||Fraser Malcolm, physical education major at Black Hills State University and number 24 on the Yellow Jacket men’s basketball team, has been selected to represent his home nation in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. Malcolm will join the 12-man team from Scotland for the international basketball tournament in Queensland, Australia, in April.
The Commonwealth Games is an annual, multi-sport event that draws teams from the 53 member states of the Commonwealth of Nations, including Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland, and Wales.
Malcolm, originally from Falkirk, Scotland, has played for teams in Scotland, Britain, Iceland, and the United States. He says he’s been hoping for the opportunity to represent Scotland in the Commonwealth Games for a long time.
“Basketball isn’t included every year the games happen. As soon as I knew that basketball would be selected as a sport the same year I was 22, I thought I had a chance to mature and be on the men’s team,” Malcolm remembers. “I’m really excited to be able to represent Scotland now.”
Malcolm started playing basketball at age 14, following the strides of his older brother, Craig.
“My brother played basketball so I thought I’d give that a try,” Malcolm says. “We play each other a lot. It gets pretty competitive, but he’s my biggest fan. He watches all the games. He still says I’ll never be able to beat him, but I think that’s turned a corner now… hopefully. But that’s how I started out.”
This competitive spirit and Malcolm’s dedication to improvement earned him spots on Scotland’s under 16s team, under 18s team, and eventually Britain’s under 20s team. The sport soon took him to Iceland, where he played on three teams, including Iceland’s semi-pro team. Through numerous coaching connections and international camps, coaches at BHSU met Malcolm and recruited him to play for the BHSU Yellow Jackets.
“I always wanted to play in college, and BHSU is a great fit for me and my degree,” Malcolm says. “Our team chemistry is the best part of playing for BHSU. We spend most days with each other and have gotten really close—I think when you travel six hours to Denver and back every other weekend you get pretty close!”
Malcolm says the coaching staff at BHSU has helped him develop into a stronger, more diverse player.
“Since I’ve started at BHSU, I’d say my confidence in my shot has improved a lot,” Malcolm says. “I’m shooting the ball a lot better. My coaches have worked with me on being strong in the post, and they’ve really strengthened my confidence there too.”
Jeffery Trumbauer, Yellow Jacket men’s basketball coach, says Malcolm has made a significant contribution to the BHSU team. “Fraser is a pretty complete player. He leads our team in points and rebounds, but he finds ways to contribute outside of those areas,” Trumbauer says. “He’s a great teammate, has a positive outlook on things, and puts the team ahead of himself.”
As Malcolm powers through this season with the BHSU Yellow Jackets, he is looking ahead to playing with some of his old teammates from Scotland.
“I’ve played with most of these guys before, and I’ve always been the younger guy that they took under their wing— my role has grown each time,” Malcolm says. “It’s really easy to play with these guys because they are very experienced and skilled.”
Scotland’s first game will be against England, whose coach Malcolm has played for in the past. He says the game will be tough, but he’s excited to be a part of the good-natured rivalry.
“I’m excited to face up against England. That’s a big rivalry—I don’t know if you’ve seen Braveheart or not—it’s always been the big rivalry,” Malcolm jokes. “But this one should be a little more light-hearted.”