Being a Tiger is a source of pride for Devon and Derek Norris.
“I never really considered going anywhere else,” says Derek, a third-year kinesiology student and guard for the Dalhousie men’s basketball team.
Derek says his decision came easy because of his older brother, Devon, who was a member of Dal’s basketball team from 2004-08.
“Growing up, I was always at Devon’s games, especially with it being so close to home,” says Derek.
Following graduation from Dal, Devon went on to play for the Halifax Rainmen for one season. However, after discovering he had skin cancer, he had to take a step back from basketball.
“It allowed me to get more involved in my fitness business,” says Devon. “Then some doors opened up at Dal and I could jump right in and start working with some varsity teams.”
Devon currently is the strength and conditioning coach for Dal’s varsity program and an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, where he gets to see Derek play daily.
Originally from Tantallon, N.S., the Norris brothers started playing ball at an early age. Devon says their competitive nature started when they were kids and still lingers today.
“Playing board games or playing one-on-one in the backyard, I always made an effort to make sure he never beat me in anything,” Devon says as he laughs and nudges his brother. “So being competitive I think is just second nature for Derek and I.”
One thing they find themselves doing is comparing stats. “Sometimes I’ll say I did this before you did this [and vice versa],” says Devon. “But then we just end up playing one-on-one and settle it that way.”
Derek feels that having a brother who played in the Atlantic University Sport before him inevitably made him a better player today. “As much as I hate to admit it,” says Derek with a laugh, “it definitely exposed my weaknesses and had a big impact on my development.”
Family has always been a main priority for Devon and Derek and they attribute much of their athletic success to the support base created by their parents.
“Derek and I are both fortunate enough that our parents have been very supportive over the years,” says Devon. “From all the practices they’ve driven us to, to all the sports we’ve played, they’ve always provided us the guidance and the funds to develop our games.”
Devon has faith that there are only good things to come for Derek’s career as a Tiger. “He’s in his third year now and that’s when I kind of had my break out year,” says Devon. “He’s definitely been taking the right steps and has shown a lot of maturity.”
“It’s going to be up to him to do what he has to do,” says Devon, still looking out for his younger brother.