Canada Wins World Title

 

 

U-19 Team Wins Gold for Canada

The U-19 Men’s National Team, coached by Ryerson U.’s Roy Rana, defeated Italy 79 – 60 earlier this week, to capture the gold medal in the U-19 World Cup, played in Cairo, Egypt.  Canada were led by R. J. Barrett of Mississauga, ON, with 18 pts/ 12 rebs, and Abu Kigab of St. Catharines, ON  adding 12 pts/ 10 rebounds.  The big team effort allowed Canada to dominate the Italians, as they had done in their 99 – 87 semi-final victory over the U.S.A.

This was the 1st – ever gold medal for any Canadian team in a FIBA World Championship, and signals a continuing rise for Canada’s prospects on the International basketball front.  Here is the team roster for Canada 

Most of these players will play in U.S. college programs.  Some are already committed, as you can see from their profiles.  Canada West followers will note that there was  only one Western Canadian player on this team.  Ontario really does have the lion’s share of basketball talent!

Congratulations to Coach Rana and his staff and team.  An amazing accomplishment!

 

Shephard Plays Valuable Role for Canada

Grant Shephard of Kelowna played a key role for the winning U-19 Canada squad, as he came off the bench to provide timely scoring and rebounding (5.3 ppg/ 4 rebs in 14 mins/game) in the FIBA World Cup in Cairo this past week.

Shephard was part of the 2016 Kelowna Owls B.C. 4A high school championship team as a grade 11.  He played his grade 12 year at Monteverde Academy in Florida, and recently signed with Coach Kevin Hanson’s UBC Thunderbirds.  More on Shephard’s success in this story from Kelowna Capital News

 

 

New RPI Formula for Canada West

 

 

What Impact From RPI, Schedule Changes ?

Canada West recently announced the 2017-18 playing schedule, which still has 17 schools each playing a different slate of games.  This unequal 20 game set-up has schools playing a pair of contests with 4 ‘traditional rivals’ each year, but  they change 6 teams on alternate years.

So, for example,  Saskatchewan, who have Alberta, Calgary Regina, and Brandon as ‘rivals’  will reverse home and way with those schools this coming season;  the Huskies played Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, UBC, Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and UNBC in 2016-17, but will meet the other 6 ‘non-rival’ schools … Manitoba, Thompson Rivers, Victoria, MacEwan, UBC-O, and Trinity Western in the 2017-18 schedule.

Conor Morgan and his T-Birds ‘mates will be gunning for another big winning year, and hoping for a higher seeding this time around.                    photo – UBC Athletics

Each school has different rivals, and a different slate of 6 ‘non-rivals’, and, in another twist of scheduling, each school determines if they will play any ‘home and home series’.  Example – Calgary has all three of Alberta, Mt. Royal, and Lethbridge home and away.  Saskatchewan,  Regina, TRU, UBC-O, and UNBC have none.  Other schools have 1 or 2 ‘home and homes’ with geographically close rivals.  All this leads to some differences in number of home and away games for some teams.

With all that, the League governors chose to continue using an adjusted RPI index to ‘even -up’ the standings between ‘unequally scheduled’ teams.  Last year, as fans might remember, this led to the juggling of final seeding spots for play-offs, putting 19-1 UBC in the 4th seed behind 16-4 Calgary #1, 14-6 Saskatchewan #2, and 14-6 Alberta #3.

The effect of these RPI results prompted schools to ask for a modification in those statistical manouvres.  Canada West now has a new RPI formula  –

The formula used in 2016-17 was as follows:

RPI = 25% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.2 away win + 0.8 home win, 50% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The new formula for 2017-18, with changes in bold, is as follows:

RPI = 35% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.1 away win + 0.9 home win, 40% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The League is hoping that this will bend the final standings a little less, and keep teams with a higher winning percentage in higher seeding spots.  We still, however, have the unequal schedule.  How unequal is it?

Alberta, defending Canada West champs, have Mamadou Gueye leading a solid corps of returnees. photo –                  Bears Athletics

Well, we have done a somewhat subjective analysis of each team’s schedule, and we’ve assigned points based on a) Last year’s finish, b) team losses from graduation or other (as announced) c) recruiting news as we’ve followed it.  We give UBC a 16, Calgary and Alberta both at 14, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan are 12, Manitoba, UVic, Winnipeg are 10, with Brandon, Regina and UFV 9. TRU is 7, MRU 6, MacEwan 6, UNBC 5, and TWU and UBC-O  are both at 4 in this ranking scale. Certainly subjective, but it can generate some ‘informed guesses’ for what lies ahead in the coming year.

Who has the ‘toughest’ schedule?  Who might have the ‘easiest’ … we add up the teams’ opponents’ ranking scores, and here’s what we have, with toughest at the top, and ‘easier’ at the bottom –

The Okanagan Heat, who were 2-18 last season, hardly need this rugged path … at UVic, UFV, UNBC (the only non-playoff squad from 2016-17), Calgary, Winnipeg.  Home to TRU, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and UBC !  Ouch!

Trinity Western were 3-17, but it’s all uphill with the likes of the Bears, UVic, UBC, Calgary, and Saskatchewan on their schedule as well.  They play just 2 non-play-off teams from last year.

Interestingly, UBC has what looks like one of the ‘lighter’ schedules once again.

If we look at Thompson Rivers, by contrast, we see the ‘Pack facing only Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Victoria from last year’s top seeds. The Orange play all 5 of last season’s non-playoff teams.  Fraser Valley gets 4 of those 5 who missed the 2016-17 playoffs.

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Overtime – 

  •  The play-off schedule has changed for this coming season, with CW deciding to scrap the Final 4 Tournament in favour of a single game for the championship. The first round has the top four seeds with  byes, and the next eight playing single-elimination games (12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, and 9 @ 8) . Feb 8 -11.  Best of 3 quarter-finals  are   February 15-18, and the Semis (best-of-three) February 22-25.  The Canada West Final is March 2 or 3.  ( CW may play a 3rd place game, if it is necessary for wildcard chances at U-Sport Nationals (Halifax, March 8-11).

 

  • Alberta Golden Bears have reportedly added Montreal native, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 220 lb wing man, who will enter his 4th year after stops at NCAA Div 2 schools, Gannon University  (Pennsylvania), and American International U. (Massachusetts) .

 

  • Josh Wolfram, former TRU Wolf Pack Canada West all-star, moves from Sweden to the Czech Republic in signing a contract with Sluneta – Usti Nad Labem (USTI)  for his 2nd pro experience in Europe.  More details in this story from TRU Athletics.

 

 

 

 

Universiade Team Roster Announced

 

Universiade Roster includes players from 4 U-Sports Leagues

Team Canada Head Coach, Kevin Hanson (UBC)                 photo – UBC Athletics

U-Sports announced the roster for the 2017 FISU Games (Universiade)  team today … Coach Kevin Hanson (UBC) and his Assistants, Dan Vanhooren (Calgary), and Jacques Paiment Jr. (Laval) will have select players from all 4 U-Sports Leagues, led by  Carleton ‘s pair of Connor Wood and Kaza Kajami-Keane, who sparked the Ravens’  7th straight National Championship.

Canada West players include Conor Morgan and Jordan Jensen-Whyte of UBC, along with David Kapinga and Mambi Diawara of Calgary, and Justus Alleyn from the Manitoba Bisons.

 

Here is the roster with 2016-17 statistics and notes –

Guards –

Justus Alleyn, Manitoba … 2nd team Canada West All – Star 2017, 17.4 ppg

Mambi Diawara, Calgary … 12.3 ppg,  45% shooter, 5.1 rebs, 2.1 steals

Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC  … 15.9 ppg, 3.8 asst,

Kaza Kajami-Keane, Carleton  … MVP of 2017 Final 8,  15.5 ppg, 5.2 asst

David   Kapinga, Calgary … 11.5 ppg, 48% 3 pt shooter, 4.1 asst, 2.5 steals

Javon Masters, UNB  … 2nd team All – Canadian 2017,  19.6 ppg, 5.8 asst

Connor Wood, Carleton … 1st team All – Canadian 2017, and U-Sports Most Outstanding Player,  19.2 ppg,  MVP 2016 Final 8

Forwards –

Kevin Bercy, St FX … 1st team All – Canadian 2017, MVP in the AUS 2017, 19.8 ppg, 11.3 rebs

Alexandre Leclerc, Laval … 6-6 forward, 10 ppg, 5.8 rebs , All-Canadian in 2016

Conor Morgan, UBC …  1st team All – Canadian 2017 … 23.1 ppg, 7.5 rebs

Erik Nissen, Acadia …   AUS All-star 2017 … 18.1 ppg, 9.7 rebs

Jean-Emmanuel Pierre-Charles, Ottawa …  OUA All-Star 2017, 14.4 ppg, 8.7 rebs

This Canada Basketball ‘Development Team’  has some particular challenges, with limited funding for travel expenses as a key deficit.  There is also a possibility that any of the graduated players, Jensen-Whyte, Kajami-Keane, or Wood may not make the trip to compete in Taiwan if they sign a pro contract and are due to start training camp with that pro team.

Canada has a solid recent history in this biannual competition, and with the speed and experience of this squad, they should do well at the August 19 – 30th Games. We’ll expect to have updates on this team once they start training later this summer.  Coach Hanson tells us that the team will fly to Chicago on August 5, and train through the 13th.  The team will play Purdue University of the Big 10 on  August 11 and 12.

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Overtime –

  • Canada’s U-19 National Team, coached by the Ryerson Rams Roy Rana, is slated to start play in the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2017 in Cairo, Egypt on July 1st. They are 2-1 in pre-tournament play, having lost to France, and beaten both Lithuania and Spain.
  • U. Victoria Coach , Craig Beaucamp , guided Canada’s U-17’s to the Silver medal in FIBA Americas Championships in Argentina in mid June. Canada registered wins over Argentina, Paraguay, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico.  They lost to the USA in the championship game.

 

 

 

Cooper to Play in Germany

Dinos’ Cooper Will Play in Germany

The UC Dinos outstanding All-Canadian, Thomas Cooper, has signed a professional contract to play in the German A Division with Uni Baskets Paderborn.  Cooper, who led Calgary to the 2016 Canada West title, and to 2 consecutive U-Sports Final 8 National Tournaments, was  chosen as Canada West Player of the Year for the 2015-16 season.

“We believe that Thomas can have an immediate impact in Pro A,” said Paderborn Head Coach, Uli Naechster. “He is a versatile scorer, and he will certainly be able to prove that as a professional.”  More details in this announcement from his Canadian agent, SLAN Sports.

> Grant Sitton, the 6-9 wing man who led UVic for the past several seasons, is also planning to play in Europe, and we await signing news for him.

> Former UC Dino all-star, Jared Ogungbemi-Jackson, finished off his 2nd season with Galitos-Berreiro, and he was their high scorer at 18.9 ppg, 3rd in the LPB standings.  He was 5th in the league in assists at 4.8 apg.

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Latest Canada West Recruiting News –

Mt. Royal Coach, Marc Dobell has signed 3 local products and a big transfer from Trinity Western – 6’5  wing,  Diew Moses, is a multi-dimensional talent from  Bishop McNally HS, where he led his team to the Alberta 4A Provincial title this March.  6’6 guard, L.J. Hegwood,  played high school in Calgary, then at San Francisco City College, Univ. of Calgary, then at SAIT in the Alberta Colleges League.  5-8 Ben Kapinga (brother of the Dinos David Kapinga) comes from St. Mary’s HS (Calgary). A valuable addition on the front line is 6-9  forward,  Patrick Vandervelden, who is a transfer from Trinity Western  (he will red-shirt in 2017-18).

The Manitoba Bisons added 6-1 Rashawn Browne, a Toronto high school star, who played a year at New Mexico St Univ, then at California U. of Pennsylvania.

 

UNB signs 2 Southern Alberta stars

Ibrahima Doumbouya with UNB Coach, Brent Baker.

6’6 combo guard,  Ibrahima Doumbouya, who played for Coach Bill Mitchell at Lester  Pearson HS in Calgary , and 6’7  post man, Taner Parrington,  from Okotoks, Foothills HS and SAIT  Trojans  will both travel across Canada to join the U. New Brunswick Reds of the Atlantic League.  Reds Coach, Brent Baker, has high hopes for both players, and he and Doumbouya agree that “he’s going to come in and make an impact right away.”

 

Hanson and Vanhooren Lead FISU Team

 

UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, will be the head man for the FISU Games team this summer.
(PHOTO: Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography)

Canada West Coaches Guide Universiade Squad

The two longest- tenured Canada West head coaches (17 years each) will team-up to lead this summer’s Canadian team to compete in the FISU Games in Taipei, Taiwan from August 19-30.  The team’s Head Coach will be Kevin Hanson, UBC, and Assistant coaches are Dan Vanhooren, U. Calgary, along with Jacques Paiment Jr., Laval U. (Quebec City).

The Universiade  is staged every two years , and consists of 14 compulsory sports and up to 3 optional sports chosen by the host country.  After a Silver medal in Men’s Basketball in 2011, Canada has been 4th in both 2013 and 2015, qualifying for the medal round in each of these last 3 Universiades.

Coach Hanson will be coaching his 4th FISU Games team, having won a bronze in 2003, fifth-place  in 2005 and that silver with the 2011 squad.  “It’s a real honor to be able to represent Canada at the FISU games. It’s absolutely an incredible experience and a life-long memory for the players and the coaching staff”, says the T-Birds mentor.  This is Coach Vanhooren’s 1st assignment for a Canada team, and he says, “ … to be part of a games that size is a wonderful experience and any time you get a chance to represent your country, it’s something you have to do. I’m looking forward it.”

 

‘Local Heroes’  Highlight Recent Signings

Thompson Rivers –  Coach Scott Clark has inked 3 B.C. high school stand-outs for the

Tyus De Vries and father, Greg.    photo- Nelson Star

coming season, and one name stands out as being very familiar to long-time Canada West followers.  Tyus De Vries is a 6’4” shooting guard from Sardis Sr. Secondary (Chilliwack, BC), and the son of Greg De Vries, who won 2 CIS Nationals with the Alberta Golden Bears (1991-96).

With his Dad coaching him from youth basketball through to his 30 ppg senior year at Sardis, Tyus learned from a 2-time CIS All-star, and he has skills beyond his scoring.  Dad says, “Tyus is taller and stronger than I was at his age … he is a better rebounder … he played against tougher competition than I had (at L.V. Rogers, Nelson, BC).

Coincidentally, Coach Clark has also signed 6-8 Jon Steele (GW Graham Sec, Chilliwack), who was a teammate of De Vries’ withe the Trans-Canada Club team.  “He is quite a mobile kid, good frame on him with good skills and play with his back to the basket,” says Clark, who also cautions, of course, that , “ All of those things need to be refined, but he has the potential of being a good player.”

The Wolf Pack also welcome their previously announced local star, Devin Halcrow (Nor-Kam Sr Sec, Kamloops) , who at 6-7 + , looks like a mobile big man with speed and 3-4 skills.  When Coach Clark calls him “ … a good basketball player”,  it means the veteran mentor is excited about Halcrow’s future with the Pack!

Update –  TRU has also added a ‘pass-first point guard’ in Nolan Willett, who, although a Canadian citizen, played his high school (Junipero Serra HS, San Juan Capistrano, CA)  and 1 college year ( Hancock Coll., Santa Maria, CA)  in the U.S.  After having checked out several othe U-Sports and Canada West schools, the 6-1 Willett was most impressed with TRU, the city, and futire Wolf Pack team members.  Says Coach Clark,  “He wants to get his teammates involved. He has played a high level—both in high school and the junior college. His background is good.”

 

Matt (12) and Nick Bernhard (14) are the latest local high school stars to sign with the Regina Cougars.

Regina –  The 6-6 Bernhard brothers, Nick and Matt, (LeBoldus HS, Regina) have been a big part of the Golden Suns’ 4 City and 3 Provincial championships.  Their all-round games have UR Cougars’ Coach, Steve Burrows, “ … excited about their potential.”   Burrows likes their veratility, with both scoring 15+ ppg and being consistent rebounders. Nick and Matt join 4 other Le Boldus grads who are on the current Cougars roster … Benjamin and Samuel Hillis, Carter Millar, and Brayden Kuski.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans sign 6-4 Abbotsford, BC product, Levi Leyenhorst (Credo Christian HS) ,  who was a B.C. ‘A’ Tournament all-star the past 2 seasons.  Coach Aaron Muhic also lands a couple of experienced transfers;  Ethan DeSilva is a multi-talented ‘buzz-saw’ guard, who played for 2 seasons at Briercrest, where he posted 7.4 assts/game, which was 2nd in the whole CCAA.  The Calgary (W. Aberhart HS) product can score in the double digits and is a noted ball-hawk.

Steve Sesink, at 6-8, 240 lb, has an obvious appeal, but will have to get back into playing mode following an 8 year hiatus from competition, after he had 1 season at King’s Univ., Edmonton. Coach Muhic has confidence, however, as he suggests “ “Steve will be a joy to coach and will provide toughness, hustle and rebounding.”

More signings – 

Ben Kornelson is a key transfer at a forward spot for the Heat.      photo – Briercrest Athletics

UBC-Okanagan –  Another 2 year star transferring from Briercrest is 6-7 Ben Kornelson, who returns to the Okanagan, where he lived in Armstrong , BC, and played with the Heat JR Program while in high school.  Kornelson was the team MVP at Briercrest this past season.  Coach Peter Guarasci had previously announced 6-10 Owen Keyes (Kelowna Sec.) and 6-4 Jake Stokker from Penticton Sr. Sec.

UNBC – Coach Todd Jordan added a seaoned BC Colleges transfer in 6-6 Jesse Mushiana, a 4th year coming from 2 seaons at Langara College and one at Capilano.  The self-described “big-bodied’ player is a welcome addition to the T-Wolves, who are looking for added height/size to win more battles on the inside this coming season.

Winnipeg –  Wesmen signee, Don Dayrit, is a proven scorer as a 6-0 guard at Sisler HS (Winnipeg), and was the MVP as his team won the 2016 Wesmen Classic Tournament.  He was ranked as one of top 5 high school grads in Manitoba this year.

 

4 Schools Announce Big Recruiting Classes

 

 

UBC Leads 4 Schools Announcing Big Recruiting Success

UBC Coach Kevin Hanson greets ‘feature’ signee, Grant Shephard            Photo – UBC Athletics

When a U-Sports school signs a bonafide NCAA Div. 1 prospect, it is certainly a banner day for that program and Canadian University basketball as a whole.  Coach Kevin Hanson of UBC announced in April that 6-10 post man, Grant Shephard from Kelowna will join the T’Birds roster for the 2017-18 season.  Shephard, who was a big factor as a grade 11 in the Kelowna Owls winning the B.C. High Schools 4A championship in 2016, spent grade 12 at Monteverde Prep in Florida.

Reportedly, he had solid offers from some NCAA powers, but the young man suggested that he felt more ‘excited’ about UBC, and being closer to friends and family.  Coach Hanson said, “Despite Grant having several offers from NCAA Division 1 schools, he decided playing and studying at UBC was the right fit for him. He is a special player, a special person, which makes this a special day for UBC basketball.” Shephard, who scored 31 points and added 22 rebounds in that 2016 Provincial Final win over Tamanawis HS of Surrey, will also welcome the chance to play with Parker Simson, an Owls teammate.  Simson will be in his 2nd year at UBC after working through an injury, which kept him from both the Football and Basketball Thunderbirds.  Another Kelowna Owls star who has signed with the Thunderbirds is Mason Bourcier, a 6-4 guard with great credentials and high expectations.  He too had interest from NCAA schools, but will now join one of the best recruiting classes in UBC basketball history.

The T’Birds already announced the addition of 6-6 wing, Cam Morris, Burnaby (St. Thomas More HS) along with ‘ imports’  Grant Audu, a 6-4 guard from Thornhill, ON , who played at  Marist HS, New Jersey,  and 6-3 guard, Anthony McNish, Toronto, who was at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona.   (From UBC Athletics)

Dinos add power and finesse in their recruiting class

Rys Larry is a top rebounder, transferring to UC from Acadia.                    Photo –   Axemen Athletics

The Calgary Dinos are boasting a most productive recruiting year to date as they land 6-9 rebounding ace, Rhys Larry, a transfer from Acadia who will be entering his 4th year of eligibility.  Another key transfer is 3rd year 6-1 combo guard, Lucas Mannes,  from Chilliwack, BC, who averaged 18 ppg in his last year at Trinity Western.

A pair of high school stand-outs are also expected to make an immmediate impact at UC, with 6-2 point man, Andrew Milner (Antigonish, NS) a winner with his provincial U-17s at Summer Nationals, and 6-7 Mason Foreman (Winnipeg), who played last year for Orangeville Prep in the Toronto area, and is the son of former National Team forward, Jeff Foreman.

Calgary Coach, Dan Vanhooren says, ’We feel we’ve added top quality guys, with Rhys Larry bringing us leadership at the forward spot, and a proven scorer in Lucas Mannes.  We’re excited to have the young talent we see in both Andrew, a real floor leader, and Mason, who has size and a nice shooting touch.’

 Lethbridge Bolsters Their Lineup

Kyle Peterson, in CIS Nationals play vs Ottawa.

The Lethbridge Pronghorns recently announced 3 signees expected to give them a big boost in years to come. Lead guard, Kyle Peterson, was a 2 year starter at UVic, and had a red-shirt year in Lethbridge; he returns after a 2 year Mormon mission.  Saren Westrop, a 6-7 local high school star ( LCI ), played at Iona College, then transferred to Harcum JC (Pennsylvania).  Jeff Rodehutskors, a strong and promising 6-6 forward (Chestermere HS) , transfers fron Calgary, where he played last season.  Jeff will red-shirt in ’17-’18, but will join his younger brother Mark with the ‘Horns the following season.

U of L also announced the addition of Tanner McLachlan, 6-6 forward, from LCI,  Canyon Lewis, a 6-6 forward from Henderson, NV (* he is a Canadian citizen), and Nick Myndio, a 5-10 guard from Lethbridge, who starred with Chinook HS.  Boomer Heggie, a 6-0 guard at Raymond HS, will go on a church mission for 2 years, but plans to return to play for UL in 2019-20.

Griffins Coach, Eric Magdanz                            Photo – MacEwan Athletics

MacEwan Makes Moves to Strengthen Their Roster

After seeing the graduation and departure of 5 veteran roster players including stalwarts Denzel James, Thadius Galvez, and Keith Gerdes, Griffins Head Coach, Eric Magdanz, knew he had a big recruiting task ahead this past Spring.  The 4th year mentor has been successful in adding 7 new faces including, most recently, his 2nd British star in 2 years. 18 year old, Jay Carter, a 6-6 wing with the UK Jr Nationals, comes from Reading Rockets with exceptional 3 point shooting stats.

In April the Griffs signed 6 other young prospects … Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 all-star with Cardston HS (AB), comes off a 2 year Mormon mission and a year’s knee re-hab … 6-8 Ben Niles (Kamloops – Valleyview) has the size, but also a good out-side touch … also 6-4 Moreau Amadou, Calgary -Sir Winston Churchill, Luke Harold, a 6-5 wing from Regina’s Campbell Collegiate, Marco Beasley, 6-7 forward, Edmonton – Ross Sheppard HS, and Dustin Gatzki (Westlock, AB) a 6-4 wing who had a year at Staples HS, Wyoming.

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Overtime –

  • News this week on  NCAA games to be  hosted at U. Calgary this summer ...  on August 10 and 12 the Calgary Dinos will play the NCAA Div 1, Montana State Bobcats .  Also at UC, on August 11 and 13, it will be the Alberta Golden Bears taking on the Bobcats.

 

  • Great fun to be had this coming Saturday, May 27, as the UVic Vikes host a Ken Shields Roast !  Who better to skewer our old buddy Shields than former coaching rivals Don Horwood (U. Alberta), Jerry Hemmings (Brandon), and Ken Olynyk (Lethbridge) ?  The Vikes Hall of Fame Coach will also get ‘greetings’ from from former Vikes players including Robbie Parris, Gerald Kazanowski, and fiery mascot Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard.  More details in this Times-Colonist story from Cleve Dheensaw.

 

 

 

These 7 Teams Look to Move Up in Canada West

 

 

Brandon Tull will be a senior leader for the Regina Cougars.      photo – Arthur Ward

 Regina – The Cougars go 9-11 and are good at their best, but are troubled by injuries in the 2nd semester.  Coach Steve Burrows will enter his 5th year at the helm, and faces the task of ‘renewing’ a roster which loses 3 veteran mainstays.  Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, and Matt Augustine graduate, and more size will be crucial in the recruiting project.  The Cougs have dependable vets returning in Brandon Tull, Alex Igual, and Brian Ofori.  Burrows looks to the younger Hillis bothers, Ben and Samuel, and rookie star, Johneil Johnson to pick up some of the slack.  An infusion of talent, especially in the bigs, will be necessary if UR is to move up.

Thompson Rivers –   Coach Scott Clark loses a ‘franchise player’ in import forward, Volodymyr Iegorov, who graduates this Spring.  Clark could anticipate that challenge, but the veteran bench boss also has his rookie stand-out, Trent Monkman,  transferring to Victoria. The Wolf Pack, 8-12,  have been a play-off team in recent years, and Clark has worked successfully to develop his young talent. This coming season will test his resolve once more.  The Orange returnees include import guard, Derek Rhodes, strong forward, Luke Morris, guard, Michael Rouault, and scrappy point man, Madhu McConnell.  TRU will also be looking for some size in the recruiting process, and certainly more depth for this young group.

MRU’s import star, Josh Ross,  returns for his 5th year        Photo – Cougars Athletics

Mt. Royal –  The ‘Blue Cougars’ face a familiar challenge, as Coach Marc Dobell sees 2 big post men, Brett Layton, and Ray Goff leaving the roster along with 5th year guard, Derek Wolf .  Layton is wanting to start Law School, and Goff has had very tough nagging leg injuries, and is graduating early next year.  MRU does return guards Glen Yang, Noah Lewis, and Craig Martin along with import  scoring leader, Josh Ross, Ryan Cunningham, and forward, Nick Tancon.  Coach Dobell is waiting to announce his signees, and has not quite finished the process.  We do understand that L.J. Hegwood is looking to transfer in from SAIT, and that McNally HS (Calgary) star, 6-7 Diew Moses, may be headed to the Cougars as well.

MacEwan –  There will be significant change with the Griffins, as they say goodbye to Denzel James, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens, Keith Gerdes, and Tyler Wise as 5th year grads.  Thadius Galvez, their outstanding lead guard, is also on the move, and Coach Eric Magdanz is left with a major recruiting task.  Returnees Ryan Coleman, Harrison Lane, Adonis Montfort -Palomino, Ali Raza, and Atlas St. Paul-Butler will be counted on next Fall. The Griffs have younger players like British import, Jake Notice, along with 3rd year guard,  Tarik Scott, coming off an injury rehab, and a local red-shirt freshman, Deonte Doslov-Doctor.  Recent signees include Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 guard from Cardston, AB, who comes off a 2 year Mormon  church mission, and 6-8, Ben Niles, from Kamloops (Valleyview Sr Sec).  Coach Magdanz is also excited about Dustin Gatski  (Westlock, AB), a 6-4 transfer after  1 year of Junior College in Wyoming, and Moreau Amadou  a 6-4 wing from   Sir Winston Churchill, Calgary.

Marcus MacKay will carry a big scoring load for the Timberwolves.

UNBC –  Starting last season at 4-4 last Fall, The T’Wolves struggled through 12 straight losses to finish at 4-16, well out of play-off contention.  They lose their slick guard, Rhys Elliot, along with Elliott Rowe, and Sam Zhang to graduation. Coach Todd Jordan will be looking to add some size and more punch to his roster this Spring and Summer.  The UNBC returnees should include big shooting guard, Marcus MacKay, lead guard, James Agyeman, Vaggelis Loukas, an active forward, and Anthony Hokanson, who is a skilled wing man.   Adam Pahl, a  6-6 wing from Okotoks (Foothills HS) , AB was announced in January, and he comes with high hopes.  Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, is a ‘tough-minded’ guard coming off the red-shirt list, and Jordan has a few more prospects he hopes to sign in the next few weeks.  “We need to get bigger, and to make big improvements in our rebounding”, says the 5th year Head man.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans, 3-17 last season, do not graduate any 5th years, and Coach Aaron Muhic suggests that his returnee list should include all of his current roster players. We have mentioned veteran guard, Tyus Allen, who is rehabbing his injured knee, but who will not be ready until at least the Fall of 2018.  The Spartans will return  import guard, Pogos Trunyan, their high scorer (15 ppg), along with 6-10 post Patrick Vandervelden (13 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Vartan Tanielian, a 12 ppg scorer at wing. Among his younger contributors will be guards Max Viitala, and Josiah Meppelink.  TWU have not announced any new signees or transfers.

UBC-Okanagan –  After an 8-12 record in 2015-16, the Heat cooled off to just 2-18 last season.  Coach Peter Guarasci, in his 5th year, loses guard Mitch Goodwin to graduation.  But, he also has 7 other roster players (Cam Friesen, Randy Jernidier, Ryan Morck, Austin Penrose, Buster Truss, David Manshreck, and Davide Ciancio) who will not return, which obviouly leaves a daunting task of recuiting this Spring. Aldrich Berrios, his high-scoring (17.6 ppg) guard is back for his 4th year, along with back-court rookies, Matt Lafontaine, and Tristan Matthews.  Noma Obeseki, an athletic small forward,  will be entering his 3rd year.  Owen Keyes, a 6’9” Kelowna Sr Sec. stand-out has already signed, and looks like a strong prospect. Jake Stokker, Penticton Sr. Sec  is another big man signee , details in this story from Kelowna Capital News 

_________________________________________________________________________

Overtime –

  • Mason Foreman, a 6-7 forward from Winnipeg, who most recently attended Athlete Institute Prep just outside Toronto, has signed with the Calgary Dinos for next Fall.  Mason’s father is Jeff Foreman, who was a 3-time CIS All-Canadian with the Winnipeg Wesmen (Great Plains Athletic Conference)  in 1992, ’93, and ’94. ( In 1994, Jeff was CIS Player of the Year, and he was also a member of the Canadian national team.)
  •  UVic will, later this week, induct two former basketball stars into their Vikes Hall of Fame. Spencer McKay , was a dominating post man for Vikes teams of the late 1980s – early 1990s, and Carol Turney-Loos, was a key to their 1980 National title.   More details in this Oak Bay News article   

Who Goes, Who Stays for Next Fall?

 

 

 

 An Early Look at Canada West Rosters

We’ve just caught our breath after a long 2nd semester haul to the 7th straight coronation of the Carleton Ravens as U-Sports Champions.  It was a sobering experience for our 3 Canada West teams, as they all drop their round 1 games.  So it is literally ‘back-to-the-drawing-board’ for the 17 schools West of Ontario.

We start with a peek at the  players these teams will lose from rosters from the past season, key returnees, and a number of announced additions and expected jumps from the red-shirt list

Alberta –  2017 Canada West champs … the Bears lose big Brett Roughead, with no word on any other changes from this year’s 14-6 squad.  They return almost their whole roster, including all-stars Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, play-off ace, Mamadou Gueye, and CW rookie team, Andre Kelly. Coach Barnaby Craddock will  certainly have a contender again next season.

Lucas Mannes (tsf-TWU), a sharp-shooting guard, joins the Dinos this Fall.

Calgary –  The Dinos (16-4) win their last 2 of the year, over Manitoba and Saint Marys to finish 5th at Nationals, but four key seniors, Thomas Cooper, Jasdeep Gill, Mitch Ligertwood, and Dallas Karch, will be missed.  Coach Dan Vanhooren does, however, feel good about his returning core, with David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, Mambi Diawara, and Max Eisle at guard.  Forwards are led by Lars Schleuter, Connor Foreman, and Jeff Rodehutskors.  Both 6-6 fwd Sasha Pojuzina (Regina), and 6-1 guard, Jake Nielson (Cochrane) should move in off the red-shirt list, and guard Andrew Milner is a high school signee from Nova Scotia’s U-17 champions. Lucas Mannes, an 18 ppg guard, transfers from Trinity Western.

Shane Osayande returns for the Huskies with his power game.

Saskatchewan – The Huskies  are 14-6 this year, get to the Final 4, but lose to Alberta and Calgary there.  They will miss their solid post man, Matt Forbes, and his 3 point shooting partner, Trevor Severinski.  U of S has the high-octane duo of forward, Shane Osayande, and guard, Alex Unruh, as 5th year leaders in the Fall. Coach Barry Rawlyk will have a strong returning group with veterans, Jaylan Morgan, Lawrence Moore, Mack Burns, and Joseph Barker.  A healthy return for speedy guard, Chan De Ciman, would be a big plus as well.

Manitoba –  A huge push in the 2nd semester, to a 12-8 record,  lifts the Herd to the Final 4, where they qualify for their 1st Nationals in many seasons.  They bid adieu to 4 rotation players including starters AJ Basi, and Brett Jewell, along with point man Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  The Bisons returnees are solid, led by starters Justus Alleyn, a Canada West all-star, and the 2 way hotshot, Keith Omoerah. Coach Kirby Schepp also revels in the depth from forwards James Wagner and Malik Irwin.  He has announced the signing of local high school star, 6-6 Wyatt Tait  ( Oak Park)

Conor Morgan enters his 5th year for UBC this Fall.                 photo- UBC Athletics

UBC Thunderbirds – After a banner 19-1 regular season, UBC suffered a dispiriting 2-0 sweep to Manitoba in play-offs. We expect the T-Birds to rebound as a typically strong contender, but graduating Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Will Ondrik, and Harpreet Randhawa will significantly change the mix. They red-shirted Jauquin Bennett-Boire, an impact lead guard, who came from a ‘partial’ rookie season at Saskatchewan. Coach Kevin Hanson boasts a deep returnee roster, with CW 2017 Player of the Year, Conor Morgan, into his 5th year along with guards, Phil Jalalpoor,  A.J. Holloway, and post man Luka Zaharijevic.  Patrick Simon is another experienced veteran on the front line, and young guards Taylor Browne, Isaiah Familia, Izaihah Ugoalah will step up. Coach Hanson has announced the signing of Cam Morris, a 6-6 forward from St. Thomas More Collegiate (Burnaby).

 Lethbridge – 5th year guard Will Hickey is leaving and  2nd year wing, Scott Mazutinec will depart on a Mission for his church. The ‘Horns were 13-7 and will be hoping to improve on that for 2017-18, with Kyle Peterson, transfer (UVic) combo guard, returning for his 3rd year, after finishing his church mission.  Dejon Burdeaux will be a 5th year leader, with Michael Pierzchala, Elliott Sentance, and Zac Overwater adding offensive punch.   6-6 wing, Mark Rodehutskors, should help, coming off the red-shirt list, and UL likely adds another Australian post man.

Winnipeg – Coming off a 12-8 record in 2016-17, the relatively young Wesmen lose  Jamar Farley to graduation, but boast all-rookie team member, Narcisse Ambanza, and CW all-star Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Sean Tarver is a high scoring wing man, and William Sesay, a talented all-round contributor.  Up front, the Ws return big post man, Ryan Oirbans, along with 6-7 Billy Yaworsky Coach Mike Raimbault has had good luck in recruiting local talent and a few top players from the East in his tenure at UW.

The Cascades’ Nav Bains and Wesmen’s Ryan Oirbans will do battle again next season.

Fraser Valley – Coach Adam Friesen will be looking to re-tool his offense, as the Cascades graduate both scoring guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon.  There is, however a ton of talent in ‘The Valley’ and the Lower Mainland, and Friesen has established his program largely with locals. He has announced the signing of Harsimran Bhullar of Panorama Ridge HS , Surrey, B.C.  UFV returns a good core of veterans in Navjot Bains, Denver Sparks-Guest, and Anthony Gilchrist.

Brandon – The Bobcats late season run to 9-11 was one of the good stories in Canada West this Winter, and Coach Gil Cheung will be working hard at building on that momentum. They have some key players graduating this Spring, including scorer-rebounder Earl Thompson Jr, shooter Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem. The ‘Cats do have some young talent in guards Tyvon Cooper, a CW all-star,  and Pookie Saunders. John Paul will be a 5th year leader up front, along with rookie Kobyn Jopp, and Tyler Anderson.

2017 Rookie of the Year, Scott Kellum, will lead the Vikes next season.

Victoria –  The Vikes lose their go-to scorer, Grant Sitton, and Coach Craig Beaucamp has wasted no time trying to improve on their 9-11 League mark.  Scott Kellum, a headsy guard from Washington state, is the 2017 Canada West Rookie of the Year, and a solid building block. Vlad Zasmolin (Calgary-Churchill)  could be a ‘sleeper’ off the red-shirt list, and UVic returns several young rotation players in Jake Newman, J.J. Hamel- Carey, and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson.  We understand that TRU’s impressive rookie, 6-1 guard Trent Monkman, will be a red-shirt with the Vikes this Fall.  Coach Beaucamp was busy early, and has signed 6-7 Hunter Hughes from Surrey (Southridge), Andrew Goertzen, a 6-8 fwd from Walnut Grove (Langley), 6-11 Eric Hegadoran from Lambrick Park, Victoria, 6-2 Jaden Touchie, Victoria, Oak Bay, and 6-3 guard Aaron Tesfegiorgis, from Calgary – Notre Dame.  Very busy.

More team reports up-coming  _________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime – 

 

Ravens Triumph to Reach 7 Straight Titles

 

Kaza Kajami-Keane pilots the Ravens to a 7th straight U-Sports title              (photo – Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

#2  Carleton Ravens 78   #1  Ryerson  Rams  69  –  The Ravens win their 7th straight U-Sports National Championship, the 2nd team, after the 1980-’86 Victoria Vikes,  to ever accomplish that amazing feat.  Carleton also have an unprecedented 13 titles in 15 seasons from their 1st championship in 2003.

Prior to the game, Coach Dave Smart was talking up the strength of the opposing Ryerson Rams  and suggesting that his Ravens would be hard-pressed to stay with the 2 -time OUA champions.  But, as they have for so many years, Carleton came out with a purpose, and they flew to an 11 point lead at the half, as the Rams could manage only 30% from the field.

The lead swells to 24 for the defending champs by the mid-point in the 3rd period, despite the rare cold-shooting afternoon from Canadian University Player of the Year, Connor Wood.  A noted 3-point assassin, in his 5th and final season, Wood can only sink 1 of 8 FG attempts, and is 0/7 from outside. 

Ryerson rallies for the next 13 minutes, and their quick hands create some discomfort for the Ravens’ guards. Closing to within 6 points with 1:30 left in the 4th, the Rams are halted by Wood’s lone basket and subsequent and-one free throw at the 20 second mark.

Three Carleton scorers do hit double figures, with 5th year forward Ryan Ejim pacing them with 19 pts/ 9 rebs. 5th year point guard Kaza Kajami-Keane controls play for much of the game, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds, while 6th man guard, Emmanuel Owootoah, scored all of his 12 points on 4 of 7 from 3 point range.

The Rams just did not shoot the ball well enough to win.  They are 35% from the floor, and 65% from the line.  Their 2nd half rally came from too far back, and they fall short at the finish. Adika Peter-McNeilly is the game’s high scorer with 23 points, and post man Adam Voll contributes 12 points / 9 rebounds.  Ammannuel Diressa fights some early frustration, and chips in with 11 points / 7 boards.

This is an historic win for Coach Smart and the Ravens, who prove once again, that they are the team to beat for the foreseeable future.   Box Score  

 

Tigers use their defense and free throws to win the bronze

 #5 Dalhousie Tigers  69  #3 McGill Redmen 63  –  You shoot 37% from the floor, and the opponent hits 50%. They hit 8 treys, and you only 2 !  Trouble, yes?  Well, not in this case.  Dalhousie forces 21 McGill turnovers, and the Tigers  binge on 27/37 free throws  vs 9/13 for the Redmen.

Quirky scoring summary … 2 Dal starters, Jarred Reid and Ritchie Kanza Mata, count all their points from the foul line. 8 of 9 for Reid and 9/11 from Kanza Mata.  The Tigers get 20 points/ 5 rebs from Sven Stammberger, and Jordan Aquino-Serjue hits 10 points off the bench.

McGill spread the scoring, with 3 in double digits, led by 17 from the dependable Jenning Leung, as he cashes 4 of 6 attempts from 3. Francois Bourque scores 14 and adds 9 boards, while Dale Ogundokun tallies 13 points/ 4 rebs/ 3 assists.

Dal wins the bronze, and were just one shot away from their shot at a championship in Saturday’s semi.  McGill is going home empty-handed, despite some very solid play.        Box Score   

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Overtime –

  • Neil Murphy, a senior researcher for CW Hoops, reminds us that these 2 finalists, Carleton and Ryerson feature a totally home-grown roster.  Unlike most teams in Canada West, neither the Rams nor the Ravens have any import players in their line-up, which is a testimony to the depth of talent in Ontario, we would suggest.
  • The Ravens graduate Wood, Kaza Kajami-Keane, Ryan Ejim, and Joe Rocca.

    Ryan Ejim has been a big force inside for the Ravens.

    Will those losses mean that the Carleton run is at an end?   Probably not … they usually attract top talent every year, and they still have a strong returning group.  Ryerson say good-bye to Adika Peter-McNeilly, while Dalhousie is going to miss Kashrell Lawrence, Ritchie Kanza-Mata, Jarred Reid, and Ryan Stroud. McGill has no 5th year players, but a couple of their 4th years may move on.  Calgary graduates Thomas Cooper, Jasdeep Gill, Dallas Karch, and 4th year, Mitch Ligertwood. Saint Marys loses starters Marquis Clayton, Brian Rouse, Achuil Lual, and Theon Reefer. (There’s a recruiting challenge!). Manitoba has 4 key players departing – A.J Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, Jonathan Alexander, and Brett Jewell. Alberta graduates their 7-1 post man, Brett Roughead .

  •  The Women’s Finals 8 from Victoria Sunday –   Championship – McGill 66  Laval 55 – the 1st for McGill.            Bronze –      Carleton 53 Queens  43 

Rams Challenge Ravens in All- OUA National Final

 

 

Ravens chasing 7 straight, after their defense stops the Redmen

Ravens Connor Wood to the hoop vs McGill  – (photo – Trevor MacMillan)

#2  Carleton Ravens 74    #3 McGill Redmen  58 –  The Ravens stay on track as they chase their 7th straight National crown.  CU get out to a 17 point lead at the break, and hold steady in the 2nd half. Again, their offensive rebounding gives them a big edge (14-7), and their ball-handling is 100% better (only 9 TOs) than it was in their 1st round win against Calgary.

The Black Birds’ 3 point shooters weren’t hot as a team, but Connor Wood had his usual sharp eye, cashing 4/7 from outside, as he led the scoring with 20 pts plus 5 rebounds. Kaza Kajami-Keane, who, along with Wood, hardly left the floor,  had a serious impact at both ends, with 16 points/ 5 rebounds/ 7 assts/ 3 steals.  Eddie Ekiyor and Emmanuel Owootoah hit 10 points each, with Ekiyor adding 6 rebounds.

The Redmen threw their vaunted defense at Carleton, led by the three-some of Dale Ogundokun, Jenning Leung, and Michael Peterkin, and except for the 25 points surrendered in the 2nd quarter, they were solid.   Foul shooting let the Reds down, as they hit just  61% on 14/23 attempts, while the defending champions score 15/19 – 79% at their end.

It was the Ravens defense that made the big statement, limiting McGill shooters to 37.5% FG, with Leung the MU high man at 13 points, largely on his fine 4/9 from 3 point range.  Ogundokun  toiled for a full 38 minutes  for his 10 pts/ 7 rebounds/ 5 assists.

Carleton will play Ryerson, the team to whom they lost the recent OUA title game, in the U-Sports Final on Sunday at 1 pm.   Ryerson meets Dalhousie for the bronze at 10:30.

Box Score  

 

Rams survive a ‘back-yard brawl’ in win over Dalhousie

Ryerson’s  Adika Peter-McNeilly  shoots over McGill’s  Warren Liang                                        (photo – Trevor MacMillan)

#1  Ryerson  Rams 59  #5 Dalhousie Tigers 58 –  This was a tense nail-biter of a contest, with neither team able to operate a consistently efficient attack vs the other’s defense.  A total of 41 turnovers, and  36-37% shooting  reduced the ‘marks for artistic impression’.  This was more of a ‘back-alley brawl, with one star from each team being assessed the magic 5 fouls.

In fact, it may have been Richie  Kanza  Mata’s  5th with 3:10 remaining that took away a necessary key for the Tigers.  Ammanuel Diressa drew his 5th for the Rams, but not until the final seconds.

Up by 10 early in the 2nd quarter, Dal found themselves fighting desperately in the final frame, on the short end of a 56-50 count at the 4:30 mark. Diressa hits a pair of free throws for Ryerson to make it 59-56 with just under a minute on the clock. Sven Stammberger hit 2 freebies for Dalhousie, but that was all the scoring, as Kashrell Lawrence’s 3 point attempt for the Dal win bounces off with 3 seconds left.

Filip Vujadinovic, a 3rd year, 6-7 forward from Burlington, ON, had 16 points/ 5 rebs as 6th man for the OUA champs.  He got help from Diressa , who hit 15 pts/ 3 rebs/ 2 steals, and Adika Peter-McNeilly, with his 13 pts/ 7 rebs/ 3 steals.

The Tigers could not complete this one critical come-back to reach the gold medal game, with only 5 points off their bench.  Lawrence tallied 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 3 steals, and Jarred Reid chipped in with 13 pts/ 8 rebs/3 steals .       Box Score     

Ryerson get a crack at Carleton again in the all-OUA  National Final, while the Tigers meet McGill for the bronze. Sunday: bronze-medal game, 10:30 a.m.; gold-medal game, 1 p.m.

The Championship Final will be on Sportsnet One, with the Bronze Medal contest available via webcast on U-Spots TV1

 

Consolation Final – Calgary Dinos 96  Saint Marys Huskies 65 –   ‘Playing possum’ ?  We’re not sure, but the Dinos go down 38 – 34 in a not atypically slow 1st half, and then … 62 in the final 20 minutes?!  Nice half-time ‘refresher’ !  There are 39 turnovers in this somewhat predictable ‘YMCA’ Classic .

This one turns into a blow-out in the 3rd , with Calgary on their way to 58.5% shooting from the field, vs 32% for the Huskies. UC are 8/15 – 53% from 3 vs 21% for SMU. Thomas Cooper has another fine effort with 28 points in his final game for Calgary, adding 8 rebs/ 4 assists/ 4 steals. Mambi Diawara is sharp again with 15 pts/ 6 assts/ 4 steals, and Connor Foreman follows up a good one on Friday with 14 points in 16 minutes here.

For SMU, it’s Marquis Clayton the leader with 18 pts/ 6 rebs, then Will Flander scoring 9 with 7 boards and 3 steals, and Achuil Lual scoring 10 pts/ 5 rebs .   Box Score   

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Overtime –

  •  The Women’s Finals 8 from Victoria  Saturday – 

Semi #1   Laval 78 vs Queens  67 

Semi #2      McGill 66 vs Carleton 60 

 Consolation Final  –      Regina 79    Saskatchewan  76

  • On Sunday –     bronze medal game  at 10 am (Pacific)  on  U-Sports TV1 Championship at 1 pm   on   Sportsnet 360 TV