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Basketball an all-day affair for national team invitee

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When Taneesha Greaves arrives in Toronto next month for a three-day tryout for Canada’s cadette women’s basketball team, one thing she won’t need to worry about is her conditioning.


A typical day in the life of the 15-year-old River Heights resident includes enough physical activity to make even a seasoned athlete’s head spin.


It all starts with a 5:30 a.m. wake-up call so that Greaves can be on the court at The Academy, a basketball training centre run by Mike Page, at 6:30. Three days a week the focus is on skill development, with two days a week devoted to fitness training.


By 8:30, Greaves is at Glenlawn Collegiate (with a basketball always in hand) for her opening period gym class. If she’s lucky, her teacher will let her shoot the ball around. These days, however, she’s stuck playing badminton.


After the rest of her morning classes, Greaves scoots next door to the South Y to work on her shooting during her lunch hour.


Once school’s out, it’s either back to the Y or over to Professional Edge Fitness and Conditioning, where she works with trainer Jordan Cieciwa on her strength, quickness and leaping ability.


Greaves then grabs a quick meal in transit as her mom drives her to the Victor Mager Boys and Girls Club, where she and her Academy peers work on their games from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.


"I don’t feel like getting out of bed every day," Greaves admits after detailing her exhausting routine. "But I love it that much, and I feel like it’s what I have to do to succeed."


Since being cut from the provincial team two years ago, Greaves has been driven to succeed.


According to Bryan Kornberger, her coach on Glenlawn’s varsity girls’ team this past season, she takes hard work to the extreme.


"Her work ethic has got to be unsurpassed," Kornberger said. "I just can’t imagine somebody working harding than she does. The example she has set as far as determination and effort is something a lot of young people can gain a lot of motivation from."


After a good season with Glenlawn’s Grade 9 team in 2009, the 5-foot-6 guard made the provincial under-15 squad last summer. While Team Manitoba finished fourth, Greaves was named a tournament all-star at the national championships.


Her performance at that event is likely what put her on the national team’s radar, and ultimately led to an invitation to Toronto.


"Canada Basketball called my mom at work, and when she picked me up and told me I was just speechless," Greaves said.


As the only Manitoban invited to the 24-player camp — and one of the few 15-year-olds trying out for the under-17 team that will play in the world championships in France in July — Greaves believes she has a chance to influence many young players in the province.


Whether Greaves ends up wearing the maple leaf in France or not, Kornberger expects to have an even better player patrolling his backcourt next season.


"Taneesha’s like a sponge," he said. "She likes to learn from everyone she’s associated with."

avi.saper@canstarnews.com

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