Anyone's Game

U.S. basketball transplant found laid-back Canadian style 'super, super weird'

Anyone's Game star Dyson Frank talks about why he came north, and the differences between Canada and the U.S.

Anyone's Game star Dyson Frank talks about why he came north, and the differences between Canada and the U.S.

Anyone's Game: 'Without basketball... I'd be a very angry person'

Docs

3 months ago
4:46
Orangeville Prep's lone American, forward Dyson Frank, talks about his nomadic childhood, and why he made the unusual choice to come north to 4:46

Dyson Frank sticks out. As part of the Orangeville Prep Bears team that had their 2019-20 season documented in the CBC docuseries Anyone's Game, Frank is hard to miss both on the court and off. On the court for his sweet shooting and competitive drive, and off the court for his brash and outspoken personality.  

Now a freshman at New York's Pace University, Frank was the lone American on Canada's top high school basketball team last year. His was an unusual path. Traditionally, Canadian basketball prospects go finish high school in the States, not the other way around.

From Philadelphia — by way of Utah, Connecticut and a few other states — Frank first encountered the Bears as an opponent.

"Before I went to Orangeville, I went to a school called Woodstock Academy," he says. "Probably [one of the] top 20 prep programs in the country. I think last year our entire top team went all D1. We probably had 200 D1 coaches in the gym on a given day. During that season, I played against the Orangeville Prep team. At the end of the year, I was looking for another place to call home, I was like, 'OK, what are some good teams that I played that I could go for?' And it was like 'Orangeville Prep, I could see myself fitting in that program.'"

After a conversation with head coach Tony McIntyre and a workout in Orangeville, Frank moved to Canada for the season. Immediately, he noticed some cultural differences. 

Anyone's Game: 'You wanna make jokes?'

Docs

3 months ago
3:39
According to senior guard Shemar Rathan-Mayes, the key to Orangeville's team chemistry is the ability to make fun of each other and not "catch feelings," but there are two teammates who consistently take things too far. "The line that you don't cross? They'll cross that line." 3:39

"I would say that I'm used to being a lot more aggressive in certain social standpoints. Not saying that Canadians are passive and nice, but I think you guys separate a place to be aggressive and a place to be nice different from Americans. We view every single thing as competition. Like subtly, even in having a conversation with somebody, we're saying 'OK, who's going to get the most words in? Who talks the loudest? Who's setting the tone for the room?' Instead of, 'Oh that was a great meeting I just had with somebody, it was cool to get their influence,' it's like, 'Oh I just dominated this conversation…' Tony said I was from the wild, wild west. When you're riding horseback and you see another lone rider, you put your hand on your gun. And I didn't have to do that in Canada, which was super, super weird for me."

He adds that his sense of humour didn't necessarily land with his new teammates, either.

"As an American, we're used to being mean for fun," he says. "We'll all sit in a room and roast the crap out of each other, and try to like hit each other in the core. But Coach Tony had to pull me up in a meeting and say, 'Dyson we can't roast the way that you roast. It's not appropriate.'"

Frank says he came to Orangeville with the intent of snagging more NCAA Division 1 scholarship offers. But while he did get several D-1 offers, he eventually decided to go to Division 2 Pace, the second tier of college sports, where his chances of an NBA career are almost nil. He chose Pace both because "I have to be like ten or fifteen minutes away from a big city, or in a big city, or I get nuts," and because he felt like it would better set him up for life after basketball. 

"I like to think of myself as a smart person," he says. "There's only an X-amount percentage of people who play in the NBA… Even people who think their entire life or are told their entire life they're going to make it, end up not making it. [Playing] overseas was another option for me, but you can go overseas from any division. But Pace is a well-renowned business school, they produce people who go work on Wall Street right out of college or during college."

A finance major with a minor in business analytics, Frank is already getting offers to intern for investment banks. But he's also cultivating other off-court interests, as well.

Dyson Frank and his mother Dana Smith at their home in Philadelphia. (CBC)

"I started doing more social media stuff in November, and from November to today, I've gained… 94.2 thousand followers on Tik Tok. I've had a lot of modelling contract offers, it's pretty huge. My friend wants to link up and make an album, because we used to rap together in middle school."

He's also teaching himself to code in Python.

"But if you look at people who are famous, people who are successful, they have their fingers in a lot of pies," he says. "If you're an investor, you're invested in a ton of different stocks, and you're looking at others all the time. If you look at Drake, he's doing concerts, he's launching shoes, he's connected with a lot of NBA players and other musicians, he's doing so much different stuff… People who are big in being famous, big in pretty much everything, they associate themselves with a little bit of everything."

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