For the second time in his sporting career, Evan Ostertag received an award in honour of deceased Huskies men’s basketball player Brennan Jarrett. Ostertag was presented with the Brennan Jarrett memorial award on Feb. 1, an honour he was happy to accept.
“It was really cool,” he said. “I actually won the same type of award in high school. They have an award at Holy Cross for Brennan Jarrett as well. To be able to get this one as well, it was really cool to be able to represent him.”
Ostertag grew up involved in many sports as a kid but he was always most interested in basketball. After playing for the Holy Cross Crusaders, he suited up to take the court with the Huskies.
“I tried a lot of sports,” he said. “I just kind of gravitated over to basketball.”
With two years of eligibility left, Ostertag plans to remain with the team for as long as he can. Combining a full playing and training schedule with school is difficult, but Ostertag gets a break from his hectic schedule when the team travels to California each winter — an opportunity he takes to recharge.
“It’s always really fun and it’s really good for team bonding,” he said. “It really brings the team together and helps us get re-focused after exams.”
The relaxation that comes during the break is a welcome relief after the long days Ostertag puts in with the team both on and off the court during the first half of the year. The Huskies’ success during the season is a product of the effort all the team members put in, especially in the offseason.
“The month of September is always a huge grind,” he said. “We’re waking up 6:30 every single morning for workouts and then practicing for two hours every evening and of course going to class in between that. It’s super tough but it’s always super rewarding.”
Thanks to strong play the Huskies have already clinched a playoff spot but will continue to fight for wins during the final games of the season with playoff seeding still on the line.
“We could finish anywhere from first to fourth depending on how these last few games go,” Ostertag said. “That could make a really big difference for us as far as positioning for the playoffs.”
Ostertag and the rest of the team are hoping to bring home a few more championship banners to the Huskies’ collection but are well aware they will have to face stiff competition in order to do so.
“We’re definitely shooting for a Canada West championship and a trip to nationals to represent our school,” he said. “We’re just taking it one step at a time.”
Ostertag doesn’t have any game-day superstitions but has recently began looking to a different source to help him perform better in games.
“What I’ve been doing this year is reading about sports psychology,” he said. “I’ve found it’s helped me be more focused and get less nervous before games.
“I think a huge part that’s improved from last year to this year for me is my confidence and composure on the court, not getting too worked up or too down on myself. I think that’s really helped me.”
Instead of focusing on personal goals, Ostertag’s main focus is on the success of the squad and seeing that his team earns the win. It’s no surprise then that Ostertag’s favourite part of playing with the Huskies is being part of a team and lending a hand to their success.
“I want to go in every game and help contribute to my team in whatever way I can,” he said.
Photo: Jordan Dumba