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Vogstad preparing for life at Simon Fraser University

With the Haida flag in the background, Nate Vogstad fires off a jumpshot en-route to being named the 2014 All Native Basketball Tournament Intermediate MVP. - File photo
With the Haida flag in the background, Nate Vogstad fires off a jumpshot en-route to being named the 2014 All Native Basketball Tournament Intermediate MVP.
— image credit: File photo

Nate Vogstad is preparing to take on the best U.S. collegiate basketball has to offer.

To prepare him for university, Dave Wahl took Vogstad on a passage through time as the two headed up to Burnaby during some time away from their provincials tournament in Langley.

The assistant coach for the Queen Charlotte Saints and a former Simon Fraser Clan player from the '90s, Wahl, guided the Saints' prized senior guard  through SFU's campus. Through that tour, Vogstad got a sense of what life away from Haida Gwaii will be like.

"Dave was showing me around all his old stuff there ... I like the campus, I like the court and I like the facilities it has. I'm looking forward to it," said Vogstad.

"Simon Fraser, being in the NCAA, is going to be a big challenge for me and I would obviously love playing against the top level competition in the United States."

The All Native Intermediate and Junior All Native MVP destroyed the record books last month at the Senior Boys' AAAA Basketball provincials, scoring 75 points in one game, beating the 49-year record of 58.

"I kind of chilled after I scored 50 and passed more and the coaches were getting mad at me [because they had known I scored 57 points in an earlier game], so once I scored 60 they didn't stop pushing me and I eventually got charlie-horsed in the game with seven minutes left and I got taken out," explained Vogstad.

"I probably could have scored more."

That's the type of player SFU will be getting in Vogstad — a team-player who won't stop lest injury or illness remove him. The graduating guard has met the coach of the Clan, James Blake, and took a gander around the court and training rooms.

"I feel like I'm going to have to prove myself when I get there. Once I show how hard of a worker I am and how tough I can play and show them my skills for a bit, I'll be able to get some minutes to succeed," said

Vogstad.

Simon Fraser University is in the unique position of being able to play south of the border, a trait that very much lured the Saint to SFU. Through a long process that has seen multiple delays and sluggish approval processes from the NCAA, SFU was approved as a full-time Division II member in 2012 and in doing so, became the first international member of NCAA Division II.

Within SFU's division, the school plays other teams such as Western Oregon, Central Washington and the powerhouse Seattle Pacific. The Clan finished last in the Great Northwest Athletics Conference in 2013-14 with a 3-15 record, something Vogstad will look to help improve next year.

"I'm going to go through a big weight training program to get myself stronger and ready for what the university can challenge me with," he said.

"I'm a really good teammate and communicator so I'll be really working hard on defence because that is what it's going to take to be successful in that league ... I'll be playing against really fast guards."

While SFU has been occupying his mind, Vogstad doesn't worry himself with the small stuff, like the location of his dorm

"I really don't care ... I just want to be able to go to practice and class and all that. It would be nice to be on campus," he said.

While he will be living in the Lower Mainland, Vogstad said he will still have the islands in his heart.

"I love Haida Gwaii ... the beauty of running on the beach and my old teammates. I'll come back whenever possible,"  he said.

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