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Q&A with Nelson Terroba

There have been a lot of firsts for the Calgary Surge in their inaugural season in the Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL).

The team’s head coach, Nelson Terroba, has seen a lot of them and he’ll be at the helm for the squad’s introductory foray into the playoffs.

The Surge host their first postseason game in franchise history on Sunday, Aug. 6th at 7 p.m. at Winsport Event Centre.

Terroba made time for a question-and-answer interview to bring us up to speed on the impact of the Surge on the city’s sports scene.

Here’s what the product of Texas had to say:

Q: Take me back to when Calgary was awarded a team in the CEBL. What were your impressions of the city as market in this league?

A: I have always heard great things about Calgary. I actually remember watching the 1988 Winter Olympics when I was a kid.  I thought this would be a great market. 

Q: How about your involvement with the Surge? How did you personally feel about joining the team and working out of Calgary?

A: To be honest, it’s such an honour and privilege to be entrusted with the role of head coach of the Surge. We have a first-class operation, filled with first-class people. 

Q: On the court, the Surge have been highly successful: first in the Western Conference, playoff bound, etc. What has the team done right to foster such a winning environment and are you surprised at all by the early success?

A:  I think it starts with the people in the building. We have a great group of players, coaches and support staff and management. I think our daily focus on building a championship learning environment has been key. And having players who are eager to receive coaching is critical – our group has been receptive and committed to improving each and every day. 

Q: What are your impressions of how Calgary has embraced the Surge, from the crowds at WinSport to how the team fits into the city’s sports landscape?

A: Calgary has been great. The city has embraced us with open arms and the energy at WinSport has been electric. I think there is a lasting home for professional basketball in Calgary. 

Q: Walk me through some of the early struggles or difficulties this season that may not be apparent to casual basketball fans. What has been the most difficult thing about this season?

A: I think any time you are building a program from scratch with new staff and players, it’s always a challenge. You have to implement systems of defense, offense and talk. And it takes time for the group to connect the dots. I think our players and staff have done a great job of assimilating. 

Q: On the flipside, have there been any unexpected and pleasant surprises about this year in the CEBL?

A:  There’s always great surprises. I think for me, just the growth of our team from start to finish is something I do not take for granted and truly appreciate. We have a young group of guys who really has bought in and it’s been very rewarding. 

Q: In attending a game this year, one thing that caught me off guard was the target score, which adds nine points to the leading team’s score with four minutes left in the game and forces both teams to chase that score to earn the win. It was a fun wrinkle to the game but what are your impressions of it?

A: Target score is a game changer. The intensity it creates is like nothing I’ve seen in basketball. 

Q: Overall, what do you think it means to have this calibre of basketball taking place in Calgary? What will the Surge mean to hoops fans, as well as players of all ages?

A:  I think it means a lot for the future of basketball here in the city. We have had great help and assistance from many area college and university coaches and we have seen first hand how the youth of the city can be impacted by our presence. 

Q: What are your hopes and expectations for yourself and for the Surge heading into the playoffs and the homestretch of the season?

A: I just hope we can keep playing games. This group is a good one. A fun one. I know I don’t want it to end any time soon. 

Q: Finally, how do you see the future of the CEBL and the Surge unfolding in Calgary? What’s next for the league and the team here?

A:  The future is bright for the Surge and for basketball here in Calgary. Our team has done a great job of planting the seeds for future growth. 

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