Langara basketball alum give back to youth players

Jamie Oei, former Langara men's basketball player, is putting on youth basketball camps in North Vancouver, B.C.


Reported by Myra Dionne

The sound of basketballs pounding hardwood floors, the swish of a net and squeaking rubber soles is more than just familiar noise to coach Jamie Oei.

It’s the sound he listened to while watching his father coach high school basketball as a kid.

His father passed away one year ago and now its Oei’s turn to mentor small kids.

Now he coaches and directs Vancity Basketball Academy in North Vancouver. He opened the academy four years ago to provide accessible space for kids to play, even if it meant taking a pay cut.

“I’m not a great business man to be honest,” Oei said. Oei, 40, played for the men’s basketball team at Langara College in 1999. At 23, he became their head coach – a rare achievement. “In the grand scheme of things, it pays off, because when you do positive things for people you get that kickback later on from somewhere else.”

Mother of academy member praises Oei’s coaching style

Rana Lee, who played for the women’s basketball team at Langara in 1999, currently sends her son to the academy. She said Oei is tough on the kids, but fair and fun.

“He’s such a good coach in assessing the kids’ level, where they are and what skills need to be developed. That’s why I trust him, you know he knows basketball,” Lee said.

The importance of life after basketball

Head coach of the UBC basketball team, Kevin Hanson, coached Oei at Langara and said the job can be an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s the relationships that leave the deepest impression.

“Life after basketball is not just about the X’s and O’s on the court. It’s about lifelong friendships,” Hanson said.

He once caught Oei past curfew on a tournament trip to Hawaii, but allowed him to play the following day. They lost their game by one point.

Oei said Hanson is one of his biggest influences next to his father, Ernie Oei.

“It’s funny, you try to get away from your parents when you’re younger but then you actually start becoming a lot like them,” Oei said.

He is organizing a free basketball camp this winter in honour of his dad.

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