Like many dedicated athletes, UTM Eagle, Zamam Khan, has a unique pregame ritual. He doesn’t toss chalk dust in the air, take an ice-cold shower, or listen to slow R&B like some of his professional predecessors. Instead he takes a moment and enjoys a peanut butter sandwich. “It’s been my thing since high school,” jokes Khan. The end of a good game is celebrated with a Gatorade and, given his status as UTM’s highest scoring men’s Varsity player, now is clearly the time to invest in that particular sports drink.

Hailing from Ottawa, even at a young age, Khan knew that basketball was the sport for him: “I always wanted to play Varsity.” He began playing with his brother at age four and was delighted that they got the opportunity to play for UTM at the same time. In his first year at UTM, they played together before his brother graduated the following year. Currently in third year at UTM, Khan briefly attended the Sheridan Police Foundations program where, unfortunately for Sheridan, he was not given the opportunity to play basketball. As number three scorer in Canadian Varsity basketball, Sheridan’s loss of Khan is clearly UTM’s gain. Khan’s success extends to him, being the fourth best rebounder in Canadian Varsity basketball.

Khan is a skilled player with an admitted chip on his shoulder. He noted that there are not many Pakistani basketball players, a fact that he plans to remedy. Going pro would make him the first Pakistani basketball player in the NBA.

Eager to engage more fans, Khan aims to bring sports to life. He also aspires to playing a 50-point game and to become a professional basketball player. Even though he is currently studying a joint major of political science and religion, basketball has always been the future for Khan. When asked whether or not this was the career for him, he responded simply, “Oh yeah. One hundred per cent.”

While dedication and hard work have provided a strong foundation for his success, he credits his mentality as the real thing that sets him apart. “I’ve always been an underdog,” Khan states. Drawing inspiration from the never give up attitude of his personal idol, Kobe Bryant, Khan sets a high standard of achievement for himself. Khan also praised the leadership skills of coach Nkosi Adams, a recent addition to the Eagles franchise. He knows that the path to victory is not necessarily walked by the biggest team or by the strongest team, but by the team that in his own words, “plays tough with heart, grit, and nothing to lose.”

Those traits noted by Khan as the fundamentals for a great team are, in fact, best exemplified in Khan himself: a player who truly goes into every game with heart, grit, and nothing to lose.

He has many goals, and given his track record, their attainment seems less a question of if and more a question of when.