The Sports Peakbox: basketball

Learn about the history of basketball at SFU and the greats of the NBA

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A stack of different coloured letters all piled on top of each other.
What is up with all these letters? Photo: Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

By: Charlene Aviles, Staff Writer 

Peekaboo! Guess what’s back other than midterm season? The PeakBox! Each week the Peak will answer student submitted questions about sports at SFU. This week, we asked students to pose questions about basketball.

When was basketball introduced?

In 1891, professor Luther Halsey Gulick encouraged his class to create a new indoor sport. Taking up this challenge, one of Gulick’s Canadian students, James Naismith, drew inspiration from other sports including American rugby, English rugby, and lacrosse. Cutting a hole in peach baskets to turn them into a hoop, Naismith developed rules for his sport, such as its playing positions and fouls (penalties). To honour Naismith’s invention, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

What are the positions in basketball?

The positions in basketball include a center, power forward, small forward, point guard, and shooting guard.

Center: as the tallest member on the team, they use their body to attack the net, and jump up to retrieve defensive rebounds. 

Power forward: they retrieve rebounds and quickly attack the net to maximize a scoring chance. 

Small forward: they use their speed to drive hard to the net for a basket and draw a foul. On defence, they guard shots from the outside to prevent three point attempts.

Point guard: they begin the play and anticipate the opposition’s passes to help their team transition up the court to score. Whether the team transitions to offense or defense, they rely on the point guard for guidance.

Shooting guard: they have a lethal shot and are skilled in defense. They are relied on to be a decoy to open up space on court. Since the opposing team’s defenders will surround the shooting guard, the other team members on offense will have more opportunities to score

When was SFU’s first basketball team created?

After SFU opened in 1965, the first men’s basketball team was introduced. In their inaugural year, they won 17 games

In 1972, a women’s basketball team was formed and competed in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) tournaments. In the Women’s Senior “A” League, SFU’s women’s basketball team had a record of 12–5.

Has SFU ever won a title in basketball? If not, what’s the furthest we’ve gone?

No, SFU has not won a title in basketball. However, in the 2009–10 Canadian Interuniversity Sport season, SFU’s men’s team won their divisional semifinals, 2–1, against the University of Regina, but later lost in the final four.

When does the SFU basketball season start?

The basketball season will start in October for the men and November for the women. On October 19 at 7:00 p.m., the men’s basketball team will have a preseason exhibition game against Columbia Bible College in SFU’s West Gym. In the Alterowitz Stadium, the SFU’s women’s basketball team will take on Nova Southeastern University on November 5 at 9:00 a.m.

Were there famous alumni who played basketball at SFU?  

After playing for SFU’s men’s basketball team, Jay Triano represented Canada at the Seoul 1988, Los Angeles 1984, and Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics. According to SFU Athletics and Team Canada, when he started coaching the Toronto Raptors in 2008, he made history as “the first Canadian-born coach in the NBA” and “the first foreign born coach in NBA history to win 100 games.” He is currently the Charlotte Hornets’ assistant coach.

Who is considered the best team of all time in the NBA? 

From their 18 game winning streak to their all-star roster, the 199596 Chicago Bulls set the bar high with their regular season and postseason successes: they won 72 of 82 games and captured the NBA championship. Retired Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan (1985–1998) achieved many milestones in this championship dynasty, including winning 6 championships and recording 2,000 career steals.

Want to host a mailbag and get paid for it? Email sports@the-peak.ca