Across the pond: Ephrata basketball player plays in the UK

Ephrata – Bruce Yurian, a sophomore at Ephrata High School, has been playing basketball since he was in sixth grade. Now that work is paying off as he prepares to travel abroad to play basketball.

“I’m really excited,” Yurian said, laughing.

After the first year in competitive basketball in which his team struggled, Yurian played on another Ephrata team that shone. He spent his senior year as a guard on Ephrata’s high school team.

“To be honest, at first I didn’t really want to play basketball,” he said. “Actually, my parents made me into it.”

Yurian will be traveling with Northwest Basketball Camp, an organization that hosts camps for basketball players in the Pacific Northwest. The UK Tour takes boys aged 15-18 to exhibition competitions abroad and offers a chance to see a different part of the world.

The trip runs from June 29th to July 10th, with the team traveling through various cities in the UK and taking part in tournaments. He learned about the tour during an NBC camp at Whitworth University in Spokane.

“My coach, kind of our guide, he recommended me for this team and I asked my parents if we could do it,” Yurian said.

With his parents’ approval, Yurian began the interview to join the team. It’s not just about sporting talent, but rather about being “nice” and “having a good personality”.

“I had an interview to try and get on the team,” Yurian said. “They don’t even know if you’re good or not – you don’t have to be good. You have to be nice, have a good personality.”

He added that NBC is looking for those who care, and in return the organization cares about its players.

“They want a person who cares about who you are, and they care about you a lot.”

Given the high cost of international travel, several local companies stepped in to help with the expenses. Unlock Moses Lake Real Estate, Basin Propane, Tommer Construction, La’Rose Boutique, Kats Shek Boutique, Stocker Chiropractic and Cloudview Kitchen supported Yurian and his family with the cost of the tour.

The team will meet in Auburn before embarking on their journey to the UK. Yurian said this will serve as a sort of meet-and-greet as some of the players in the roster are from far out of area. There is even a player in the 12-man squad who travels from Saudi Arabia.

“It’s more of a camps where you meet people and meet other people and more of a training program,” Yurian said of his past experience with NBC.

From there the team will head to the UK and have a few days of sightseeing before the games begin. More tourist-oriented events include a ride on an open-top bus, a tour of the Tower of London, a visit to Liverpool, a Thames River cruise and more. Mixed in with the attractions will be the games and tournaments that the team will be participating in.

“My main thing I want to get out of this trip is just to see the world,” Yurian said.

Aside from the diverse basketball experiences that come from playing internationally, Yurian looks forward to the opportunity to travel the world. He noted that even if the trip didn’t include basketball, he would be satisfied with the overall experience.

“If this could just be a non-basketball tour, that would be perfectly fine too. I would just like to see the world, travel, experience the different stories and learn what other places are like.”

But with basketball included in the trip, it’s a dream come true.

“I think it makes it better,” Yurian said of being able to play the game he loves and see the world, “because I love this sport and I love to play. [Playing] international, it’s just a dream come true for me.”

Grateful for the opportunity to work and travel with NBC, Yurian says the program instills a family environment.

“NBC, they take care of you like you’re family,” Yurian said. “They care about you very much.”

Ian Bivona can be reached at [email protected]