Tyus Barfoot dunks at VIU Mariners practice Thursday night at the Vancouver Island University gym. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

Tyus Barfoot dunks at VIU Mariners practice Thursday night at the Vancouver Island University gym. (GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin)

High-level hoops athlete joins hometown team at VIU

Tyus Barfoot will play PacWest basketball with the Mariners in 2017-18

The VIU Mariners have added a player who’s got a high profile on the local hoops scene.

Tyus Barfoot has joined Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team for the 2017-18 season after taking a year away from the sport.

Matt Kuzminski, VIU coach, said he can see Barfoot’s excitement about getting back playing basketball, and said the newcomer has the type of versatility on the court that is exactly what the program values.

“He really fits that mould. He’ll be able to guard most positions on the floor, he can handle the ball, rebound, so he’ll be able to do a lot of little things that are really going to help us be a better team,” the coach said.

Barfoot starred with the Nanaimo District Islanders in high school and was recruited by VIU, but chose to play in the CIS with the University of Victoria. He wasn’t sure what he wanted as far as school, though, so he stepped away and regrouped. Last year, he enrolled at VIU and as the year progressed he got caught up in how the Mariners were doing.

Now, the 6-foot-5 guard is part of the team and shaking off the rust.

“Once you start getting back into the swing of things and playing more and more and more, it comes back pretty quick,” he said.

He was able to add some elements to his game during his stint in the CIS, he said, including patience on the court and attention to detail.

“I wasn’t able to rely on just being athletic as much, it came down more to a little more technical things, because in that level of play, everyone’s fairly athletic and you’re competing with the best,” Barfoot said.

He recognizes he’s joining a high-calibre program in the PacWest and said he’s fitting in well; he’s known a lot of the guys for years and said there’s a family atmosphere surrounding the team.

So hometown hoops will suit both the Mariners and their new addition, especially once the real season rolls around.

“Yeah, I’m counting it down and getting pretty excited,” Barfoot said.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

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