Diego Maffia shoots during a high school basketball game for the Oak Bay Bays during the 2018-19 season. (Courtesy UVic/Winston Brown)

UVic Vikes land prize Oak Bay basketball recruit

Star point guard Diego Maffia will play for the University of Victoria

With the official announcement that he’ll be a UVic Vike next year comes a sense of relief for one of B.C.’s biggest 2019 high school basketball recruits.

Oak Bay High’s Diego Maffia and the Vikes made it official on Tuesday that the star point guard will stay in Oak Bay to start his U Sports career.

“It’s a relief, it feels good to get it off my chest,” Maffia said before flying out to Brazil on Wednesday. “It’s been the question I get asked the most. All this year everyone has been asking, ‘Where are you going?,’ ‘What school will you play for?”

READ MORE: Oak Bay’s Maffia sets new provincial record with 96-point game

It doesn’t solve Maffia’s other issue, answering questions about “The Big Game,” when he set the provincial boys single-game scoring record when he posted 94 points in a 114-88 win against the Ross Shepard Thunderbirds on Feb. 9. It was the Western Canadian Invitational tournament in Kelowna and Maffia was unstoppable as he bettered the previous record of 94-points set by Greg DeVries in 1991.

“Especially after the Big Game,” Maffia said. “People keep asking, ‘How did you do that?’”

The answer is practice. At 6-foot-1 Maffia shoots and rebounds bigger than he is and he’s proven he’s among the best high school shooters and is destined for a great U Sports career.

Shortly after his mom and brother moved here, Maffia started at Oak Bay High as a Grade 9 student who played soccer, volleyball and some basketball. Bays basketball coach Chris Franklin got wind of the talented Maffia and soon Maffia was not only on the basketball team but was in the court most mornings shooting hoops with the Grade 11s and 12s whilst still a junior.

“Franklin looks for guys who really like basketball, who want to be in the gym shooting hoops, and [that was me],” Maffia said.

“We are thrilled to welcome [Maffia] to our program next year,” said Vikes head coach Craig Beaucamp. “He is a generational talent who has been one of the top high school player in British Columbia the past few years. He has the ability to score in a variety of ways and is arguably one of the greatest shooters in B.C. high school basketball history. We truly believe he has the potential to be an elite U Sports athlete.”

Maffia did field interest from around the country and some from south of the border with strongest options coming from UBC and Calgary. In the end, he felt the fit with UVic was the right one. One of the reasons Maffia is so familiar with the Vikes is his time spent in the Vikes Nation basketball program from 2016-2018, where he was tutored by current Vikes assistant coach Josh Mullen.

“UVic’s [coaching staff] have been interested since Grade 10, been with me for a while,” Maffia said. “They knew my potential, I trust them a lot, my confidence in them is high and staying home [is economical].”

“It is special moment for our coaching staff knowing that Maffia has grown his game within our Vikes Nation program and down the road at Oak Bay under coach Chris Franklin,” added Beaucamp. “We are lucky to have had the chance to see him develop right before our eyes.”

Maffia’s family ties with Brazil remain strong as he is going back to visit his dad works as the principal of a Sao Paul school.

Maffia’s high school basketball career ended one week prior when the Bays were unable to crack the final four, losing into he second round to Terry Fox 100-66 (the Bays did bounce back to finish seventh with an 84-76 win over Centennial).

He brings with him a list of individual athlete including a First Team All-Star as a member of the B.C. provincial team at the 2018 Canada Basketball National Championships.

reporter@saanichnews.com


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