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Looking to improve his team’s ability to score, UBC Okanagan head coach has recruited four players, three of whom averaged over 20 points a game for their high school basketball team during the past season.
High scoring guards from the North Okanagan — Jarrett Larsen and Leon Schenker from Kamloops and Vernon respectively — will be joined by small forward Garret Riley of Whistler and guard Avery Hutcheson from Calgary as new players on the Heat squad this fall.
Hutcheson, played his high school at the well-known prep school based out of Wilcox, Sask. — Athol Murray College of Notre Dame.
Playing both senior high basketball and a pre season at Notre Dame for the Hounds, Hutcheson and the team went undefeated in the regular season (8-0), reaching a No. 1 ranking nationally and finishing the year (18-4) in the full competitive season.
Starting every game when healthy, the six-foot guard averaged 15 points, six assists, four rebounds and over three steals a game in his Grade 12 year in 2017.
He’s following in his father's athletic footsteps. Scott Hutcheson, Avery's father, skied for the Canadian National Alpine ski team (1978-1982), was a first team All-America NCAA athlete and a member of four NCAA championship ski teams, and he represented Canada in the World Cup and the world championships.
An accomplished skier himself, Avery also has raced on skis at a national level but since starting basketball in Grade 9, the snow has been replaced by hardwood. The past four years Hutcheson has been playing his club basketball with the Genesis Basketball club.
At UBC Okanagan, Hutcheson will enroll in the Faculty of Management with his sites on finishing a degree in Management and a future as a business entrepreneur.
"Avery will add depth to our backcourt immediately. His versatility and athleticism makes him a very capable player on both ends of the court. He's also an intelligent high-character kid who brings value to our program in many areas. We hope Avery can bring his winning ways to UBC Okanagan."
"I chose UBC Okanagan because it allows me to be mentored under a great coach and play basketball in a place I would like to live. The schooling was very important to me as well and it allows me to go straight into Management in my first year which was a strong aspect of the school."
A high-level scorer, the 6'4" guard from Sa-Hali Secondary will be one of two North Okanagan high school seniors committed to UBCO for the upcoming season.
A rare two-sport star, not only has Larsen earned numerous tournament all-stars and MVPs in his three years starring for the Sabres’ senior basketball team, but he has been a provincial all-star in badminton every year since 2014.
Scoring comes easy to Larsen who averaged over 30 points per contest in his Grade 11 year. He saw that average dip to 24 points a game in Grade 12 but he looked to distribute the ball more, increasing his assist total by more than two a game. He also owns his school's single-game scoring mark with 48 points.
A strong student in high school, Larsen is listed as a district honours student (top 5% of all district students) and will enter as a psychology major with hopes of being a lawyer.
"Jarrett brings a work ethic to our program that will have an impact both on and off the court. An impressive student, he also has the size and athleticism to compete at the U SPORTS level. His ability to shoot the ball will help our team in terms of offensive spacing as he provides more depth to our wing position."
"I chose UBCO because I wanted to be able to pursue my academic and athletic goals. I loved the atmosphere on the campus and the direction the athletic program is heading. I feel that being at UBCO will give me the best opportunity to succeed in both the classroom and on the court."
"I've spent so much time training to earn a spot on a university team and now that I have been given that opportunity I want to give it all I have to help the team and program succeed."
A 6'5" small forward, Riley has been playing high school senior boys basketball since he was in Grade 9 at Whistler Secondary. A North Shore all-star this past year, he was also his team MVP for the Storm in his Grade 11 year. Riley has averaged 23 and 18 points per game in his Grade 12 and Grade 11 years respectively.
Also a BC Hockey bantam tier-4 provincial champion in 2015, Riley has left the skates behind while training and competing with the 3D Basketball club out of North Vancouver.
A future in Law is the plan, beginning his post-secondary journey academically at UBC Okanagan in the Bachelor of Arts program where his intended major is in Political Science.
"Garrett provides our roster with size and skill for the wing/forward position. His commitment level and work ethic will help him develop into a very capable USPORTS basketball player. His length and skill-set will give our roster versatility and we look forward to having him join our program."
"I chose the UBCO because of the amazing academics offered at a smaller university and I’m proud to be wearing the Heat jersey this fall. I'm super excited to play for the Heat with a great group of guys and to learn lots from great coaches in coach Guarasci and his assistants."
A graduate of the Junior Heat club program, Schenker is looking to make his mark in building the basketball program at UBC Okanagan.
An athletic guard at 6'3", Schenker has the speed and athleticism to match up with the bevy of other quick guards on the rosters throughout the conference. At Vernon Secondary School, Schenker has been on the senior Panthers team for the past four years.
His game really took off in his Grade 11 and 12 years, earning multiple tournament MVPs as well as the VSS senior basketball MVP both years. He averaged over 25 points per game this past year after averaging 20 per game in Grade 11.
Born in Amsterdam, Schenker will enter the Human Kinetics program at UBC Okanagan with an eye towards physiotherapy as a career.
Schenker has played for the Junior Heat for the past four years and in the summer of 2016 he was a member of Team BC on the U16 team.
A bit of a legacy at UBC Okanagan, Schenker's older brother Enzo Paal played soccer at UBC Okanagan for three seasons (2013-16) and scored 16 goals for the Heat – tied for the highest total in school history.
"Adding a Junior Heat athlete is always a big success for our men's basketball program. We've watched Leon develop over recent years and we’re excited he chose to continue his development here at UBC Okanagan. Leon provides great size and playmaking ability to our backcourt. He's familiar with our systems so should have a seamless transition to the style of play."
"Known for great academics. I’ve been around the Heat program for years and want to help establish a winning culture and I am excited to try and help create a winning culture and putting this program on the map in Canada."