Kyanna Giles is vying for a spot on Canada’s national basketball team.
The Sisler Spartans basketball star is one of only 28 players invited to the Canadian national team’s identification camp for players born in 1996 or later. The camp takes place from March 23 to 30 in Edmonton.
Giles, 15, was also invited to the assessment camp in December 2012. This time she’s being invited on the strength of her performance playing for Team Manitoba at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Quebec.
"I’m an aggressive player," said Giles, who is in Grade 10 at Sisler High School.
"I started playing in Grade 4. The reason I started playing basketball was because my older sister (Kenesha, who plays for Ryerson University in Toronto) got me into it.
"I like playing basketball because I do it with my twin sister (Kyia) as well. I like playing in a team situation instead of an individual one, because I like working with other people. I like helping other people and learning from other people."
Giles was named Tier 1 conference tournament MVP after Sisler’s West Winnipeg Athletic Conference championship win on Fri., March 7. Sisler beat Oak Park High School by a score of 68-58.
Spartans coach Mike Tan has coached Giles since she was in Grade 6, whether it be as a member of a club team, the provincial team or in school. He said it’s her aggressive playing style that is getting her recognition.
"She’s one of the few kids that is very aggressive, which bodes well for the girls game because sometimes people often shy away from contact," Tan said.
"Now it’s just really about refining her game, making her more well-rounded, making sure she’s capable of being an all-around player and not just an aggressive type that just pounds it through the lane. She’s worked really hard at developing a good jump shot and she’s sharing the ball a lot more and finding her teammates in open situations."
Giles practises six times a week for two and a half hours a day with Sisler. She said Tan’s demanding coaching style has made her a better player. She also credits Winnipeg basketball coach Neil Blanca, another challenging coach she’s played for.
"Since Grade 5 he (Blanca) was really tough on me because he knew I had potential," Giles said. "I used to get kind of upset, ‘Why is he yelling at me all the time?’ but I realized it was for my benefit. It got me tougher."
Giles said it’s her dream to play Division 1 women’s college basketball in the U.S. Giles said she looks up to former Sisler player Debbie Yeboah, who is currently playing pro in Germany.
"Debbie is a great player," Giles said. "One time, she came to our provincial team practice and I was like ‘Whoa, she’s amazing!’ I look up to her.
"She’s a good role model, her and my sisters."