The University of the Fraser Valley women’s basketball team will soon have two Tuchscherers terrorizing foes.
Seventeen-year-old Julia Tuchscherer has committed to the Cascades, where she will play alongside older sister Deanna Tuchscherer and play for father/head coach Al Tuchscherer.
The teenager was always expected to go to UFV, but she’s doing it a year ahead of schedule. Julia is finishing up her Grade 11 year at G.W. Graham, and would normally head back for her senior year. But she’s been working ahead since Grade 9, and came into this year needing just two courses to graduate.
“This year, having no sports, I had more time to focus on academics, and now there’s no reason for me to stay at G.W. Graham for another year academically,” she said. “I remember in Grade 8 I jokingly said, ‘What if I graduate early?’ But I never thought about actually doing it until this year.
“I would have loved to have had another year with the team. The whole COVID thing set it in motion.”
With Julia joining UFV one year early, the sisters will be able to play together for four years.
It would have been three, but Deanna was granted an extra year of eligibility after COVID wiped out the 2020-21 Canada West (CW) season.
“It’s pretty cool I get four years with my sister,” Julia said.
They have shared the court before, at G.W. Graham. When Julia was in Grade 8 and 9, she played up with the senior team when Deanna was in Grade 11 and 12.
“I enjoy playing with her because we’ve got this connection/chemistry on the court,” Julia said. “I don’t even know how to explain it. We just kind of ‘get each other.'”
They’re also competitive with each other.
“We’re very competitive, and I definitely push her around and foul her more in practices because of that,” Julia said with a laugh. “And she won’t take it easy on me at all. Even when I was in Grade 8 and 9 here, she was no mercy with me.”
Deanna went to Hungary to play pro b-ball this year after the Canada West season was cancelled, but she’s been in near constant contact with Julia.
Deanna made the transition to the university level look easy, winning the Canada West Rookie of the Year award.
Being a full year younger than Deanna was, Julia doesn’t expect her jump to be quite as easy. But she also doesn’t sound intimidated.
“It’s going to take a lot of hard work to get stronger,” Julia said. “The best thing I can do is get in the weight room so I’m not physically outmatched when I get there.”
Having Al in the head coaching role will help a lot.
“I understand his coaching style because I’ve watched it my whole life, and I know what he does,” Julia noted. “In practices and games, I know he’s not going to go easy on me, same as he doesn’t go easy on Deanna. Even when we’re shooting baskets at home, he doesn’t let me go half speed, and because I’m his daughter I’m expecting he’ll probably go extra hard on me.”
That should work in her favour as she wades into the deep end against teammates and foes who will be anywhere from two to six years older than her.
“I’m going there to compete and get better and be pushed at a higher level,” Julia said. “I’m going in there looking to be that annoying young player who gets in the way of all the older players.
“I’m not nervous right now, but I think that’ll come when I get closer to practicing and playing with the team. Mostly, I’m excited and can’t wait to get started.”