Big Man on Campus
By Matt Skinn
The shadow of Meshack Lufile’s, ’16 BACS, character always seemed to take up a bit more space than his massive and lanky frame. The easy talking, 6’9”, 265 lb forward for the CBU CAPERS Men’s basketball team from 2011 to 2016 was just as likely to be yucking it up with friends and teammates in the cafeteria, working hard in the classroom or connecting with youth in the community as he was to be working on his craft in the Sullivan Field House.
A native of Burlington, ON, Meshack became a dominant player during his five-year career at Cape Breton University. The multiple-time AUS All-Star, AUS Defensive Player of the Year and 2013 AUS Basketball Champion fell in love with the communal atmosphere on campus and gave back every chance he could.
“CBU is like a big family,” Lufile emphasizes, “everything is in extreme proximity and having an Athletic director who is a U Sports legend, John Ryan, ’95 BBA, at the helm is something not every university can say that they have!”
Meshack was accepted by his second family; the close-knit community of CBU and his teammates. The son of a pastor, it is not hard to recognize why he values that he held so high growing up, fit well with the values and traits of a CBU CAPERS student-athlete.
“My dad, being a man of God, carried with him distinct traits and characteristics that trickled down to the rest of us. He is confident and has zero filters, and he never accepts anything less than our best, and if we fail, he pushes us to try again.”
For those that get the opportunity, going away to university are years for change and self discovery. For Meshack, this is the most important part of his story.
“When I arrived at CBU in 2011, I entered into an entirely new book of my life. It wasn’t just a new chapter because everything I experienced prior to committing coming to CBU and my university experience was nothing compared to what was to come.
“Playing at CBU forced me to mature much quicker than I naturally would have. I was a kid who was used to being a homebody, and I was put in a situation where I was a flight from home, had to cook for myself and look after myself.
“Thankfully, with CBU’s close-knit community, it was a much easier transition for me. I became more confident, enthusiastic and independent.”
This overall confidence allowed Meshack to blossom as a student and set him up for his career as a professional athlete with stops in Romania, Holland and Canada. It also means he is still giving back to CBU as an aid to recruiting the next wave of student-athletes by sharing his story, his challenges and his successes on and off the court.
“Basketball at CBU prepared me for life after university in the best way I could have imagined. I became a professional basketball player; everything I went through playing at the U Sports level prepared me for the moments I am facing now.
“I can proudly say I’m entering my fourth year as a pro basketball player, and I still stay connected to CBU because of my relationship with Coach (Matt) Skinn. We have never been closer! Sharing my experiences and still messaging him for feedback is something I look forward to each season.
“This relationship goes beyond basketball, and I’m forever proud to represent the Orange Army!”
Meshack Lufile - Quick Hits
1 of 4 brothers - All 4 brothers (Chadrack, Abednego, Elijah) have played post-secondary basketball while 3 of the 4 have played professionally
2013 AUS Champion
2013 AUS Championship Tournament All-Star
2015 AUS First Team All-Star
2016 AUS Second Team All-Star
2016 AUS Defensive Player of the Year
Played for Halifax Hurricanes of NBL Canada
Editor’s Note: The author of this article coached Meshack Lufile at CBU for 4 seasons (2012-2016)
To find out more on supporting Cape Breton University, visit www.cbu.ca/alumni