MBB: Talented Richmond big man Wesley Ainu'u says yes to TWolves
The University of Northern British Columbia Men’s Basketball team has made another significant step to solidify the paint for years to come, officially announcing the commitment of six-foot-seven forward Wesley Ainu’u for the 2023-2024 Canada West season, and beyond.
“I am very excited to play here. It has been a dream to play U SPORTS. To continue my basketball career is going to be very fun. To play basketball at a higher level and continue my career is an amazing feeling.”
An imposing, broad-shouldered forward, the Richmond product has surprisingly nimble feet and soft hands for a young athlete with his substantial frame. Playing for R.C. Palmer Secondary, Ainu’u earned team Most Valuable Player honours in Grade 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12, twice winning Richmond City First Team All-Star.
“I’d say I am a stretch big. I can play down low, but I can also shoot it from outside and play make. I can pass the rock and shoot when I need to. I play my heart out every game. 110 percent every single game. Offensively and defensively, I am there to score and I am there to play hardcore defense on the opposing defense, to make sure they don’t score.”
Chosen to play for the BC Select Team in 2022-2023, Ainu’u is a personable, dedicated teammate who uses every practice as an opportunity to get better. After averaging 27.1 points, 17.3 rebounds, 5.3 blocks, 3.0 assists, and 2.1 steals per game this season, he recognizes there will be a step up to the U SPORTS level, but it is a challenge he is ready for.
“The speed of the game is what I am expecting most to change. It is going to be a lot more fast-paced and it is going to be harder to keep up for a bit. But eventually, I know I am going to get there.”
Playing his club with Average Joes with coach Timmy Choi and Joey Dhillon, Ainu’u started playing basketball when he was 11, and began identifying the university level as a feasible goal in high school.
The 18-year-old visited UNBC’s Prince George campus in April, touring the facilities, and training with Timberwolves coach Todd Jordan. The TWolves bench boss was tremendously impressed by his newest recruit’s ability to take coaching and immediately implement it into game situations, while showing an impressive ability to shoot the ball and utilize his length to his advantage.
“I am really thrilled to welcome Wesley to our program. Wesley was a dominant force in Richmond high school basketball and will bring some much-needed size and power to our lineup. He is a really great person that will fit our culture well, and I’m excited about him bringing some depth to our roster at the forward position, with some true upside moving forward.”
Ainu’u will graduate from Palmer in June and join his new Timberwolves teammates in Prince George for training camp in late August.
“I really love the campus. It’s small, but it is very nice. It is a great feeling to know I have made a team and I can express my skills to a bigger crowd. To be able to compete every day on the court is a fun experience and improves me as a player and as a person.”