From Pipe Dreams to Hoop Dreams | By Elliot Rose

 

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Nav leads the team in a celebratory huddle.

Sunny’s senior year of highschool was a basketball player’s dream: he was a starter playing the top of his game, recruited by a handful  schools. Sunny remembers that this was not always the case, but as a struggling freshman he received a stroke of luck when his highschool basketball coach reached out to him. His coach invested years helping Sunny develop through early morning practices, rides to and from tournaments, and encouraging words of support. Sunny eventually rose to the basketball elite in his senior year, and went on to finish his university degree in finance and start his own business, Nimbus Creative. Now in a position to give back to his community, Sunny is seeking to develop to the next generation of elite athletes, paying forward the opportunity he had received.

Edmonton is a hockey town, with a new arena under construction and a street named after The Great One—a sea of midnight blue and copper across the city. With Edmonton’s cultural diversity and capacity for startups, Northern Alberta Basketball believes their business may be a catalyst for the explosion of basketball culture. The group’s co-founders, Sunny Sooch and Navin Ramharak, are seeking to inspire the next generation of Division 1 hopefuls by providing the same guidance and training they had received. Created in 2011 as a fundraising tournament for the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation, Northern Alberta Basketball was an immediate success, encouraging them to start a summer league before honing their organization into offering a complete program. From there NAB grew to running their own league, hosting tournaments to support charities, and focusing on training Edmonton’s young basketball players. They are an alternative to traditional basketball camps that focus on drills and the mechanics of basketball. NAB’s emphasizes on one-one-one training, and requires members to maintain B averages in school, all the while encouraging players to live by the motto ‘#EatSleepHoop’.

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Sunny combines his passion for basketball with his belief in the value of teaching the next generation.

 

Sunny attributes much of their initial success to Edmonton’s desire for a growing court culture:

One of our sports’ greatest challenges in Edmonton is the difficulty of accessing resources; it’s hard to find a basketball-specific gym. Growing up, I would shovel my junior high school’s outdoor court so I could practice, although usually I would spend more time shovelling than practicing!

Navin is excited for the future of basketball in our city:

We are thrilled to be part of Edmonton’s basketball movement. As athletes, coaches, and trainers, we understand the struggle to realize their basketball dream experienced by the next generation. We believe our passion for the game and shared understanding will be essential to our program’s success.

With a membership growing on pace with Edmonton’s hoop culture it looks like the team is ready to jump ball. 

Cover Photo of Northern Alberta Basketball

Video courtesy of Nimbus Creative

Photos courtesy of Romy Yamsuan and Northern Alberta Basketball

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