KELOWNA, B.C. – Kelowna Secondary product Buzz Truss has committed to stay in the Okanagan Valley and play for the hometown UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball team next fall.
Truss helped the Owls to win another Valley Championship this past season for the AAAA squad, with a versatile skill set and a knack for scoring, the 6’4” forward has found a way to continue playing the game he loves and get a tremendous education without the burden of leaving the Okanagan. For Heat head coach Pete Guarasci it was Buzz’s penchant for solid defense and ability to make plays that will have Truss slip right into his system.
“Buzz was one of the top grade 12's in BC this past year,” explains Guarasci, “as a local player it was great watching his game develop over the past few years. I wanted to make sure Buzz knew that he had a place to play at home and go to school and I’m extremely pleased he decided to stay in Kelowna.”
In his senior year at Kelowna Secondary Buzz averaged 19.6 points a game while hauling in nearly eight rebounds a contest. A very efficient scorer Truss shot 54% from the field for the year and 35% from beyond the arc.
Buzz’s ability to score field goals was best display as he closed out his high school basketball career. At last month’s Quad A BC provincial championships in Langley, B.C. Buzz led the tournament with 40 field goals in just four games, scoring 26.5 points per contest in the Province’s premier event - good enough for fourth best at the championship.
Excited to keep another local talented kid in the Okanagan Guarasci speaks with great enthusiasm when talking about adding Truss to a strong core group of local young player as he heads into his third season manning the Heat.
“We're really happy to add him to our program as he brings the work ethic that we are looking for both on and off the court. I think his versatility, basketball IQ, and competitive spirit will make him a solid contributor.”
“He obviously is a great coach,” Truss said of Guarasci. “He’s had a great career in basketball … I believe playing under him will be really good. When he was talking to me I really like how he was putting academics first, and then sports, so it makes me feel really comfortable coming [to UBC Okanagan] than anywhere else.”
Truss will be entering into the Bachelor of Science program in the fall, with aspirations to major in biochemistry. “The schooling, first of all, is fantastic,” he said of the academic programs at UBC’s Okanagan campus. “I want to focus academically, so it was the ideal choice for me.”
He will join a cast of native Okanagan Heat players who, over the recent years, have elected to stay at home to play ball. Fellow KSS grad Mitch Goodwin has become one of the best young players in Canada West, and Kelowna Christian grad Ryan Linttell also had several options before choosing the Heat. South Okanagan Secondary grad Greet Gill also decided to stay in the Okanagan for his education and for the game. Dario Gini (Immaculata) and Joel Burma (Kelowna Secondary) both sat out last season as injury red shirts but are also Kelowna graduates that add to the depth of talent from the area on the CIS team.
“[Mitch] did talk to me a little bit,” Truss admitted. “Playing with him was fantastic [at KSS]. I really look forward to playing with him again.”
Over the years as a three year starter* for the perennially top-ranked Owls Truss has earned numerous individual awards: including All-Stars at the Telus classic, the Snowball Tournament in Abbotsford, the Okanagan Valley championships and of course Kelowna Secondary’s own annual Western Canadian championship.
Truss, in his grade nine year he led the Dr. Knox Falcons to second place finish and was named MVP at the BC high school 2011 boys’ basketball championships.
A member of the Junior Heat Club basketball program Buzz has also represented his province, winning an individual All-Star and a national Silver medal when he played for the B.C. U15 provincial team in 2011.
Along with his impressive basketball resume Buzz has specific ideas about what he will bring to the court for coach Pete. “I hope to bring my aggressive, attacking the basket offensive play to open up shooters on the outside and defensively use my strength and agility to stop lanes to the basket.”
More than just academics and basketball Buzz has already displayed a passion for helping in the community, something that is quickly becoming a cornerstone of the student athletes at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Immediately following the Quad A championships in Langley Buzz was one of 145 members of Willow Park Church that spent his Spring Break on skid row serving with other L.A. area ministries. “It really opens your eyes to world,” adds Truss, “it was a very good experience.”
Buzz is just one piece in a large recruiting class for the Heat who have lost significant minutes with five players graduating, already signing with the team is 6’9” Airdrie, AB native Ryan Morck. Truss proves that his basketball IQ extends to off the court challenges as well as he goes into his freshman season with open eyes.
“The first year,” elaborates the thoughtful recruit, “is mostly developing. I don’t expect to be starting, I just want to contribute for my first two years, and hopefully I’ll be able to go into the mix.”
Buzz is also extremely positive adding that he “that we can build it into something good.”