It was a long and winding road before Anthony Ottley finally arrived at Red Deer College to join the basketball Kings.
Ottley grew up in the Greater Toronto Area and learned the game on the famed Harbourfront courts.
“I always loved sports and played soccer, but got into basketball in Grade 3 and that was my sport,” said the 24-year-old. “I learned the game on the Harbourfront courts playing every night and day with my uncle, brothers and friends. I really developed a love for the game.”
Coming up through high school, Ottley played a number of all-star games and played with and against a number of players who are now in the NBA, including Cory Joseph and Anthony Bennett of the Toronto Raptors and Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He graduated high school in 2010 and received a scholarship to Kilgore Junior College in Texas. However after a year down south he wanted to return home and tried out with Windsor University.
He played “a couple” of games before deciding to return home.
“That was a bad decision going there and wasting a year of eligibility,” he said.
He joined Durham College the following season and lead the nation in scoring with 26 points per game, then decided to return to the CIS, joining Trinity Western University.
“I enjoyed it there but the coach was fired and I decided to return home again,” he explained.
It was at that time RDC Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger contacted Ottley about coming to RDC.
However, Ottley always had a dream of turning professional and used a year off to work with a number of semi-pro teams in the Toronto area.
“I wanted the experience and to see where I fit in and get better as a player and a person,” he said. “But at the same time I was in contact with coach Clay and he said I would be a good fit. I finally decided it would be a good chance to finish my post-secondary career and to restart and re-energize my game.”
Ottley has been a nice fit for the Kings, who are off to a 3-0 start to the season, averaging over 109 points per game. He is second in team scoring to Ian Tevis with 20.67 points per game.
“It’s been a winding road to get here, but it’s good,” he said. “Red Deer is a smaller community, with a lot of good people and a good area for me to focus on my game. There are no distractions like at home … it’s a good opportunity.”
Pottinger expects the most out of Ottley, as he does all his players.
“His motto is “Do More” and expects me to be a pro on and off the court,” he said.
The six-foot-five Ottley, who can play inside or out and is suited to play the shooting guard or wing. He is comfortable shooting a three-point shot or dunking inside. He is just one of a number of highly skilled players with the Kings.
“We have lots of fire power, but it’s important we tweak a few things on the defensive end as well. We want to win gold (at the nationals) this year and we need to be disciplined and focused at every practice and every game.”
Playing at the nationals would only help Ottley as he will continue to look at playing professionally once his time at RDC is over. He also wrote an article for NorthPoleHoops.com and expects to write for other websites.
“I would like to write as many articles as possible to let people know about me … this is a big year for me,” he said.
“I’m still young and love to travel and hope there’s a chance for me to play (pro). I would just like to get my foot in the door.”
He hopes to get an opportunity to play pro in North American, but would also look at Europe if need be.
The Kings, who are ranked fourth in the country, will get a good test this weekend as they host the 4-0 Lethbridge Kodiaks tonight and Ambrose College Saturday. The Queens, 1-2, will open action tonight at 6 p.m. against the Kodiaks, who are ranked No. 1 in Canada. Action begins Saturday at 6 p.m.