Head coach of the TRU Men’s Volleyball, Pat Hennelly, added some European flavour to his lineup after he signed 6”6’ Nimo Benne from the Netherlands during the off-season. The Dutch giant has been putting up monster numbers for the Wolfpack including a game two weeks ago where he became the third player in TRU history to score 30 kills in a single game. At only nineteen years of age, the best is yet to come: “I found out about TRU while looking for schools in North America because Europe doesn’t offer the combination of academics and sports the way they do here and I wanted to get an education before trying to go pro,” Benne stated.
“I also had gotten good recommendations from ex-players and the school was very helpful in trying to get me to come to play for them, which in the end made me choose TRU.”
Benne has experience playing with the U-18 Dutch national team as well as an amateur club in the top Dutch Men’s pro league. His experience has undoubtedly helped him excel in U-Sports, but he is still getting used to the new style of play. “The volleyball in Canada is very physical compared to back home, in the Netherlands we are taught to be very technical and clean in the way we play and avoiding errors at any cost,” Benne said. “Here I have seen a lot more guys who take risks in attacking and really try to terminate the ball any chance they get, which has been a bit of a transition; in the end, it’s still the same volleyball everywhere.”
Not only is Benne adapting to the Canadian style of play, but also the country as a whole. “The big differences between The Netherlands and Canada are definitely the size of the country and how big everything is here. Especially in the Netherlands we all live very cramped and everything is small,” laughed Benne. “Kamloops is a nice place to live and it’s been a smooth adjustment for me. I also live with teammates which helped getting adjusted a lot easier. The nature and mountains here are stunning, something I don’t see a lot back home.”
Watch Benne in action Jan. 24 when he and the TRU Wolfpack take on the UBCO Heat, 5 p.m. at the Tournament Capital Centre.