Keshaun Saunders socializes with his classmates ahead of a weekend practice for Brampton’s St. Roch Catholic High School’s basketball team.
He wears the jersey from his appearance at the inaugural high school BioSteel All-Canadian game at Ryerson University from the previous Tuesday.
It’s been a busy April for Saunders, competing in basketball games at home and abroad.
His month included the Canada Basketball Cadet team selection camp at Humber, showing off his skills on the same court his father, Richard, found success on 20 years ago.
Richard Saunders was a member of the team that secured Humber’s first ever CCAA National Championship. They went on to win two more after that.
“It was a great four years winning back-to-back-to-back national championships,” said the elder Saunders.
The experience Richard got while playing at Humber led to him taking on a mentor position in his later years, passing on his insight to the younger players at Humber basketball.
Richard continues to be a presence around Humber, according to Varsity co-ordinator James DePoe.
“Richard has always come back around to support the basketball program, he is a recognizable face within Athletics,” said DePoe.
He also passes on his experience on the court working with the CIA Bounce U15 team, as well as to his own son.
“What I learnt at Humber I was able to pass on, both on and off the court, and he’s able to utilize that with his abilities,” said Richard.
Saunders’s son, Keshaun, began playing rep league basketball when he was seven, soon becoming a standout at his age level. His progression led him to Canada Basketball’s Junior Academy where he was selected as one of the top 20 basketball players in his age group in Canada.
Saunders’s high level of competition means balancing a budding athletic career with the normal struggles of a high-school student.
“It can be difficult, but I get a lot of help from coaches,” said the younger Saunders.
Keshaun remains disciplined on the academic side of things as well.
“After finishing my school work then I give myself the time to practice,” said Keshaun.
Keshaun has some more Canada Basketball camps to appear at as his school year dwindles before heading to Argentina. He was named an alternate on the Canadian Cadet team that will compete at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
“It was humbling to be selected, I usually play with people I’ve grown up with and it will be exciting to go to new places,” said Keshaun.
“I’m very proud of him, and it’s well deserved. He’s put a lot of hard work in getting to where he is now,” said his father.
The family is no doubt pleased with the younger Saunders’s accomplishments so far but the greater future is never too far from their thoughts.
“There is still a lot more hard work to come with competitions and getting towards postsecondary, but we’re proud of what he’s put in thus far,” said Richard.