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This article was published 17/7/2017 (1809 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Local basketball star Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is back in Winnipeg to teach aspiring players that basketball is not just about aiming for the hoop.
Ogungbemi-Jackson is hosting a two-week high-performance training camp at Maples Community Centre. The sessions began July 10 and will wrap up on Thurs., July 20. During a typical two-hour training session, the professional — who plays for Galitos in Portugal — gives high-level instruction to kids but he said his goal is not to turn anyone into the next NBA star.
"This is about learning a level of work ethic that’s going to make sure you have a chance to be successful at whatever you do," he explained.
"I want to show them how hard I’ve worked and what level of work ethic takes to be good at something. My aim is for these kids to leave here and say ‘I might not have a future in basketball, but if I worked this hard as I did in this camp towards my grades, or towards being there for my little brother, or towards the workplace I’m at right now, I’m going to be successful no matter what.’"
The 25-year-old player graduated from Garden City Collegiate and left Winnipeg to attend the University of Calgary. After six years playing for the Dinos, Ogungbemi-Jackson left Canada to play for Galitos, a basketball team based in Barreiro, Portugal, where he was named most valuable player and together with his teammates, collaborated to change the team’s history.
Although Galitos was in the top division when it signed Ogungbemi-Jackson, the team had never made the Portuguese league playoffs, he said.
"My first year there, we made it to the playoffs and lost in the first round. This second year we made it to the playoffs again. We were No. 1 at the halfway mark of the season. We made it to a semi-final in a Portugal Cup, which has also never been done in team’s history."
Getting to play with a professional team and living in Europe is a consequence of being disciplined. Ogungbemi-Jackson said he has been locked in on playing basketball professionally since he was 13. He said he has played against former NBA players such as ex-Miami Heat player Daequan Cook.
"Never settle for mediocrity," he told the boys during one of the sessions on July 12.
"You’re going to get to a stage in life where you got to start making decisions on your own, and if you can build some discipline at a younger age and level of maturity, that will help you in the future with whatever you decide to do."
Now that he’s achieved such success, he is back in the Maples where he grew up to give back to his community.
"When I was their age, I looked up to players but I never really had a professional basketball player come and spend time training with the kids, so I think it’s a great opportunity," he continued. "I think it’s a good opportunity for me because I’m from this neighbourhood, I grew up on the same streets, and the same hoops and the same Seven Oaks Area, like all these kids, did and I’ve been gone for a long time."
Garden City Collegiate basketball player Joshua Yeboah said it’s been great learning from Ogungbemi-Jackson and he’s realized he has to work harder if he wants to play a higher level game.
"It’s cool to see how hard Ogungbemi-Jackson works and the stories that he tells about when he was younger in high school and how he worked super hard," Yeboah said. "And I feel like for us as campers, if we want to play at the next level then we should work just as hard as he did or even harder," he said.
Ogungbemi-Jackson said he gets to come back home almost every year and that he plans on giving back to the community he grew up in.
"I want to make sure my face is known and that I’m trying to give back. It’s not just about my path, but it’s about helping others find their own path too," he said.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti was the community journalist for The Times until 2019.