Hurricane rookie small in stature, big in talent

Jason Malloy
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Barker makes big impression in first season with Hurricanes

Jazlin Barker is used to giving up a few inches to each player she matches up with on the basketball court.

"I'm probably one of the shortest in the league," Holland College's five-foot-three point guard admitted. "It's tough. People think less of you because you're smaller. You just have to show them they have to D-up."

A great equalizer for lack of size is speed - something Barker has in spades.

Barker has been a sparkplug for the Hurricanes all season, earning her the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association's rookie of the year award.

"It felt good," Barker said. "I was proud of myself. I worked hard to get (here)."

The 18-year-old Toronto native didn't know much about the Hurricanes program when contacted by Connolly. She checked it out and decided to come east.

Today, the Hurricanes play their first game at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) national championships in Quebec following a 19-2 regular season.

CLICK HERE FOR STORY ON HURRICANES AT NATIONALS

"I wasn't sure if we would make it as far as we have, but I knew if we worked hard, pushed hard, we would get (here)," Barker said.

She describes herself as a pass-first point guard, who tries to get others involved offensively. She can drive and shoot from outside while enjoying pressuring the ball defensively.

"She has had a heck of a year," Connolly said. "She is an amazing ball handler . . . She is a very natural point guard."

Barker has only played organized ball for about three years.

"I played more in the streets then in leagues," Barker explained.

Making the transition from high school to the collegiate level easier was the presence of Steph Hiltz on the Hurricanes roster.

Hiltz, who has experience at the Atlantic University Sport level, forms a strong backcourt pair with Barker.

The rookie guard listens to her backcourtmate and said she will do whatever it takes for the Hurricanes to be successful.

"Basketball is a team sport, and I just try to play my role," Barker said.

Organizations: Holland College, Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association Atlantic University Sport

Geographic location: Toronto, Quebec

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