FAIRBANKS, Alaska - In this week's edition of Nanook Corner, we're going to talk to the assistant coach for the Women's Basketball team Jessie Craig, as she prepares to coach against the superstar player she helped mold.
The Alaska Nanook Women's Basketball team will be hosting an extremely high-caliber opponent to kick off their season. They'll be hosting the Oregon Ducks on Tuesday November sixth, who will be led by a very familiar name in Fairbanks. Ruthy Hebard, the reigning All-American and National Power-forward of the year for Women's Basketball, grew up here in Fairbanks. She played High School Ball for the West Valley Wolfpack, led by none other than Jessie Craig, who is now the assistant coach for the Nanooks.
"It's just super exciting to play... first off to be able to get the opportunity to coach against her. But it's just fun to watch her play now, to just watch the maturity that she has in her game as a person. So it's just really exciting," said Craig.
In the three years these two stayed together they were dominant, earning 64 wins including an undefeated season in 2014/15. They made three consecutive state championship appearances and finished in the state runners up Ruthy's Junior Year. Now, Craig will be on the opposite bench, coaching against her former star player for the first time.
"Every coach would die to have a kid like Ruthy on the team. She's a phenomenal athlete but she's also a phenomenal person. She is also just a great role model and takes time to get to know people. But she's a phenomenal athlete," said Craig.
No matter the outcome of this season-opening contest, Fairbanks will have the opportunity to welcome back one of the most talented players to come out of the Golden Heart City, Ruthy will have a chance to play on her hometown court, and Craig will be reunited with the star that she helped create.
"Everybody kind of feels like, 'that's our girl!' So it's going to be really fun to have her come in and play. And play a hometown team, which is really exciting," said Craig.