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?
- Game schedule … Thursday, Oct 5 – Calgary Cup starts at UC – Dinos vs McGill, McMaster vs Acadia … Saskatchewan at Toronto, Bishops at Victoria, Laurentian at Brandon, NAIT at Thompson Rivers
- Congratulations to TRU’s Ken Olynyk, who has announced his retirement as the school’s Athletic Director. Olynyk, a former player in the CIS, and a coach at U. Lethbridge, U. Toronto, and with the WolfPack, has had a very positive impact on basketball and sport at TRU. We wish him well, and hope he enjoys the extra time he will have to enjoy family and recreational pursuits. Ken will likely still be involved with hoops in some way, even beyond being a spectator at son Kelly’s NBA games! More in this story from TRU Athletics.