Print Edition: March 12, 2014
Hometown: Abbotsford, B.C.
High School: Yale Secondary
Jasper Moedt came to UFV six years ago following a BC AAA title at Yale Secondary. The next six years would see the emergence of one of the greatest Cascades of all time.
After the 2011-12 season, Moedt transferred to the University of Alberta before returning to UFV this year. Moedt wrote about the tumultuous year in a piece for The Cascade titled “Invincible, untouchable and out of control: varsity athlete Jasper Moedt’s struggle with mental health.”
Moedt, who has one remaining year of eligibility he can use to play for a season, has yet to make his decision on whether or not he has played his last game for UFV. No matter the answer Moedt has cemented his name as one of the best to play at this school.
You have been at UFV for six years — how has it evolved over the years?
I think when we first came in we were a pretty young team, there was a big group of us rookies, and we just got beat on night in and night out. It has been a real process. The mindset of the program now is we have all these new guys that never have to go through that kind of growing stage. They show up and the mindset is we are going to beat teams, we are going to play good teams and win. We might have some tough games, but overall we expect to be in every game and win every game we play. I think that is the mentality that has had to change.
If you could go back and tell something to your grade 12 self, what would you say?
I think I would preach patience — actually I would probably advise myself to take basketball less seriously then I had. I think I put too much of my own personal weight into it. That really drew on me.
The decision to transfer to the University of Alberta must have been tough.
It’s tough, right? I mean considering the situation … It was something where it is hard to say exactly how I felt because I wasn’t healthy. But either way it is, whenever you make a big decision in your life you are always going to have that “what if?” scenario. I think that I am lucky to be able to come back and be welcomed back. I still wonder sometimes: what if?
I think that at the end of the day UFV has become a home to me and the fact that they have welcomed me back graciously has really reaffirmed that for me. This is where I belong.
How much of a role did former head coach Barnaby Craddock play in you leaving?
It was huge; that was the only connection I had to Alberta at that time. He was also the guy who in a lot of ways made me the player I am today. He had a lot of faith in me, playing me a lot. I started from my second year on and I was getting lots of minutes in my first year. He was a guy that showed a lot of faith and really helped me develop basketball-wise. So yeah, it was huge … I don’t think I would have come to UFV if it wasn’t for him kind of selling it to me first.
How much of a role has your family played during your time at university?
Family support has been a massive thing for me. I think of where I would have ended up without them and I definitely don’t think I would have been on this path. I think that especially over the last few years that have been a little more rough they have always sort of stood behind me and supported any of my decisions either way and have been kind of the perfect parents in that sense. Kind of letting me figure things out and that has really helped me out for sure.
This was your first year playing under Adam Friesen as your head coach. Can you talk about the effect he has had on you?
I think it has been a funny transition with Adam. The first time I met [him] I was in grade nine and he was this university guy shooting in the gym and it was pretty intimidating. I knew he played at [Trinity Western University] at the time and I was like, “Wow, this guy must be really good.” He was good but was also kind of a goof. He would talk trash to me; I was some uncoordinated little kid. As the years have gone by he moved from the university player to the assistant coach and our relationship has evolved over the years. I have a lot of respect for Adam. I think he is one of the best basketball minds I have ever met and he is really good at developing his guys and you don’t always see that in a university coach.
You came onto this team this year only knowing one player (Klaus Figueredo) from the last season you played. How much of an adjustment was that at first?
It was tough; I got frustrated a lot. I think the beginning of the year was particularly tough — not because the other guys aren’t great players, but [because] I was really used to a certain way the team interacts. The way Barnaby runs a team compared to the way Adam runs the team is very different and was a hard transition for me. I think for a lot of guys just figuring out how they gelled with the team really showed in our results early in the season. We lost to a college team, we lost to Mount Royal, we had kind of rocky start, but obviously as time passed we gelled a lot better.
You do have a friend on the University of Alberta team: Joel Friesen whom you played with for a while before he left with Craddock. Has your relationship with him changed over the year at all?
I’ve played with Joel since grade 10 and obviously we don’t share in the ins and outs of the teams, but I don’t think that the relationship dynamic changes. When you see the guy in the room, it’s the guy you have played with and went to war with countless times. I think that I am always going to have a massive amount of respect for Joel. Obviously now that we are on two different teams, it is a little different in that sense. But, let’s be honest here — give it two years, and we are both adults and there is no school in there anymore.
You played on a lot of different Cascades teams — are any your favourite?
I think they each have their own little place in my heart. I think this team was probably the most fun team I have ever played on, as far as just enjoying the year, not being so worried about the little things, and letting things happen. It has been really special in that sense. I have never been on a squad where we can just have fun and the results will come.
What does it mean to you to be nominated for the CIS Ken Shields student athlete of the year award?
I think it’s nice. It’s funny because I don’t think I was doing anything special. I was using my time as I should. I think that might be the biggest thing I learned going through school … that basketball doesn’t have to be the whole focus of your university career. Athletics gives you a platform to do more with your life if you use it properly, and I hope that’s a lesson that a lot of guys learn. I think that I was just doing what I had time for.
If this ends up being your last year and you could say anything to the guys in the locker room, what is something you want to tell them in a basketball sense?
I think next year, whether I am there or not, they’re going to be easily a top 10 team in the country. I think the biggest thing is to just enjoy it as a group. It doesn’t matter whether you win nationals, make nationals, don’t make nationals, or don’t even make playoffs. The difference is only a couple of weeks either way, [so] just enjoy that process. I know you are going to talk to Klaus — he would say the exact same thing, [and so would] any fifth-year. You [have] to enjoy it while it lasts — it’s going to be done before you know it.
What is your favourite memory from a game?
I think there have been a lot. The Joel Friesen buzzer beater game — I finally played well in that series and that was huge … I think the biggest one was when we went to nationals and we had a couple of guys step up. They were good players but we never really expected them to and [it was] just a real team feeling, they kind of [took] the pressure of the other guys on the team. It was just a real special feeling after that first win in the locker room.
Finally, will you participate in the program like Kyle Grewal and try out assistant coaching if you can?
Yeah, I think that if I do step away, the next couple of years I will be exploring other areas of my life. I enjoy “Jasper Moedt the basketball player” and that’s something that has been a huge part of my life. But, I also know that there are a million other different kinds of me and I think the last six years have been basketball-focused … I haven’t been able to explore the other areas of my life. I think in the long term I will definitely be back and maybe there will be a season where I assistant coach or help out but I think the next couple of years I will step back if I decide to leave.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.