With every sport, there is always certain things that stand out about a player’s game. For Byron Keturakis, he stands out well before the game even starts, and it’s pretty clear why once you look at him.
Byron is a 6’8 setter for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds men’s volleyball team. Despite his height, it is what he is doing on the court that is giving the former Canadian Junior National team member country-wide attention. This Thunderbird is having a career year in his third season and is sitting near, and in some cases, at the top of the country in various statistical categories. Keturakis currently sits:
- #2 in assists (782)
- #1 in digs among setters (160)
- #11 in digs among all players (160)
- #1 in kills among setters (91)
- #1 in service aces (39)
As impressive as his stats are, it is his growth from his previous season that truly stands out.
With two more games against the Alberta Golden Bears and two more against the Brandon Bobcats, his numbers are sure to get that much more impressive.
I had the chance to chat with Byron, to get to know a little bit more about him:
To start things off, let’s talk about your height—6’8. What made you want to become a setter?
I wasn’t always tall, I started setting in grade 8, had a late growth spurt and kept setting. I was about 6 feet at the beginning of grade 10, then 6’8 by grade 12.
Speaking of your height, how often do you get confused for a basketball player
[laughs] Sometimes for sure.
Being as tall as you are, how much more does your height and reach help you in your game?
It’s beneficial, but more of a bonus. I’d say there are a lot of other skills that make someone a great setter.
As far as setters go, you are at the top in the country in digs. Has that been something that has come naturally, or a part of your game that has been a focus point in practice?
To me defence and blocking is more of a combined, collective skill where you really depend on your teammates. I’m not sure if digs tell the whole story, but I definitely take pride in playing defence and it’s a big point of focus in practice.
You are now wrapping up your third year with the Thunderbirds. What has been your most memorable moment on the court?
I don’t know if I can pick a specific moment. I really enjoy the mornings at individual practice getting reps with my teammates and coaches.
What has been your most memorable moment off of the court?
Exploring Korea, especially Itaewon with my team this summer. It was super cool to experience a different culture with such a tight group.
In your time with the Thunderbirds, who have you felt the quickest connection with when setting? Why?
I have a lot of great hitters on my team, but maybe Matthew Guidi, we’d often go in as a double sub together in my first year and I guess it’s carried over.
As you wrap up the season and head towards playoffs, what is the atmosphere like in the locker room and around the court with your teammates and coaches?
It’s very positive. All year we’ve aimed to get better every day and I see us continuing to do that as we approach the postseason.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these, and good luck the rest of the way as you gear up towards playoffs and nationals.
The 14-6 Thunderbirds are making one final push just before the playoffs, which start on March 3rd. With Byron at the reigns, and coming off of six straight wins, they will do so with confidence.