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No. 1 to stay

No. 1 to stay

Posted in By Colin

By Thomas Miller
The Lakeland College men’s basketball team came out of the Christmas break undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the country.
“We’ve downplayed it,” said head coach Peter Sambu on the team’s first day of practice following the break last week. “It’s an honour being number one and it’s kind of rewarding that everybody else thinks that you’re the best team in the country, but that only gets determined March 19 when the final champion gets (crowned). It’s good that everybody gives us that kind of respect but there’s a lot of teams worthy of the same position that are very good too.
“We’re just trying to get them back into rhythm,” Sambu continued. “The first weekend is a bye weekend, thank goodness, so we get that time and those 10 days just to prepare.”
This weekend the Rustlers host Lethbridge College and Mount Royal College, last and first in the ACAC South Division standings, respectively, and they promise not to rest on their laurels.
“This season isn’t over,” added Sambu. “We haven’t won any championships or anything, it’s half way through the season, we’ve still got a lot of basketball. If they want to maintain the goals, one of the goals we have is to be the best we can possibly be, so every single day we’ve got to get better.”
Averaging 25 points per game and three steals per game, guard Njuguna Waiganjo (pronounced Jew-goo-na Why-gan-jo) is leading the Rustlers and the ACAC in both categories.
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, which he said is a lot like most big cities in Canada, he moved to Ottawa with his family in 2001.
Waiganjo, 22, played three years for Algonquin College in Ottawa before coming to Lakeland.
“This is how it all came together,” he explained. “My friends Anwar (Faza), Landry (Ndayitwayeko) and myself were all deciding to look for a college to play at. We decided to look out west and sure enough we found Lakeland College was the best fit for us and we decided to come out here, us three. It was about the opportunity of us playing as a unit, us three. As well as coach Sambu, we spoke a lot of times and I appreciate him as a person and the program itself.”
Waiganjo said he didn’t expect the Rustlers to be No. 1, but he and his teammates aren’t about to back down to the challenge.
“Coming into this year, I would be lying if I said, ‘Oh yeah, we’ll be number one,’” he said. “We just wanted to come in, of course we had a chip on our shoulder, wanted to prove everyone wrong. It worked out for us in the end, so we’re just happy as a unit, where we are today.” 
The Rustlers face Lethbridge on Friday at 8 p.m. and Mount Royal on Saturday at 8 p.m., both games are preceded by the women’s teams at 6 p.m.
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