LANGLEY,BC–Standing 6 feet and 7 inches, and weighing in at 230 pounds, NPH #10-Ranked CIS player, Jacob Doerksen looks more like an NFL linebacker than he does a basketball player. And at one time, he had many people thinking that football would be his path in life. Coming out of high school, the Abbotsford, B.C. native was not only the top-rated basketball player in the province, but the top football player as well. It couldn’t have been easy to choose between the two sports, but Doerksen eventually chose to stick with hoops instead of the gridiron. The rest, as they say, is history.
Using a seldom-seen blend of strength, athleticism and iron will, Doerksen turned himself from an up-and-comer to one of the most dominant CIS players in recent memory. Starting his career off at the University of Victoria, Doerksen quickly made a name for himself by being named Rookie of the Year for the CanWest conference, while averaging 13 points and 6 rebounds per game. He stuck around UVic for one more season, before transferring to Trinity Western University.
“After playing two years at UVic, I was ready for a change,” Doerksen tells NPH. “Coach Scott Allen had just accepted the head coaching position [at Trinity Western], which was a big motivator in me attending the school. I met some of the guys and saw what the school had to offer academically and athletically. It was a smaller campus and student population than I was used to, but the community and acceptance that I experienced was great.”
The Trinity Western Spartans thought they were getting a solid player. What they ended up getting, though, was an absolute beast who was ready to tear the competition apart. In his first season at Trinity Western, Doerksen averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, which earned him CIS Player of the Year honours. Not surprisingly, Doerksen’s MVP performance happened to coincide with one of the most surprising program turnarounds in the CIS. After going a measly 7-23 during the 2007-2008 season, Trinity Western followed that up with an impressive 23-13 record the following year. Once an afterthought, the Spartans served notice to the CanWest conference that they were a serious threat. And pumping that message home was Doerksen, with every emphatic dunk, rebound, and block.
More than just a terror down low, Doerksen also has legitimate three-point range, and uses his vision to find open teammates whenever the opportunity presents itself. His football training is also apparent when he hits the open floor, showcasing quick feet and agility rarely seen among Canadian players his size.
“I like to think that I am a diverse and observant player,” says Doerksen. “I would say I have a good sense of the court and am perceptive about what our team is doing, and what the other team is doing. I also try to be a leader on the court, and lead by example off it by working hard and pushing myself and my teammates everyday.”
Doerksen also acknowledges the benefit of having a strong football background to fuel his competitive fire. “Football is a rough game and has helped develop both my physical and mental toughness in a game. Throughout the years football has trained me to play through pain and adversity through many different situations,” explains Doerksen. And certainly, Doerksen would face adversity before his time with the Spartans was up.
Doerksen followed up his MVP season with another dominant one, averaging roughly 20 points and 7 rebounds per game, and was named to the CanWest conference all-star team. However, his team’s rise seemed to stall a bit, as they didn’t perform as well as they had in the ’08-09 season. Adversity was staring the Spartans in the face once again. It was time for Jacob Doerksen to cement his legacy.
Doerksen had a career-year in 2010-2011, dropping over 22 points per contest and grabbing over 8 rebounds a game, all while shooting an astounding 58% from the field. More importantly, he helped his team to a fantastic 28-7 record, leading them to a berth in the CIS Nationals. From there, the Spartans conquered the competition, and earned a spot in the Finals before falling short to the powerhouse Carleton Ravens. Not bad for a school that most people never heard of a few years ago.
“This season was an unforgettable one,” Doerksen tells NPH. This year had its ups and downs, but we managed to pull through to make the Nationals and come home with a silver medal.”
With his future on the horizon, Doerksen is currently looking to pursue a professional career overseas. “I think that I have a lot to offer as a player,” he says. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of developing as a player as I pursue a pro career.”
Players overseas should be hitting the weights and buying mouth guards. They’ll need it when the Beast from B.C. reaches the pros!
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PHOTO COURTESY: TRINITY WESTERN ATHLETICS