What a final college season it was for the big fella.
Named Atlantic University Sport (AUS/Canada) Defensive Player of the Year, Meshack Lufile finished in the top three in the AUS in rebounds (9.0) and blocks (1.5) and was second in the AUS in blocks this season, posting 29 during his last year at Cape Breton University. His field goal percentage of 67.7 was the best in the nation, as Lufile averaged 16.2 points, 9 rebounds per game this season for CBU: 17.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, 20 games (CIS) and 12.1 points, 6.6 rebounds (AUS).
As Meshack Lufile looks ahead to his upcoming season playing professionally, we catch up with the 6-foot-8, 240 pound power forward/center about his road to becoming a pro.
Looking back on your college career at Cape Breton University, how did you grow as a person and player?
I grew very much as a person on and off the court. I had a chance to interact with so many kids and you always hear the saying, "the kids are the future", but how many of us actually take that seriously? I did and it helped me appreciate the position I am in now. Some of these kids had single parents, one pair of shoes and zero basketball skill whatsoever, and from my standpoint coming from a family where I didn't have the opportunities to attend camps or skill work growing up I knew how it felt to feel like you were behind so I took my time with these kids to not only help them become better basketball players but better people in general.
Although they were young it's never too young to teach a kid proper respect not only for themselves but for the game of basketball. This helped me also respect the game more and how much I was an influence to these kids and how they looked up to me it pushed me to work harder and set goals for myself to one day be able to come back and tell these kids anything is truly possible if you have faith and work hard and believe in yourself. I became a better player because of this. I set goals for myself every summer and wanted to lead by example and my actions. I like to make my game speak for itself on the court and hopefully I can inspire not only the youth but everybody with my story.
What are you most proud of during your time at Cape Breton?
At Cape Breton I was most proud of the way I was able to bond with the community. I have a soft heart for people and kids in particular. Nothing makes me more happy to see a kid smile knowing I did that! Such a great feeling. This is why I believe I can fit anywhere because of my ability to plug myself into the community so people can first hand get to know the real me. One of my most memorable moments was winning the conference championship in my second year there. At the time we were 19-1 and had the best player I thought in Canada " jimmy Dorsey " and the way he carried himself really affected me in a positive way, I learned to be a leader like he was. Although we were 19-1 we experienced tremendous adversity but we stuck together and winning as a team is all that matters to me and it helped that I was able to graduate!
For those not familiar with your game, can you break down the scouting report on Meshack Lufile?
The typical scouting report would be not to let me get position in the paint and don't let me catch it deep and double on catch which is what I'm used to. I played the 5 at CBU and I believe I am a lot more athletic than people know and do have more of a face up game and even an extended range that I wasn't able to show. Whatever my scouting report is now I hope to change that by the time I am playing professionally.
What are your strengths as a player and where would you like to grow your game this offseason?
My strength would be finishing at the rim, blocking shots, playing defense and being a presence in the paint. I try to out run bigs down the floor to get easy baskets. A weakness of mine I would say is my rebounding in terms of not going after every board I believe I can rebound but sometimes I have to push myself which comes to my next point my mentality on the court is up and down. Something I am working on to be more of a not so nice guy on the court and what that means is imposing my will on the game and never let anybody stop me. I also hope to grow my 3-point range and on ball defense. At the next level the 3 ball is very important, something I work on and I hope to surprise a few people with my ability ! But defense is something I take pride in so if I could increase my man-to-man defense that would be great as well as my conditioning.
What is your summer training approach -- where are you training, who are training with and what is your training schedule?
My summer training approach is to become a complete player , working on my passing, defense, my shot, my leadership and also my communication on the court. Right now I train with a local friend and his trainer but I am not presently in my original city. When I come home I will most likely train with my brother Chadrack Lufile, who is a former Wichita State Shocker and on the team that went 35-1 and lost to Kentucky. He also played with the Miami Heat's D-League (Sioux Falls Skyforce) team and has the best training around, so I look forward to getting myself better with him. Chadrack was my role model growing up. I also have a couple friends who I will train with -- Kayon Mayers, Cedric Kasongo and Kyle Hankins -- and are former teammates of mine at Cape Breton University.
Right now my training consists of waking up around 10 am and doing an on- court workout, working on different facets of my game and at night I usually go to the weight room to lift and get stronger. I also do workouts on a football field to increase endurance and speed. I do this Monday to Saturday. Usually by the middle of the week, I go light which consists of form shooting and basic post moves and square up shooting.
What are you looking forward to the most when you think about playing professionally this upcoming season.
I'm looking forward to proving myself and showing that I belong. Growing up, I wasn't a player many wanted. I was rarely talked about and that helped me play with a chip on my shoulder. I did not get my first real opportunity to play basketball until my grade 12 year when a man named Tarry Upshaw took me into a program called REDA (Regional Elite Development Academy) and from there, he helped me become a true basketball player and I thank God for him everyday! But proving myself is my number one goal. Also experiencing a new culture is something I am always intrigued by. I love to see scenery and new places that grab my attention and learning to play the Europe style of play has me excited, so I'm ready to go to work and make connections. Hopefully people will continue to hear the name Meshack Lufile many more times as I work hard to make an impact in professional basketball. What I hope to really do is inspire people and give back and also share my faith because my faith is the center piece to my life and it will always be! And lastly I wanna bring a winning culture to whatever team I play for. Hopefully I can do that.
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