By Jadon Frank
A multi-sport athlete with multiple offers has decided that he wants to play basketball for Briercrest College this fall.
Josh Klassen, who recently graduated from Duncan Christian School (DCS) in Duncan, BC, is a multi-sport athlete who brings great athleticism to an already athletic Briercrest men’s basketball team. Aside from basketball, Klassen starred for the DCS Chargers in volleyball, badminton, ball hockey and track and field. He particularly shone in volleyball where he was zone MVP in Grades 11 and 12, BC provincial second team all-star in Grade 10 and first team all-star in Grade 12. He was selected as the DCS Junior athlete of the year in Grade 10 and senior athlete of the year in Grade 11.
With his volleyball success he had offers to play volleyball at other schools in Canada, but his love for basketball led him to Briercrest.
Briercrest head coach Rod Adrian is glad Klassen followed his first love of basketball.
“Josh Klassen adds to our team the ability to handle the ball on the perimeter in a big man’s body,” Adrian said. “He has a consistent shot and finishes at the rim with effectiveness. Most importantly, he comes to the program with a great attitude, work ethic, and a desire to grow in his relationship with the Lord. He’s a guy that will fit in well with what we are doing on and off the court, and I’m really excited about the possibilities.”
Klassen was a zone first team all-star in Grades 10 and 11 before being named zone MVP and BC provincial second team all-star in Grade 12.
“I’ve been playing basketball since Grade 2,” the 6’4” Klassen said. “I didn’t start taking it as seriously as I should have until high school. Our school has never had a strong basketball team, so I had the chance to be the starting point guard on the senior team in Grade 9. It was a great opportunity to play against older guys. By Grade 11 we started to make a name for our school. We entered our zone playoffs ranked third before pulling off a couple upsets and winning our first zone championship, and earning the first provincial berth in school history. The expectation for Grade 12 was a provincial championship. Anything less would be disappointment. After climbing up the rankings all year, we entered the provincials ranked third. Unfortunately, we were outplayed by a quicker team in the quarterfinals, and suffered a devastating loss. We went on the win our next two games and finish fifth in the BC A Boys basketball championships.”
Heidi Padjen, DCS high school basketball coach, started coaching Klassen in Grade 9 and quickly took note of his personality.
“My first impression of him was that he was a respectful, quiet, and hardworking kid,” Padjen said. “As an athlete his skill was already impressive and much ahead of his fellow classmates. He doesn’t give up and does not let injuries or setbacks get in the way of what he wants to accomplish. As a person, he is careful and respectful of his coaches and teammates and is very easy to get along with.”
“However, he will always fight for what he believes to be right, which I admire,” Padjen added.
Klassen played club basketball for Eli Pasquale and the Victoria Prep team for the 2012 and 2013 club season.
“My first impression of Josh was how much desire he expressed on becoming a better basketball player,” Coach Pasquale said. “He displayed a great work ethic. Whatever we taught Josh he immediately took to incorporate that skill in his game. Josh is a person who leads by example. Josh has a great attitude and demeanor on and off the basketball court. He is a pleasure to coach and have on our team.”
Padjen’s observed a special skill set in Klassen as he became a leader on the team.
“Josh's biggest strength to me was his ability to be a silent leader,” Padjen’s explained. “He was not your typical captain, in that he was not always the most vocal person on the team. But he led by example every day that I coached him, from that first practice in Grade 9 all the way up to our last practice and game at Provincials. He gives his absolute all to his teammates and friends and for that reason he has the respect of not only people his age but the adults who watch him grow as well. In terms of specific skills his biggest strength, to me, would be his ability to read the defense, see a hole and drive to the hoop. He did that fearlessly for us and it was a huge part of his game.”
Pasquale also noted Klassen’s unique skill set.
“Josh's strength is his versatility,” Pasquale said. “He can play multiple positions on the court. (He is) a very good passer and ball handler. He has a great ability to finish on the fast break.”
Klassen interests go beyond sports to music and involvement in his local church.
“I’ve been going to youth group at my church for as long as I can remember,” Klassen said. “My highlight would have to be our mission’s trip to Honduras in summer 2011. We worked with Urban Promise, helping at kids’ camps as well as painting a school and building a playground. I also enjoyed a mission’s trip to Flin Flon, MB in 2010 as well as other youth trips to LA and Washington DC.”
Klassen’s high school coach expects him to grow and succeed at Briercrest.
“I expect Josh to just continue to get better each day,” Padjen said. “He will soak in every aspect of his college life as a student and an athlete and use what he learns to the best of his ability. My hope is that he can balance school work and basketball, as each is equally important to his success at Briercrest.”
“I can’t wait to come to Briercrest!” Klassen said. “I spent a few days on campus and it seems like such a great community. I am excited to build relationships and be around so many other people that love the Lord. It’s going to be a great year!”
2013-14 Briercrest College Men’s Basketball Recruiting Class
G Daniel Briscoe • 6-4 • 3rd • Kelowna, BC/UBC-O (PacWest/CCAA)
G Ryan Penner • 6-2 • 1st • Winkler, MB/Garden Valley Collegiate
G Josh Klassen • 6-4 • 1st • Duncan, BC/Duncan Christian
G Ethan DeCock • 6-1 • 1st • Calley, AB/Livingstone High School
G Josh Tippe • 6-0 • 1st • Regina, SK/Regina Christian School
G Jason Lamb • 6-2 • 1st • Lethbridge, AB/Willow Creek Composite
F Brendan Adrian • 6-3 • 1st • Caronport, SK/Caronport High School
F Jason Wegner • 6-4 • 1st • Winnipeg, MB/Linden Christian
G Franscisco Armengual • 5-8 • 1st • Chilliwack, BC/GW Graham
F Tim Quiring • 6-4 • 1st • Saskatoon, SK/Centennial Collegiate/Junior Huskies