National Junior Coach Raves About Bridget Carleton

Bridget Carleton drives into the paint against a USA defender during the U17 World Championship quarter-final game - Photo by FIBA

Bridget Carleton drives into the paint against a USA defender during the U17 World Championship quarter-final game – Photo by FIBA

As excited as Chatham’s Bridget Carleton is to suit up for Canada’s National Junior Basketball team this summer at the U18 FIBA Americas, Team Canada, including head coach Rich Chambers, are equally excited to have the six-foot-one guard on the court.

“Bridget has a high basketball IQ, which indicates good coaching for a long time,” explained Chambers, a Port Moody, British Columbia native, about what skills and attributes made Carleton a good fit on the Junior National team.

“She’s very skilled, probably one of the top outside shooters on the team, but more importantly, Bridget really understands the game and knows her role and strengths. She always plays to her strengths, allowing to her to be nearly mistake free.”

As one of the younger players on the team, and one of three players who represented Canada at the U17 World Championships this summer to make the Junior team, Chambers knows Carleton has experience, and the ability to face bigger and stronger competition.

“The biggest thing they find a challenge is the physicality, which is natural against older players,” said Chamber of his cadette aged players. “Bridget though is seasoned playing at various age groups, she’s beyond her years as far as basketball is concerned. With that though, she played a lot of minutes with the Cadettes, so we’ll have to manage that or she’ll be worn out. We’ll manage that so she remains fresh throughout.”

Chambers will be looking to use his new star, who was Canada’s leading scorer at the U17 World Championships when Canada travels to Colorado Springs, Colorado for the FIBA Americas in August.

Chambers, a former head coach of the University of Victoria Vikes, and IBL’s Vancouver Titans, knows there will an adjustment period for Carleton, who is joining new teammates and new coaches, but he expects her to learn quickly, and contribute immediately.

“To come into our team with different coaches, different styles, and systems, it takes time to adjust,” said Chambers. “As for fitting in, Bridget is quiet and easy going, she’s well liked by everyone on the team. She’s very talented, but she’s not egotistical or flamboyant, and doesn’t flaunt it, making her an excellent teammate,” added Chambers.

Considered one of the top prospects in the world in her age group, Carleton, who is entering grade 12 at John McGregor Secondary School, and will suit up for the NCAA’s Iowa State Cyclones the year after, will again be counted on to play a role with Team Canada. According to Chambers, he’s excited to see Carleton’s intelligence and skills at work during this tournament, and as Bridget continues to represent Canada on the International stage.

“The biggest thing Bridget brings to the team is her ability to adapt to a variety of situations because of her high IQ level,” says Chambers. “She’s coming into different systems, but she understands her role and is able to adapt. We’re very fortunate to have her, and the coaches she’s had should be commended for her development.”

Carelton and Canada will begin their FIBA Americas tournament August 6 in Colorado when they face El Salvador.

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