Courtesy of the NAIT Nugget
The NAIT Ooks are almost two seasons removed from winning a national championship. A vital piece was rookie guard Jackson Jacob and after missing last semester, Jackson Jacob has returned to help the team make a run at another national title.
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 the aforementioned national championship.
Jacob spent the last month and a half in the Bahamas. During this time he was trying out for the Bahamian National basketball team.
"It was really a big accomplishment for me because I just wanted an opportunity to play," said Jacob 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.
"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."
Living in a dangerous environment you have two options, strive for success or become a product of where you're living. Jacob 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, on and off the court. The most important knowledge he found came from the captains.
"I used to only lead by example, now I have to do more."
Jacob's absence from the first half of the season wasn't by choice.
"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."
The Ooks guard was unable to get into the fall intake for the Auto Repair program and instead got in to the winter term.
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."
The former All-Conference guard averaged 29 points per game in the 2016-2017 season. The Ooks will look to tap into Jacob's experience and talent to help the team make a run at another national championship. "I wouldn't be coming back here if I didn't think we could win a championship," he said.
The Ooks are currently second in the ACAC North Division with a record of 8-4.