MEDICINE HAT, AB — For Jaamel Slack, it was an easy decision to rejoin the MHC Rattlers for his final year of college basketball.
“It honestly feels like I’m coming back to my second home,” said Slack, a fifth-year guard and captain for the team. “Everyone accepted me, and I met a lot of great people here, so it feels really good to come back.”
Slack spent his first three years of ACAC eligibility wearing the black and gold, but chose to lace up for his hometown team at the University of Victoria last season.
Although he acknowledges he enjoyed playing on the coast, Slack says he wanted his final year of play to be with a team he holds close to his heart.
“I wasn’t having the experience I was having in previous years at Med Hat,” he continued. “I just wasn’t feeling it (in Victoria). I wanted my last year to be something special.”
Slack captains a crew boasting with young talent, giving him an opportunity to flex his leadership qualities while running plenty of minutes on the floor. Through six games this season, he’s averaging 15.5 points per game, helping his Rattlers to a 4-2 record thus far.
While this year’s Rattlers squad may lack experience, it comes loaded with athleticism, says Slack.
“I feel like there’s a lot of untapped potential that we just need to tap into,” he said. “Once we get into that, everything will open up for us.”
Sitting tied for third in the ACAC’s South Conference, the men have a couple tough opponents this weekend; both of which are ranked among the best in the country.
On Friday, Medicine Hat heads to Ambrose University to battle the 5-1 Lions, ranked 12th in the CCAA. Then it’s a trip to SAIT Polytechnic Saturday afternoon to take on the CCAA number one team.
The undefeated SAIT Trojans are offensive heavyweights, averaging more than 100 points per game. Defensively, the Rattlers are one of the top teams in the ACAC, allowing less than 74 points-per-game on average.
Slack says their work in their own end of the court needs to be excellent to hold off the Trojans.
“We need to work on building up so that we get better for SAIT,” he said. “Our big game is on Saturday, really. I think we just need to lock in on defence to shut them down.”
Friday’s match in Ambrose University is set for 8:00 p.m., followed by Saturday’s contest at SAIT at 3:00 p.m.
The women’s basketball team, who’ve recently slipped four spots to number eight in the CCAA rankings after last Friday’s loss in Olds, also take on these two programs this weekend.
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