Written By Tristan Blackwood
A member of the graduating class of 2004, Tristan Blackwood was one of Eastern’s top players to ever suit up for the program and a three-time Toronto District School Board, City-Wide, and 4A OFSAA Champion. Blackwood also won the U-17 Nationals as a member of the Team Ontario squad, collecting National MVP honours. Going into his senior year, Blackwood was the consensus #1 PG in Canada and was thus selected to play in the annual All-Canada Classic National All-Star Game. He also played on the Canadian National Team from 2004 to 2006. Blackwood accepted a scholarship to Central Connecticut State University where he graduated with a Business Marketing degree. Over 4 years, Tristan was the starting PG and led the team scoring, assists, steals, three pointers made, and free throw percentage. In 2007 won the NEC Defensive Player of the Year award as well as garnering a NEC First team All-Star selection. Blackwood was a 2007 NEC Champion and received a berth to play in the NCAA tournament as the 16th seed where he was matched up against #1 seeded Ohio State with NBA bound players Mike Conley & Greg Oden. These days Blackwood continues his basketball playing career in Europe as he plays for the BSW Sixers professional team in Brehna, Germany. Here is his story of his Eastern days.
The decision to attend Eastern Commerce for high school was an easy choice for me. My older brother, Dwayne Beckford was a student & member of the basketball team there. I remember watching him play on those mid ‘90s Eastern teams. I was exposed to a high level from an early age, so I knew what the expectation of being an “Eastern man!” was all about. Dwayne was an inspiration for me because he was living out his dreams at the time through basketball. Seeing all this first hand made my decision to go to Eastern very simple. My dream was always to play basketball at the highest level and I felt that Eastern would put me in the best situation to do so.
Over the course of my five seasons playing basketball at Eastern Commerce, I helped lead the team to three straight 4A OFSAA Championships. I was blessed to train and play with some of the greatest high school basketball athletes to ever play in this country. It gave me the right tools I needed to be successful at the next level. In my senior year after winning that 3rd consecutive OFSAA championship, I decided to hang up my ball shoes and throw on some cleats and play on Eastern’s Baseball team. It gave me another opportunity to showcase my skills in a totally different sport. Baseball is a sport I fondly played when I was younger and I was pretty good. We were a focused team that at the end of the year we ended up winning the Championship. Being selected to play in the All-Canadian High School All-Star Game in my senior year was an amazing feeling for me. I knew at that point that all my hard work that I put in was worth it.
Eastern always has a family feel to me. It’s one of the biggest values that I learned at that school. Sticking together and doing things together will not only build up a strong foundation, but in turn helps us strive to want to achieve at the highest level. We always trusted one another and fed of each other’s energy, some of the keys of what a strong family is. I love to reflect on the times being in the cafeteria at lunch time, playing different games, or just having great conversations with each other; It was always a good time in there. The teachers at the school were always supportive and willing to help any time they could. They cared for us like we were their own children. They always provided a safe environment for us to learn and enjoy ourselves in a school setting. Being punctual and organized were two things that I can say I took away from Eastern for sure. In ninth grade, I was always late for class, I barely handed in any assignments which resulted in me failing five out of my eight classes I had that year. I was an extremely talented player and figured that they would still let me play because of my abilities. I was told by administration that I wouldn’t be able to play basketball the following year unless I went to summer school to upgrade my marks. I was humbled very quickly because they were firm with their position and it forced me to make a decision to get my grades up. So while everyone was enjoying the summer I had to go to summer school and take care of business in the classroom. It was my first humbling experience which showed me that basketball was a privilege given to those who take care of their academics. This is the lesson that I teach kids who want to STRIVETHRUSPORTS. You have to make your education the first and foremost.
Courtesy In Charge Sports & Entertainment
Written By Tristan Blackwood