EBCI citizen playing basketball at UMass Boston
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen and point guard Josiah Lossiah on Nov. 14 looks to make a pass during a game for the University of Massachusetts Boston against Eastern Nazarene College. He is originally from the Qualla Boundary in Cherokee, North Carolina, where he was a standout for the Cherokee Central Braves. COURTESY
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen Josiah Lossiah brings the ball up the court for the University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons during a Nov. 14 game against Eastern Nazarene College. As a freshman, Lossiah is building up his collegiate level basketball experience for the NCAA Division III team. COURTESY
BOSTON, Mass. – Carrying on his family’s sports tradition, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen Josiah Lossiah is a freshman point guard for the University of Massachusetts Boston Beacons basketball team.
Lossiah hails from Cherokee, North Carolina, specifically the Qualla Boundary, where he graduated in May from Cherokee Central High School and was a basketball standout.
At Cherokee Central, he was named Team MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, All-Smoky Mountain Conference and led his team to a conference championship.
He said he was inspired by his parents to start playing basketball.
“Growing up it’s just always been basketball. My parents were both basketball players. My mom went to state her senior year in (19)96, and she was the first one to win the girls state championship for Cherokee High School. My dad, he was a junior when he went to state, the 1991-92 team. They got second that year. It’s in the family. They kept it with me and got me inspired to play.”
In turn, Lossiah said he would like to be an inspiration to young kids back home.
“I was once their age looking up at the people playing in high school thinking if they’d make it to college playing, there’s hope and a chance,” he said.
He was recruited to the Beacons through his high school coach, Aaron Hogner, who was coached as a student at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, by a current UMass Boston staff member.
The Beacons recently defeated NCAA Division I Holy Cross 69-66, a major feat for the Division III school so far this season.
After a few games into the season, Lossiah said he saw more playing time but still has to prove himself to the coaching staff. “I’m not getting a ton of minutes right now. I’ve got to prove myself and show myself to the coaches and give them more trust in me to be able to go onto the court and get my job done. Just give my team 100% effort everyday and coming out with a conference title win.”
In the classroom, Lossiah is majoring in physics engineering and hopes to obtain a “high-level” engineering job. “I just want to be able to create things through math and science.”
Far from the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina, Lossiah said he is taking to Boston’s city life and diversity. “The experience is different, and I like it up here. The city life, I’ve never been much into the city, but the city life is good, and the diversity here. There’s so many different cultures and different backgrounds that you see and you meet different people.”
He said his family supports him by checking on him often. He also wants to continue to be a role model for other Cherokee kids who dream of making it to college academically and athletically.
“I just want to give hope for the kids back home,” he said. “Grades are important and basketball is just a plus. Just giving them inspiration back home and also being proud that I’m Cherokee, doing it and representing my family and my tribe back home.”