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Natural leader Yana Shupak to bolster Timberwolves backcourt in 2024

Courtesy of UNBC

The University of Northern British Columbia has gone all the way to New Jersey to bolster its roster, announcing a significant addition to the future of the program’s backcourt. Today, the Timberwolves added a major dose of talent, intensity, and leadership with the official commitment of guard Yana Shupak for the 2024-2025 Canada West season, and beyond.

“It feels amazing. I am at a loss for words. I have no words to explain how I am feeling. Ever since I started playing basketball, I have wanted to play at the highest level I can. Playing college basketball is literally the best thing that could happen to me. I want to experience the world out there, and I want to compete at a level that is not in the United States.”

The five-foot-six guard visited UNBC’s Prince George campus in September, where she had the opportunity to tour the school’s facilities, train with the varsity roster, and learn from Timberwolves coach Sergey Shchepotkin.

“I got to see how the school fits with what I want for my university experience. It was able to give me a better perspective on what I want for myself and the next four or five years of playing here. I just loved it so much.”

The 17-year-old impressed Shchepotkin with her overall game, showing a deft touch from outside and the speed and physicality to slash into the paint for tough finishes. As much as Shupak’s on-court skills will translate to the U SPORTS level, the UNBC bench boss suggests it’s his newest recruit’s mentality and approach that will help her make the jump to the highest level of university sport in the country.

“I am really excited to welcome Yana to our program. She is a basketball junkie with a major appetite to get better every practice and every game. Yana is a quick, aggressive, and can play the role of scorer or distributor. She is very strong physically, and will be able to immediately compete at the U SPORTS level. She fit in when she visited our Prince George campus, and we are thrilled to welcome her to the program. I look forward to her making a big impact over her years in green and gold.”

Shupak plays her club ball with the NJ Shoreshots, for coach Patrick Leary, and has honed her game at the high school level playing for coach Kevin Cohen at Toms River HS East, where she was a 2023 New Jersey Conference All-Shore selection.

She knows it will be a leap to play at the Canada West level, but the ultra-competitive Shupak gave a scouting report of what Timberwolves fans could expect from her when she arrives for the 2024 season.

“I am very, very energetic. I am known to bring the energy on the court every time I play. I am really aggressive on defense, so stealing, rebounding, and I am physical, too. I think the level of competition and the speed of the game will be a great jump. I am really excited to get to that point.”

Set to enroll in UNBC’s finance program, Shupak will join her new teammates for training camp in Prince George next summer and continue a basketball journey that began when she was five years old.

“It’s my way of expressing emotion and I just love it so much. I don’t love anything more than basketball. I am so ready and I can’t wait to get better. I can’t wait to play with my team.”

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