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What is Drive North Girls Basketball Academy?

Drive North Girls Basketball Academy began in September of 2014 and is the brainchild of Jerrold Van Dyk, Todd Smith, Ralph May and Greg Grant. It is a Skills Academy that is committed and focused on the development of the fundamentals of Shooting, Passing, Ball-Handling, Cutting, and Finishing to female athletes ages 9 through 16.


The Academy also aims to educate and reinforce basketball spacing and movement patterns to assist in the development of each athlete’s Basketball IQ. The concept is to have a training centre where basketball enthusiasts from Barrie, Collingwood, Huntsville, Innisfil, Midland, Orillia and other surrounding communities can come together once a week to reinforce the important fundamental skills to help these gals achieve their next level goals.

Who are the coaches?

The coaching staff consists of Jerrold Van Dyk, Todd Smith, Ralph May and Greg Grant. Each of these men have been coaching basketball for 25-30 years in Ontario. They have all coached at the club level as well as the high school level. All have worked the Basketball Camp circuit in Ontario (COBA, Naismith, Olympia, Thunderhoops).


Jerrold worked a year as an assistant with Simon Fraser University in BC and Laurentian University while Ralph was an assistant at York University for 6 years.


These men also coached with Basketball Ontario’s Talent Identification and Development system as well as Basketball Canada’s Centre for Performance. All four also coached for 4 years in the JUEL League of Ontario which is highly regarded as Canada’s top league for U19 women.

What Programs are offered?

Drive North Girls Basketball Academy offers a number of programs throughout the year.


There is the ‘Prep for Rep’ that runs the week prior to the new school year, Fall Skills Sessions from September until December once a week, Winter Session from January to March once a week, Spring Skills Session from April to June and an AAU Traveling Teams from May until July (depending on age group).

What is the AAU Program?

The AAU Program are our traveling teams that are selected from tryout sessions. Teams are selected for Grade 5 through Grade 9 at tryouts in April.


These teams practice once a week and also participate in the Spring Skills Academy. The teams travel to Pittsburgh, Toledo, Syracuse, Hershey, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Washington DC.

How do I determine which team I should tryout for?

AAU is now structured around grade. Teams are organized around what grade the player is in. For example, all 6th graders try out for 6th grade teams.


In rare circumstances a player may be placed on a team with players of another grade.

What is the cost of the AAU program?

The program participation fee ranges between $350 and $750 per year depending on the team and the number of tournaments. The cost for the uniform is built into the price.


There are also travel costs which will vary depending on the type and amount of travel.

How long does the season run?

The season begins shortly after tryouts (April) and for most teams ends at the conclusion of the school year. Some teams will continue to play into July.

How many tournaments are there and where are they located?

Teams from 5th to 8th Grade compete in 2 to 3 tournaments. Teams from 9th to 10th Grade play in 4 to 5 tournaments. It varies each year. All teams will travel out of town for all tournaments as this is the AAU circuit and are all in the United States.


The amount of out of town tournaments will vary depending on the age, level and interest of the players, coaches and parents.

Does every player make a team?

We strive to find a team for every player and have usually been able to do so, but it is not guaranteed. Our rapid growth has stretched our ability to get adequate gym time and enough coaches.

When and where are practices?

Most teams average two practices per week in the evening. Most teams will practice at Eastview Secondary School in Barrie however some teams may practice at other gyms within the Barrie area.

Do I have to come to tryouts to make a team?

Players need to attend all try-out dates, register, and pay any tryout fee. If they can’t try out due to a prior commitment or an injury, they will be rated on past performance. Exceptional circumstances will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.