Succeeding on the court… and off

Back at St. Patrick’s High School in Ottawa, Jafeth Maseruka didn’t have any burning ambition to go on to university once he graduated. But Carleton’s former basketball coach Paul Armstrong changed all that when he recruited the basketball star to come and play for the Ravens.

For Maseruka, it was the Enriched Support Program (ESP) at Carleton that got him into the post-secondary education stream. And this June he’ll proudly add a B.A. degree in Law to a long list of impressive accomplishments on the basketball court.

ESP offers students, who may not meet traditional entrance requirements the opportunity to prove their academic ability in the university environment. Students can take up to three courses and also attend regular weekly, small-group workshops where they are given extra support and guidance in dealing with course material.

“Jafeth, like most of our ESP students, put his nose to the grindstone and made the academic grade. He’s a winner on the courts and in the classroom,” says Christine Adam, Acting Director of the program.

Maseruka agrees. He says “ESP gave me, like so many other people who are “lacking direction”, an opportunity and a second chance to pursue a university education when that door might otherwise have been closed.”

Ravens’ coach Dave Smart couldn’t be more proud.

“I’m as proud of him as of anybody I’ve ever coached,” he raves. He says he has watched Maseruka grow as an athlete and as a person and says he played a major role in helping the Ravens win the national championships this year.

Not only was Maseruka inducted into the Naismith Museum and Hall of Fame Honour Roll for his academic and athletic achievements, he’s also this year’s Graduating Athlete of the Year at Carleton.

Athletics director Drew Love says Maseruka richly deserves the many accolades and awards he’s been garnering.

“Jafeth was a natural leader of the basketball team. But he contributed to the University in many other ways as well. He helped out in local sports clinics, spoke at local schools about the value of education and sport and always maintained a caring and supportive approach to everything he did,” says Love.

The six foot, three-inch basketball guard would like to play a few more years of basketball, possibly in Europe. But down the road, he hopes that his law degree, which taught him lessons he says he can apply to every day life, might one day lead him into policing or other related work.

Maseruka says he’ll use the summer to finalize his short-term plans. He’ll also be putting his athletic skills and love of community and kids to good use by working at a community sports camp.

Love, Smart, and the Ravens will miss Maseruka on the court next year. But his leadership has left a positive mark on his teammates who will return in the fall to compete for another national championship.

“No matter what Jafeth decides to do in the future, he will definitely make a positive contribution,” concludes Love.

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