Sometimes flattering honours and glowing individual statistics do not truly tell the whole story.

Case in point: McMaster all-Canadian guard Titus Channer.

Channer, the OUAA Western conference Most Valuable Player, is often heralded and admired simply for the smooth skills he accentuates on the basketball court but the fourth year senior continues toward turning more heads in the community.

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to a mother who is half Cree and a Jamaican father, Channer’s family moved early on to the Waswanipi Indian reserve on James Bay. These formative years spent in a village of a mere 1,000 people molded the basketball star’s outlook on life.

“You can’t forget where you came from and those years were a big part of my life.” admitted Channer, the recent recipient of the Kitch MacPherson trophy as the outstanding player in the OUAA championship game.

A few summers ago the geography and anthropology student retraced his heritage and family roots on a trip with his family back to the northern reserve; an experience which reignited his passion for the native community.

Accordingly, last summer, Channer was ecstatic to take part in the Careforce International program meant to expose native youngsters to the balanced participation in athletics, arts and other confidence building skills. In visiting a pair of Ontario reserves, the Marauder star was able to instill his pride and motivation in the hearts of others.

“It is very important to do this.” he confided. “They don’t have role models up there. So I try to provide them some choices in their life. I give them options to show that their stuff outside the reserve to do. being school or sports or whatever.”

In the face of the reality that his peers often wallow and are hindered by isolation and economic limitations, the fourth-year player hopes his success can inspire other natives to similar feats. An ambition not lost on McMaster Head Coach Joe Raso.

“Part of our whole recruiting is that we want to give our guys the opportunity to get in front of 3,000 people and promote themselves,” said Raso. “First impressions are everlasting.”

“the fact that Titus, at our level, has become a guy who kids run up to and ask for an autograph shows he’s a huge role model. In the native community, here’s a kid they can all look up to and he’s proud to be that.

It’s tough and it doesn’t happen to too many people at the CIAU level.”

The Hamilton resident has also added the responsibility of frequent visits and motivational speeches at area schools to his routine.. Recognizing that much of the adulation surrounding his basketball achievements is mustered in the surrounding community. Channer lives by a simple credo.

“I don’t want to be known for what I do off the court and not just what I do on it,” he remarked. “That means being active in the community.”

Raso can do little but barrage his star guard with praise, “he is truly a remarkable individual,” concluded the marauder Head Coach. “How many students in this country get asked to be that role model. He really deserves it.” -David Leeder Reprinted from The Silhouette. McMaster University, Hamilton.