravens and (the then) CIS basketball history. On the car ride home I told my Dad that I wanted to play for the Carleton Ravens and win 5 national championships just like Stu.

The following summer I went to the first Stu Turnbull Basketball Camp held a in Kingston. I got to meet the Kingston native who had quickly become my favourite university player in Canada - the person whose steps I wanted to follow. Every day that week I challenged him to shooting competitions and games of 1 on 1. He beat me every time, but it inspired me to get better and became a driving force behind the hours I spent in the driveway shooting and pretending to make my own game winning shots in front of sold out stadiums.

High School

A few years passed - I continued playing for the Kingston Impact and my elementary school teams. Then the time came to start high school - I told my dad that summer that by the time I graduated from Frontenac I would win at least 1 OFSAA championship, be committed to play for the Carleton Ravens, and go down as the best player to come out of the city of Kingston. Lofty goals for a player who wasn't even considered the best player on their competitive team the year prior.

Regardless, I made a plan - you could find me in the gym at Frontenac at 6:30am every day working on my game. I look back at the plans I made for myself now and chuckle at how crazy they were. I had no idea what I was doing, but I was experimenting with the different moves and drills I saw in the videos I watched on YouTube everyday. This continued for the next four years - it didn't matter if I had lots of homework, if it was raining or snowing, if my body was sore and tired from the previous night's practice - I was there everyday.

Despite spending all those hours in the gym, I still struggled while playing at the high school level. In grade 9, I wasn't even the best player on my team. It was debatable if I even fell into the top 3! People thought I was crazy (maybe I was), why would someone spend all that time in the gym if they weren't the best at what they did? Our team won the city championship that season, but I didn't play - I broke my thumb the day before in our last practice of the year. The biggest game of our season, the crowd that I had imagined playing in front of, all taken away in an instant.

The following season I played for our senior team. I struggled to find playing time - I was frustrated. I worked harder than all of my teammates who played ahead of me - why didn't I get more playing time? I just wasn't good enough - it was a hard lesson. I thought about transferring schools and I debated if I should stop playing basketball. However, the decision was made to simply work harder that summer. I started lifting weights, I made a plan to make 400 shots everyday, I went around the city to play pick up games with whoever was playing that day. Lo and behold, It ended up paying off!

I broke out in my grade 11 season. I finally started feeling like the player I pictured myself being - I was dominating games, creating for myself and others, and our team was winning. By making it out of KASSAA and EOSSAA we qualified to play at OFSAA and to compete for a provincial championship. The goal I had told my dad years prior was starting to come into reach. We made it to the semifinals before losing to the eventual champions. A quick turnaround saw us losing in the bronze medal game - it was devastating, but I wasn't upset that I hadn't achieved my goal. The season progressed into winning for our seniors, giving them the ultimate farewell from high school basketball, and I wasn't able to deliver that to them.

I made the decision to leave Kingston Impact and play for Ottawa Elite that spring. Seeking better competition and teammates who would push me to my limits in practice I made the weekly trips down the 401 and 416. We were pushed at every practice by our coaches and each other - I knew I had made the right decision. We played against the best competition in the province and were able to cap off the season by winning the CYBL championship. I also decided to tryout for Team Ontario that summer. I had never made it past the first sets of tryouts in previous years, but maybe now, with my newfound confidence, I would have a chance. It was a gruelling 3 month process of travelling to Toronto every weekend to compete for a spot on the team. After the final training camp in North Bay, ON I was selected for the team. We went on to play at the 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba - winning the tournament and redeeming Ontario's loss the previous year. 

I set new goals going into my senior year. On the whiteboard in my room "Team Canada" took up the centre of the board in big bold red letters - it was the first thing I saw everyday when I got up and the last thing I saw before bed. Our high school team reloaded for another successful season - seeking out the elusive OFSAA gold medal. I had newfound confidence in myself after that summer with Team Ontario, but I knew that if I didn't consistently perform that year we wouldn't have a chance to win at OFSAA. Every story doesn't have a storybook ending - we lost in the city championship that year - ending my goal of winning an OFSAA championship at Frontenac. Heartbroken, my mind shifted to the next goal on my list - the one in bold bright red letters that stared back at me everyday... Team Canada. I made the trip to Toronto to attend the open tryout for the U18 men's national team. I was unsure if I had what it takes, but to my surprise I made it through and got invited to stay for the weekend - joining the pool of U18 athletes invited to compete to make the team. The coaches must have liked what they saw - I played my role - spacing the floor hard, making three-pointers, rebounding the ball. I knew I wasn't going to make the team as a point guard, but maybe there would be a spot for a shooter who didn't need the ball all the time. I was willing to contribute to the team anyway I could - even if that meant limited minutes. It turns out that there was - after attending another tryout and battling my way through a two week training camp in Ottawa I made the Team Canada U18 team. Shortly after training camp we travelled to St. Catherines, ON to competed at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. We ended the tournament with a silver medal after losing to Team USA in the finals and qualifying for the U19 FIBA World Cup. 


I was fortunate to be recruited by a fair number of USports schools (see how to get recruited). I could have returned for one last season of high school basketball or gone to a prep school away from home, but I didn't see how either would force me to improve more than by competing against older university players everyday. With that in mind I decided to continue my career at the school that had produced the most professional players in Canada. I committed to play for the Carleton Ravens under head coach Dave Smart - it was a dream come true. The 10 year kid who told his dad he wanted to be a Raven was finally living his dream.

Not unlike high school, my 5 years at Carleton had its fair share of ups and downs. I was a red shirt in my first year, had to deal with limited playing time, numerous injuries, and growing expectations.

When I arrived on campus I quickly realized that once again I wasn't good enough to compete at this level. The only difference? Everyone on my team trained just as much as I did. How was I going to crack into the top 12 and earn a spot on the roster the next season? There was no need to overcomplicate the situation - I tried to keep it simple - by spending more time in the gym working on my skills, watching more film, and spending more time in the weight room. I needed to keep getting better, fully understand our system, and make sure I wasn't getting bullied on the court. Our team won a national championship that season beating the Calgary Dinos - I didn't play, but it still felt rewarding after growing so much throughout the season.

The following year, I moved up the depth chart and saw about 14 minutes of court time per game. I was able to fill the same role I played on Team Canada - coming on the floor to shoot - and I managed to shoot 45.7% from behind the 3 point line that season. Once again we made a run to win the national championship, coming back in the second half against a strong Dalhousie team. Once again I didn't play in the national championship - it was another reminder that I still had work to do.

My third year in university was far from what I had imagined. I thought I was due for a bigger role on the team and more opportunities to show what I was capable of. However, I was stuck at home like everyone else due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I ramped up my training over the summer. What did my days look like? Early morning skill work in my driveway (like all those years ago), lifting weights in my basement, riding my bike to a nearby soccer field to run sprints and work on my agility, back in the driveway to do more shooting, and often times capping off the day with pickup on an outdoor court. The summer came to an end and shortly after classes began so did the news that our season was cancelled. Maybe it was from training on concrete all summer, but I started to notice pain in my left hip - as it got worse I decided to get it checked out. I was diagnosed with a torn labrum and would require surgery to repair my hip in order to reduce the pain. Luckily, I was able to get the surgery done in February and was on track to return from my 6 month recovery in August... just in time to begin preparing for the following season.

My fourth year began and I saw my role increased averaging 22 minutes a game. We battled our way through the year only losing 1 game in the preseason before being upset in our semifinal matchup. We still managed to qualify for USports nationals as the wildcard and received the number 7 seed. We made our way through the tournament - taking down Victoria before facing Alberta in front of their home crowd. We managed to steal the game and get away with a 64-63 win in front of the home town hopefuls. Championship Sunday rolled around and we faced off against the Saskatchewan Huskies - ultimately taking them down and securing another national championship. Once again, I filled my role as a floor spacer making 42.5% of my 3-point attempts on the year and 44.2% through the regular season.

Entering my senior season I knew I had to play a bigger role - we had just graduated 4 of our starters from the previous season. My minutes rose to 31.1 per game and I was forced to assume more responsibility on both sides of the floor. I was told I needed to defend better matchups, rebound the ball more, and create more opportunities for myself and my teammates on offence. Gone were the days of just spacing the floor and shooting threes. This new role was difficult for me in the early part of the year and it seemed as if every time I started to play better I would get injured. I suffered 3 concussions prior to the end of the first semester of the season. However, an injury free second half of the season saw me improve to new heights - playing a key role in our run through the end of the year. Once again we qualified for nationals, with the goal of winning our fourth straight national championship. We squeezed out a quarter final win - 73-71 against UQAM. I knew I had to play better to help our team achieve our goal. I stepped up in the semi finals - scoring a career high 27 points and grabbing 9 rebounds to help our team on its way to the national championship game. In the national championship we battled out a double overtime thriller against the St. FX XMen to win our fourth championship in 5 years. I finished the game with 23 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists - including a couple big shots late in both overtimes. It was nothing quite like Stu's shot in 2009, but I had lived out my own journey and reaped the rewards.

Once again I was living out my dream - checking off the goals I shared with my dad more than 10 years earlier.


Following my career at Carleton I signed a one year contract to play overseas for Achilleas Kaimakli in the top professional division in Cyprus. After 3 months playing overseas I took another hit to the head in practice - leading to my sixth concussion in the previous 2.5 years. Focussing on my health I made the decision to leave Cyprus and Achilleas and returned home to Canada with the goal of getting healthy before deciding the path in which I would continue my basketball journey.


My basketball career has had its fair share of ups and downs. I have faced adversity at every step in my journey and was able to come out ahead as a better player and person through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. With that said, my journey started because I took the chance to dream big and not set a limit for myself. I saw Stu Turnbull and asked myself "why not me? Why can't I do what he did and accomplish what he accomplished?" I made a plan and stayed consistent when adversity struck - finding refuge being alone in the gym. Just me, my ball, and a rim.

Now the only question I have to ask is:

Why not you?

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