Kelowna Owls post Owen Keyes has elected to continue his academic and basketball education by selecting UBC Okanagan and the Heat men’s basketball program after he graduates from KSS this spring. He will be a freshman for the 2017/18 season.
KELOWNA, BC – Owen Keyes, a 6’9” forward currently playing for Kelowna Secondary School and the Junior Heat Club program, has signed on to play for the 2017/18 Heat men’s basketball program.
Keyes has been a member of the Junior Heat program since 2012. Since then, he has also put together a basketball resume that includes provincial championships, all-star honours, and placements on provincial teams.
With all those years training in the Junior Heat Club program Owen was able to impress UBC Okanagan men’s basketball head coach and lead coach of the Junior Heat Club program, Pete Guarasci, enough to sign Keyes early in his grade 12 year with the Owls.
“He has a chance to become a real impact player at his position in the Canada West,” Guarasci says of his incoming big man. “We look forward to working with him and helping him achieve his potential and we are very excited to add Owen to our men’s basketball program.”
Owen started his basketball career in earnest when he was a part of the Dr. Knox Middle School team, from 2012-2014. In 2013, he was a part of Team BC where he played on the BC Provincial boys team for two seasons. He spent the following season, 2014/15, on the KSS Junior team, before moving up to the Senior team in 2015, and winning a historic BC High School provincial championship last season. Three members of Kelowna Secondary championship team are part of the current Heat roster: Matt LaFontaine, Nav Sandhu, and Davide Cianco.
As a student, Keyes plans to join the engineering program, with a focus on physics and chemistry. Those programs being offered at UBC’s Okanagan campus was a big factor, among a few others, in his choosing to his post secondary institution. “UBCO is the full package for me,” said Keyes, “It allows me to pursue my academic interests in the sciences at an internationally recognized university while learning to play basketball from one the coaches best suited to my position as a forward in coach Pete. I am proud to be able to attend UBCO as both a student and athlete. Plus, Kelowna is a great place to live.”
Talking more about playing for Heat head coach Pete Guarasci, Owen continued, “I am excited to become a part of the Heat community. As a ‘big guy’ I am thrilled to be able to work with coach Pete. He is probably the best coach for my development as a basketball player. The team is a great group of guys and I am looking forward to learning lots and playing hard.”
As to what he believes he will be able to add to the team off the court next season, he said, “I look forward to contributing to the Junior Heat program in the community. It has done a lot to develop me as a player and I am excited about the opportunity to give back. It is a unique program that reaches into the community to build a culture of basketball in Kelowna.”
The Heat men’s basketball team will host a single competition over the holiday break before the second half of the Canada West regular season kicks in. On Friday, December 30th at UBC Okanagan the Camosun Chargers and Heat will play a single game, tip-off at 12 p.m.
In the new year the first two weekends of January will have UBC Okanagan basketball at home where they will host the Regina Cougars and then the Victoria Vikes, January 6-7, and January 13-14 respectively. Full Schedule.