O Santa Clara, our home and native land. True patriot love, in all our sons command.
Interview with Herb Sendek the head coach of Santa Clara.
Santa Clara University has a long standing connection with their neighbours to the North in Canada.
Victoria, BC native Steve Nash is widely regarded as the greatest player in Broncos history having his No.11 retired by the university following his Hall of Fame career in the NBA which included being a two-time MVP and an eight-time All-Star.
Nash was twice named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year (95,96) during his four year stint at Santa Clara and he led them to three appearances in the NCAA tournament (93,95,96). Santa Clara has never returned to March Madness since the day Nash left campus.
Santa Clara’s current head coach Herb Sendek wrapped up his fourth season with the Broncos leading them to a 20-13 record and a place in the WCC championships which were eventually cancelled due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The 20 win season was the most in seven years for Santa Clara and Sendek appears to be going back to the winning formula that has worked in the past for the Broncos; Canadians.
Sendek spoke about the impact Nash has had on Santa Clara and said, “Steve is obviously a legendary and iconic player in our sport, few have played it better at his position but beyond that few if any have ever represented themselves and our university the way he has.” He continued, “He is the consummate giver and the consummate gentleman.”
Sendek said Nash addressed his team back in August and that he was an amazing source of information and inspiration for his players.
The Broncos current roster features three Canadians including the teams leading scorer Josip Vrankic. The 6-foot-9 forward from Toronto, ON just wrapped up an impressive junior year and was named Second Team All-WCC averaging 12.5 points per game along with 5.4 rebounds. Vrankic has been a three-year starter under Sendek with 92 games already under his belt and he is one of 35 players in school history with 1000 career points.
Brampton, ON native Jaden Bediako had an impressive freshman campaign for Santa Clara and was named to the WCC All-Freshman team. The 6-foot-10 Bediako played in all 33 games this year and chipped in with 6.4 points per game along with 5.2 rebounds. Bediako came to Santa Clara via Ridley College in St. Catharines, ON where he was a two-time Bio Steel All-Canadian and competed for Canada at the U19 and U18 level. His younger brother Charles is currently one of the top recruits in the class of 2021 with offers from Duke, Michigan State, Arizona State, Texas and more.
Santa Clara will feature a third Canadian heading into the 2020-21 season with Surrey, BC native Miguel Tomley suiting up for the Broncos after using a redshirt year in 2019-20 due to a knee injury. Tomley is an elite three-point shooter who scored 66 points in his final high school game for RISE Prep in Brantford, ON and was also a Bio Steel All-Canadian.
Sendek spoke about the Canadian content he has brought in and their influence on his squad. He said, “We absolutely love each of those young men.” Sendek added, “All three bring tremendous character to our program and all three are outstanding young players and we have really been a tremendous beneficiary of Canadian basketball.”
When you consider that Sendek is responsible for recruiting the likes of James Harden while he was the head coach at Arizona State and Wally Szczerbiak while at Miami-OH it’s flattering to know he continues to scour north of the border in search of further success at Santa Clara.
With the influence of these three Canadians, its possible to see thee rise of Santa Clara and perhaps put a dent in the armour of perennial powerhouse Gonzaga in the WCC.
* Article was originally posted June 2020 but had to be re-posted due to our server crashing.