Thursday, 1 October 2009

Ryersonian article on Roy Rana and the Rams

Great to see the campus newspapers start early on CIS basketball coverage.

Men's basketball gets the Midas touch

Roy Rana brings his extensive coaching experience to Ryerson (Photo courtesy Roy Rana)

Ryerson’s new men’s basketball head coach, Roy Rana, hasn’t coached a single game in the CIS. But, that hardly seems relevant.

“Wherever he’s been, he’s been King Midas,” said Ivan Joseph, Ryerson’s director of athletics.

“His touch has turned teams into gold.”

Rana has spent the last nine years at Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute, a high school near Pape and Danforth avenues. There, Rana won four ‘AAAA’ Ontario championships, the highest level of high school basketball in Ontario, and had a .867 winning percentage all-time. But, Rana’s accomplishments don’t end with the high school age group.

He was assistant coach to Canada’s Senior Men’s National Team in the FIBA Americas Championship this summer, a tournament which saw Canada finish fourth and qualify for the 2010 World Championships in Turkey. Under the guidance of Head Coach Leo Rautins, Rana had the chance to instruct university-level athletes and professional basketball players, including Miami Heat centre Joel Anthony. For Joseph, this sealed the deal. “How many other high school coaches do you know who are assistant coaches to the national team?” Joseph asked rhetorically.

Something that Rana also offered that other coaches didn’t was his Toronto connections. Recruiting becomes a lot easier. “The students of Toronto already have a relationship with Roy. They want to play for him,” Joseph said. “The moms and dads [of Toronto] know that Roy will take care of [their sons] because he’s one of their own.”

But, for Rana, his coaching job means a lot more than winning at basketball. “I’m trying to build a program that the university can be proud of. Not just with wins and losses but also in the way our athletes conduct themselves.” Rana’s seriousness towards both athletics and academics has already reflected the changes he made to the program. One difference is study hall. The two-hour session where athletes check in with their mentors and are given a chance to catch up with their work is now obligatory for both rookies and veterans.

“With Roy, class comes first,” said Josh Budd, a second-year point guard. “You don’t miss class to go practice.”

Rana called himself a “cerebral” point guard back in his playing days at Bloor Collegiate Institute and expects his players to be concentrating at all times on the court. “I try to hold athletes accountable for their decisions on the floor. Offence is about making the right decisions and playing team basketball,” Rana said.
That level of focus and accountability doesn’t disappear once the players step off the court.

“He holds us accountable for everything. He makes sure we introduce ourselves to the teacher, sit in the front and show up on time for classes,” said Budd.

Prior to selecting his team, Rana talked with some of his players in his office to let them know his expectations of his players. “I’m here to begin developing a winning culture in this program and that means attention to detail, a commitment to train and a commitment to improve academic performance,” he said. For some athletes, that meant making sure they were keeping up with their minds and body.
“I’m focused on ensuring that our athletes understand what the expectations are if they want to be a high performance athlete, and that’s what this year will be about.”

For Budd, who trained in the gym for all but two days this summer, the challenge will be finding the right balance between schoolwork and the team. “It’ll be fine. He motivates you. There’s always positive reinforcement,” Budd said.

Love and basketball: Rana's passion for the sport started at an early age

As a kid, Roy Rana used to stay up late watching his idols Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson and the rest of the dynasty-bound Los Angeles Lakers. He had to sneak around his house and mute the volume on the TV, but he developed a passion for basketball that hasn’t left him since.
Rana played point guard at Bloor Collegiate Institute but wouldn’t see any great success until his playing days were over. When he first started teaching at CW Jefferys his principal asked if he could coach the basketball team. Rana agreed, expecting to be the assistant coach, but, later, found out that if he didn’t coach then there wouldn’t be a team.
Rana won a championship in his first year. “It became an obsession. It became an addiction. I always loved the sport, but I really took to coaching. It’s been a great journey.
“I’ve been part of the history of basketball in this city my whole life,” Rana said.
Now, Rana is looking to make a little more history in this town.
First, though, here are some of his greatest achievements as a basketball coach:
Eastern Commerce: Rana’s greatest success came at this eastern Toronto high school. He led the Saints to the Ontario championships five times while winning four titles. Never not winning his division, Rana also oversaw a 58 game winning streak spanning two years and won a High School Coach of the Year award four times.
Men’s Cadet National Team: As current head coach of Canada’s U16 men’s team, Rana will be putting the country in the international spotlight next year when they compete in FIBA U17 World Championship. Rana’s team defeated Venezuela 106-81 to capture the bronze medal in the 2009
FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Nike Global Challenge: Rana’s team lost a one-point heartbreaker in the final of this high school tournament. In an event that featured three U.S. teams, Rana’s Canadians proved their worth to earn a silver medal.


Anonymous said...

Did they not play George Brown College and lose? recently?

Anonymous said...

Rana was still in PR with the SMNT and they played without Budd and Bakovic...that game was a a joke.