When the summer began, Stephen Maar was just hoping to be a part of Team Canada. By the time late August rolled around, the McMaster Marauders’ outside had emerged as a star.
Maar was named top outside at the Pan Am Cup in Reno, Nevada Aug. 18, as a member of Canada’s National ‘B’ Team. He led the Canadians in scoring throughout the tournament — which featured a mixture of senior national ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams from the Pan American region — as Canada finished fourth and defeated the United States en route.
“I’m extremely happy for Stephen,” said McMaster head coach Dave Preston of the award. “It’s always a special thing to see young student-athletes get recognized for their hard work. I’m looking forward to seeing how Stephen is going to share his experiences this summer with his McMaster teammates.”
With Canada’s ‘A’ team participating in the Pan Am Games and the ongoing World League, the ‘B’ team provided some of the top university-aged talent and national reserve players an opportunity to train and compete throughout the summer. Exposure to players with international experience at the top level was an eye-opening experience for young players like Maar.
“The difference with some of the guys who have played with the ‘A’ team was their attention to detail,” said Maar. “If they say that they’re closing out a block along the line for example, that’s exactly what they expect from themselves and that’s what they expect from you.”
He has never been one to shy away from competition, but Maar believed that he came away from Team Canada as an improved practice player, adapting the focused mindset of game situations to the training court.
There is much to share with his teammates in Maroon and Grey, and Maar indicated that the most important lesson he can impart is mental. It is the value of the “win at all costs” spirit that top level competitions demand.
“It’s a different mindset when you’re just trying to win regardless of the situation — you’re not managing anything — at a level where you have to be competitive on every single point,” said Maar.
Such lessons should be valuable for a Marauder team looking to take the final step toward a CIS title on home court this season.