Port Alberni basketball player competes in March Madness tournament

March Madness/YouTube
Port Alberni-born Isaac Jack (left) is pictured.

Millions of people are dialed into college basketball this week as the March Madness tournament got underway, but for those in Port Alberni it’s extra special as a home grown talent is on the court.

Isaac Jack, 21, is competing alongside the Dayton Flyers of the University of Dayton in Ohio.

“Very exciting, more than we could really kind of wish for,” Anna Jack, Issac’s mom, told CHEK News.

Isaac was raised in Port Alberni and attended Alberni District Secondary School (ADSS).

Jack said growing up, Isaac played almost every sport under the sun.

“He played soccer, he did track and field, he played hockey for years, he was really into biking, he got into fun snowboarding,” she explained.

“In about Grade 8 he started playing basketball, he’s very tall so it became very successful.”

After Grade 10, Isaac went to play basketball at a camp in the U.S.A. where he broke his tibia and fibula, putting him on the sidelines for most of his Grade 11 year.

Jack said he started Grade 12 in 2020, that basketball season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Isaac was determined to keep his skills up and started training with Canadian basketball star Ransford Brempong in Vancouver.

Jack said this training lead him to playing with UPlay Canada, a program that provides academic counseling, college placement, basketball skills development, leadership training, and career planning.

He then played with a prep program at Fort Erie International School, helping lead the team to the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) championship, then he played at the University of Buffalo, averaging 5.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in 31 games.

He then transferred to Dayton where he joined the team at March Madness.

Jack said Everyone in Port Alberni has been so supportive in this journey.

“Everyone is cheering him on and it’s pretty cool,” she said.

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Isaac’s dad was able to travel to Salt Lake City to watch his son play live.

Jack, a teacher with ADSS, couldn’t be there in person as she is on a school trip in Europe.

She said she was able to watch the games on her phone.

The Dayton Flyers made it to the second round of March Madness, but was knocked out Saturday by the Arizona Wildcats 78-68.

Jack told CHEK News she’s sure Isaac is frustrated by the loss, but is happy he made it this far representing his hometown.

“He’s really proud that he is from British Columbia and the Island,” she said. “I think most people are like ‘the Island? You’re from an island?’ It’s something he is really proud of,” she said.

Mackenzie ReadMackenzie Read

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