Kamstra commits to national champions McMaster 

Whistler hoopster heading to Hamilton

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - HAMMER TIME Pietra Kamstra has committed to McMaster University in Hamilton.
  • Photo submitted
  • HAMMER TIME Pietra Kamstra has committed to McMaster University in Hamilton.

Whistler Secondary School's (WSS) Pietra Kamstra was already pumped to have commited to the McMaster Marauders women's basketball program.

She knew she was going to a good school with a strong hoops program. Then, in March, the Marauders won the first championship in the school's history, defeating the Laval Rouge et Or.

"That was really exciting. I had already committed when they won nationals, so we were here in B.C. watching the game. We were on the edge of our seat; it was so exciting," the 6-1 forward said.

As she looked to further her basketball career beyond high school, Kamstra started checking out her options and, realizing that McMaster seemed like a great all-around fit, reached out to them to see if there was mutual interest.

"I was doing research on all different types of universities. I began by looking at academics and McMaster has an amazing academic program," said Kamstra, who will study at the DeGroote School of Business. "Then I started looking at basketball and where I wanted to fit in there, and then I sent an email to them and they responded to me saying that they were very interested."

From there, a McMaster assistant coach came out to see Kamstra play, liked what he saw, then brought Kamstra to Hamilton to check out the campus and to meet the coaching staff and team.

"He thought I would really fit with the team. He thought my length and speed would fit well with how they liked to play and then they invited me out for a visit," she said.

McMaster head coach Theresa Burns said the Marauders were interested in Kamstra not only from a basketball perspective, but because of her academic achievements and kind personality.

"We were just very impressed with her from a personal standpoint, a character standpoint," she said. "Those were first and foremost on our list."

Burns added that Kamstra has strong fundamentals from having had strong coaching throughout her upbringing, and feels she'll fit well into the McMaster system.

"She's got a nice shot, she can shoot the ball. Obviously, at the next level, we're going to work with it and try to develop her range and her consistency from a deeper range," she said. "She likes to play a transition game and she likes to get up and defend hard. We like that. That's the kind of style we play."

While some rookies might find themselves watching more than playing, especially on contending veteran teams, Burns said she believes in a meritocracy and that Kamstra will push for playing time straightaway.

"Every first-year needs that time to be able to acclimatize and get used to the university level, but I think she'll make that jump smoothly," she said. "I do not have a locked-in philosophy where first-years don't really see the floor and we're just going to work with them. If she's performing, she's going to be on the floor.

"I think she will grab minutes in her first year. We don't want to bring her in all the way from Whistler to have her sit."

Playing at the U Sports level from the get-go is an opportunity Kamstra feels prepared to reach out and take.

"You have to work to earn what you get. I definitely played that way with my club and on high-school teams," she said. "If I work hard and put in the time, I will see results."

As she puts a cap on her high-school career with WSS, Kamstra appreciates that she competed at provincials in four of her five years on the team, and that the Storm pushed teams that had greater resources and, on paper, perhaps should have run away with the games.

"We definitely put Whistler on the map as a good team," she said. "We competed with AA and AAA teams who had much bigger schools and many more basketball players there.

"It was getting the experience to change people's perspectives. No one ever thought Whistler could come that far and being able to do that with my team, and my coach Al Kristmanson was amazing."

Kamstra's teammate, Ayden Kristmanson, previously committed to Ryerson University in Toronto.

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