Takin' flight

DARREN FRIESEN -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:45 AM ET

Possessing such long limbs will likely pose a problem for Tyler Fidler when he takes his seat on a tiny jet bound for Toronto. Although, it's that 6-ft. 6-in. frame that allowed him to board his first flight and get an invitation to the under-18 junior men's national basketball team development camp later this month.

The lanky 15-year-old doesn't care where he sits on the plane, he's just excited to get the opportunity to play against the best ballers in the country.

"I've been to Seattle and Vancouver by car but never on the plane overseas anywhere. I'm pretty excited about it all," said Filder, who was the only Calgarian selected to the camp from Dec. 27 to Jan. 2 at Humber College in Toronto.

The selection camp will evaluate 19 invitees to choose a squad of 12 to represent Canada at the 2006 FIBA Americas Under-19 World Championship Qualifying Tournament.

Throughout the week-long evaluation, the athletes will be exposed to international team concepts in an effort to familiarize the players with the international game. National development team coach Steve Francis will run the camp.

"This is a great opportunity for these young players to get their first look at what a national team training camp is all about," said Francis.

Getting the invite was especially gratifying for Fidler, who plays for the Western Canada Redmen, because he didn't make a provincial team in the summer.

"I was surprised because I got cut," he explained. "I know the coach and he's a nice guy but he said later that I should've made it and that he'd made a mistake.

"For awhile I was kind of disappointed but then I played on a Summer Games team that ended up winning gold, so that kind of made up for it."

Redmen coach Jayme MacDonald wasn't surprised his star guard will get a look from national team scouts.

"He's probably one of the best shooters in the city at any age group," said MacDonald. "He's got a great nose for the ball and he's a beautiful passer.

"I've been the coach here for 13 years and I've never seen a player with these types of skills before. When you see him play, you recognize his abilities."

This season, Fidler is expected to be a big contributor.

However, both Fidler and MacDonald know the camp over the Christmas break will not only help Fidler individually but their junior men's team as well.

"I want to become more aggressive and see what other provincial players are like and see what I have to do to get better," said Fidler. "I think I just have to train a little bit harder. Get in the weight room and keep doing to make sure I have the strength and endurance just so I can play at that level."


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