Tanner Scott is hoping to take his basketball career to the next level this year. The recent Swift Current Comp. Colts graduate has joined Canada Topflight Academy West in Calgary this year as he looks to hone his game in order to move on to the post-secondary level.
Canada Topflight Academy has been a presence in Eastern Canada for a while now and recently expended to Calgary.
“It’s an opportunity for kids to get exposure. It’s an opportunity for kids to develop and focus on basketball,” explained Adam Huffman, Executive Director and Head Coach. “There’s opportunities in other sports. It’s really common for a kid to go play in the WHL or to play baseball or whatever other sport, but basketball is kind of coming around to where if a kid really wants to specialize he has an opportunity to do that and compete with good players every single day and get an opportunity to play in front of college coaches.”
Scott, who will live in an apartment with three other teammates, is looking forward to immersing himself in the game at Topflight.
“Mostly it will be hitting the gym, just hitting the court whenever we want. It’s just working and getting better every day, until January starts and then hopefully we can start playing.”
Scott will get his post-secondary education underway during his ‘gap year’ with online classes while in Calgary.
“These kids often need another year to physically mature or maybe up a mark or two that can maybe get them in the range of an academic scholarship,” said Huffman. “They will be taking online courses in supervised study hall six days a week, two hours a day. They are on court from 3-5 p.m. They are in the weight room Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday from 7-9.”
Most of the prep basketball programs are currently in Eastern Canada, but Topflight West has a couple prep programs in Western Canada that they can play against and they play a lot against Alberta college teams.
“I find that a lot of our kids from Saskatchewan need the exposure to the Alberta colleges,” said Huffman.
Scott, 17, is a lanky 6’4’’ wing who led the SCCHS Colts in scoring this past season.
“We’re excited to have Tanner because of his length and his ability to shoot the basketball. This is going to be a great year for him, with his long thin frame, a year for him to put on weight and muscle and to be able to play against a more up-tempo speed than the Saskatchewan high school level. It will be a great year for him to physically and mentally mature,” said Huffman.
Ultimately, the goal for both Scott and Huffman is to find a spot for the Scott to play the following season.
“I am most excited to get more exposure to other schools around. Playing in Swift Current we don’t get those big tournaments where other schools can see you,” said Scott.
“You never look at a level as much as you look at a fit,” added Huffman. “You really want to find the right academic fit that a kid wants. A kid might like a smaller location like a Medicine Hat College or he might like going to an Ambrose University where he gets to play at the college level but still get a university education. There’s a lot of ways to get an education, so I always preach to the kids that it’s really about fit, rather than trying to play at a certain level.”
Scott and the Senior Colts had their 2019-20 season cut short due to job action from the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, which ultimately became a moot point when COVID-19 shut down schools across Saskatchewan in March.
“It was kind of disappointing because we thought that we had a good chance to get into Hoopla this year for sure with who we were going to play against. Yeah it was disappointing,” said Scott.