On The Boom
Published by Jason Gairey on June 9, 2010
In the prairie province of Alberta, it seems like the oil industry isn’t the only thing that’s booming, especially in the city of Calgary.
If you dig deep enough, you can find that basketball is having its own share of success in the West. With B.C. pushing out some of the best talent this country has to offer, you would figure that it would spill over into the neighbour next door.
With recent success stories coming out of Alberta, such as national team members Jermaine Bucknor and Kyle Landry, both big and athletic players, and the solid programs at the CIS level over the years in both men’s and women’s programs at U of Alberta and U of Calgary.
The high school basketball scene seems to be gushing with budding talent, Mostly in the form of big body types. Coming up the pipeline is 6’7” wing/forward Mitch Jacobsen a Calgary native bursting with potential.
In a city where oil, stampedes and the cowboy way of life is what makes Calgary so popular nationally and globally. Basketball is slowly becoming a popular sport of choice amongst kids.
Jacobsen is a prime example of this. Being long, rangy and 16 years of age, can only tell you that bull riding or oil rigging isn’t really on the menu for this big guy.
“I started playing basketball at 10 years old and was always tall,” Jacobsen said. “I fell in love with it ever since. My height was always an asset and I was always stuck in the post, but didn’t want to limit myself to that.”
Although 6’7”, he is very versatile and plays a lot out on the perimeter. He had an outstanding freshman year averaging 31 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists on the Junior Varsity squad.
His second year saw him jump straight to varsity at Notre Dame High were he would rack up double doubles, averaging 19 points and 13 rebounds per contest. His transfer over to Calgary high school powerhouse, Sir Winston Churchill has been progressive to say the least.
“I made the move because academically and athletically, Churchill had the right package for me,” Jacobsen said. “I came in and gelled well with the guys and coach and had my best season ever.”
Jacobsen led this year’s team to an impressive 31-9 record while averaging 21 points and 12 rebounds a game. Although the Bulldogs faltered in the provincial playoffs, losing a tough one in the Elite 8, and not being able to defend their provincial title, the season was still a solid one.
With his stellar play this season in high school, rep ball and provincial team play Jacobsen obviously caught the attention of Canada Basketball as evidenced by his recent invite to tryout for the U17 Men’s Cadet team that will represent Canada at the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championships in Germany this summer.
“My goal is to first make the Cadet team and represent Canada for years to come,” the national team hopeful said.
With a strong summer ahead he continues to work on his game not wanting to be that typical big kid with his back to the hoop.
“I’ve been working on my ball handling and shooting non-stop since coming into high school,” the Winston Churchill star said. “I want to be able to play in and out. That’s what it will take for me take it to the next level.”
Improving his handle and his shot is top priority and both aspects of his game seem to be coming along as he has caught the eye of several NCAA Division 1 schools such as Santa Clara and Davidson. He also has the eyes of CIS universities on him in UBC and U of Calgary.
His high school coach, Mike Fullerton, believes that Jacobsen has what it takes to play at the next level both on the floor and in the classroom.
“Besides having a passion to play basketball, Mitch [Jacobsen] has always been a very strong student,” Fullerton said. “Mitch has made a tremendous impact on Calgary high school basketball.”
This just goes to show, oil is not the only thing booming.