Williams Lake’s Harpreet Randhawa

Williams Lake’s Harpreet Randhawa

Randhawa joins UBC Thunderbirds

The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds men’s basketball team now has a Cougar among its ranks.

The University of British Columbia Thunderbirds men’s basketball team now has a Cougar among its ranks.

Williams Lake’s Harpreet Randhawa, 21, a Columneetza secondary graduate and standout player for the Cougars throughout his high school career, was recently named to the UBC Thunderbirds men’s basketball team roster.

The six-foot-eight forward played his last two seasons as a member of the Douglas College Royals, following a one-year stint with the Kwantlen Eagles — both members of the Pacific Western Athletic Association (PACWEST).

Making the step up to Canada West play with the T-Birds will be a challenge, Randhawa admits, but a test he’s looking forward to.

In September Randhawa said he didn’t even know he had a roster spot, and had joined the team as a practice player.

“They were short some players and some players left last minute, and I knew one of the assistant coaches, Jamie Oei, and he knew I was interested before the summer, so I had just been playing with them and practicing with them,” Randhawa explained.

“But in the summer I came back home [to Williams Lake] to work, and just recently Jamie texted me and asked if I was still interested in being a practice player.”

One thing led to another and, based off his work ethic and skill-set, he was awarded a roster spot on the team.

“It’s been a huge step in terms of physicality and how much you need to know,” he said.

“They expect you to be a smarter player now. In college and high school I mostly depended on my athleticism but at this stage everybody’s big, everybody’s fast and everybody’s strong. You’ve got to reinvent your game.”

Randhawa, despite his height, has always been comfortable playing around the perimeter — handling the ball and shooting from the outside.

Now, however, he’s having to change his game slightly to accommodate more of a secondary role.

“I’ve always been a perimeter player and now I’ve got to play the post more,” he said. “All my touches now are on the block.

“It’s the first year I’ve had to take on a secondary role so it’s a bit different for me. In high school and even college I was always the go-to guy and now I’m playing more defense, more of a team game. I’m a guy who’s fighting for minutes now so it’s all hard work from here.”

The Thunderbirds, last year’s Canada West men’s basketball champions and members of Canadian Interuniversity Sport, have just two players remaining from its 2011/12 squad.

Most noticeably absent is Doug Plumb, a second-team All-Canadian who is now playing professionally in Hungary.

“Moving him was a big piece,” he said. “There are a lot of newer guys this year so it’s going to be a change.”

Randhawa, who is studying kinesiology, made his debut for the T-Birds in their season opener last Friday against the Regina Cougars in a 78-72 loss.

But, it was a game he said helped prove he could be a factor in the league.

In just 17 minutes of play time Randhawa hauled down a team-high 11 rebounds, dropped seven points, collected three steals and had two assists.

The following night against the Brandon Bobcats Randhawa and the Thunderbirds picked up their first win in a 76-74 decision.

“Before I didn’t know if I’d be able to play in this league or not but it was definitely a confidence thing knowing I can do certain things out there,” he said.

“I’d like to prove myself and show that I fit in.”

Randhawa and the T-Birds will play their home opener tonight, Nov. 8, against the Trinity Western Spartans at the War Memorial Gym in Vancouver.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Reasonable decision making can go a long way

We’re all at fault, but today I’ll pick on politicians

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Be thankful for volunteers

It amazes me just how much people do to make the Cariboo Chilcotin region a better place for all

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Williams Lake Tribune.
FOREST INK: A year to remember for lumber prices

As of March 12, a basic SPF (spruce, pine, fir) two-by-four cost $1,040 per thousand board feet

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Drier weather good for calving season

My partner and I team up to look for any newborns and note them for later in the day

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP are looking for information on an alleged shooting attempt near an elementary school in Smithers March 10. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
UPDATE: Man killed in brazen daylight shooting at Vancouver airport

Details about the police incident are still unknown

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Most Read