Basketball home games

January 6th, 2013

After convincing wins last weekend, the VIU Mariner Basketball teams look to keep it rolling this weekend with more home game victories !! Friday the Douglas Royals will do battle followed by the Langara Falcons on Saturday.



VIU men ar holding on to the #7 national ranking spot!!

Game Preview in the NNB


Brothers will be brothers

Clayton, Connor Billett are fierce competitors off the court but supportive on it


Josh Aldrich

Daily News


Clayton and Connor Billett may be adversaries in their driveway at home, but as teammates on the Vancouver Island University Mariners men's basketball team, their relationship has a completely different dynamic.

They are their own support system within the team and Clayton, 21, doubles up as a source of inspiration for Connor, 21.

Clayton is now in his fourth year with VIU in the Pacific Coast Western Athletic Association, but until this season has played mostly a reserve and back up role, stuck behind all-Canadian point guard Jacob Thom.

New head coach Matt Kuzmin-ski has slid the five-foot-11 veteran out to the two-guard and he has caught fire. He has started every game for the Mariners this season and is averaging 12.44 points a game - including scoring 29, 12, 13 and 21 points in his last four games.

Connor is now where Clayton was four years ago, way down on the depth chart.

"He motivates me to keep going, he makes me better," said Connor. "In (Clayton's) first year, he didn't play very much, but now he's one of our best players, so it proves hard work pays off."

That trust and that bond was galvanized playing one-on-one while growing up in Nanaimo. Those games were far from friendly and often tough, physical contests.

Connor fully admits that Clayton usually comes out on top - despite being four inches taller - but says he's closing the gap.

Even now, when they come up against each other during practice, the intensity instinctively picks up, but it is controlled.

"We've got into it a few times. I would say the driveway gets a little bit more intense than practice because (in the gym) coaches are around and mom can't do too much in the driveway," said Clayton, who doesn't hold back on giving advice to his younger brother on the way home from practice or games.

They both went to Dover Bay Secondary School and were indoctrinated by the same coach current Kuzminski learned from

- Mark Simpson.

Connor took last year off after graduating, but decided he wanted to come back and play with his brother this year.

It has been a long fight for Clayton into the starting lineup, but he has learned a lot about the game and himself in the process.

"I've always known I've been a decent player, but it's about putting in the time and when your time comes you've got to step up," he said. "Every day at practice I was going against Jacob Thom and that just gets you better. From the first day I stepped into practice, he never took it easy on me."

That experience made him a go-to guy for Kuzminski shortly after getting hired on this spring, and he hasn't been let down. He has shown a high level of leadership on and off the court and is now gaining in confidence - during one stretch in their 75-60 win over the Camosun Chargers on Friday - he drilled four-straight three-pointers.

"He's been ultra committed and has been an example for the guys; he's put in a ton of time and I think it's showing now," said Kuzminski. "He's getting opportunities where he's scoring a lot more than he did in the past. If you leave him open, it's going in. He's a very good shooter."

Clayton is hoping to keep his hot hand going this weekend when they host the Douglas College Royals (4-5) on Friday at 8 p.m. and the Langara Falcons (9-0) on Saturday at 3 p.m.

"I've just got to keep shooting when I get open," said Clayton, who has one year left at VIU.

"Last year was a confidence thing for me, when I got in, because you didn't want to make mistakes and that would bite me in the ass. But being more confident is what it has come down today and it has made me a better player."