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Tuesday October 17 2017

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News Coach cracks whip with students Local News Now

Players must attend class or no basketball

„„ By Andrew King “I WANT to do it my way, all the way, or not at all.” That’s the message Canterbury Rams co-captain Marques Whippy delivered to players when he first arrived to coach the Hillmorton High basketball team in April this year. A big part of his message was that in order to stay in the team, you had to attend class. “I got the boys to sign contracts, which say they have to go to class. If they miss class or are late three times, then they don’t play,” Whippy said. That appears have paid dividends both on the court and off it. The team has just finished their season after finishing second at nationals and winning their local competition and South Islands. Last year Hillmorton finished last at nationals, second in the local competition and third in the South Islands. Joshua Nickel has brought into

SMILES: (Left to right) – Hillmorton High’s Joshua Nickel, 18, Ihaia Kendrew, 17, Marques Whippy and Maoluma Sakaria, 17, have had a season of success thanks to Whippy’s rules. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER

the Whippy philosophy and said while the school work may not get easier, the motivation to turn up and give it his best shot has come from the programme. “If we don’t turn up, we can’t play. So that makes us turn up and go hard at our school work,” he said. Joshua, 18, is in his last year at Hillmorton and aims to head to university next year and study science as well as follow in Whippy’s footsteps and play for the Rams.

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Hillmorton sports co-ordinator Andrea Kendrew said it is hard to determine what effect the rules are having on the students in the classroom, but most of them will pass this year. “One has really pulled his socks up and is attending every class and that will affect his school work,” she said. She said the students look up to Whippy as he has been in a similar position himself. “In a way, he relates to a lot of the boys, he might see himself

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in them. It like ‘I was there once and I can help these guys out’,” she said. Whippy brought an American-styled culture to the team, something he learned in his time at Woods Cross High School, Utah, and Brigham Young University–Hawaii. “I played basketball in high school in the States and it is all about grades as well as the sport. I want to bring that culture here.” One of the team’s losses came


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I got the boys to sign contracts . . . If they miss class or are late three times, then they don’t play

– Marques Whippy

after a couple of players were late to class three times which meant they had to sit out a game, but Whippy had no problem enforcing his rules. “They have not missed class since,” he laughed. To roll out a similar code through other sports in the school would require the coaches coming on board and driving it, much like Whippy does, Ihaia said. “We tried with the girls [basketball] team but it didn’t work out. I would love to get it through all sports in the school,” she said. Canterbury Basketball Association community manager James Lissaman said having Whippy coach at Hillmorton was fantastic for the players. “He is a Polynesian role model and being able to work with kids similar to him is great. The mana he brings on and off the court really resonates with them,” he said.

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