By John Elambo
Mikhaela Ekwandja and her twin sister Nakeisha love competing against one another.
“We’re very similar players so, it’s really challenging for both of us when we play 1-on-1,” said Mikhaela Ekwandja, who now plays with her sister at the University of Toronto. “But I think that’s great because it forces us to get better and find new ways to score. And, although it’s competitive, there’s no bad blood between us. It’s always fun!”
She loves the competition aspect of basketball, playing with your teammates in front of a crowd and just having fun.
“Win or lose, as long as I had the opportunity to compete hard and learn from the game, I always enjoyed it,” she said.
During her time with the Scarborough Basketball Association, Ekwandja loved it when her team won the U14 OBA provincial title.
“The team that I won with had the best team chemistry, which made the whole experience of winning the gold that much better,” she said.
Ekwandja said she credits her first coach, Kelly Robertson, for helping her grow as a player.
“She was the first person to really teach me the fundamentals of basketball and helped me develop my game,” Ekwandja said, adding that she loves that the SBA has a strong sense of community that allowed her to meet some great people. “(Coach Robertson) also instilled a certain amount of confidence in me that has helped me become the basketball player that I am today.”
Being a student at the University of Toronto has been amazing for her, with a good environment.
“I think that the players and coaching staff both realize that it can be a very challenging school, both academically and athletically, and therefore they have built a very supportive environment for all of the student-athletes to succeed,” she said.
On her visit to the university, she really got a sense of the supportive attitude of the people there, which is one of the reasons why she chose the school.
A major goal for Ekwandja is to win the OUA championship. As for a non-basketball related goal, she really wants to take advantage of all of the resources that U of T has to offer.
“Being such a big university in the heart of downtown Toronto presents a lot of advantages for their students,” she said. “So, I want to make sure that I use all of the resources that they offer to help further my learning for my future endeavours.”