Viqueen graduates to UNBC

A Viqueen will be jumping for the hoops beyond Vanderhoof and B.C. next season.

Nechako Valley Secondary's Kassidy Dick shoots against Duchess Park Secondary during an at-home game in February.

Nechako Valley Secondary's Kassidy Dick shoots against Duchess Park Secondary during an at-home game in February.

A Viqueen will be jumping for the hoops beyond Vanderhoof and B.C. next season.

Kassidy Dick, a six-feet-one-inch tall member of Nechako Valley Secondary’s senior girls basketball team, will be playing women’s basketball for the University of Northern British Columbia this fall.

Dick was first approached by the team’s new head coach Sergey Shchepotkin last fall during a UNBC basketball camp.

“I was surprised and thrilled that I got the opportunity when he came up to me,” Dick said.

Playing basketball since she was Grade 1 along with five other members of the NVSS team, Dick enjoyed other sports — such as volleyball, as well as sprinting in track and field — throughout the years.

“I find it fun and being with everyone on the team,” she said. “I understand the game a lot more than I understand volleyball and track.

“I enjoy understanding the plays and the movement, and I love playing defence against other people.”

She is also drawn to the “hands-on” nature of basketball.

“In volleyball, you’re on the other side of the net,” Dick said. “For basketball, you get to be with the people.”

For Shchepotkin, Dick’s potential lies in her size and attitude.

“My roster was really packed, but I was still looking for a big girl,” Shchepotkin said. “She’s quick, on fire, and I can see potential in her.”

He also recognizes Dick’s hardworking attitude and passion for the game.

“She wants to practice, and she wants to be taught new things,” he said. “That’s very important for me.”

UNBC Women’s Basketball takes part in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport’s league, which includes most of the country’s degree-earning institutions and is the highest level of collegiate basketball in Canada.

To move to the next step, Dick will continue to work on basics as a post player — a member of the team specialized in net play.

“Her defence, her movement in offence, rebounding, looking out, all the initial stuff for post player,” Shchepotkin explained.

“In CIS there’s a lot of good players; we need to prepare her mentally and physically to compete with them.”

For NVSS’s senior girls basketball coach Vaughn Mueller, Dick’s abilities on court are recognizable beyond her size. “She’s a real natural passer, for one,” Mueller said. “She uses the floor well for a big girl and she’s a good free throw shooter, which is a good trait because big girls tend to play under the basket a lot and get fouled a lot.

“If she stays focused and continues to work hard, because of her physical attributes, size, and reasonable athleticism, that’s going to be a good asset for her when she gets to the next level.”

Mueller looks forward to see Dick at UNBC games. “I’m excited to see where she goes with her basketball career, and watching some UNBC games knowing I was part of that.”