The Ooks have a player back that helped propel the team into championship contention in his rookie year.
Jackson Jacob served as a well needed boost for the Ooks men’s basketball team when he arrived in 2015. He went on to win ACAC Rookie of the Year honours and a national championship with his NAIT teammates. At the beginning of this year, there was no sign of Jackson. During his time away from NAIT, he was back home trying out for the Bahamian National basketball team. Yet, he still craved to come back to the place that helped him grow as a basketball player.
Jackson spent the last month and a half in the Bahamas.
“It was really a big accomplishment for me because I just wanted an opportunity to play,” said Jacob when talking about his time with the national team. “I learned a lot from the older guys, they were mentoring me, telling me not to follow in their footsteps.”
Learning from others players’ mistakes on and off the court is something he does not take for granted. The Bahamas is one of the most dangerous places in the world, even though it seems like there are just beaches and hot weather.
“You eventually become a product of your environment and I didn’t want that. Back home I don’t live in the safest environment,” stated Jacob. “The worst guy on a team here still respects you, the worst guy on the team back home doesn’t respect you, they are coming at your throat.”
When you live in a dangerous environment you have two options, strive for success or become a product of that environment. Jackson has a choice and he’s choosing an education and, of course, basketball. Even though his time with the national team was brief, he was able to gain valuable knowledge, especially on the court, where he saw growth in both his physical and mental game. Jacob’s most valuable asset is his ability to soak up knowledge
from those around him. The most important knowledge he found came from the captains. “I totally understand where all my former captains are coming from. I used to only lead by example, now I have to do more.”
Jackson’s return to NAIT is long overdue. He tried to return for the 2017 fall semester but was unable to get into the Auto Repair program. After getting accepted into the program for the second semester, he made it known that he was also going to return to the court.
“I didn’t want to sit out again, which is why I wanted to come back to NAIT, but I couldn’t get into the program for the first semester.”
With his impending return, there has been some question on how he will fit in with the team. But fourth year guard and team captain, Wyatt Beaver, doesn’t see it like that.
“We can use some guard depth right now. There is a lot of room for minutes with a superstar talent like him. He brings so much to the team,” said Beaver when talking to him about Jacob’s return. “We are going to feed off him. He is an animal,” continued Beaver. “We have the chemistry, we won a national ring together and that bond never dies.”
A championship is the only thing Jacob plays for, besides the sheer love of the game. “I wouldn’t be coming back here if I didn’t think we could win a championship,” he said.
The Ooks are currently third in the ACAC standings with a record of 6-4. Next semester might see that change as Jackson arrives.
“I have natural talent but going to school is where I sharpened my skills.”
– Peter Go
Photo by Kayla Weech