Budding Nashes work on jump shots and dribble drives at Selkirk College

The Steve Nash youth basketball league in Castlegar is going strong thanks mainly to one person.

Head coach Cheryl Closkey (back right) keeps a watchful as some of her young players scrimmage On Monday night at Selkirk College.

Head coach Cheryl Closkey (back right) keeps a watchful as some of her young players scrimmage On Monday night at Selkirk College.

The greatest basketball player in Canadian history may have chosen the Los Angeles Lakers over the Toronto Raptors, but make no mistake Steve Nash still holds a big sway over basketball in this country.

Steve Nash youth basketball leagues can be found in all parts of Canada. In Castlegar, the Steve Nash league is organized and run by long-time coach Cheryl Closkey, who has been doing it for eight years.

“It’s going pretty good this year,” she said. “Our numbers are up from last year. We have about 46 kids, which is a good amount in the gym.”

The league features both boys and girls and the age ranges from grade one to grade six. Closkey would like to see more girls sign up as there are many more boys than girls currently in the program.

The players meet once a week on Monday evenings at Selkirk College where they practice skills and scrimmage at the end.

“In the lower mainland, the population is so much higher they’ll have a practice a week and a game a week,” said Closkey. “Up here, it’s more scrimmaging and basic fundamentals. We don’t play any games, we just scrimmage and the kids seem to have a good time. We don’t have score clocks, we just try to have fun here.”

Closkey is encouraged to see many of the youngsters coming back each year. Many go on to play at Stanley Humphries School. Some of her coaches have moved on to coach at the high school such as Mike Lynn with the boys and Gord and Kim Matson with the girls. Tekki Hyrniw, a teacher and coach at Mount Sentinel School, has also coached in the program.