Tiago Oliveira was only the third player in GVC Zodiacs' history to be named to the Top 10 list in Manitoba. (MARK HAMM)
A Garden Valley Collegiate basketball star has been named to the top 10 list in Manitoba.
Tiago Oliveira was only the third player in GVC Zodiacs’ history to be given that honour.
The top 10, published by the Winnipeg Sun, honours the best basketball players annually. They described the 6’4” point guard as a “tough competitor... great size and court vision for position... elite rebounder and passer... good decision maker off the dribble”.
Coach Walter Giesbrecht agreed, describing this as a fitting cap to a historic GVC career.
He was the first ever four year starting point guard, the first player to average a triple double, had two triple doubles in one day, most assists in GVC history, and the first GVC player to play in three consecutive AAAA provincials.
“Nobody has worked harder, and nobody has been more dedicated to improving their craft,” he said. “It’s been an honour to watch this show from the sidelines for four years and I can’t wait to see what comes next.”
Oliveira said making the top 10 list was one of his goals, and said he’s seen improvement over the last couple of years.
“I think I grew a lot not just in my game, but my attitude,” he said.
Born in Brazil, Oliveira moved to Winkler when he was 5. Basketball quickly became a love for him, and he said he remembers watching the big kids play at the courts near the Winkler Pool when he was very young.
He plays soccer, volleyball and basketball, but said it’s basketball that’s his favourite.
While Oliveira is proud of his accomplishments, it’s not his statistics that give him the warmest memories.
“Personally the best part is bonding with teammates,” he said of his Zodiacs experience. “You’re like a family.”
At this point he’s not sure what his post secondary education experience will look like, but admitted he hopes to keep playing basketball.
“I hope it’s a big part of my life,” he said.
An edgy player, Oliveira said he had to learn how to control his words on the court, and used his knowledge to give advice to those wanting to follow the same path.
“My biggest advice is work hard and pursue it and dedicate yourself,” he said. “Keep your emotions in control.”
Giesbrecht said local coaches knew early that Oliveira had something special.
“We knew in Grade 5 that he had a chance to be good,” he said. “I think in Grade 8 Tiago came to practice with my varsity team. He was the second best player in the gym as a Grade 8 player.”
Oliveira’s vision on the court was very noticeable, and Giesbrecht said he saw things that those with many more years experience didn’t.
“We have never seen that here before,” he said of his talent. “He was in a leadership role on this team from day one.”
Oliveira thanked his teammates, parents and coaches for helping him along the away, and Giesbrecht said this team is one to remember.
“This is one of the best teams GVC has ever had,” he said.