By John Elambo
After capturing three JUEL championships with the Scarborough Basketball Association and several MVP awards, there are a lot of accolades on Kiara Leveridge’s basketball resume.
Now she hopes to bring that same success to her York University team in the OUA.
While Leveridge received offers to play NCAA college basketball in the U.S., she ultimately decided to stay close to home.
“When I was younger it was always a dream of mine to play D1, but as I grew older so did my intentions of playing in Canada,” said Leveridge, who chose York due to its critical social work program, as well as the positive energy that present within the Lions’ team atmosphere.
“I also chose York because of the hard-working coaching staff as well as the already budding relationships that I had with some of the girls on the team.”
Leveridge said her time in the SBA and competing in the JUEL League were crucial in her basketball development.
“The years that I spent playing JUEL have equipped me with the ability to play at the post-secondary level,” said Leveridge, who added that SBA coaches have had a tremendous impact on her game and her life. “I would have to give a special shoutout to Coach Kareem Granger, Coach Brian Breedy, and Coach Paul Weekes.”
She also enjoyed her younger days playing at the rep level for the SBA.
“I’d get to play in a tournament about every other weekend, play for medals and rack up wins with my team,” she said.
Leveridge, who said the best part about the SBA is the endless opportunities to make and create connections with people, comes from a family where five out of her seven siblings have participated in SBA programs.
“Four of them have played on rep teams, and two of them — as well as myself — have volunteered to help coach younger players in house league settings,” she said.
Leveridge currently is enrolled at York University, where she’s taking the social work program. But due to Covid 19 she continues to wait for her debut for the Lions.
“I have been keeping up with team activities and workouts, we all push each other to stay motivated,” she said. “I have found new ways to relax and work on things I wouldn’t usually have a lot of time to do. I am extremely eager to be able to get back on the court, compete and fight alongside my teammates.”
The team was able to train briefly together outside but with the ever-changing restrictions, they’ve mostly trained on their own.
“While we were outside, it was great being able to push each other and build relationships while working to get better despite the circumstances,” she said.
Leveridge hopes to see all the work and dedication that has been put forth by herself and her teammates exemplified through their play, once they’re clear to start playing games.
“We have been working really hard for a long time and when we get back on the court, it will show,” she said.