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Sam Bassett earns spot on college hoop team

Sam Bassett of Fort Macleod will continue her basketball career with the SAIT Trojans of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

Sam Bassett of Fort Macleod will continue her basketball career with the SAIT Trojans of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.

Sam Bassett is realizing her life-long dream of playing college basketball.
The 18-year-old Fort Macleod woman made the SAIT Trojans of the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference.
“For me, this was one of my greatest achievements,” Bassett said. “This is what I dreamed about as a child
The five foot eight, 150-pound Bassett played basketball from Grade 7-11 for her home town F.P. Walshe Flyers.
When the Flyers didn’t have a team last year, in Bassett’s Grade 12 year, she travelled to Claresholm to play for the Willow Creek Composite Cobras.
That decision to wear Cobras blue and gold was instrumental in Bassett going on to play college hoops.
A concussion suffered while playing rugby, along with experiencing the political nature of Alberta’s elite basketball program, had Bassett thinking the season with the Cobras might be her last on the hard court.
“I wasn’t sure if I was a strong enough player,” Bassett said.
Cobras coach Randy Bohnet convinced Bassett to attend an identification camp hosted by the SAIT Trojans.
“He pushed me hard to go,” Bassett said. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am.”
About 100 junior and senior high school players turned up at the SAIT ID camp, going through two days of drills and skill and fitness testing.
At the end of the camp SAIT’s new head coach, Ranbir Parmar, pulled Bassett aside and told her the Trojans were interested, and to go home and wait for a phone call.
Bassett went home to Fort Macleod believing that if the phone call came, it would involve an invitation to a tryout camp.
Instead, Parmar shared the good news that Bassett had made the Trojans, who in 2015 were conference silver medalists.
“I was quite shocked, and I was really happy,” Bassett said.
Six players return from that silver medal-winning Trojans team, and helped introduce Bassett to the rigors of the college game at the SAIT ID camp.
Bassett, who played at a high level with Team Alberta, found the college players much faster, and stronger.
“They’re a lot tougher and they pushed me around, and I didn’t like it,” Bassett said with a laugh. “The coaches told me I have to bulk up.”
SAIT players train throughout the year, and the coaches gave Bassett a training program to follow at home in preparation for the season, which got under way with the first practice last Thursday.
“I have a very tough workout program,” said Bassett who puts in two hours a day, six days a week, at the gym, with cardio training on top of that. “I’m pretty sure I’m in the best shape of my life.”
Getting the chance to play basketball at the college level is something Bassett has worked for all her life, striving to follow in the footsteps of aunts Lindy and Marie Lauder, who starred at F.P. Walshe and went on to play college basketball and volleyball.
Bassett attended the STARS basketball camps in Fort Macleod where Aunt Lindy pushed her hard, and twice made the trip to California for camps hosted by NBA star Michael Jordan.
Bassett will study Business Administration at SAIT as part of her plan to one day have her own business.
That long range plan tentatively includes staying at SAIT to pursue another diploma while continuing her college hoop career.
“I’m excited and neverous,” Bassett said of moving to Calgary, living in residence and playing basketball. “I like the thought of getting to do things on my own, but I’m also nervous.”
Family and friends will be two hours away in Fort Macleod, but Bassett has a new peer group in her SAIT teammates, who will become a surrogate family.
A point guard and wing, Bassett encourages other Fort Macleod athletes to follow their own dreams.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from,” Bassett said of making the step from a small town to a bigger stage. “It matters how big you play on the court, and how hard you work.”
“It comes back to your drive to win. Every good athlete has it. You’ve got to go for it.”

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People in Fort Macleod and district who have symptoms and think they may have COVID-19 should call Health Link at 811. If their symptoms match the criteria, Health Link will advise on their next steps regarding testing.

Most recent updates below.

  • There are 358 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, including one in Claresholm.
  • Since yesterday, 31 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Alberta, bringing the total to 226. Sixteen cases are suspected to be as a result of community transmission. The rest are travel-related.
  • Canada and the United States have an agreement that will restrict non-essential travel across the border, including for tourism and recreation. Canadian and American citizens and permanent residents who are currently visiting each other's country can still return home.
  • Forty-nine new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Alberta, bringing the total Friday afternoon to 195. On a positive note, three people who contracted the virus have been identified as recovered.
  • Fort Macleod Fish and Game has cancelled its awards banquet set for Saturday, March 28.
  • The Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod is closed.
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