Graduating basketball athletes get the spotlight

Being a Husky “means family” for veteran Ashford Arthur

It’s not every day that back-to-back wins by George Brown’s varsity basketball teams aren’t the main cause to celebrate, but Feb. 12 wasn’t just another day.

Two Huskies victories against the visiting Georgian Grizzlies were rightly upstaged by the day’s festivities, wherein seven graduating seniors were celebrated. Those honoured were Angel Mbikay, Dominique Monard and Miwa Ando with the women’s team, as well as Ajahmo Clarke, Ted Johnson, Auns Chaudhry and Ashford Arthur on the men’s side.

The athletes featured ran the experience gamut, from those in their one and only Huskies season to longtime George Brown vets such as Mbikay and Johnson. On a night of reflection and thanks, players shared their stories of what being a George Brown Husky meant to them.

For Mbikay, being a Husky meant a lot. “Just bringing heart, going through ups and downs, putting pride aside and always remembering that this is what I came here for.” Mbikay added that as a player, she always wanted to contribute hard work and passion to the team.

For Husky Auns Chaudhry, graduating with two years under his belt, it’s a long way from the time he believed his basketball career was over.

“After high school, I didn’t think I was going to play ball, but then coach (Jonathan Smith) looked at me and got me to the team, got me back playing basketball,” said Chaudhry. “It means a lot for me to come here and play for George Brown.”

Now, as Chaudhry’s time with the team draws to a close, coach Smith put the graduating forward’s impact on the team in stark terms. “(He’s) the leader of our post players, he exemplifies what we want in a player and in a human being”.

Chaudhry’s tale echoed that of fellow two-year Husky Miwa Ando, known to players, coaches and media alike as Andy. “I actually quit playing basketball 10 years ago, now I practice here,” the graduating community worker student said. “When I got uniform, (I was) so happy”.

Having played for Sheridan and Loyalist, Ashford Arthur is a grizzled veteran of the Ontario collegiate scene. But while his George Brown career will last just a single season, it’s already given him a clear idea of what Huskies basketball stands for. “It means family,” said Arthur. “We’re tight as a group, we do everything together, on and off the court, and it shows.”

The temptation is there to think of an athlete’s departure as a loss. To this, Centennial Colts women’s basketball head coach Justin Bobb once had the perfect counter. When asked about the loss of Centennial’s recently graduated star point guard, Ana Casado Simon-Talero, Bobb’s response put basketball in perspective: “We wouldn’t say we lost Ana. Our goal here is to graduate all our players on time.”

That same sentiment holds true at George Brown. Huskies basketball isn’t losing these graduating athletes. At the end of the day, Feb. 12 and each athlete’s journey leading up to that moment, was what it’s all about.


Graduating basketball athletes get the spotlight