(FREDERICTON, NB) Javon Masters is going back to Asia.
After spending ten days last spring touring China with a team of Canadian university basketball all-stars, the UNB Varsity Reds stand-out will represent Canada at the 2017 Summer Universiade, in Taipei.
“It’s a tremendous honour,” said Masters of his selection to the Canadian team. “Anytime you’re able to represent your country on an international level is always a dream.”
Masters is the only Varsity Reds basketball player competing at the Universiade.
“The competition is something I’m looking forward to,” said Masters, who has lofty expectations for Team Canada. “You’ve got to be dialed in on each and every play, both mentally and physically, in hopes of getting to the ultimate goal. We should be able to play together as a group and make positive steps throughout the two weeks we’re there.”
“Javon was a unanimous decision,” said Team Canada head coach Kevin Hanson. He’s the head coach of the men’s basketball team at the University of British Columbia and was one of seven current and former coaches tasked with selecting the team.
“He has proven he can play well in big games and he had a very good year this past season,” said Hanson. “He can defend and he can score. I look forward to working with him this summer.”
The 2017 Summer Universiade runs August 19-30, in Taipei City. Thousands of athletes will compete in more than a dozen sports.
In men’s basketball, Canada is in a pool with Germany, Finland, Norway, Japan and Hong Kong.
“We’ll be going against some of the best university athletes in the world, so it should be fun,” said Masters. “I’m just blessed to be given this opportunity and be able to play alongside such great basketball talents from the U SPORTS level.”
“We’ll have the opportunity to potentially play against ten different countries when you include a couple of exhibition games,” said Hanson. “It’s a lifelong memory for everyone involved and we look forward to having Javon as a member of the team.”
Last May, Masters joined a team of U SPORTS stars and Canadian-born NCAA players assembled by Toronto’s 3D Global Sports. The team played a series of exhibition games in three Chinese cities, against teams from the United States, Lithuania and China.
Going into his fifth and final year of eligibility, Masters relishes another opportunity to play on an international stage.
“It’s always something you dream of, representing your country,” said Masters. “I’ve had a memorable four years at UNB and am grateful for that. Being able to travel and play basketball is a blessing.”
“There are more things I want to accomplish, but I’m just soaking it in right now and working each and every day at being the best basketball player and person i can be.”
Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker is pleased to see one of his star players getting a chance to showcase his talents on the international stage.
“It’s definitely a boost for our program,” says Baker. “When you recruit, many of the recruits want to know whether they can elevate their game beyond U SPORTS. This keeps our program relevant by highlighting Javon’s achievement.”
Baker believes the competition will have Masters more than ready for his final season of U SPORTS eligibility.
“On the basketball side of things, he’ll play with top end Canadian talent and he’ll be able to bring those experiences of playing at the international level back to the program to help us improve.”