Kelowna Secondary School’s big man is getting his feet wet against some of the best basketball players in the world.
Braxston Bunce, a 6-foot-11 centre who has completed Grade 11 with the KSS Owls, is now hitting the hard court with the best Under-19 basketball players in Canada.
Bunce was one of 12 players chosen to the 2011 Junior Men’s National Basketball Team which is now overseas playing in the first of two international tournaments.
Bunce saw time in two of Team Canada’s games on the weekend as it plays in the 2011 International Youth Global Games in Lithuania.
“I am very honoured to make this team and represent my country on a global stage,” said Bunce, who is one of the team’s youngest players at just 17-years-old. “It means a lot for me to make a team with guys two years older than me and to wear Canada across my chest.”
Team Canada is playing three games at the Youth Global Games prior to the 2011 U-19 World Championships which will begin this Thursday in Latvia.
Bunce played just over four minutes in a 76-70 win over Australia on Sunday, scoring two baskets in a winning cause. On Saturday Canada opened the Youth Global Games with a 79-61 loss to Latvia. Bunce saw just over two minutes of court time as Team Canada works the youngster into its roster slowly.
For Bunce, who averaged 13.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game last season with the KSS Owls, the trip is all about experience.
“My goals for the trip would be just to learn and improve as much as I can and try to do anything I can to help the team win,” he said. “This will help my development because obviously I am playing with older, stronger, faster guys and getting the best coaching our nation can offer. It is going to be an unreal experience I will never forget.”
Canada closed the International Youth Global Games Monday with a game against Brazil. The result was unknown at the Kelowna Capital News deadline.
The team is now heading to Latvia and the U-19 World Championships. Team Canada will open that event on Thursday against Korea before playing Croatia and Lithuania the following two days.
You can follow the tournament results at www.basketball.ca.