A year after leading the Toronto Metropolitan Bold (formerly the Ryerson Rams) to the U SPORTS Women’s National Championship, TMU head coach Carly Clarke is taking on the role of head coach of the World Select Team for the Nike Hoop Summit inaugural women’s game.
“I’m super excited,” said Clarke. “I’m thrilled they’re introducing the women’s game to (the Nike Hoop Summit). I know we’ve had lots of great Canadian representation on the men’s side in the past, so I’m honoured to be part of the first one for the women.”
The new position gives Clarke a unique chance to continue working with some of the best talents in Canadian basketball. During her time as the Canadian U23 head coach at GLOBL JAM, Clarke was able to work with Duke’s Shayeanne Day-Wilson, UConn’s Aaliyah Edwards and Arizona’s Shaina Pellington, all players who look to be a part of the core of Canada Basketball going forward.
Joining Clarke on the World Select Team will be three of the most promising high school players in Canadian women’s basketball at the moment and all three were part of the Canadian U17 FIBA World Cup squad that fell just short of medaling in 2022.
Crestwood Prep’s Toby Fournier, who has gained notoriety for her ability to dunk, and for her fierce tough-nosed style of defending. Fournier took home the recently completed 2023 OSBA Championship and MVP honours while scoring 23 points in the final game earlier in March.
Delaney Gibb, a product of Raymond High School (Raymond, Alberta) , who recently claimed the ASAA provincial championship for the second year in a row.
And finally, Syla Swords, who just one year ago was the youngest player to suit up at the 2022 Biosteel All-Canadian game and averaged 20 points a game this past season with Lo-Ellen Park of the OSBA.
“All three have had such great years…it’s so great to see them rewarded,” said Clark. “They had been a part of our age group national team as well, so it’s certainly well earned on their behalf.”
The ability to continue working with young Canadian talent isn’t something Clarke takes for granted. She says he’s appreciative of all the chances she’s gotten over the years, and recounts working with WNBA players Kia Nurse in 2012 and Bridget Carleton in 2014.
“I think they make me a better coach,” said Clarke of working with young Canadian players. “Hopefully they learn some things from me as well.”
TMU assistant coach Shae Dheensaw will also make the trip as part of Clarke’s staff. Clarke says Dheensaw’s playing experience in the PAC 12 at Washington State, and her time with the U16 national team make her an important addition to the bench, as well as adding a familiar face.
The 2023 Nike Hoops Summit gets underway on April 8 in Portland, Oregon at the Moda Center and Clarke says one of the things she loves most about these experiences is being able to pull from them and bring something new back to her position at TMU.
“Any time you get a chance to work with some of the best players in the world, you learn lessons from them,” said Clarke. “You get challenged in different ways as a coach, and you have to prepare a team for competition in just a few days of practice. It forces you to think about how to prepare and execute and be ready to go in a short amount of time.”