By Howard Tsumura, The Province
SURREY — Maryn Budiman waited a little longer than the rest of her peers to pick up a basketball with serious intent, so when you watch her play, it’s clear she is not only a quick study, but a study in perseverance.
“Basketball helps me because it’s taught me how much extra stuff I have to do,” the 5-foot-10 Grade 11 point guard with Surrey’s Triple A No. 5-ranked Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers said earlier this week, speaking not only to the massive commitment she’s made on the practice court, but also in the classroom.
Make no mistake about it, Budiman is shooting for some pretty high goals: A high-level college basketball career and eventually, life in med school.
Yet at least one person who marvels at her daily routine will tell you that she seems hard-wired for success.
“She didn’t start playing basketball until she was in Grade 8 so she has really come a long ways,” says Lord Tweedsmuir head coach Curtis McRae of Budiman, who through her younger years was busy enough managing her schedules in soccer, volleyball, swimming, and track and field that her basketball career almost didn’t happen.
“The first time I saw her, I noticed the athleticism,” McRae continues. “And honestly, I don’t know anybody other than Ace that works harder.”
Ace is, of course, Langley-Brookswood guard Aislinn Konig, the North Carolina State-bound star who has been so dominant over three senior varsity seasons that she has become the gold standard by which so much is measured, including work ethic.
The big picture this season for Budiman and the rest of her talented Tweedsmuir teammates is making a deep run at the provincial Triple A championship tournament this March. But in the short term for Budiman, it’s getting her first opportunity to play against Konig.
“I’ve never had the chance to guard her,” laughs Budiman, who will get a double dose next week when the Panthers play home and away, beginning Monday in Surrey, against the No. 1-ranked Bobcats. “I’m excited.”
While so many of the province’s top players choose to leave their age group early spend the majority of their high school careers at the senior varsity level, Budiman has not. Last season, as the driving force of her Tweedsmuir junior varsity team, she led the Panthers to second place at the B.C. championships.
That patient path, combined with her vast multi-sport background has allowed her to experience an early breakthrough as a senior player, this season averaging 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per game while taking on the toughest defensive assignments each time out.
“Maryn is a driving force for us because of her motor on defence,” says McRae. “Whether she’s guarding (McMath’s) Jess Jones, (Kelowna’s) Taya Hanson or (Dr. Charles Best’s) Kendal Sands, she is the one that gets the tough one-on-one matchup.”
That said, Tweedsmuir’s team is bursting with talent.
Seniors Ali Norris and Emma Jonas are each huge parts of the team’s success, and each has already committed to university careers at the CIS level. Norris will plat at UBC next season and Jonas at UBC Okanagan. As well, Grade 10 Shelvin Grewal is one of the province’s top three-point shooters.
“I love being on a team where the girls all love the game as much as me,” says Budiman. “I could ask any girl on the team if they want to shoot, and they all do.”
Both McRae and Budiman are firm believers that Budiman’s multi-sport background has played a vital role in her ability to so quickly adapt to life on the basketball court.
“I think the other sports have helped me in terms of my game sense,” says Budiman, who counts not only McRae and former Province Head of the Class honouree Elle Kerfoot (Surrey-Elgin Park, Seattle University) as key mentors, but also her boyfriend, Surrey-Tamanawis Secondary star Miguel Tomley.
“The hardest part of being a coach is that you want your athletes all the time,” adds McRae of the natural instinct for exclusivity, “so it’s a fine balance. But with Maryn, I can see how her agility from soccer really translates to the court. It’s her fine motor skills and her fast-trigger muscle fibre that allows her to be so explosive. When she stops and starts, she goes from 0-to-100 quicker than anybody in the province.”
In a manner of speaking, that might be the best way to describe just how quickly Maryn Budiman has arrived to join a group of the best girls basketball players in B.C.