Oak Bay High hoops star Diego Maffia headed to UVic

University of Victoria Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp describes prize recruit Diego Maffia as a “generational player.”

“It’s not a stretch to say that,” said Beaucamp, after announcing the Oak Bay High star will play U Sports basketball for the Vikes.

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“A player like Diego doesn’t come along every year — maybe once every 10 years. He is one of the best shooters to play B.C. high school basketball. He can score.”

Maffia proved that this year by setting the all-time B.C. high school single-game scoring record with 96 points. He also had a 67-point game this season and scored 53 points against the Belmont Bulldogs in the Island Quad-A championship game.

“It’s a relief for me that I could stay here,” said Maffia.

“I wanted to pay back the people who helped me in the city. The goal is to win Canada West titles and get to nationals and take it from there. It’s been a couple of years now for UVic from being there.”

And there is so much more to Maffia’s game. He moved with his family to the Island from his native Brazil in Grade 9. Also a standout for the Bays in soccer and volleyball — going to the B.C. championships in all three sports he played at Oak Bay — Maffia’s natural athleticism has been a boon on both court and field.

“He has a real feel for the game that is hard to teach,” said Beaucamp.

“He’s not the fastest guy, he but can play at different speeds.”

Six-foot-one point guard Maffia and six-foot-nine power forward Liam McChesney from the Charles Hays Rainmakers of Prince Rupert who’s headed to NCAA Div. 1 with Utah State, were the two most sought-after B.C. boys high school basketball recruits this year.

“We have made it our mandate to keep the best players at home,” said Beaucamp.

“That’s not always easy with the opportunities they have, both north and south of the border. But we’ve kept the best player in B.C. at home.”

UVic’s backcourt, which already includes fourth-year outside gunner Scott Kellum, could be hard to handle.

“That gives us a lot of different options and we’re excited to explore those,” said Beaucamp.

“Diego has faced so many different kinds of defences trying to stop him from scoring, that he has turned also into a playmaker, and has the ability to pass. Diego can play both the one- and two-guard positions and that certainly doesn’t hurt any team’s perimetre game.”

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com

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