A second opportunity to play basketball for his province has Marcus Hughes feeling good about his game.
The 17-year-old Corner Brook native, a member of the Corner Brook High Titans 4A male basketball team for the past two years, has earned a roster spot with the Newfoundland and Labrador U17 male basketball squad.
Hughes, the lone player from western Newfoundland to make the team, suited up for the provincial U15 male basketball team two years ago.
Hughes enjoyed his first taste of basketball action with the provincial squad at the U15 level, but he’s more excited about his second chance to wear the provincial colours because he’s more prepared to play at a higher level.
“I feel a lot better about making it this time because I feel like I got more of a chance of playing a few more minutes and maybe starting,” Hughes said Monday.
Playing for the province in the past is something he figures will help him adjust to the high calibre of play he expects to find when he joins the team for an invitational tournament in Halifax in July before heading off to the national U17 male basketball championships being staged in Kamloops, B.C., in August.
“I think this year it should be better and I won’t be as nervous when I’m on the floor,” he said.
Hughes is committed to working hard over the summer. He plans on improving his physical fitness, but equally important to him is time spent on becoming a better all-around player on the court.
He wants to be ready to lead the Corner Brook Titans to a provincial 4A male basketball in his final year of high school so he will have a busy summer to work on the things he needs to do to bring his game to another level.
James Combdon, a Templeton Academy student, has the distinction of being the only player from the west coast named to the roster of the Newfoundland and Labrador U15 male team that will train in St. John’s for a few weeks before participating in an invitational tournament in Halifax and then travel coast-to-coast to represent the province at the national U15 male basketball tournament also being held in Kamloops in August.
He’s excited to see how he performs against some of the best players in the country over the next few months. His brother, Parker Combdon, played for the same provincial squad two years ago and spoke highly of the experience.
That helped motivate him to make the commitment to attend tryouts.
The roster was whittled down to 20 players after the first training session. Another training session with the 20 hopefuls in attendance was held and then the roster was cut to 12 players and two alternates.
Basketball is his favourite thing to do. He loves to throw the ball around with his buddies and going on the road for tournaments is always a big part of the fun for him.
The six-foot-one forward was proud of being named to the team because he realized he was the only one from the west coast to earn a spot and he’s going to work hard over the summer to improve his stock with the team to show he deserved to be there.
“It means a lot to me. It feels good to be recognized for my hard work,” Combdon said.