The University of Northern British Columbia’s Women’s basketball team has taken a big step to bolster its backcourt, officially announcing the commitment of five-foot-six guard Sarah Kuklisin for the 2020-2021 Canada West season.
“I have always had the dream of playing at the U SPORTS level, and I didn’t know if I would make it because I am the height that I am. But I see players like Emily (Holmes) and she is actually shorter than me, so it is super exciting to have this opportunity.”
The 17-year-old visited the UNBC campus in November, touring the facilities, and training alongside the Timberwolves.
“UNBC is really good. This is a really good team. They have gone to the playoffs three straight years, despite being such a small school. My visit was amazing. I loved it. I really like the people here and the environment. It is really beautiful here.”
A product of St. Francis High School and Vision Basketball Academy under coaches Mark Hogan and Janelle Bekering, the Calgary native has played at the provincial level for Team Alberta. Kuklisin is hopeful her skills translate well to the university level.
“I have always played really fast. Pushing the ball is something I love to do. I don’t like to slowly dribble it up. I still have to work on my three-pointer, my outside shooting, and my jumper. I also need to get smarter when I get into the paint.”
UNBC coach Sergey Shchepotkin will lose starting point guard Emily Holmes to graduation this season, and sees his newest recruit as an athlete who projects to play a major role for the Timberwolves over the next five years.
“Sarah has the ability to play with great pace and elite ball handling. She has all the makings to become a very good point guard at the Canada West level. I love her ability to organize her team, advance the ball, and run the offense. I am thrilled to add Sarah to our program, where I think she will be an impact player.”
The honour roll student will graduate from St Francis this June, before heading to Prince George, where she intends to study business and eventually law. On the court, Kuklisin will join her TWolf teammates for training camp in August.
“I have to improve. I need to work out, get stronger, and work on my conditioning. They all have great IQ and are smart with the ball. Everyone on this team is an athlete. There is not a player who doesn’t have the skills. Everyone is athletic and it is competitive all around.”