Blog #1 : Who is Roy Rana?
1. Tell us about yourself?
I’m the Men’s Basketball Coach and a father of two. I’ve lived in Toronto all of my life and been very fortunate. I’ve experienced many big wins and a few crushing defeats, but more importantly have had incredible experiences and built some great relationships along the way. Read More About Roy.
2. What is your role in relationship to the CIS Final 8 Championship?
My primary role is to prepare our team to win. Beyond that, I sit on a number of committees around events leading up to the championship, community involvement, marketing, special projects and really just lending a hand where I can.
3. Why did you choose Ryerson?
I’ve been part of the Toronto basketball community for many years. A number of players who played for me in high school went on to play at Ryerson. I really thought something special could be built here and to be able to continue my coaching career in downtown Toronto was an opportunity I could not pass on. I’m thankful for the opportunity.
4. Why is hosting the CIS Final 8 so important for Ryerson?
Hosting the Final 8 Championship really shows how far we’ve grown – how much more respect we have as an athletic department and as a University. It reflects the culture of excellence that Ryerson is all about. It’s important for Toronto and the CIS because it’s our first time and we are hosting it in the most important basketball market in the country. If we want to continue building our fan base and bring media awareness to what is a very high level, Ryerson and Toronto’s hosting is an important opportunity. Our program strives to be leaders and giving back to the basketball community is a huge part of that, Ryerson reflects that,
5. Why should students be excited for the championship?
I think from fan perspective, we’re still somewhat of a secret. Basketball fans don’t understand the level these teams play at. I’ve been coaching for 20 years and this is a very special team, comparable to a mid major NCAA program. Our guys are humble, passionate and take great pride in repping Ryerson. It will be a powerful sport experience for everyone comeMarch 12th when the tournament kicks off. The opportunity to win a National Championships at home is an opportunity our students must be a part of.
6. Where is the team at right now in preparations?
We’re grinding it out.. We have 1 game left until playoffs, so we’re prepping for Queens. We’ve talked about the Championship since the beginning of the season, but it’s not our main focus right now. We take it one game at a time and are committed to the process becoming the best team we can right until the end.
Blog #2 : Greater Meaning of Sports in an Athlete’s Life
1. What impact does basketball have on these students’ lives?
Being a student athlete is transformational in so many ways. For the most part, these athletes come in at 18 and leave us at 22. There’s a growth and transformation that happens during that time. There’s a resilience they develop to overcome losses or injury, or to balance academics. Every athlete has their story. For those who come in uncomfortable in their own skin, you see them become confident in a public realm or with their teammates. It’s very very powerful.
2. There’s often a stereotype that athletes may ride on their athletic ability alone. What do you say to those people?
I tell them they should try to go through a week of life as a student athlete. It’s incredibly challenging. With what they have to balance, time management takes on a different meaning. They have to make sacrifices, especially on the social side, but they’re giving to the sport they love.
There’s no shortcuts for the athletes either. You have to be a legitimate student or you can’t be on the student team. The academic side doesn’t care. They have to be performers on the court as well. These young people find a way to do it, which is very admirable.
3. Unlike coaching Team Canada, these players have equally important academic demands. What is it like coaching a team of students?
The reality is, you have to understand, in our minds basketball is the number one priority, but it’s not why they’re here. They’re still university students, so we provide academic support. Our goal is to see young men graduate and sometimes it’s hard for the team, but you need to give them the time to be successful on both sides.
4. Where is the team at right now in preparations?
We are actively preparing for the opening playoff game. The training changes from more physical to more mental preparation. During the playoffs, scouts become more detailed and the pressure is on, so we focus on the mental side. This includes increased work in the video room, watching more tape and studying more paper. At this point, it’s more strategy than time on the court.
Blog #3 : Toronto’s Basketball Scene
1. Toronto has recently become the hotbed for basketball in Canada. Why do you think that is?
Toronto is now a hotbed for basketball globally and the bulk of it is because a number of people have worked tirelessly to elevate the game. Coaches, trainers, administrators from grassroots to the highest level have extended themselves and grown, with them has Basketball in Toronto, but the true reason is these special young kids who have dedicated themselves to the sport and believed in the dreams that they could play at a highest level.
2. What part can Ryerson play in this shifting mentality?
Well hopefully for Toronto, we can take great pride in having a very special basketball team that’s performing at a high level. University basketball in Canada has long battled sterotypes about the level of talent and play. If you watch the highest level in the CIS one will quickly understand that these players are tremendous athletes and Basketball players. Our part is to try and continue representing Toronto and continue show people the quality of Basketball that exists at this level. The quality of basketball at all levels should be important for Toronto and for us its important we do our part.
3. Does this shifting focus around basketball affect our basketball players?
Absolutely it does.They’re seeing the energy evolving around the sport. They’re seeing more young men find success at the highest levels of basketball. The success in Toronto and across the country is aspirational for so many including our own athletes, staff and students. We are going to continue seeing some great stories of success coming out of our city for years to come.
4. What do you think still needs to happen with basketball in Toronto?
We just need to keep working. We can’t be complacent. We’ve had a lot of success and we’re hot, but this can’t be the golden era of basketball; this just needs to be a reality. We’ve just got to keep learning growing and have the humility to understand we are only as good as what we give back to the game.
5. Where is the team at right now in preparations?
We are just trying to balance midterms and heavy academic workloads. It’s challenging time for our guys so staying focused and avoiding distractions is critical. Our focus right now is solely on our 1st round playoff opponent Laurier who we play this Sat night.
1. What does the last week before the championship look like for the coach, for the players?
It’s a little bit of a whirlwind for everyone. There’s a number of different events. It’s all positive and a great celebration.
With a little more time, the focus is a little higher towards the basketball side, especially when there’s an opportunity to win a basketball championship.
2. What is the most important thing for the athletes to be doing?
Just making sure they are managing distractions and focusing on what’s ahead. They need a healthy positive outlook on the opportunity. It’s all about a good performance Thursday night.
3. What are you most looking forward to?
Just the environment. The crowd, the energy. I think it will be a big goose bump moment for the players, for staff and for the university. It’s the first time we’ve hosted a national championship, on our home court. It’s a special moment for basketball.
4. What are you most nervous about?
You just want to play well. That’s the key; to perform optimally on a big stage.
5. What do you want the general student population to know?
I want them to feel a great sense of pride about our university. It says a lot about Ryerson that we’re willing to give so much to our community and to our city. They should take pride in the students that rep. them on this team. There’s great basketball talent here and the athletes have great character.
I just hope that everyone reading this makes an effort to support the guys.