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Link joins U19 basketball team
EJ Link moving from his usual point guard position, to play forward, but he couldn't be happier about it.
The AESS graduate and former Chieftain has been selected to play in the 2014 North American Indigenous Games in Regina, Sask.
He was chosen from a long roster of hopefuls to represent B.C. in the U19 Boys Basketball competition, and in doing so has landed among some of this province's top players. While he's been studying sciences at UBC Okanagan to continue his career in pharmaceuticals, and happily playing intramural league sports in his spare time, some of his teammates are studying on basketball scholarships. Teammates like Nate Vogstad, a 17-year-old shining star from Haida Gwaii who has been offered a chance to play for SFU.
"It's actually intimidating," he said, to play alongside such high-level athletes. But he's earned his way there, too.
"I'm the only actually team member from the Fraser Valley," he said. "This has been a chance to prove my athleticism."
They will spend this week in an intense training camp in Vancouver, practicing six or seven hours a day. The team catches a flight to Regina on Saturday.
Their first game is against Nunavut at 9 a.m. the next morning. The B.C. boys will take on Florida at 6 p.m. the same day.
Link said they're guaranteed three games, and could play as many as six.
Last week, he was busy training at the Agassiz Community Recreation and Cultural Centre, very thankful for his time on the court at the local high school.
When he gets on the court at the University of Regina, he hopes not only to represent his home province, but his hometown.
"I have to give a lot of credit to Agassiz's basketball program," he said.
Beyond the sport aspect of the Games, Link is looking forward to the cultural experience. His band is Xaxli'p (pronounced Hawklip), from Lillooet.
"I've heard it's just like a giant pow wow," he said.
Swimmer off to Games
Link isn't the only local athlete to be making the trip to Regina.
Longtime Aquanaut swim club member Nashon Douglas, 16, will be competing as well.
Douglas is an accomplished swimmer who has been with the local club for 11 years.