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STAFF

DARON RACHAR LEONARD
Executive Director
Varsity Boys Head Coach
As a player and competitor, Daron is accomplished in ways that very few players can claim, winning multiple championships at every level. Attending A.B. Lucas HS in London, ON, he led the Vikings to City Championships, SWOSSA championships, and OFSAA provincials every year of his Varsity career, with a top finish of 7th place in Ontario at the “AAAA” level. He subsequently trained at Laurinburg Prep (Laurinburg, NC), winning the unofficial national championship against Hargrave Military Academy (FL) at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

In his collegiate career, Daron was known as a prolific scorer. He briefly competed for his hometown Western Mustangs prior to competing at the highest level in the country with the Carleton Ravens, winning multiple national titles. While developing in an environment driven by competition and constructive conflict led by the coaching staff of Dave Smart, widely considered the most successful coach in the history of Canadian basketball, Daron was exposed to a philosophy and culture that challenges you to exist outside of your comfort zones. The personal accolades and awards - including conference all-star, multiple games of 30+ points, and several tournament all-star awards (Raptors Invitational, House-Laughton Classic, Naismith Classic) - are secondary to the lessons taken away from his time with the Ravens. Daron briefly played overseas prior to suffering a career-ending knee injury, but was able to achieve the personal goal of playing professionally in quality leagues (Swiss LNA, Italy Serie A) as a Canadian import. 

Upon returning to the game in his capacity as a coach, Daron specialized as in player development and coordinated defense for the H.B. Beal Raiders (London, ON), which was (and still is) a perennial contender at the provincial level in Ontario. Working with renowned coaches Tony Marcotullio (Fanshawe College) and Angelo Provenzano (London Basketball Academy), the Raiders won the City Championship, SWOSSA qualifiers and ranked top 10 in the “AAAA” division in every year, with the highest ranking of #4 in the province behind Eastern Commerce (Toronto), Henry Carr (Toronto) and Milliken Mills (Markham) in 2009. During his time at Beal, Daron had the opportunity to be involved in the development of multiple future NCAA and CIS players.

When his personal life brought him to Winnipeg, MB, Daron again found a passion for the game in player development, this time working with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen, and helping them to become the first Wesmen team in the CIS era to earn a playoff berth. He worked primarily with the players who would become that year's top two scorers (Steven Wesley and Benny Iko), and continued to train by referral; specifically Jelane Pryce & Chris Baxter, who also became the top scorers on the teams that continued to experience success.

Eager to bring his own philosophy and culture to forefront of a program, Daron established the Northstar Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization primarily for inner-city youth with a focus on social and athletic development for post-secondary preparation. As the program has grown, it has opened the door for additional programming, including a training academy and AAU program. This has all led to Northstar Preparatory Institute, and pioneering the first basketball program of its kind in the province of Manitoba. Buoyed by the established development structure and a proven track record of teaching fundamentals as well as pushing established amateur talent to the professional level, Daron will confidently lead NPI to become one of the elite basketball development programs in the country.

Shaun starred at both Seneca College in North York, ON, and the University of Winnipeg, and basketball has created opportunities for him to see many parts of Canada and the United States he may not otherwise have had the opportunity to experience. Shaun is a big believer of using the tools you have to get you where you want to be, which is a lesson he passes forward through countless hours of volunteering in coaching high school basketball as well as club track and field. NPI has given him the opportunity to open doors for athletes that would have otherwise been closed. He believes strongly in the community based program with philosophies to encourage, teach and guide athletes in the right direction.
SHAUN CROSS
Director of Finance & Logistics
DAVID NEPON
Academic & Community Liaison
Varsity Boys Associate Coach

Born and raised in Winnipeg, David played basketball has had a passion for basketball since he began playing at the age of 5, running the point in the WNBA for 13 years. As he developed, he spent time competing with the Junior Bisons at the University of Manitoba.

 

David's ambitions as a player led him to play his High School basketball at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate, where he was awarded Athlete of the Year, and later for College Wesmen at the University of Winnipeg. He has also been a prominent figure as both a player, and now as a coach for Team Canada's teams for the Maccabi Games.

His experiences with basketball encouraged him to study Kinesiology at the University of Winnipeg, following that up by attending University of Manitoba where he received his Bachelor's Degree in Education, which has resulted in his position as a P.E. teacher at several different schools in Winnipeg.

 

In addition to his formal education, David has shaped himself as an NCCP certified coach with a significant amount of practical experience as an Assistant Coach with the University of Winnipeg (2007), and as the Head Coach of the U of W Collegiate, St. Johns Ravenscourt and St Norbert High School teams. Most recently, David was appointed in the role of Athletic Director at Isaac Newton School, and has spent the past year competing and travelling with Triumph 204 in Edmonton, Calgary, Minneapolis, Chicago and most recently at the prestigious CNIT in Burlington, Ontario.

STEVEN WESLEY
Assistant Coach
Biography coming soon.