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Huskies in Scramble Mode as Tournament Tips-off
The news from Saskatchewan this late Summer and early Fall hinted at some big changes for a roster full of veteran players, and a team that may well be in their usual championship contention. We get confirmation from Coach Barry Rawlyk (8th year) in a Star-Phoenix article by Darren Zary.
Gone is 5th year all-star forward, Shane Osayande. Gone also wing man, 3rd year, Jaylan Morgan, and forward Mack Burns. All 3 were projected starters. Still listed on the roster, but unllikely to play this season is Chan DeCiman, a speedy, talented 2nd year guard, who has some continuing physical issues. Also gone were veterans Dave Humbert, Reid Thuringer, and Jonathan Halvorson.
That’s leaves Rawlyk in ‘scramble mode’ as he tries to patch together a competitive team around the few key players he has left. To make matters worse, the Huskies 3rd year import guard, Lawrence Moore, missed their games last week in Toronto vs UT and Ryerson. Latest recruit, 3rd year, import guard, JT Robinson, who could add some significant firepower, also has an injury, keeping him off the court for now.
Moore is back for the U of S Graham Construction Tournament, and he joins 5th year guard Alex Unruh, 2nd year wing, Addison Dewar, and 2nd year guard, Emmanuel Akintunde. Forwards Dean Wittow (6-7) and Joseph Barker (6-6) are both injured, leaving 3rd year transfer 6-6 Sebastien Turcotte (Saskatoon), and 1st year locals, 6-5 Savion Tyson, and Aidan Smithen to ‘hold the fort’ .
These are trying times, but the Huskies will be doing their best to contest their 3 games this weekend vs Mt. Royal on Thursday, UBC Friday, and Western on Saturday. Today’s U of S – MRU game – Live stats – 7 pm local
This Week in U-Sports Hoops Action
We see more inter-League play this week, with 5 tournaments – at Saskatchewan, Waterloo, Queens, Carleton, and UPEI
We’ll get a look at rival Canada West squads when Victoria plays a pair at Fraser Valley. Both teams look to be ‘re-tooling’ for this campaign.
Tuesday, Oct 10 – at York 75 Franklin and Marshall (Div 3) 70 , Marietta Coll (Ohio, Div 3) 89 at Windsor 76
Thursday, Oct 12 – * Saskatchewan’s Graham Const. Tourney – 3 days … Huskies vs Mt. Royal , UBC vs Western Ont.
Friday Oct 13 – *House-Laughton Tournament at Carleton … Acadia vs Bishops, Carleton vs Laval
We will get Sat / Sunday games later ….
T-Birds have unfinished business
It’s not often that a coach admits he is 100% satisfied with his recruiting and his roster, but UBC’s veteran mentor, Kevin Hanson (18th year) appears awfully close. “We did very well, and no one (recruit) said no”, says Hanson. This has the T’Birds, who were 19-1 in Canada West play last season, looking for a repeat, and then more fortune at play-off time. After major disappointment in the post season last Spring, this is a team looking for something special.
“Things happen from week to week”, says the coach. “Injuries, illness … we felt that we needed more depth.” Well, they have it now, in spades! 5 new faces counting , Jauquin Bennett-Boire, the explosive2nd year lead guard who red-shirted last season. Add in the heralded arrival of 6-10 Grant Shephard (Kelowna), who chose UBC over chances in the NCAA ranks. Mason Bourcier is a 6-4 guard who played with Shephard at Kelowna Sr. Sec. A pair of former Toronto high school guards, 6-3 Anthony McNish, and 6-4 Grant Audu, come from a year’s play in U.S. high schools.
Two more young local recuits will be red-shirting; the T’Birds, after all, do return 6 – 8 roster players from last season. Three 5th years head that list, led by 6-9 Conor Morgan (Victoria), the 2017 Canada West player of the year, along with point man, 6-2, Phil Jalalpoor (Germany), and 6-8 Luka Zaharijevic (Vancouver).
Taylor Browne (Surrey) returns as a fast-rising 3rd year guard, who “worked hard on his game over the summer”, and can be a valuable complimentary scorer and creator on offense. Patrick Simon (Port Coquitlam) is a 4th year, 6-8 post , and guards Isaiah Familia (Windsor, ON) and Izaiah Ugoalah (Vancouver) are in the mix.
“We are still working on our different combinations. Certainly, we have a great group here; I’m excited to coach these guys. We want to focus on team, and getting them to jell and work together”, says Hanson. The 5- time Canada West coach of the year exclaims, “I feel energized, and hungry to make this a very good team.”
‘The Bazooka’ trains with a purpose
In high school, at nearby Kitsilano Sr. Secondary, Luka Zaharijevic, was a legendary star, who scored at will with a 6-8 frame carrying as much as 300 lbs. Dubbed ‘Luka, The Bazooka’, he stood out for many reasons. On arriving at
UBC, Luka played few minutes as he was behind more mature post men. His size wasn’t helping, because his fitness wasn’t what it should have been. “We’ve wanted to start Luka in the last couple of seasons”, says Coach Hanson, “But he was hurt, and he was never quite ready.” “This past Spring and Summer, Luka has dedicated himself to preparing for a big final year.” The transformation has been impressive, as Hanson tells us the young man has pursued his training with a vengeance. He is, reportedly, eating better, ‘riding his bike all over town’, and focused on his post game skills.
In lthe Waterloo game last weekend the big man was 8/9 for 17 points in just 13 minutes; he looks ready to step in as one of the T-Birds big weapons up front. With an eye to a possible pro opportunity, Luka is determined to make his 5th year one to remember.
Bet on UVic Back in the Play-off Hunt
In Coach Craig Beaucamp’s 14 seasons, in only the last 2 have there been losing records. He has been Canada West’s Coach of the Year 5 times, and his overall conference record stands at 220-99 .
He explains his ‘new plan’ for the Vikes, based on recent experiences … “We have decided to go with local kids, as much as we can. We think we have good buy-in from the talented players in our area, or on the Island. “A look at the roster counts 9 from Victoria or ‘up- Island’, with another 4 from the B.C. Lower Mainland. “We have a better chance to get to know these kids, and they can be on campus for most of the year.”
One Island star who returns this year after an injury absence is Jordan Charles, a 6-4 , 4th year wing man, who gives the Vikes a great scoring option and a strong defender.
Scott Kellum (Issaquah, WA) was the Canada West Rookie of the Year in ’16-’17, and will be the UVic floor leader. Two returnee 4th year bigs are Justin Kinnear (Montreal), a rugged 6-6 post man, and Jake Newman (Surrey, BC), another strong rebounding 6-6 forward. Hayden Lejeune (Chilliwack) is a 6-8 forward, and should be ready to shoulder more of the load.
Early looks suggest new recruit, Mason Loewen (Victoria), a 6-3 shooter, can revitalize the Victoria offense. He played Div 2 NCAA in the U.S., but returned for his last 2 seasons to play for his home school. Jaamel Slack is a 4th year, 6-2 guard, also a Victoria high school product, who returns from Medicine Hat College (AB).
One compelling story is that of Eric Hegadoren, a 6-11 rookie from Victoria, who is a good athlete, but is really just learning the hoops game. After playing Division 2 NCAA college baseball for the past 2 years, Hegadoren has decided to use his size on the court. More in this story from CHEK News in Victoria.
The odds might well be leaning to a return to the win column on a more regular basis for this traditionally powerful Vikes basketball program. Coach Beaucamp suggests he has the patience to build a team to challenge for a championship again, and we would be foolish to doubt his ability to ccomplish just that.
Sunday results – Victoria 94 Waterloo 86 – (played at UBC) a 54 point 2nd half propels the Vikes to their 2nd win on the weekend. Again, it’s newcomer, Mason Loewen, with 26 pts to pace UVic, with Jake Newman adding 18. The Vikes take advantage of 30/33 free throws to 15/18 for the Warriors. … at Brandon 97 Algoma 84 – The Bobcats have 5 in double figures , with Tyvon Cooper scoring 23, Pookie Sanders 17, and Jonathan Range 15.
The Cape Breton Fall Classic … Capers SAIT – (cancelled due to a ‘wet floor’ ??!! and UPEI 88 St. FX 80
Concordia’s Tournament finishes with 2 games at “The Beehive’ … Stingers 85 York 80 … Dalhousie 98 Regina 85 – the Tigers win the 4 team tournament. Sven Stammberger scores 31 for Dal, while Regina has 5 in double figures, led by Samuel Hillis’ 18. 23 turnovers hurt the Cougars.
We dig out the box score for Saturday’s Winnipeg – Algoma tilt, and note the 24 points/ 5 rebs, 3 asst, 3 steals by rookie, Don Dayrit, the Manitoba high school player of the year in 2017. Billy Yaworsky continues to shine with 15 pts and 9 rebounds in the 90-69 Wesmen win.
No mercy in a big handful of high scoring blow-outs from coast to coast on Saturday , as several tournaments wrap up ….
at the Calgary Cup … Calgary 92 McMaster 68* – the Dinos waltz to an easy win, their 3rd straight, with 9 of 11 dressed logging 20+ minutes. Mambi Diawara leads with 16 pts/ 9 rebs, and rookie Mason Foreman has 15 pts. For Mac it’s the very slick Kareem Collins with 30 pts. … Acadia 95 McGill 83 – The Redmen defense is unusually porous, as the Axemen stage a big 2nd half come-back, draining 11/14 from 3 (78%) . Nick DiPalma is perfect from the floor for 20 points for AU.
at UBC … T-Birds 105 Waterloo 73 – The ‘Birds get 21 pts/ 12 boards from Conor Morgan, and 20 from Anthony McNish … Alberta 111 Bishops 84 – An offensive feeding frenzy, as the Bears light it up with 57% from the floor, including 53% from 3. Mamadou Gueye with 23 and Brody Clarke 20 pace the GBs. Joany Castor Thadal hits 5/9 from outside for 17 to lead Bishops.
in Winnipeg … Wesmen 90 Algoma 69 no box score … Laurentian 87 Manitoba 80 – The VGs extend their win streak behind 24 points from Kadre Gray, while Justus Alleyn counters with 27 for the Herd.
in Montreal … Dalhousie 72 Concordia 70 – The Tigers are tough in this road win against a solid Concordia team. Big 4th quarter for a comeback W. Sven Stammberger has 15 pts/ 7 boards for Dal, while Ken Beaulieu hits a game-high 17 for the Stingers. … Regina 101 York 42 – The Cougars maul the Lions. 40-10 in the final stanza? 5 Reginas in double figures led by 19 from tsf forward Shaquille Harris with 19 pts/ 12 rebs. , while Shawn Lathan chalks up a 16 pt/ 16 reb double. York shoot a measly 21% FG.
at Cape Breton … Capers 90 UPEI 78 – Break up the Capers! A much-anticipated win for the Orange, as Indiana Rotondo goes 5/11 from 3 to pace the winners … St. FX 114 SAIT 106 – SAIT has Levi Taylor with 30 and John Smith with 29, and they lose! Kevin Bercy leads X with 24 as they shoot 59.7% from the floor .
Also … at Ryerson 116 Saskatchewan 43 – no box score, no prisoners … , Lethbridge 87 Medicine Hat 67 … Trinity Western 73 UBC-O 70 – 8 treys for TWU vs 2 by the Heat. 25/27 from the line from Trinity , and game! Vartan Tanielian with 24 its for the Spartans. UNBC 92 NAIT 66 – quite the turnaround for the T-Wolves! … because Late Friday – NAIT 70 UNBC 62
McGill, Concordia, Dalhousie, Dinos, Bears post impressive wins
Calgary Cup … Calgary 91 Acadia 70 – After a back and forth 1st half, Calgary led by 3 , but, after the break , the Dinos dominated 50-32, with just 8 Axemen points in the runaway 4th stanza. Mambi Diawara ran amok over the Acadia defense with 39 points including 7/11 3 point shots, and 11 boards. Erik Nissen had 13 pts/ 7 rebs for Acadia. McGill 97 McMaster 78 – McGill found their shooting touch in this one, as Jenning Leung led a whole-team effort, with 19 points. McMaster had no answer to the balanced effort by McGill, as the Redmen pulled away in the 3rd quarter, with no effective response by the Marauders.
NAIT at UNBC – no score yet
at U of M … Manitoba 84 Algoma 81 – Bisons get 24 , including the game-winner from Joey Nitychoruk, and James Wagner has a double of 12 points/ 11 boards. Laurentian 87 Winnipeg 81 – again, the visitor comes out on top, as the Voyageurs come out hot, shooting 48% from 3 and 50% overall. JD West is a scintillating 8/10 from downtown as he posts 26 points, helped along by Kadre Gray’s 24 pts/7 rebs, 5 assts. The Wesmen get 22 from Nathaniel Johnson , but cash just 5/6 from the line to 15/19 by Laurentian. (Winnipeg matches the VGs 48% from 3).
at UBC Invitational … UBC 99 Bishops 92 – The Birds shoot 58% from the floor, but cannot shake the Gaiters, who cashed 21 free throws vs 12 for the home side. Conor Morgan scored 21 for UBC, as both they and Bishops subbed freely, with shared scoring both ways. For BU, it was Abdul Kamane with 21 and Alex Boisse adding 18 points … Alberta 103 Waterloo 74 – 59 by the Bears in the opening 20 minutes spell lights out! Austin Waddoups has 22 pts/ 8 rebs/ 8 assts, while Mamadou Gueye hits 5/6 from 3 for 22 pts as Alberta is 54% from the floor. Nedim Hodzic leads the Warriors with 19 points.
Concordia hosts in Montreal … Stingers 92 Regina 76 – the home side prevails … Dalhousie 84 York 70
Cape Breton’s Fall Classic – St. FX 95 Cape Breton 89 – X wins a close one, and the Capers show a competitiveness they were missing last season. Kevin Bercy tallied 26 pts/ 11 rebounds for St FX, while Martin Campbell had a game-high 29 pts/ 7 boards for the Capers. SAIT 101(Calgary) UPEI 89 – The Trojans of the Alberta Colleges League upset the Panthers. Levi Taylor with 24 pts and Gemie Muya scoring 20 for SAIT. Milorad Sedlarevic hits 18 for PEI.
Graduation leaves gaps for Bobcats, but recruiting may have filled them
Gil Cheung, enters his 8th year as the Head Coach of a team he once captained to a pair of National Championship Finals. His 9-11 ‘Cats made the playoffs last season, and he says, “We’re anxious to get into competition; lot’s of work to do, but we ‘have some pieces’ and we hope to move forward.”
Forward it may well be, despite the loss of Earl Thompson Jr, Chris Stanhope, Esmat Atem, and Denham Buchanan. Back to juice the offense is team high scorer (18.4 ppg), import guard, Tyvon Cooper (NY), and forward John Paul (St. Lucia), a 6-11 inside force, who is a good candidate to average a double-double.
Pookie Saunders (Calgary), an emerging talent as a combo guard, returns for his 3rd year, and Troy Grant (Brampton, ON) , a 6-3 transfer from Thompson Rivers, will add depth. Grant’s childhood buddy from the GTA, Josh Bell, is a 3rd year guard, who will also be in the playing rotation, expected to up his scoring totals.
Cheung has added scoring, defense, and quickness in 2-time Junior College All-American, Jonathan Range (Harlem, NY), a 6-6 wing, and Jaleel Webb (Montreal), a 6-3 guard who transfers from Concordia.
The training camp has produced some nagging hurts, and the Bobcats will be ‘short-handed’ for some of their pre-season action. Look for the ‘Cats to stay in the play-off picture in this ‘season of change’ in much of Canada West.
Highly regarded Redmen team goes cold facing Dinos D
In what was somewhat of a surprise, the Calgary Dinos started their pre-season with a decisive 81-61 win over the Quebec champs, McGill Redmen. Calgary defense made things tough on Redmen shooters, who were just 31% from the floor. UC, on the other hand, were 41% , then 18/21 from the line (86%), led by Mambi Diawara’s 25 points against his hometown team.
David Kapinga added 17 points, and Lars Schleuter 15 on 4/7 from 3 point range. Both coaches used their whole line-up in this first game of 3 in the Calgary Cup. Avery Cadogan scored 15 for McGill and showed some flash taking it to the rim.
In an earlier game on Thursday at Calgary it was Acadia 96 McMaster 67. On Friday, McMaster meets McGill, and Calgary takes on Acadia.
Other games –
Laurentian 92 at Brandon 79 – Pookie Saunders scores 22 points, and John Paul has a 10 rebound/ 13 point double, but 24 turnovers gives the VGs extra chances. David Aromolaran scored 21 and Anthony Iacoe 18 for Laurentian.
at Toronto 89 Saskatchewan 66 – Alex Unruh scores 27 for the Huskies, but U of S hits just 4/20 from 3 pt range vs 9/33 for Toronto, who had 5 players in double figures.
Thompson Rivers 86 NAIT 69 …
Lethbridge 92 Medicine Hat College 58
No score yet … Victoria Bishops
Griffins coach likes the energy of his young team
MacEwan Coach Eric Magdanz is one of several Canada West coaches who has been dealing with a big turnover of seniors from last season. “This process of developing a team, and re-forming with new recruits can be challenging, but also rewarding”, says the 4th year mentor.
The Griffs lost Thadius Galvez, Keith Gerdes, Denzel James, and Tyler Wise, who were core players. But, this does not deter Coach Magdanz, who characterizes his team as ‘very young’, but also, “we are long, athletic, and energetic.”
The team will lean on veteran leaders like Ryan Coleman (Edmonton), the only 5th year Griff, and Adonis Monfort-Palomino left, Calgary), the 3rd year point man. Ali Raza (Calgary), 3rd year wing, had ‘a phenomenol summer”, says Magdanz. “He is a remarkable athlete.” 6-6 Harrison Lane (Edmonton) is a 4th year post man, who should be stepping into a bigger role along with 2nd year English import, Jake Notice.
1st year players dot this roster, with 6-3 Lincoln Anderson (Cardston) expected to contribute right away, “ … he is ready”, his coach exclaims. Abdullah Shittu is a 6-7 Edmonton product who has a 7-2 wing span, and is picking up coaching very readily. There are 8 rookies, and some will have to ‘wait their turn”, but Coach Magdanz believes, “This group will be great to coach; they will work hard, and, as they become more familiar with each other, we look forward to building a competitive team.”
Anderson enters as a ‘mature student and athlete’
Lincoln Anderson was a member of the Cardston , AB high school team which captured 2 consecutive 4A provincial titles in 2012 and 2013. This was big news in hoops crazy Southern Alberta, and Anderson might have been expected to go on and play in Canada West. But Lincoln had other priorities as a Church of Latter Day Saints member; he served a church mission in New Zealand for 2 years, centred in Auckland. “It was an amazing experience”, says Anderson. No basketball practice for missionaries, but they did play a little informal rugby (as you would in the land of the ‘All-Blacks” NZ National Team).
The difficult part of getting back to varsity sport is to “start thinking the game again”, according to the 22 year old. “As a missionary, I was planning every minute of my days in New Zealand, so I’m not having any trouble combining studies and basketball.” Starting a B Sc. program, Lincoln wants to eventually work as a physiotherapist. “Because I’ve gone through so much work with my knee”, he says, “I’ve become keen on helping other people with similar challenges.”
Anderson was recruited by Coach Magdanz, who, coincidently, coached both Lincoln and Adonis Monfort-Palomino on Alberta’s U-17 team a few years back. “He is a young and enthusiastic coach”, says Anderson. “I like his style of coaching, and his enthusiasm for the team and individual players.” ‘I’m excited to get playing games”, exclaims Lincoln. “I really look forward to competing.” Under Magdanz’ tutelage, Anderson expects the Griffins to develop into a team that can “… contend with all the top schools.” Lincoln Anderson and the others in this freshman class may well be chasing history if his prognostication comes close to fruition. Dream big … how else can you hope to get there?