Team Ontario & Ryerson Rams Coach Attends Sacramento Kings Camp as Guest Coach
Ontario Basketball coach Jessica Roque spent a week as a Guest Coach with the NBA’s Sacramento Kings earlier this summer, becoming the first Canadian woman to join the bench of an NBA team. Roque has been an assistant coach for the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team since August 2016 and is the head coach of Ontario Basketball’s U14 Girls Team Ontario squad which heads to the Nike Tournament of Champions later this week in Chicago.
Roque was named an assistant coach for the Ryerson Rams women’s basketball team on August 2, 2016. The Mississauga, ON native spent four seasons playing for the Cleveland State University Vikings from 2006 – 2010. With the Vikings, she won two Horizon League Championship titles – the first in team history – and made two appearances in the NCAA tournament – also team firsts. She returned to the Vikings for the 2015-16 season as an assistant coach. Roque completed her degree in Health Sciences at Cleveland State and also owns a Master’s in Exercise Science.
Earlier this summer, Roque had the opportunity to attend NBA Summer League with the Sacramento Kings as a Guest Coach. Ontario Basketball was able to catch up with Jessica following her return from California as she prepares to coach U14 Girls Team Ontario later this week.
How did you find out you’d be heading to Sacramento for NBA Summer League preparations and how did that opportunity come about?
Coach Roy Rana, former Men’s Head coach of the Ryerson Rams, recently joined the Sacramento organization as chief of staff and invited me to join their squad for summer league training camp. It was as simple as accepting the invitation and of course I was extremely grateful and humbled by the opportunity. They host a tournament called the California Classic that is a relatively new pre-Summer League tournament.
What is your biggest takeaway from your time in Sacramento?
There were so many takeaways it’s hard to just narrow it down to one. The organization itself was remarkable. You have front office guys like Vlade and Peja, who are also former Kings players, who are genuinely invested in the athletes. The staff as a whole was welcoming, and for a new group, seemed to work cohesively. Their facilities and commitment to optimal recovery and performance was also remarkable. The team always arrives 1-2 hours before practice time to receive treatment, get shots up and prepare their bodies for practice. Overall, just the attention to detail and care was what stood out to me on multiple levels.
What was it like to reunite with [former] fellow Rams coach Roy Rana down in California?
It’s always a learning experience with Roy. He does a tremendous job mentoring and helping those around him, myself included. It was great to see him in his new environment and how he interacted with the staff and players. I know he will find success there, as he has with so many other places.
What are you most looking forward to with the Nike Tournament of Champions later this week with Team Ontario U14 Girls in Chicago?
I’m looking forward to another chance to compete. This U14 group is one I’ve been excited to coach and have had the pleasure to be a part of. My staff and the players are all very eager and willing to learn. I’d like to take the things I’ve learned this past week and share it with them. Chicago will be another chance for us to grow as individuals and develop our team’s identity and that’s always something special.
Congratulations to Jessica on this incredible achievement, and good luck in Chicago!