Darian Goertzen of the GPRC Wolves take in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference play from last season. Goertzen and his Wolves teammates were part of the Wolves ID Camp, held at the college this past weekend. Wolves head coach Evan Lloyd signed four players, including local product Brandon Lyons.
More than 30 players turned up for the GPRC Wolves men’s basketball ID Camp at the college gym this past weekend.Wolves Head Coach Evan Lloyd and his three assistant coaches spent two days and change putting 32 players through five-on-five play and basketball drills galore.It was a solid test of fundamentals for high school and college-aged players.In the end, only a select few players were offered anything during the camp, while one player decided to play the waiting game. In other words, he’s probably looking around to see what his options are.”I gave offers out to a couple of different people, some roster spots and some red-shirt spots,” Lloyd said. “As of [Monday] I have signed two red shirts and two roster guys. I have another offer out on another guy from the camp but he’s going to wait two weeks to get back to me.”Lloyd signed High Prairie resident Bryce Philips and former Peace Wapiti Academy Titans guard Brandon Lyons to red-shirt deals, while inking Memorial Composite High School guard Saxon Joyes and Edmonton St. Francis Xavier guard Bruce Beddoe.When the camp ended at noon on Sunday, Lloyd had a chat with the entire group, telling the attendees to not give up, to keep improving and keep competing.The short speech was part realism, but more importantly it was part motivational as Lloyd explains.“I don’t write [players] off, if they’re willing to put in the work,” Lloyd said. “The big thing I was looking for was guys who want to be at GPRC. I’ll never write a player off if they’re willing to take a little bit of criticism on what they need to get better at.”Lyons is a perfect example why Lloyd never gives up on a player. More importantly, it’s the story of a local guard having the heart and conviction to believe in himself.“[Lyons is a guy] I coached in high school, this is the third time he’s tried out for me and I gave him a red-shirt spot this year,” Lloyd said.“Persistence pays off, hard work pays off and good things happen to good people.”As the majority of the players filtered out of the gym, scattering to wherever the wind takes them, several hung back to hear the truth from the coach.“It’s never easy to tell a ‘I don’t have a spot for you’ but, honestly, it makes it easier when the athletes wants to know how they can get better,” Lloyd said, while noting he’s totally honest with the player. “The tough ones are the guys that don’t want the criticism or think they should be a starter. The conversation is never easy.”Quite frankly, if the player wants to hear about the state of their game they should be allowed to hear it. Criticism is fine as long as it’s constructive, positive and helpful.“If they want to spend the time after the camp, I’m not going to brush them off in a two minute conversation,” Lloyd said. “If they have a question for me, I’ll spend the time and chat with them.”The head coach figures he spent about an hour with the seven players who wanted to know why they weren’t signed and what they need to improve for next time.All in all, Lloyd was pleased with the event.“It was pretty good. A lot of different athletes from different places, which is always nice to see,” Lloyd said. “A lot of really great kids, who were polite, respectful and well spoken, with some decent talent out there.”