Print Edition: March 19, 2014
Klaus Figueredo came to UFV for the 2011-2012 season after spending his first post-secondary basketball years at the Northern Alberta Iinstitute of Technology. His leadership on and off the court since then has propelled the Cascades to back-to-back Canada West final four appearances. Figueredo’s play and upbeat attitude made him one of the most distinctive talents on Adam Friesen’s squad, which is why his skill on the court will be missed next year. This season, Figueredo’s fifth, was his last of eligibility.
Can you talk about the Lethbridge series this year?
It was exciting for us getting out of that first-round playoff. I mean, looking at the team at the beginning of the year, a lot of people doubted us and we didn’t even know how far we could go. That was like the cherry on top, making it to the [Canada West] final four.
Once you made it through, the final four was disappointing. Can you talk about that and why the team struggled so much?
I mean, what can you do? It was three teams that we hadn’t beaten all year. The first game [against the University of Victoria Vikes] was heartbreaking with things not going the way we wanted them to and shots not going down, that was a huge thing. Throughout the whole year we depended on the three-point line, but when push came to shove it disappeared from us. Then, as for the second game, we went in like, “okay, let’s bring home a medal and there is a possibility of a wild card,” which Saskatchewan ended up getting after they beat us. Not to say that we would have gotten it or that we could have gotten it, [but] it still hurts and it was a situation where we didn’t shoot very well.
In 2011 you came to UFV after spending the first part of your career at NAIT. What went into making that transfer?
I was at a transitional point in my career. After doing two years at NAIT, I decided to take a year off, not knowing exactly where I wanted to go next. I was looking at a few universities that I had been in contact with out of high school … none of which were showing a great interest. Randomly I recieved a phone call from Barnaby Craddock asking me whether I would consider UFV (at the time I had no idea what and where UFV even was) as a viable option to continue my career. I am a very open person and like to take advantage of every opportunity given to me so I decided to give UFV a visit and it turned out to be a school I would highly consider. The rest is history.
What have been the highs and lows of playing at UFV?
It’s all been kind of good. I mean there was a lot of adversity after my first year — Barnaby recruited me here and then he left, and then a lot of players decided to leave with him, but it’s just another stepping stone that we had to get over. In terms of adversity, the following year we had Adam come and it was almost like it was brand new again. We had a good year again and then the big three [left] — Sam [Freeman], [Kyle] Grewal, and JY [James York]. Then again it was like a new team — usually if you come into a university team it’s like five years and you’re with the same people for that full five years. Whereas this team was almost like the college idea — you do your two years and you’re gone. [Finally] this year it was a brand new team again. All that being said, you learn from that and it’s kind of like when there are things that happen in life that try [to] knock you down; you always overcome it.
You talked about Barnaby leaving — did you ever consider joining him?
No. I had a good situation going here, in terms of school, transfer credit, and everything — it’s too much of a hassle, right? It’s not like I was going to lose any situation I had here [because he left] and he had mentioned that to anyone who was staying. We are going to be taken care of, so I decided to stay. I mean, I like Barnaby — he is a good guy and he treated me very well, but this is the situation — I grew upon UFV as it grew upon me.
What Cascade team was your favourite?
I wouldn’t say any particular Cascade team is my favourite. Each team had a different dynamic to it. Rather than saying which team is my favourite, each team had moments which are most memorable. With [my] first year here at UFV, the most memorable moment was having the chance to experience nationals that year, heading out east to Halifax. The next year after that it would be the first-round playoff game against Saskatchewan game three to get us to the Canada West final four. And this year there were a couple: our first two league games against Lethbridge and Calgary, where we got the sweep starting off the year on a good note, the 16-game win streak and then sweeping Lethbridge in the first-round playoff series to make Canada West final four.
If you could say anything to the guys in the locker room, what would you say?
If I could say one thing to the boys, it would be: make the most of the opportunity you have being a varsity athlete. The five years go by quick. There are people that dream about being where you are but cannot. Every one of you guys is blessed to be healthy and fortunate enough to be playing at this level of basketball. You all worked hard to compete at this level — never forget that and continue to work hard. Be a student to the game and never stop learning. You are an ambassador of the school as well as the community; inspire others through the position you were fortunate enough to obtain.
Finally, what is next for you?
Finish up school; get my degree in efforts to continue studying at a grad school for physiotherapy. In the meantime while going to school, I will be on the bench at coach Adam Friesen’s side helping him coach next year’s team.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.