The UBC Okanagan men’s basketball team has wasted little time in snapping up one of Kelowna’s top basketball prospects.
Kelowna Christian product Ryan Linttell has committed to playing for the Heat men’s basketball team this upcoming season. A 6-foot 4 multi-sport athlete, Linttell won provincial gold in both volleyball and basketball and will come to the Heat with a winning pedigree, while also adding depth and versatility on the wing.
“I’d have to say my greatest strength is my versatility,” Linttell said, “I can shoot from the outside or drive inside, score and rebound. I also see the floor well and I’m an unselfish player. I work hard on defense and keep my man in front of me.”
Linttell was versatile enough to lead his school volleyball team to a B.C. provincial title and was named the tournament MVP. A few months later he led his Knights basketball squad to a provincial championship and earned a first team all-star. For his stellar achievements throughout the year in athletics Ryan recently received the Augie Ciancone Memorial Award as the City of Kelowna high school male athlete of the year.
Not your average wing player, Lintell was called on at times to run the point from the forward spot for his Knights squad as he averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game while shooting an impressive 63 per cent from the floor and 38 per cent from three-point range. He will join last year’s Augie Ciancone award winner, Mitch Goodwin, as a core of strong local high school players that signed with the Heat.
Linttell plans to enter the Bachelor of Human Kinetics program, and believes that UBC’s Okanagan campus “is a highly reputable school.” He currently seeks to become an optometrist and boasts a 93 per cent average while residing on the Principle’s List and Work Ethic List at the high school level. He hopes that his academic success will also translate into university success.
Ryan is fortunate in that he has an older brother, Tyler Linttell, who currently plays in the CIS and who has been able to lend advice to his younger brother for the jump in competition.
“It’s much more physical than high school,” Ryan said was Tyler’s advice, “and I have a lot to do to get my body ready for next year.” He adds, however, that “I always like to play with players who are better than me so I can step my game up.”
Second-year coach Pete Guarasci is excited to add Ryan to the basketball program at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
“He’s a local talent who helped lead his KCS [Kelowna Christian] team to a AA Championship,” said Guarasci. “Ryan is a well-rounded basketball player with good size, athleticism and basketball IQ. We believe he has a chance to develop into a strong CIS wing player. On top of Ryan’s athletic abilities, he’s also an excellent student and teammate.”
A large part of Ryan deciding to come to UBC’s Okanagan campus after sifting through offers from other CIS schools was his familiarity with coach Guarasci. “I feel UBCO is the best fit for me. I really like coach Guarasci’s game style and he explains himself well,” said Ryan and, “I think I will grow as a player and person under his direction.”
Heat notes: Heather Semeniuk’s women’s Heat basketball team has also signed the Augie Ciancone Memorial Award winner, on the female side, in Olivia Johnson. Johnson is a 5’6” guard that led Immaculata to their first ever provincial championship in girls’ basketball. This is also the second year in a row a women’s Heat team has brought in the top Kelowna high school athlete; Justin Drosdovech from Immaculata Regional plays for the Heat soccer team.