Ron Yeung energizes the kids before running them through their drills for the day.

City launches Steve Nash Youth Basketball program

Nine-week pilot project looking to expand across Toronto

Canadian basketball legend Steve Nash has lent his name to a program at L’Amoreaux Community Recreation Centre to bring kids of all ages together to develop their skills and an appreciation for the sport.

The centre, at 2000 McNicoll Ave., will play host to the Steve Nash Youth Basketball program, a nine-week local pilot project launched by the City of Toronto in association with Canada Basketball.

The program focuses on Sport Canada’s Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) principle, which hopes to see some of its youth reach Canada Basketball’s Senior Men’s National Team. Nash is the general manager of the national squad.

Ron Yeung, manager of Domestic Development for Canada Basketball, says he believes the kids’ engagement and involvement in the program are the keys to its success.

“What we are trying to do is really get the kids engaged in their community,” Yeung said. “We’ve obviously had success before at the club level with other sports, so we want to build that same base for basketball in the community.”

Rowan Barrett, assistant GM/executive VP of the Senior Men’s Program for Canada Basketball, says word is getting around quickly about the Nash program.

“The program is spreading,” Barrett said. “Through our partnership with the City of Toronto, they’ve identified several community centers we plan to expand to, such as Lawrence Heights, North Kipling Community Centre, Wellesley Community Centre and the Driftwood Community Centre, to name a few.”

Barrett also stressed that this program isn’t your run-of-the-mill after-school activity or workshop to keep kids occupied until they go home for the evening.

“It’s not a babysitting service,” Barrett said. “The program is meant to actively involve kids across all ages. Other programs might be content to just oversee kids for a while; we’re about involvement and getting the kids engaged and active.”

This project is endorsed by NBA point guard Steve Nash, who is the GM for Canada Basketball’s Senior National Men’s team. However, he was unable to attend the project launch.