1 p.m., Feb. 28)
Lancer plying his trade on the other side of the pond
By Fred Sherwin
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Lancer Simon Mitchel is plying his trade with a Division 3
basketball team in England while teaching hoops to primary school students and
has been very, very good to Simon Mitchell. After graduating from Sir Wilfrid
Laurier Secondary School in 2002, the former Orléans resident went to Queens
University where he won the team MVP during his last three years with the Golden
his fourth year at Queens, he heard through the grapevine that a club in
England was looking for Canadian players. Mitchell responded to the request after
graduating in the spring of 2007, only to find out that he needed four years of
to qualify for a work visa in England. So he re-enrolled at Queens and played
one more year of ball.
spring he sent some game tapes and his CV to Kent Crusaders chairman and director
of basketball Jesse Sazant. A short while later he was offered a contract as well
as a coaching position with the Crusaders high school basketball academy.
moving to England in September, Matthew also took on a position coaching five-
and six-year-old children at the Sturry Primary School.
the little ones has been one of the toughest things Ive ever done. Some
days they are literally out of control. I spend the majority of the session just
trying to get them organized and not injure themselves. Other days they are well-behaved.
In the end its been one of the most challenging things Ive ever done,
entire experience has been unreal, especially considering the fact that he very
nearly gave up on his hoops dream altogether.
be perfectly honest, I kind of lost motivation to play overseas near the end of
my fifth year at Queens. I didnt do anything in terms of finding a
team in Europe. But around mid-May I decided Id at least contact Jesse and
send him game tapes, says Mitchell. (Thus far) its been a great experience
and Im glad I made the decision to come.
Kent Crusaders are a semi-pro team currently playing in Division 2 of the English
Basketball League. According to Mitchell, the level of play is mid-Canadian collegiate
level and in past years a number of players have signed with professional clubs
Mitchell, the experience has been tremendous, especially the opportunity to pass
along his love of basketball to his much young students.
the high school kids has been very rewarding. Ive really seen an improvement
in their ability since September. Its enjoyable coaching kids that are so
enthusiastic about basketball and about improving their game. They soak up everything
you say, says Mitchell. Its cool being able to spread the sport
of basketball in another country.
objective of any Division 2 team, however, is to finish at the top of the standings
and earn a promotion to Division 1.
well finish in the top two in our division and get promoted, says
Mitchell. In all, the experience has been really good. Im enjoying
the basketball and Ive met some great people.
7:30 a.m., Feb. 27)
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