by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips
Standing 6-foot-5, Isaac Amsing may be the tallest cross-country runner lacing up the sneakers in Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC).
His stride has found him clocking times of between 31:45 and 37:04 for the eight-kilometre distance where he usually finds himself in the bottom half of the pack, placing anywhere from 26th-to-35th.
But it is in the area measured at 94-by-50 feet (28.7 by 15.2 m) that he thrives as a star player for the St. Mary's University Lightning men's basketball team.
At the halfway mark of the 2018-2019 ACAC men's basketball regular season, he currently leads the Calgary school in rebounds per game at 7.6 and field goal percentage at 50%, while he is second in scoring at 13.6 points per game and steals at 1.4 per game.
It is rare that Amsing ever gets lost on the hardwood with 10 players making cuts, running plays, picks and rolls at full speed.
Ten is a common number for Amsing as he is from a family of 10 with five brothers and four sisters.
"Growing up in that atmosphere, we had to work a lot harder," recalls Amsing, the second youngest. "My dad (a former police officer/police chaplain) had to feed a lot of mouths. When he was working as a police officer he also had a landscaping business on the side, so all of us at one time or another, worked at landscaping...working hard to help out. We were all brought up to work as hard as we can."
An all-around athlete at St. Timothy High School in Cochrane, Alberta, Amsing said sibling three-on-three basketball matches were common place on the concrete pad their dad had built on the home's three acres in Bragg Creek, Alberta.
It is there that he perfected his moves.
Moves that would lead him to score an incredible 77 points in one high school match.
"It was in Grade 11 against a high school in Chestermere (Alberta). I had a lot of layups and foul shots. I think we lost by one point though, so it was a little bit anticlimactic."
He would finish his high school hoop career playing for Mount Baker High School Wild in Cranbrook. British Columbia.
Following high school graduation, he tried out for the University of Calgary Dinos but was unable to make the cut but was fortunate to find a jersey waiting for him across town at St. Mary's University.
The fledging Lightning men's basketball program had joined the ACAC hoop ranks in 2012-2013.
In his rookie season (2016-2017) Amsing would pay his dues by averaging only 2.6 points per game.
"It was definitely a change from high school. It was way more competitive and harder to score. I came out of high school averaging 35 points per game and then to the ACAC where it took me a while to adapt."
Last year Amsing, enrolled in Biology-Science, doubled his scoring output along with improvement across the statistical charts.
Wearing No. 14, "because that is the age when I started playing basketball," Amsing added that growing up in a large family has helped him adjust to the life of a student/athlete.
"For the most part, with a big family you had to get along even though there were shenanigans sometimes. With my basketball teammates, spending time around these guys every day, it is also like a large family and I have already been in that situation."
Amsing said following graduation, "if I am still enjoying basketball, I might try to go pro...who knows. Probably overseas somewhere. Maybe in the Philippines. My old club coach was talking about starting a team there."