University of the Fraser Valley basketball fans of a certain vintage – circa 2005 or thereabouts – might remember a precocious preschooler coming onto the court at halftimes and dribbling around with a skill well beyond her years.
That girl was Deanna Tuchscherer, daughter of Cascades women’s basketball head coach Al Tuchscherer. She’s now 17 years old, one of the most sought-after recruits in Canada, and she recently committed to join her father’s UFV squad for the 2019-20 season.
The versatile 6’1” guard/forward is one of the most accomplished athletes the Cascades have ever signed, and though she lives under the same roof as the head coach, her decision caught him by surprise.
“Really, for the last two years, all of Deanna’s focus – with my and (wife) Denise’s support – has been looking for options down south for her to play,” said Al Tuchscherer, who has helmed the Cascades since 2002. “In August, I think she started to have a little bit of a change of direction, and we asked her if she wanted to start looking at some of her Canadian options. At that point, she said that if she was going to play in Canada, she wanted to play for Fraser Valley and for me. As her dad, that was a pretty special conversation we had, and one that I’ll remember for a long time.”
In joining the Cascades, Deanna Tuchscherer has an opportunity to build on an incredible family legacy at UFV. Her father’s tenure with the Cascades bridges the program’s BCCAA and Canada West eras, and he’s guided the team to four Canada West Final Fours (2011-2014) and a pair of appearances at the CIS (now known as U SPORTS) Final 8 national championship tournament (2013 and 2014), culminating in a national bronze medal in 2014.
Mother Denise Tuchscherer (nee Rehman), meanwhile, starred for the Cascades as a player (1992-1996) and helped the program become a national powerhouse. She was part of three consecutive CCAA national silver medal-winning teams (1994-96), and earned many individual awards including two CCAA All-Canadian nods, a BCCAA championship MVP, and a trio of CCAA national tourney all-star honours. Her name is all over the team record books, and she was inducted into the Cascades’ Hall of Fame in January 2018.
“Growing up with the program and it being such a big part of my life since I was a baby, that obviously had a pretty big impact on my decision,” Deanna said. “The Cascades are a huge part of our family, and being able to follow my mom and play for my dad is pretty special.”
As for Deanna herself, she played for Team Canada each of the past two summers, helping the national U16 team take silver at the FIBA Americas tournament in 2017 and contributing to the U17 Canada squad which finished ninth at the FIBA U17 World Cup.
Deanna has also suited up for the B.C. provincial team, winning bronze at U17 nationals this past summer, and silver at the U15 level in 2016. She was an all-star at both of those national championships – a first-teamer in 2016, and a second-teamer in 2018.
At the high school level, Deanna has been part of the senior basketball team at Chilliwack’s G.W. Graham Secondary since Grade 8. Her Grizzlies squads have qualified for the AA provincials each of the past three seasons, and she was a first team all-star as Graham won the B.C. silver medal last spring. For the season, she averaged 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Going into the 2018-19 high school campaign, Deanna is No. 9 in North Pole Hoops’s Class of 2019 national rankings.
“She’s the type of player that can have an impact on a program right away,” Al Tuchscherer said. “She has a high basketball IQ, she understands how to play multiple positions, and I think playing U SPORTS basketball is a really good decision for her. It’s tailor-made for the type of player she is. She’s played a lot of FIBA basketball with Basketball Canada, and I think she’s going to step in and have a great career with us.”
Though Deanna had many university options on both sides of the border – she heard from 40 NCAA Div. I schools, including programs from major conferences like the Pac-12, ACC and Big East – she said that signing with the Cascades “just felt right.”
“A lot of things that were important to me when looking at a school are the things that my dad has built into this program,” she explained. “That was definitely a big part of it – just the culture around the team on and off the court, and the style of play.”