Missouri, the Show Me State, is calling Keanau Post’s name, and the former Oak Bay Breakers’ basketball player has answered the call.
The six-foot-11, 265-pound forward has committed to joining the University of Missouri Tigers next season, while currently playing in his second season at Southwestern Illinois College.
Post also spent a year at prep school in Arizona as he began a process of battling back from numerous injuries after leaving Oak Bay. He broke his leg in Grade 10 and suffered from a bone chip, which went undetected, before it was finally removed.
Improved health and a chance to play at Southwestern Illinois has paid off for the standout, who helped the Breakers win a junior championship in Grade 10, when he was named defensive player of the tournament.
“I’m happy and excited,” Post said of his decision to join the Tigers, who have qualified for the NCAA Tournament more than 20 times, reaching the Elite Eight in 2008-09 and 2001-02. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the comfortable decision. It was the one I felt most comfortable with.
“I felt so comfortable with the coaching staff and the place. It’s a school where I can see myself being successful.”
The 20-year-old intends on entering the sports management program at Missouri, which is in Columbia and is a member of the Southeastern Conference.
Post had plenty of opportunities available to him as dozens of NCAA Division I schools — including UCLA, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Oklahoma State and West Virginia — sent recruiting letters. He also spoke by phone with numerous schools and took a visit across the Mississippi River (Southeastern Illinois is in Belleville, Illinois) to Mizzou Arena.
He also had an unofficial visit to Oklahoma State.
At Missouri, he will join two other Canadians, six-foot-seven guard Negus Webster-Chan of Scarborough, Ont., and six-foot-11 forward Stefan Jankovic of Mississaugua, Ont., both of whom are freshmen.
“I knew deep down I would get there [Division I],” he said. “I figured I would make it happen. With my family [mom Jazmynn and brother Mukiya, who are in Victoria] backing me up and supporting me, I have made it happen and I couldn’t be happier.
“My goal is the NBA, but I want to take this as far as I can.”
With the Southwestern Illinois Blue Storm, Post has helped the junior college to a 14-4 record.
“There’s been a lot to learn and understand,” he said of his two years at the school. “At prep school, we just pushed the pace and we just played basketball. Here, there are more offensive plays; there’s more understanding the mental aspect of the game and playing into a role.”
At Southwestern, the Victoria behemoth is still not the biggest player on the team as Mat Piotrowski, of Atlantic City, is seven-foot-two.
Obviously, being six-foot-11 tends to draw a lot of interest from scouts and recruiters.
“He definitely had the potential, for sure,” said Reese Pribilsky, who played guard at Oak Bay for three years with Post. “When you’ve got a body like he does and great hands and great timing ... he had a knack for getting after the ball.
“He struggled with injuries, so as soon as he got back in shape, you could tell he had the potential to go as far as he wanted to in basketball.”
Former Oak Bay assistant coach Rob Kinnear, who now runs the senior girls’ program, was in full agreement.
“He had scouts watching, and everyone saw potential for him. I think the route he took ended up being a great one for him, going down south to prep school and junior colleges and getting a chance to develop — not being thrown right into the action,” Kinnear said. “Clearly, it’s worked, because he has flourished.”
And his current coach, Jay Harrington, truly believes Post can make it in the next level and pro.
“He can play in the NBA, no doubt,” Harrington recently told KSDK Sports in St. Louis earlier this month. “The first year he was here, people thought he was going to be a bust, and we thought he was going to be a great player.
“Of all the players I’ve had, this is the player who has been recruited the most, by far,” added Harrington, who has personally placed 75 players into Division I schools.
It’s a dream of many Victoria athletes.
“I miss my family a lot,” Post said of reflecting on his Victoria days. “I won’t be back for a while. It’s going to take time to make up for the two years I missed [playing due to injuries].”
© Copyright 2013