Texas A&M Aggies v Oklahoma Sooners

There is an incredible amount of Canadian talent playing division one basketball this year and as part of the Tourney Central blog, we’re going to conduct interviews with a few of Canada’s finest ballers.

We kick things off with Vancouver’s Ty Nurse, whose Texas Tech Red Raiders start play in the Big 12 tournament tonight. 

Oliver Macklem: You guys are about to kick off the Big 12 conference tournament. What do you need to do to win your conference tourney and qualify for the big dance?

Ty Nurse: We just had a tough game against Texas the other night at home. We were playing some great basketball there. We have confidence playing in the Big 12 tournament. We got West Virginia in the first round and we know, we just have to play good basketball, rebound, take care of the ball and just play Red Raiders basketball to be successful in the tournament. But I think, going into the tournament, we have confidence and we know what we’re capable of and we just have to play hard.

OM: Ty, talk a little bit about your season. You’re one of the seniors on this team and obviously it’s been an up-and-down year for the Red Raiders. How have you tried to guide some of the younger players through this season?

Ty Nurse: Well I just try and lead by example, just do what the coaches ask. Just play basketball the right way, play unselfish and that type of thing is contagious. You can only hope that your teammates will follow you when you play that sort of way. This year, I came off the bench and just try and do whatever I can to help this team win – whether it’s knocking down shots or making the extra pass.

OM: There’s been a huge influx of Canadians coming into the NCAA and some real talents playing division one basketball. What do you think is the difference from ten years ago to now, with how much talent we’re seeing from north of the border?

Ty Nurse: Well I think it’s just the exposure. 10-15 years ago college scouts weren’t noticing the Canadian talent. But I think it was definitely there. I think it’s been there the whole time. But recently, coaches have been taking notice and flying over the border to check out these talented Canadian players. They’re giving them the chance. Players like Kelly Olynyk – just giving them the chance. Look how successful he’s been this year. Tristan Thompson and Corey Joseph, they’ve been paving the way. And the more and more Canadian prospects have had at the college level, that just opens the doors for future Canadian players. I think in the future it’s just going to continue to progress and continue to show that Canadian players can play at this level.

OM: And it’s tough for a lot of guys to go through the AAU route, like you did. So do you think we’ve reached a point where guys can play Canadian high school and still have an equal chance of playing division one down south?

Ty Nurse: Definitely. I definitely think so. It’s whatever you prefer, whatever your preference is. Players like Kevin Pangos, he played his high school ball in Ontario through his senior year and he’s having a great career at Gonzaga. And then you have players like Tristan Thompson who go to St. Benedicts and the Finley Prep and he’s in the NBA now. So it just depends on what your preference is and whether you would rather play Canadian ball or go to America. So it’s just a matter of progressing and working on your game. That’s all that really matters. I think either way works.


Big thanks to Ty for spending some time with us!