From Family Roots to Basketball Success: Luke Linder’s Basketball Journey

Basketball enthusiasts were captivated by the exceptional skills of 6’4 guard Luke Linder during the Provincial Tournament in March. He delivered awe-inspiring performances, scoring a tournament-high of forty-nine points en route to the championship game. Linder, a Vancouver Island University recruit, owes his success to his grandfather and father, who trained and guided him in the game. His remarkable abilities have been showcased on the biggest stages.

Linder has grown with the game excelling through elementary and high school, and given his abilities, Linder, has the makings to be a great player at the university level. Linder’s family’s passion for basketball shaped him and his brothers into the players they are today. 

“It was my dad and my grandpa, they just loved basketball, and everyone just followed in their footsteps. We played every day, and they took us to the courts every day. My first coaches were my grandpa and my dad, my dad coached me pretty much through my entire high school career, and It looks like he’s going to do it for my brothers too.” Linder reminisced. 

Their family’s influence aided the Linder boy’s basketball development as they learned to play together and improve their guard skills.

“We always played basketball with John and Frank on my team. And then Joe would be with the uncles. So it’d be three-on-three games. Frank, John and I would always lose, but recently, maybe it’s just the dads getting older recently. We’re starting to win. We had to work together to beat them, and It was more like a trial-and-error thing,” said Linder. 

Linder attributes a significant portion of his success on the court to the support and influence of his family, who also contribute to his cherished memories of playing basketball. Luke recalled his grade-seven year, winning the cities for his grandpa, who would be in the hospital following an aortic aneurysm earlier that year. 

“My grandpa coached me and was a big part of my grade seven basketball career. That’s my best memory, winning after my grandpa put so much effort into that team.”

Throughout the years, Luke diligently honed and perfected his natural talent and skills on the basketball court. As he progressed through high school, his exceptional scoring ability garnered the attention of the entire province, leaving a lasting mark on the basketball scene in March during the Provincials. 

In a tight battle with M.E.I, fans got a glimpse of the talent on Oak Bay’s roster as a clutch time takeover by Linder catapulted the Bay’s into a semi-final matchup against North Delta. 

Linder’s defensive instincts sealed the game with crucial deflections and steals while pouring in 49 points. 

“ I went out there and against MEI, and my three-pointers were not hitting, and I realized that this team is great, and I’ve got a step up right now. My three-point shots weren’t falling, so I had to take everything inside, but I was able to get my mid-range game on point and hit those shots,” 

Luke would follow up against North Delta with 44 points sending the Bay’s to the championship game where Brothers Luke, Frank & Joe would face their cousin John Linder of the St. Pat Celtics. 

The brothers were completely fixated on their ultimate objective of winning the championship game. They were acutely aware of the fact that to achieve their coveted goal of glory, they would need to set aside their familial bonds and work in tandem as a cohesive team for the entire duration of the 48-minute match.

“I did not even think of John as my cousin while we were on that floor. Before the game. He was my cousin, a close friend. But as soon as we stepped on the floor, it didn’t mean anything until that last buzzer sounded,” 

The Bays got off to a roaring start matching the Celtics, but Luke would suffer an ankle injury which saw him head back to the locker room. Despite the injury, a sense of calmness washed over Luke and the team as Frank Linder took over, scoring 11 in Luke’s absence to keep the Bays in the game. 

“When I came off, I knew that Frank would step up. Darren, our coach, told Frank that he’s the point guard and he’s looking to get other guys’ buckets. But Frank knew that he had to step up his scoring part of the game because he knew that he had to be the bucket. And he was,” 

The Bays would fall short of the Celtics as they claimed their second 3A title in a row, but the chance to play in that game served as a memorable moment for Linder in his final high school basketball game.

“My favourite moment was heading out onto that floor in the final,  seeing all those fans there. The atmosphere was amazing and I was ready to go. Of course, after the game that will be the most memorable time because in that locker room. It was really sad. But we were a team, we were all together. And it was such a nice feeling,” 

With the finish of his high-school chapter, another journey awaits Linder, as he will dawn the VIU jersey in the coming fall. 

The dominant program will surely benefit from the addition of Linder, who yearns to be a part of the Mariner’s winning ways by any means possible. 

“I love winning, so I want to help VIU win, that’s my goal. If I can do that as a sixth man, seventh man, or even a waterboy, I’d be fine if we win. Winning is everything,” 

Linder’s remarkable skills on the basketball court are a reflection of his unwavering passion and dedication to the sport. His family has played a pivotal role in shaping him and his brothers into the players they are today, and their influence is evident in his unforgettable performances at the Provincial Tournament. With his sights set on Vancouver Island University, Linder’s commitment to winning is sure to lead him to great success in the future.

Tejpaul Garcha

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