BRAMPTON – The gold medal winning performance of Canada’s women’s basketball team at the Pan American Games is providing an inspiration to many young female players.
Some of the young girls who aspire to reach that level to get a chance to get some tips from one of Canada’s top players as Brampton’s Shay Colley, a national team player, instructed for a week during the Aspire For Higher Elite Basketball Camp, girls’ only camp.
The week-long camp wrapped up on Friday (July 24) at Notre Dame Secondary School just a few days after the Canadian women won their first Pan Am gold by defeating the United States.
While Colley, a graduate from St. Edmund Campion, has been with the national team training at its base in Edmonton this summer, she did not participate in the Pan Am Games, but was one of three alternates. Colley has earned a scholarship to the University of South Carolina, one of the top teams in the NCAA. Her commitment to the school means she may not be able to join the senior team for the FIBA America’s qualifying tournament from Aug. 9 to 16 in Edmonton.
But her summer has been busy.
She played for the national development team during a tour of China and then returned to Edmonton to practice with the senior women’s team, which included Brampton’s Tamara Tatham. Colley said that has been a valuable experience giving her an opportunity to learn the Canadian systems.
There were about 35 girls at the Brampton camp ranged in age from 5 to 15. Camp founder Abena Addo said many were excited to find out they would be learning from a national team player.
“I don’t look at it as being a role model. I just want them to have fun,” Colley said of her time at the camp.
Colley, who began playing basketball at age 3, is now 19 and is counted on to be one of Canada’s leaders in years to come. She said she was impressed by what she some from the players at the camp.
“They know so much about basketball at a young age,” she said.
A number of athletes said they enjoyed the experience working with her. Rain Jhaj, 11, said getting instruction from Colley was an inspiration.
“She has been where I am and now she is on the national team. I would like to do that,” she said.
The Aspire For Higher Camp is in its third year of operation. Besides the girls only camp there were co-ed camps at Notre Dame and St. Roch schools through the summer.
Addo is entering her final year of basketball eligibility at the University of Toronto where she is pursuing a Masters of Civil Engineering after graduating from McGill with a BSc in Environmental Health Science and will be offering the camps again next summer.