Local hoopster chosen to play at NAIT

Share Adjust Comment Print

A local high school basketball player has been chosen to play for the men’s basketball team at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

Andrew Rauch who has played for the Holy Redeemer High School Rebels for the last three years was notified that he was selected to play for NAIT on May 5.

“I was relieved. I was afraid I wasn’t going to make the team,” said Rauch, who will be attending NAIT this fall. Rauch will be enrolled in a computer arts and animation course at the post-secondary institution.

Meanwhile Rauch is on an intensive five-day a week training schedule. He’s on a cardio program at Alpine Health Club three days a week and working out at the Edson and District Boys and Girls Club courts twice a week.

Rauch said his mother Jen and his grandparents were very excited when they heard the news that he would be playing for NAIT.

“Actually they were more excited than I was. My grandparents were jumping up and down.”

Rauch, who graduated on May 30, said he enjoyed the celebration and playing basketball with his friends the last three years.

“Good friendships and being able to go to provincials three years in a row and placing higher in each ranking. We ended up seventh this year.”

NAIT Ookpiks head coach Mike Connolly said with up to seven returning players Rauch probably won’t be a starter this season but he definitely will figure prominently in the team’s future.

“We have a lot of fourth and fifth year kids that have a lot more experience than him,” Connolly said.

“He’s a young kid with lots of potential — great size, good hands and some decent footwork. He has to work on his athleticism, on his strength and conditioning and other things.”

Connolly said Rauch is a big part of the team’s future over the long haul.

“I think he’s going to have a great career and in the end be a conference all star.”

The Ookpiks, who play in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference, had the best record in the country last year at 23 wins and two losses.

Long term Rauch is hoping to play NCAA ball and one day perhaps even the NBA. If a basketball career doesn’t work out he said he’d concentrate on a career in computer arts and animation.

Comments