Andrew Baron: Relishing the opportunity

Kristian Hlldebrandt picking up teammate Andrew Baron. - Brian Jones Photo

Kristian Hlldebrandt picking up teammate Andrew Baron. – Brian Jones Photo

Around this time two years ago, Andrew Baron was averaging less than 10 minutes per game for the Douglas College Royals. He was a rookie on a team with an abundance of third and fourth-year players, and he was nervous.

After graduating from Elphinstone Secondary in 2008, Baron spent three years unsure of what direction he wanted to steer his life into. He knew that he wanted to play basketball at the collegiate level. He also knew that he was very capable of doing so after a stellar career at Elphinstone.

But life has a way of, well, getting in the way.

Then, in the summer of 2010, Baron contacted Denis Beausoleil – the newly-hired basketball coach at Douglas. That correspondence turned into informal summer league games. Those runs in August translated into tryouts, and those tryouts manifested into a spot on the roster.

But it was quickly realized that wearing a jersey and having his name inked on the pregame programs didn’t guarantee any sort of smooth sailing.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.


Every second counts: A play-by-play breakdown of UBC’s overtime victory against Alberta

Fifth-year UBC point guard Nathan Yu drives in for a layup against Alberta on Friday, January 6. - Brian Jones Photo

In late November, when the UBC Thunderbirds dropped two Canada West regular season matches to Lethbridge and Calgary, I honestly thought that it was going to be a rebuilding year for last year’s national bronze medalists.

Although they had opened up the 2011-12 campaign with four straight wins against Canada West competition, I came to the conclusion that after that brutal Alberta road trip, that this wouldn’t be the year where the T-Birds claimed that elusive gold at nationals.

After the two-game skid, UBC had a month lay-off and then headed down to Santa Barbara where they split a pair of games against UC Merced and Trinity International University.

Then 2012 happened.

Continue reading

Day in the Life: Speeches Beyond

This story was for a feature project in the winter of 2010. Obviously not basketball-related but it’s a fun piece so I’d thought I’d include on this blog.

Speeches Beyond raps at his usual spot at the corner of Granville and Georgia streets in downtown Vancouver. – Brian Jones Photo

When Jason Eastwood steps onto the SkyTrain platform at New Westminster Station, he’s still Jason Eastwood. But when he steps off the train at Granville Station, he no longer goes by the name he was born with, but assumes the identity of the street-rapping truth-spitter Speeches Beyond.

He gets out of the station, wheeling a cart that holds his precious amplified speaker and basket of CDs, and walks only a few yards up to the storefront windows outside of The Bay department store on Granville Street. Eastwood takes the black garbage bag cover off the amp and places it aside, then carefully sets the amp down beside his cart. He treats it like a newborn.

Continue reading

Extreme Makeover

(Paul Yates/Vancouver Sports Pictures)

At this time five years ago, the Kwantlen University College Eagles men’s basketball team was gearing up for another BCCAA season. They had a couple of veterans on the roster, a few returning players and a host of young rookies waiting to shine in their post-secondary debut.

The team didn’t win a single game.

Continue reading