There’s a new face in charge of Chilliwack’s B.C. Bounce youth basketball club, but it’s a familiar face for local hoops fans.
Lucas Mannes is taking over from Pat and Mike Lee. The G.W. Graham grad helped the University of Calgary Dinos to back to back Canada West titles in 2018 and 2019, and a U-Sports championship in 2018, but he stepped away from b-ball after graduating.
“Since I was 10-years-old, it was two to four hours a day on average, seven days a week, every day of my life just playing, playing, playing, and it was time to take a break and do something else,” he said. “But then I got the itch to get back into it, and as I looked around I noticed there weren’t a lot of kids leaving Chilliwack to go play college and university.
“That’s how I want to be involved in basketball now, on the coaching and mentorship side, helping players with getting to that next level, or whatever their basketball goals are.”
The local hoops landscape has changed a lot since Mannes was a high schooler. Club basketball was barely a thing when he was at G.W. Graham.
Now it’s everywhere, and it’s almost mandatory if you want to play at the ‘next level.’
But as much as the local b-ball scene has grown, Mannes still doesn’t believe Chilliwack has as much as it should.
“In Chilliwack there’s B.C. Bounce and two others (Chilliwack Basketball Club and TransCanada). In Abbotsford alone I think there are 10 basketball clubs, maybe more,” he explained. “For how big Chilliwack is, there’s not a ton of options.”
Mannes said he’s always enjoyed the player-coach relationship, and he learned a lot from legendary Dinos bench boss Dave Vanhooren.
“The biggest thing I learned from Dave is that you need to coach on an individual basis, because not everyone can be coached the same way,” Mannes said. “He had a different style for every player and I try to do the same with the youth kids. For the younger kids up to about middle school, the first goal should be having fun. It’s a game and if it’s too competitive or intense, that might drive them away.
“Then as they get a little older, developing relationships and understanding their goals is important. One kid might want to be a really good high schooler. Others might want to take a crack at university, and then you can approach those individuals differently.”
Mannes said he was a very intense with how he approached the game, and that’s been the steepest part of his learning curve as he gets into coaching. He’s had to adapt his style and try to be a little more of “the fun coach.”
The reward comes when he sees ‘the light go on.’ A player learns or masters a skill and he can share in the happiness.
“Those are amazing, and I’ve seen that in different ways,” he said. “I’m training one player who’s going into Grade 11 at G.W. Graham, and the light going on for her was just enjoying basketball for the first time. She’s learning skills that will help her in a game, and that makes basketball more fun. For other kids, the ‘light going on’ moment is them setting a lofty goal and then going for it.
“That’s cool because not everyone is going to quote-unquote make it, but just pursuing something you love and giving it a full effort, there are lessons we can learn from that.”
Mannes won’t be looking to reinvent the wheel with B.C. Bounce, but he will be looking to put his stamp on it.
He looks forward to inspiring, motivating and challenging his students, and he hopes some of them go on to accomplish great things.
“I want to continue growing the fun youth-level foundation that’s in place now, and find some kids within that who want to be more competitive,” he said. “That’s my wheelhouse, and I want to help them learn how to thrive in a more competitive environment.”
Co-ed summer basketball camps are happening Aug. 15-18 and 22-25 at Highroad Academy.
For more information, visit bcbounce.com/chilliwack-camps or bcbounce.com/chilliwack.