Canadian college basketball less competitive than American game

U.S. Falcons players talk about the game's differences in the two countries.

Langara Falcons Katie Skipworth (Left) dribbles up the court with Emma Jones (Right) Steven Chang Photo
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Reported by Steven Chang.

While the game of basketball serves as a universal language among hoopers, there are differences in the sport between Canada and the United States. Something that the Falcons have learned over the past three years.

This year’s Langara women’s basketball team has three U.S. recruits that all played in the junior college level for two years before coming to Canada.

Meagan Briggs is from Redding, California, studying Criminology. She came to Langara with former junior college teammate Emma Jones, looking to learn about basketball in a different environment.

“Besides the rules being a little different, I would say there are more team components in Canada, whereas in the States you see a lot of individual players trying to carry the entire team,” Said Briggs, on team culture between the two countries.

Jones, from Camas, Washington and enrolled in Recreational Management. She spoke about transitioning to Canadian basketball.

“Every coach is going to be different with their play calls, but the terminology is similar. Sometimes coach will use a different vocabulary, then Meagan and I would look at each other and recognize the plays we’ve learned from the past,” Jones said.

Third year General Management student, Katie Skipworth from Lebanon, Oregon, also had to make adjustments to her game because the rules in PACWEST are slightly different.

“In the States, you get a 30-second shot clock and here it’s 24 seconds,” Skipworth said. “That’s a huge difference for us, especially for me being a point guard that needs to bring the ball up the court.”

The three U.S. transfers said the competitiveness in American basketball culture begins at an early age.

Jones said basketball got competitive in the first grade. Briggs’ first team was in the third grade.

Briggs says Canadian youth sports programs are leaning towards participation and the U.S. focuses more on developing individual athletes.

“It’s more participation in Canada and putting kids in a team-oriented environment. Whereas in the States, we start training kids at a young age just to get better,” Briggs said.

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