WBB: PACWEST Rookie of the Year Claire Huang joins Timberwolves
She is the reigning PACWEST Rookie of the Year, and now, she has decided to wear Timberwolves green and gold. Today, University of Northern British Columbia Women’s Basketball added an impact player to the lineup, announcing the official commitment of Claire Huang for the 2023-2024 Canada West season, and beyond.
“It’s really exciting. I feel like I have worked pretty hard for this moment, and it has led up to here. I have had one year of college experience, so I think next year is going to be fun. The last few years, I knew I wanted to go somewhere where I could finish my school and play at a high level. This has definitely been a goal of mine.”
Playing her first season with Langara College, Huang led the Falcons in scoring, rebounding, assists, and steals. The product of Sir Winston Churchill Secondary in Vancouver averaged 11.1 points, which was good for 10th in the conference, 6.0 rebounds – 12th in PACWEST, 2.1 assists – 11th in the league, and 2.1 steals, good for 12th in PACWEST.
Huang visited UNBC’s Prince George campus this spring, where she had a chance to tour the facilities, train with some of the Timberwolves varsity roster, and learn from TWolves head coach Sergey Shchepotkin.
“Today, on campus, it has been really nice,” she said at the time. ”Everyone has been super welcoming from the start. The school is great. It is pretty school, which I like. The class sizes are small, similar to college. I feel like finishing my undergrad here is a good idea.”
Shchepotkin’s roster saw starters Alina Shakirova, Olivia Wilson, and Jenna Korolek graduate this year, leaving the Timberwolves’ coach with a need for a player who could play at the point guard or shooting guard position.
He jumped at the opportunity to add a member of the PACWEST All-Rookie Team to his rotation for the next four seasons.
“We are really excited to welcome Claire to our program. She has proven to be a great contributor at the post-secondary level, so I am looking forward to getting her in Timberwolves colours. Claire is a really intelligent guard who can score or create looks for teammates. I think she will be a really valuable piece for our team for years to come.”
Standing five-foot-five, Huang plays the game with a deep understanding at both ends of the court, finding ways to create her own shot off the pick-and-roll, or penetrating the defense and finding teammates for good looks.
The 17-year-old played club for VK Basketball, training with coaches Anthony Beyrouti and Dany Charlery, while learning the high school game from Sir Winston Churchill bench boss Simon Dykstra. Langara’s Female Athlete of the Year recognizes there may be some adjustments at the U SPORTS level, but she’s ready to contribute.
“I like to play in transition. If I have teammates running the floor, I like to get the ball to them. In the last year, I have had to score a little bit more, so I feel like that is developing. I like the screen and roll action. That works really well. I just need to work hard this summer to prepare myself. Wherever coach needs me, I think I’ll be ready.”
Huang will enroll in UNBC’s biomedical studies program, and join her new teammates for training camp in late August, continuing a basketball journey that started when she was just five years old.
“At the college level, all the girls are older and everyone is a lot stronger. That prepared me. Last year, my team was pretty young, so I did get to play a lot. I feel like it prepared me for this moment. I am so ready.”