Derek Wolf was without a pack to join once the Pen High Lakers basketball season ended.
Then the Wolfpack came hollering and the lonely Wolf found his new home.
“I came out during my spring break for a week and had the opportunity to scrimmage with the guys and meet many of the other recruits,” said Wolf in a questionnaire for the Omega, the Thompson Rivers University campus newspaper. “I felt welcomed and wished I could have started right then and there.”
The graduating Pen High Laker visited the Kamloops university and felt the move from smaller city to a smaller university was a good fit.
The 17-year-old was discovered by South Kamloops Titans coach Del Komarniski, who is also an assistant coach with the Wolfpack.
“Del saw him play initially,” said Wolfpack coach Scott Clark. “He is a really hard-working kid. He will come in as a true freshman and back up Kevin Pribilsky (fourth-year guard) and learn the position from scratch.”
This season the Lakers point guard averaged 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Clark said, like all players out of high school, the six-foot-one pivot will have to improve his body as time goes on.
“He is quite skilled and a good shooter,” said Clark. “He’ll fit in well with us. And as a bonus, he is a good student. He is a quality guy and the type of individual we want to add to our organization.”
Wolf understands he won’t receive a lot of playing time during his rookie season in Canadian Interuniversity Sport play, but feels he can help the men’s program by being prepared to do what is necessary to get stronger during the offseason.
“My biggest challenges moving to CIS are adjusting to the increased speed of the game and increasing my strength and consistency,” said Wolf, who will study towards earning his bachelor of science to transfer into education. “I know I will fit in with coach Scott Clark because I am a hard worker and I like his expectations and philosophy on becoming a successful ball player.”
David Nackoney, the Lakers assistant coach, has worked with Wolf and agrees that Wolf’s work ethic is unparalleled.
“He lives in the gym. As a point guard, he has the ability to shoot the three and break you down,” said Nackoney. “He was our coach on the floor. At times, we needed Derek to score and other times we needed him to get others involved. He could really do what we asked.
“He has a good build to be a CIS guard,” he continued. “I think eventually he will be able to lead a CIS team with playmaking ability or passing. He is a very solid athlete who should be able to contribute in many ways.”
Clark adds that having someone from the Interior electing to stay and play high-level basketball is key. “Whenever we can keep the local guys around it should be a mandate of our university and program.”
Wolf was impressed with something he saw while visiting TRU.
“The Strength of the Wolf is the Pack and the Strength of the Pack is the Wolf,” said Wolf, repeating a quote on a poster he found on campus. “I thought it was a fun saying especially for me.”