Rainmakers forward Liam McChesney wants to go as far as he can playing the game he loves, and this summer, he’ll have a chance to perform on the world stage.
McChesney has been invited to workout and compete in a Canadian U17 national basketball camp, and will play in the 2018 FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup if he makes the team.
“It would be an honour to play for my country and represent Prince Rupert, and have all these people behind me,” McChesney said.
He was invited to the camp after performing well at a tryout in Humber College in Toronto over Easter weekend. Competing against 50 other talented basketball players, McChesney was one of only 16 who made the cut.
“To make top 16, he has to be very honoured, and he had to do the things he needed to do to get there,” said Joe Enevoldson, director of male high performance for Basketball BC and one of the assistants at the camp. “It’s a real testament to him and how hard he’s worked over his short career.”
The camp consisted of drilling and strategy sessions as well as a team scrimmage. The atmosphere was intense as players were cut, sometimes in the middle of a practice session.
“We would be practising and they would pull players aside and they would be done,” McChesney said. “It made me nervous but I felt confident and it made me work harder because I really wanted to make it.”
Competing at the provincial and national level has been a challenge in the past for McChesney, who admitted that the elevated athleticism and skill took some adjustment for him.
However, as he continued to get stronger and grow into his six-foot-nine inch frame, McChesney said he has been more prepared to show what he can do in the most recent camps he’s attended. Enevoldson, who has coached McChesney on the B.C. team, said the growth of McChesney’s game was evident at the tryout.
“What stood out was his ability to shoot the three and his physical maturation over the last year,” he said.
The national team camp goes from June 12 - 29 in Toronto, and McChesney hopes to be one of the top 12 players chosen to compete in the world championships. He’s confident that his improvement will be enough for him to get him there.
“I think I was a slow developer,” McChesney said.
“I’ve caught up to them now, but I’m still not where I want to be.”