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Nicholas Lother

PROGRAM DIRECTOR/HEAD COACH

Nicholas Lother has been involved in the basketball community in Winnipeg, Manitoba since playing in the Winnipeg Minor Basketball Association as a 9-year-old approximately 23 years ago.  From there, Nicholas, attended and played high school basketball at Collège Jeanne-Sauvé.  At CJS, Nicholas was part of the 2005 AAAA Provincial Championship winning team where Nicholas was also named the #1 high school basketball player in the province.  That same year Nicholas was also invited to attend the Adidas All-Canadian Game which featured the 20 most decorated high school basketball prospects in Canada.

After his high school career, Nicholas chose to attend the University of Winnipeg to play under Head Coach Dave Crook.  Nicholas is the University of Winnipeg’s 2nd all time leading scorer finishing his career with 1380 points.  Known for his unlimited range and tenacity, Nicholas is also 3rd in 3 pointers made (163) and set Canada West records in both, free throws made (24) and free throws attempted (28) in one game.  At the University of Winnipeg Nicholas was an Academic All-Canadian maintaining a 3.5 GPA or higher throughout his playing career.  In his last year, under the guidance of the current Wesmen Head Coach Mike Raimbault, Nicholas was named the University of Winnipeg’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Next, Nicholas was represented by Matt Slan from Slan Sports Management who brought him to the Inaugural National Basketball League of Canada draft at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario.  Nicholas was selected 17th overall by the London Lightning.  In London, Nicholas was coached by NBA legend and 4 time NBA all-star Micheal Ray Richardson.

“Playing for and competing against high profile Division 1 and NBA basketball players taught a lot of valuable lessons; 1) the greatest professionals are generous with their efforts, 2) don’t get too comfortable, working hard is not a choice if you want to be elite, 3) no matter what your journey is, if you have a growth mindset and if you have the necessary skills to get better in all aspects of life, you will maximize your potential.”

Upon return to Winnipeg after his playing career Nicholas returned to school in the Faculty of Education while Assistant Coaching under his former coach Mike Raimbault with the Men’s basketball program at the University of Winnipeg.  Shortly after, Nicholas was hired as a teacher and a Head Coach of the Varsity Boys Basketball Team at Vincent Massey Collegiate.  Vincent Massey’s steady climb to one of the province’s most well respected programs was built on using basketball as a vehicle to teach valuable lessons on and off the court.  Hard work, generosity and humility has allowed Vincent Massey to assert itself as one of the strongest high school basketball programs in Western Canada.  Recently, in the 2018-2019 season Nicholas led the second ever high school basketball team from Manitoba to win the Western Canada Invitational Tournament in Kelowna, BC.  That same year, the Trojans defeated St Paul’s Crusaders to capture its schools first ever AAAA provincial championship.  Nicholas’ efforts as a high school coach has been recognized by his colleagues and Basketball Manitoba as AAAA Boys High School Coach of the Year for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons.

Nick has also spent 2 summers as the Head Coach of the 15U and 17U Boys Provincial Teams who represents the Province of Manitoba at the National Championships.  He also continues to provide support to Mike Raimbault of the University of Winnipeg as an Assistant Coach.

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Grant Rayner

Director of Operations/Assistant Coach

Grant was a multi-sport athlete excelling in Basketball, Volleyball, and Team Handball through his high school career, eventually being awarded the MHSAA Athlete of the Year in 2005.  From there he moved onto a 4-year playing career at the University of Manitoba, where he played on both Basketball and Volleyball Bison teams while graduating from the Faculty of Biosystems Engineering.

From there he was hired by a local Consulting company Geo-Xergy Systems where he worked for 9 years, became Associate, and now has made Partner. He began his coaching career in 2015 at Vincent Massey Collegiate as an Assistant Coach and throughout the 5 years continued to develop the program to a AAAA MHSAA Provincial Finals appearance in 2017-2018, a Western Canada Invitational Tournament Championship 2018-2019, a Brandon Sun Spartan Invitational Pre-Season Championship 2016-2019, and eventually captured Vincent Massey Collegiate’s first ever AAAA MHSAA Provincial Championship. During that time, the coaching staff was awarded a 2X Basketball Manitoba AAAA Varsity Boys Coach of the Year award (2017–2018, 2018-2019).

Since the Pandemic started Grant along with coach Lother have created Evolve Basketball Development to help keep young, elite athletes in the gym improving and refining their mental and physical basketball skills.

“This is an exciting time for basketball in Manitoba, a pivotal moment where student athletes will need to read and react to uncertainty that lies ahead. We put some of the best coaching minds together in the gym to provide an opportunity for young basketball players to try and maximize their potential both in how they think about the game as well developing their skills. Seeing this type of interest, engagement, and development through the Evolve Basketball Development program has been a great start and we want to continue to push through these uncertain times.”

“The next step is to take elite basketball athletes through the Central Canada Prep program and to have them develop and compete at the highest level both in the classroom and on the court, to create new and exciting exposure and opportunity for themselves and the basketball community here in Manitoba.”

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