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 

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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   

Huskies Grind Out a Split With the Bears

 

Alberta makes it close, but the Huskies grind-out a big win

at # 9 Saskatchewan  68  # 7  Alberta  65 –   Facing a 43-28 half-time deficit, Alberta charged back to tie it, then lead it several times in the 4th quarter.  Saskatchewan (12-6) finally wins it on free throws in the last seconds, and get a crucial split.  Defense over-shadows offense in this one, as both squads settle for 39% FG shooting. Shayne Osayande has another notable outing for the Huskies with 23 pts/ 11 rebounds , while Seniors, Matt Forbes (14 pts/ 7 rebs) and Trevor Severinski (12 pts/ 5 boards) are also difference-makers.  Alberta are now 13-5, as they get 19 pts/ 6 rebs from Brody Clarke, and both Austin Waddoups  and Mamadou Gueye scoring 17 each.   Box Score    

at Brandon  92  Manitoba  77  –   This is a banner weekend for the Bobcats , as they clip their provincial rivals, Manitoba, twice, and on Saturday they fashion as good a game as they’ve had all season. The ‘Cats out-shoot (44%-38%), out-rebound (58-40) the Bisons, while beating UM to the ball on most chances.  Earl Thompson Jr racks up 27 points/ 12 rebounds to lead the way, and Tyvon Cooper is good for 22 points, including 12/12 from the line. BU’s 6-11 post man, John Paul, is a force, with 18 points/ 15 boards and 4 blocks. Manitoba have Justus Alleyn with 26 points/ 6 rebs, but they never real threaten as the Bobcats build on their lead in the 4th quarter.   Box Score  

at  Winnipeg 87 Regina  81 –    Replicating their late surge for a Friday win, the Wesmen

come-from-behind for the sweep with a 26-19 4th quarter.  The senior guard, Jamar Farley goes 6/10 from deep, and leads Winnipeg scorers with 22.  Sean Tarver has a strong finish and tallies 20 points, as the Ws move up to 12-6, and in good shape to claim a home play-off start. Regina (7-11) may be on the outside after these 2 losses, as the Cougars just could not finish either game. They get 18 points each from Alex Igual (5 asst/ 5 steals)  and Johneil Johnson (9 rebs)  Box Score

Calgary 76 at Thompson Rivers 60 –   The Dinos have control of this one with a dominating 24-10 spread in the 3rd quarter.  Despite an unusually cold weekend for 3 point range, UC gets a valuable sweep, and move  up to 14-4.  Thomas Cooper has 19 pts/ 8 rebs to lead the way, with David Kapinga tacking on 17 points/ 5 rebs/ 6 assists/ 5 steals. Buzz-saw.  Calgary is aided by an aggressive defense, forcing 24 TRU turnovers to only 11 for the Dinos.  Volodymyr Iegorov notches 16 pts/ 8 boards in his final home game for the Orange, while rookie Trent Monkman pours in several late hoops to post 15 pts.  The Wolf-Pack are now 8-10, and still having to scrap for a post-season next weekend.  Box Score 

 

at  MacEwan  93  UBC-Okanagan  64 –    A decisive win for MacEwan on their Senior Night, as they  improve to  7-11, with a chance of a play-off berth still alive.  51 points in the 2nd half presses the issue, as GMU shoots 52% from the floor, getting 25 points/ 8 rebs from Thadius Galvez.  5th year wing, Denzel James, adds 22 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 blks, and Keith Gerdes has 18 pts.   UBC-O (2-16) are led by Aldrich Berrios’ 21 points, and 19 pts/ 8 boards by rookie Triston MatthewsBox Score

Trinity Western  71 at  Mt. Royal  54   –  It’s 48-18 TWU in the final 20 minutes, as the visitors grab a satisfying split after a dispiriting loss Friday.  The Cougars, overall, seemed listless in this one, with 28 turnovers providing Trinity all the extra chances they needed. Max Vitala, scores 21 points/ 5 rebs/ 5 steals, while the Spartans also get 17 points and 10 big rebounds from Patrick Vandervelden Pogos Trunyan looks steady at the point for TWU, and ge records 16 pts/ 5 rebs/5 steals, and his team gets to 3-15 in the standings.  MRU (8-10) shoot just 37%, with Josh Ross grabbing 16 rebounds to go with 8 points, and the 2 graduating players, Derek Wolf and Brett Layton (9 boards)  hit 11 and 10 points respectively.   Box Score  

logo UFV

at Fraser Valley  89  Victoria  79 –   A sweep for the Cascades, raising their play-off chances , at 9-9, and dimming UVic’s with their drop to 7-11.  UFV ring up 8 points in the final 20 minutes to pull away, as 5 Cascades go for double digits on the score-sheet. Denver Sparks-Guest has a good outing off the bench, with 19 pts/ 6 rebs, while 5th year guard, Vijay Dhillon, scores 17/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts, and Nav Bains records an 11 point/ 11 rebound double. The Vikes’ Justin Kinnear stands out with a 24 point/ 5 rebound game, and rookie Scott Kellum hits 17 pts/ 4 assts.  Box Score   

 at   UBC  109  UNBC  61   –   It may have been a slow start for the Thunderbirds, but they got rolling to the tune of 72 points in the 2nd half !  UBC are now 17-1 heading into the final week of League play, while the T’ Wolves fall to 4-14. Jordan Jensen-Whyte scores 24/ 5 rebs for the ‘Birds, and Conor Morgan tosses in 20 pts/ 6 boards, as the whole line-up is utilized in this blow-out.  Rhys Elliott has a good one for UNBC with 23 points, and Vaggelis Loukas adds 16 pts/ 9 rebounds.  Box Score   

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Scores from the East –

Atlantic –  at #10 Dalhousie 91 Memorial  69, UNB 107 at UPEI  92 , at Acadia 114 Cape Breton 99

Quebec – # 8 McGill 87 at Bishops 59 , Concordia 57 at Laval  55

In the OUA …  at # 4 Brock 71 W. Laurier 58, Waterloo 83 at McMaster 62 , at Lakehead 68  Nipissing  57,  Western 86 at Algoma 75,  at Laurentian 79 Guelph 50 , at Toronto  85 Queens  77

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Overtime –

  • Why didn’t Manny Dulay and Nav Bains of UFV start vs UVic  in Friday’s big game?  Here’s the story from Dan Kinvig, Fraser Valley Communications Coordinator, ‘ With the Lower Mainland of B.C. buffeted by a rare snowstorm  … Dulay and teammate Nav Bains, traveling from their hometown of Surrey to UFV’s Envision Athletic Centre, were stuck  … and the clock ticked ever-closer to game time. We’ll let Dulay pick up the story from here.’  “We were in the left lane (headed eastbound), and the right lane opened up,” he began. “As we switched, Nav’s car started swerving and we actually did a 360 (degree spin) in both lanes. We ended up in the left lane, but now we’re facing these cars (going in the same direction). Luckily, no one was coming right behind us, and everyone went around us. We didn’t end up in the ditch, and no car hit us.  We didn’t want to tell anyone (when we got to the gym), but we actually almost died.”
  • Jamar Farlay, Winnipeg’s 5th year guard, knows how to celebrate Senior Night, as he buries 6 treys for the Wesmen, and breaks away for a buzzer-beating flush to finish the 3rd quarter.  His efforts pace the W’s to a sweep, and well on the way to a good play-off seed.  And how about the final home appearance for Brandon’s Earl Thompson Jr, who goes for 27 points/ 12 rebounds  in the ‘Cats 2nd consecutive win over Manitoba.
  • Not sure why it would be a violation for several players to leap up off the bench and cheer the efforts of teammates on the floor.  Enthusiasm, joy, congratulations.  If it’s not ‘excessive’ , why create an unnecessary rule conflict ?
  • Fitting congratulations from Trinity Western Coach, Aaron Muhic, for his troops after their fine effort in a win at Mt. Royal, “It was a good win for our guys tonight,” said  .. Muhic. “I’m very proud of our toughness and willingness to compete. We finally had a game where we put the little things together and we attacked for most of the game. It was a great overall team effort.”  (From TWU’s Mark Janzen). 

 

 

3 Teams Moving Up the Standings

 

 

Teams Making Headway – ‘Horns and Wesmen tied up, and UFV surges

We have 3 teams getting a sweep in League play last weekend … Lethbridge –  Now with 8 wins, they get a home sweep over UNBC, and will host Saskatchewan in a ‘heat – check’ kind of match-up this coming Friday/Saturday.  Their addition of Junior Sesay will add depth, especially if he rounds into game shape in the next couple of weeks.   Winnipeg –  also with 2 wins at home (TWU), are tied for 4th place with the ‘Horns.  The Ws have a ‘friendly schedule’, but Coach Raimbault will be reminding his troops that any team is dangerous (TWU !).    Fraser Valley –  get to .500 with as good a pair of games as they’ve played this season. The Cascades guards can fill it up, as they did vs MacEwan, and their bigs are starting to make a larger ‘foot-print’.

Just flesh wounds for the Bears, T’Birds,  and Dinos as each of the U-Sport Top 10 squads take a loss in the head-to-head action.  The Huskies rise up with a ‘renewed purpose’ to take 1 from UBC, and their new guard, Lawrence Moore, will be a plus as they challenge the other contenders.  (***  12 teams to make the play-offs)

High Impact Performers last week –

The smartly dressed Conor Morgan takes over as CW scoring leader.

UBC’s Conor Morgan (25.3) supplants the Dinos Thomas Cooper (24.3) as Canada West’s scoring leader, helped by that 30 point game in Saskatoon.  Next are UL’s Elliott Sentance at 19.6 ppg, Mt. Royal’s Josh Ross at 19.3, and Saskatchewan’s Shane Osayande with 19.0.

Mr. ‘Double-Double’ (no, not coffee!)  Osayande  tops the rebounding at 11.0, just ahead of MRU’s Brett Layton, 10.9 (16.2 ppg for his double), with Josh Ross of the Cougars just under at 9.9 rpg

Quirky stat … The top 5 shooters  from beyond the 3 pt arc are from Alberta schools!  Charn Gill, MRU– 53.8%, Austin Waddoups, Alberta -52.2%, Geoff Pippus, Alberta-50.9%, Ivan Ikomey, Alberta- 50%, and Jasdeep Gill, Calgary-47.6%

Other than Morgan’s ‘Top 10’ game -breaking effort (and his 52 pts/11 rebs/ 5

photo- aldrich berrios

50 point weekend for Okanagan’s Aldrich Berrios      photo –  UBC-O Athletics

blocked shots in the Sask series), here are some more  star performers from January’s 1st week –  Mt. Royal’s Brett Layton, at less than 100% physically, still pours in 42 pts and grabs 33 rebounds vs Brandon … the Bobcats’ Earl Thompson Jr returns the favour, with his 39 pts/ 28 boards in 2 tight games …  Elliott Sentance records 2 doubles for the Pronghorns, as his accurate artillery fire nets 40 points, and he adds 21 rebounds … his ‘Horns’ ‘partner in crime’, Dejon Burdeaux, directs the UL action in their sweep, with his 44 pts/6 asst/5 steals …  Max Vitala, TWU, racks up 40 pts in 2 games at Wpg … Aldrich Berrios totals 50 points in a productive home weekend for his UBC-O Heat  …  Berrios’ 5th year Heat teammate, Mitch Goodwin steps up both nights as well, with 43 pts/11 rebs …  5th year forward Keith Gerdes does his best for Mac with his 2 game series of 45 points at UFV.

Single game wonders include  – The Cascades’ Manny Dulay, with a very hot hand, going 7/9 from 3 pt range in scoring 23 pts/ 5 steals in Saturday’s 2nd straight win over the Griffs … Grant Sitton hit 30 pts/ 7 rebs in helping the Vikes to a road win on Friday at TRU …  6-7 Patrick Vandervelden spurs on the Spartans as he hangs up a most impressive 20 pts/ 18 rebs double at Winnipeg.

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Atlantic  Standings –

This isn’t something you see every day, week, year.  In fact, when was the last time the mighty SeaHawks ruled the roost in the AUS?   The ‘smart money’ might say that Dal Tigers will eventually rise to the top.  Meanwhile, Vasilije Curcic (17.4 ppg/ 8.6 rebs) and ‘mates are enjoying a season to remember ‘On the Rock’ !

Cape Breton, on the other hand, are looking for the least little ray of hope, as their fortunes have certainly faded.

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Overtime –

  • One has to love the ‘glass-more-than-half-full’  attitude of Trinity Coach Aaron Muhic !   His team plays very well at Winnipeg in a close loss on Saturday,  “We were very focused tonight,” said  Muhic. “Our team competed. Anytime we hold a team to under 38 per cent from the field, we have a chance to win. That is what we worked for and we had a chance to win. I thought that Patrick (Vandervelden), Tee (Maberry, ), Max (Vitala), and Vartan (Tanielian ) were amazing on the boards. This was by far our best game rebounding thus far.  I’m proud of our team effort tonight.”
  • Canada West Women’s –  Top 2 –  Alberta 11-1 ,  Winnipeg 11-1 …  In hot pursuit – UBC   8-2, Regina 8-2 …  Play-off  threats – Calgary  7-3,  Fraser Valley 7-3, TWU 7-5, Victoria 6-4,  Saskatchewan  6-4 .  Teams are very close on any single game.  Calgary hands Alberta their 1st loss on Saturday, and Trinity gets an upset roadie over Winnipeg as well.  There may not be a clearly dominant team, or even 2 or 3 who are so far ahead.  The 2nd half will be very competitive!

Carroll Exploits Foul-line Visits

 

UL turnovers and more foul line visits give Saints a winning edge

Lethbridge team photo of Dejon Burdeaux

24 points by Dejon Burdeaux lead the ‘Horns in Montana.

The Lethbridge Pronghorns shot the ball well enough to get a win in their road game with Carroll College on Saturday. But, 24 turnovers hand-cuffed the ‘Horns and gave the Fighting Saints a big advantage in their 12th straight win over Lethbridge.

UL was 53% from the field, slightly better than the Saints 50% , but Carroll had the big edge of 20/25 free throws vs just 5/6  for the visitors. Lethbridge was led by Dejon Burdeaux with 22 points, Elliott Sentance scored 15 and DeAngelo Ashley had 12.   Box Score     …  Next up for Lethbridge will be a home date on December 28 vs Montana State-Northern.

 

 

2nd half slump sinks Spartans 

Working from a hopeful 41-34 halftime deficit the TWU Spartans scored only 10 points in the final 20 minutes to fall by an 82-44 count to home- standing U. Alaska- Anchorage Sea Wolves on Saturday.

The Seawolves go 41 to 10 in the second half as 16 Trinity turnovers (to 6 for UAA) give the home team just that many more  opportunities. The Spartans shoot just 30% from the field and were out-rebounded 55-37. Post man Patrick Vandervelden had 12 points for TWU, while import guard, Pogos Trunyan,  added 11 points . Box Score     The same 2 teams play Sunday in Anchorage.

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Upcoming CIS games –

Sunday, Dec 18 – Trinity Western at Alaska-Anchorage

Monday, Dec 19 – Trinity Western at Alaska-Fairbanks

U. of Calgary Dinos logo

Calgary Dinos make an early break to warm weather. 3 games in Arizona this week.

Tuesday, Dec 20 – Calgary Dinos vs Montana Tech  at Chandler, AZ

Weds , Dec 21 – Calgary vs Warner-Pacific  at Chandler, AZ

Thurs, Dec 22- Calgary vs Arizona Christian U.  at Phoenix, AZ

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Overtime –

  • “Maybe next year we can play Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine the Canada West Final Four.”  So says Kamloops This Week columnist, Adam Williams, as he discusses the Canada West Basketball schedule and play-offs.  Williams’ somewhat facetious take on the play-off ranking system is highlighted in this ‘Fooled ‘Em Again’ column from Thursday’s KTW article.
  •  Mea culpa … We used too many toes to count the #6 ranked NAIA team Carroll College 11 game win streak over Lethbridge. 11(now 12) , not 16 !

    TWU photo of Josiah Meppelink

    Rookie point man, Josiah Meppelink.

  • As if they needed the added hardship, the Trinity Western Spartans suffered the loss of floor leader, Tyus Allen, to a season-ending knee injury in late November.  This moved Coach Aaron Muhic to insert 6-3 rookie, Josiah Meppelink , (Lynden Christian, WA) at the point.  His 6 assists were a plus for the Spartans in their loss to UA-Anchorage, as he now ‘learns on the fly’.

 

 

 

 

 

Hoops Teams Travel on Holidays

 

 

Canada West Hoops Holiday Schedules –

Denzel Lynch- Blair and his Wesmen will play host to the 50th Annual Wesmen Classic.

The 16 hoops teams of Canada West who have competitive plans for the Holiday season certainly have a contrast in destinations!  Winnipeg is popular !  But then, so is Phoenix, AZ!  Or, how about California ?   

The Winnipeg Wesmen play host to 5 other Canada West squads at their  50th Annual  Wesmen Classic, Dec 28-30th. The longest -running Canadian University tournament also includes Algoma  and Lakehead  from the Ontario league.  Already we’ve had 16 Junior Varsity teams play the first 3 rounds of their JV Classic, with the Final set for Dec 27. Also set to go on the 27th will be the High School (SR) Boys Wesmen Classic, with 8 teams competing and the Final on Dec 30. The University Classic  has Winnipeg- Algoma and Manitoba-Regina on the top half of the draw, then Brandon-Victoria and Alberta-Lakehead on the other.

Volodymyr Iegorov and his TRU Wolf Pack will be in California after Christmas.

California –

Saskatchewan is in Costa Mesa, CA for an  NAIA Tourney vs  Hope Int’l and  Vanguard U.

Thompson Rivers travels to Lancaster , CA  for 2 games  Dec 29-30

MacEwan is also in Lancaster, CA against Vanguard U. and Hope International .

Phoenix –

Calgary is in Phoenix  Dec 20- 22- vs Montana Tech, Warner -Pacific, Arizona -Christian

UBC  T’Birds are also in the Phoenix area for 3 games .

Montana – 

Lethbridge is at Carroll College, Helena, MT on Dec 17, then Montana St- Northern is at UL  Dec 28

Calgary switches venues (and climates!) as they go to U. Great Falls, MT on Dec 28,  then play in the Rocky Mountain College Tournament – Dec 29-30

Coach Aaron Muhic takes his Spartans back to his own ‘home-town’ of Anchorage.

Alaska –

In early action after exams … Trinity Western will travel to Alaska to play two exhibition games against the University of Alaska Anchorage (NCAA Div. II) Dec. 17-18 and vs University of Alaska-Fairbanks (NCAA Div. II) Dec. 19.

Montreal – 

UNBC T’Wolves venture East for the UQAM Tournament … Dec 29-31 vs UQAM, Guelph, Memorial

Halifax – 

The Mt. Royal Cougars make the long trip to play in the Rod Shoveller Tournament at Dalhousie U. in downtown Halifax on Dec 29-31  … teams are Dal-MRU, Ottawa-UPEI, St. FX-Acadia, Saint Mary’s-Queens

Kelowna

Staying very close to home, the UBC-O Heat entertain the Camosun Chargers (Victoria) on Dec 30

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Overtime –

Jonathan Tull celebrates a career milestone !        Photo-  UR Athletics

  • From Jonathan Tull and the Regina Cougars, a tribute to personal dedication and persistence.  A Twitter note from the 2016 Canada West All-Star and his coaches for the Regina Cougars, who remark on another significant honour.  Tull named an Academic All-Canadian !
  • The TWU Spartans are making a Christmas holiday trip to Alaska, largely because of the  personal connections of Head Coach Aaron Muhic, a star player and graduate of East Anchorage High School in 1987.
  • Coach Craig Beaucamp and the UVic Vikes make the earliest recruiting news for Fall 2017, with the announced signing of Oak Bay High School’s Jaden Touchie, a 6-1 guard with B.C. Juvenile team experience.  More details from Vikes Athletics 

 

 

TWU / UNBC – Small School Challenges

 

Spartans and Timberwolves Face an Uphill Path

–  2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

These 2 B.C. schools are among the smallest, by population, in Canada West, and have quite a task in trying to match the resources and recruiting power of many of the larger programs. Despite this, the TWU Spartans, about 6-8 years ago were very competitive in this League with the likes of Jacob Doerksen, Brian Banman, and Jason Keegstra.  UNBC has yet to make that kind of impact, but  Coach Todd Jordan and his boys were 12-8 just 2 years ago with Rhys Elliott and Franko Kouagnia leading the way.

With this new 17 team League, there are now games against some of the much bigger schools for the T’Wolves, and Trinity is definitely in a ‘re-building phase’.  Both teams have some new faces who should help the cause for the upcoming year, but ‘it’s never easy’.

Trinity Western Spartans
No playoffs                  1 win   19 losses      (Pioneer Division)

Returnees – TWU copy
4th years –  4th years – Peter Spangehl, 6-3 wing, Surrey, BC.  Pogos Trunyan, 6-2, guard, (red-shirt last yr), Sacramento, CA … 3rd years – Tyus Allen, 6-1, guard,  White Rock, BC.  Vartan Tanielian, 6-4 guard, Surrey. Patrick Vandervelden, 6-10 forward, 3rd, Abbotsford.  Josiah Allison,  6-2, guard, 3rd, Abbotsford.  Eric Rogers, 6-4 guard,  Chilliwack.   2nd year –  Matt Hayashi, 7-1 post,  Langley … 1st year- Nathan Allison,  6-0 guard (redshirt ’15-’16), Abbotsford.

New faces –   Nick Smith, 6-4 fwd, 3rd,   Surrey (Kwantlen Poly U.). Max Viitala, 3rd, G, 6-5,  Melbourne, AUS  , Ambrose Univ. Coll., (Calgary).  Taturs Maberry, 6-6 post, 3rd, Pasadena, CA  (Los Angeles Valley Col.), Josiah Meppelink,  6-3 guard, 1st,   Langley ( Lynden Christian) Nigel Boyd, 6-3 guard, 1st,   Richmond  (Steveston- London), Aaron Paetkau, 6-5 wing, 1st, Parksville BC (Ballenas), Daniel Stead, 6-7 Wing, 1st, Langley (Walnut Grove), Justin Robinson, 6-1 guard, 1st,   Maple Ridge,  ( Maple Ridge Christian), Ben Reddy, 6-3 guard, 1st,  Victoria (Lambrick Park)

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-4-46-48-pm

California transfer, Pogos Trunyan (L) and returnee post man, Patrick Vandervelden (L) will be key to the fortunes of TWU.

With a young team coming off a very difficult ’15-’16 season, Coach Aaron Muhic starts his 2nd season at TWU counting on some of his returnees to bring a higher skill level and the determination to help the team move up. “The guys have a good team attitude, and we’re happy with how they work together”, said Muhic. “We certainly have challenges, but we also feel we have the pieces to make things better this year.”

Guard, Tyus Allen, who returns after a year off, “ … may have to shake the rust off,” says the coach, “but he has the skill and experience to be a leader.”  Muhic also points to 3rd year guard, Josiah Allison, who has shown “an aggressive style, and looks good in early workouts.”  Guard, Vartan Tanielian, and big forward, Patrick Vandervelden, should be set for impactful seasons with more playing experience.  Coach Muhic also has high hopes for 2nd year tower, Matt Hayashi, who, the coach tells us, “Is working hard, and starting to get more comfortable with his role.”

Pogos Trunyan played for Coach Muhic in the California College League, and he will be expected to give the Spartans scoring and floor leadership, after red-shirting in Langley in 2015-16. “He is eager to go, and has adapted very well to the International style of play, and his academic program at TWU”, says Muhic. Another import, Taturs Maberry, is a candidate for valuable contributions in scoring and rebounding. Local recruit, Joseph Meppelink, is a very capable high school grad, who has the size and skill to get him into the playing rotation.

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at UBC-O, home and home vs Fraser Valley, at UNBC, vs Regina, vs Lethbridge   …  Jan/Feb –   at Winnipeg, vs Manitoba, at Victoria, at Mt. Royal, vs UBC   Prediction –  Will improve, but tough to reach the top 12


U. Northern BC Timberwolves
’15-’16 – No playoffs                 4 wins    16 losses  (Explorer Division)

Returnees – 5th years – Rhys Elliott,  6-1 guard, Adelaide, Aus. Elliot Rowe, 5-9 guard, Victoria   … 4th years –  Marcus MacKay, 6-4 wing, Terrace, BC.  Nolan Hanson, 6-1 guard, Prince George.  Austin Chandler, 6-6 fwd, Wenatchee, WA  … 3rd years – Vaggelis Loukas, 6-5 fwd, Athens, GR  … 2nd years – Anthony Hokanson, 6-5 fwd, Vancouver.  Saje Gosal, 6-5 wing, Golden, BC.  Neal Randhawa, 6-4 guard, Golden.UNBC copy
New faces –   James Agyeman, 5-11 guard, 3rd,  Brampton, ON (tsf- W. Laurier). Sam Zhang, 6-4 fwd, Pitt Meadows, BC (tsf Capilano Coll.) . Tyrell Laing, 6-0 guard, 1st year, Prince George (Prince George).  (RS) Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, 6-0 guard, Kharkiv, Ukraine (MBC Mykolaiv – Ukraine Superleague).

Todd Jordan, now in his 8th season in Prince George as Head Coach, is hoping 2016-’17 brings a little less pain than last year.  Injuries took away key players for far too many games, and it was tough to get any continuity.  “We were were going with a patch-work lineup from one series to the next”, said Jordan.

The Timberwolves get Nolan Hanson back after he missed almost all of ’15-’16, and Anthony Hokanson, Sam Zhang, and James Agyeman are now available.  Agyeman, a transfer from Laurier of the OUA, can step in as a skilled point man, and boost the guard corps. He and a healthy 5th year stalwart, Elliot Rowe ,should be a good combo at that spot. Rhys Elliott, another 5th year player,  returns as the ‘Wolves leading scorer (18 ppg, 7th in Canada West, 5 rebs and 2.3 assists.)

Two offensive threats for UNBC - Rhys Elliott (L) and Marcus MacKay (R)

Two offensive threats for UNBC – Rhys Elliott (L) and Marcus MacKay (R)

“We’ve had a good ‘off-season’”, says Jordan. “The guys have come back in great shape, and we have more experience as a whole team.”   Jordan says he is looking to several returnees to have significantly better campaigns, including wing, Marcus MacKay, a real 3 point threat.  Vaggelis Loukas will also be a key leader, with his toughness, scoring ability, and maturity as a player.

Rebounding is a focus for UNBC, as they struggled to meet their goals last year.  Jordan says, “We definitely know we have to improve, and everyone needs to play a part, if we want to get our share every game.”  The ‘Wolves take care of the ball very well, and have quality depth on the perimeter to ensure that continues.  Finding an interior presence on offense, and at least fighting to a draw on the boards are top priorities.

“This League gets very interesting as we meet the ‘Pioneer‘ schools, and every weekend is big if we are to contend for a playoff spot”, says Coach Jordan. “Maybe we can surprise a few favourites as our team comes together; we know the guys will work hard, and we think we will give it a good run.”

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at Winnipeg, vs Alberta, vs Trinity Western, at Fraser Valley, vs Thompson Rivers,   Jan/Feb –  at Lethbridge, vs Mt. Royal, at Manitoba, at UBC, vs Saskatchewan     Prediction –  Tough road to  playoffs


 

Does size of schools matter ?inthebleachers-jumpball

If we looked at Canada West as an ocean, we’d be seeing whales, shrimp and everything in between.  From UBC, the big whale, to Northern B.C. a relative minnow in school population, this League has a wide array of school sizes.

Can schools the size of an average city high school hope to match the ‘big boys’?

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The big fish, like UBC, Alberta, Calgary, and Manitoba very much dwarf the Trinity Westerns and UNBC’s out there.  It means financial resources, facilities, and ‘name recognition’.

Brandon is one school that, in the Coach Jerry Hemmings era, overcame this disadvantage, and the ‘Cats won multiple Great Plains titles and 4 National Championships.  But this may be too big a stretch for most of our really small schools.

TRU went to Nationals with a strong core of experienced and talented players last season, and Fraser Valley has had a couple of championship looks.  It remains to be seen how often the ‘small guys’ can buck the trend.

After all, who has won Canada West?   It has been Victoria 16 times, Alberta 11, UBC 9, Calgary 5, and Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Brandon 1 apiece.

(Note- We are not counting Great Plains titles won by Brandon, Manitoba, Regina, or Winnipeg)


 

Overtime –

  • The Guy Vetrie Invitational (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1) has Victoria  hosting McMaster, McGill, and Regina , and fans can watch live video on Canada West TV .   Thursday games – 6 pm (Pacific) McGill vs McMaster, 8 pm Vikes vs Regina, Friday – Regina-McMaster at 6, UVic – McGill at 8, and Saturday – Regina-McGill at 5 pm ,  Victoria vs McMaster at 7 pm.

Recruiting News – Critical Roster Building

 

 

Canada West Teams Busy With Recent Signings –

5th year seniors Wyatt Anders (Bisons) , Matt Letkeman , and Josh Owen -Thomas (Dinos) shown in recent playoff action, will leave opportuninties for new recruits at Manitoba and Calgary this Fall. photo - UM Athletics

5th year senior graduates,  Wyatt Anders (Bisons)  and Matt Letkeman   (Dinos)  , shown in recent playoff action, will leave opportunities for new recruits at Manitoba and Calgary this Fall.  photo – UM Athletics

Manitoba Coach, Kirby Schepp announced the signingof local Winnipeg high school stars, Cameron O’Hara, a 6-7 post man from St. Paul’s HS, and James Wagner, a 6-7 forward from John Taylor Collegiate, who talks about his move to the Bisons for next season,   in this Winnipeg Free Press article by Alana Trachenko .  

> The Fraser Valley Cascades add 3 ‘blue-chip’ recruits for the coming Fall. 

Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey), will suit up for UFV. - photo - Surrey Leader

Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey), will suit up for UFV. – photo – Surrey Leader

Andrew Morris, a B.C. College all-star with Capilano College transfers in, and high school stars, Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey)  and Sagar Dulay,  Tamanawis (Surrey).  More details in this story from Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
Trinity Western coach Aaron Muhic signed guard Josiah Meppelink (Langley), who joins the Spartans via Lynden, Wash. The 6-foot-3, 160-pound Meppelink, who moved from Langley to Lynden when he was 12 years old, averaged eight points, 10 assists and six rebounds per game this past season at Lynden Christian School. In his Grade 12 year, Meppelink was also named to the All-NWC (Northwest Conference) Second Team. From TWU Athletics

Calgary Dinos Coach, Dan Vanhooren, has already signed import guard, 6-4 Max Eisle from Ulm, Germany, and the intensely recruited Jeff Rodehutskers, an exceptionally talented 6-8 forward from Chestermere High School (Alberta).

 

Lethbridge Coach, Mike Hanson,  previously announced the signing of 6-4 guard, Scott Mazutinec, from Stirling HS in S. Alberta, and Mark Rodehutskers, the 6-4  younger brother of Jeff.  Mark, who was academically accelerated in grade school, will graduate from Chestermere HS this June as well.

 

UBC Head Coach, Kevin Hanson, has landed 2 highly sought-after high school athletes in Parker Simson, a 6-3 guard (and football prospect) from Kelowna Sr. Sec., and Izaiah Ugoalah, a 6-5 guard from Sir W. Churchill (Vancouver).

 

> UVic Coach, Craig Beaucamp, has been busy with 3 signees … transfer guard , Wayne Tucker, a 6-1 import from Oakland , CA  via Olds College (Alberta) … a 2nd import guard, 6-1 Scott Kellam, Issaquah HS, WA, and a 6-5 wing man, Vladislav Zasmolin, from Sir W. Churchill HS, Calgary.

> Regina Head Coach, Steve Burrows, is surely delighted with the fact that he has signed 3 local stars to play for his Cougars next Fall . 6-2 guards, Ben Hillis and Brayden Kuski, along with 6-4 forward, Carter Millar, all played at LeBoldus High School, Regina.   Details in this story from UR Athletics .

> In a 17 team CW League, it can be a big ask to ‘capture the Cup’.  If you don’t win your last game, do you have to see the season as a failure?  Well, obviously not !  There are many victories and moments to celebrate along the way, as this story from the UM ‘The Manitoban’ does so well .

2bpi18nnb2c9yhlr copy

> The CIS announced their dates and venues for the next 2 years for the Final 8 National Tournament –  The Championships will be held back in Halifax in the the Spring of both 2017 (March 9-12) and 2018 (March 8-11).  This is a week earlier than it was this season.  We are back to traditional dates, and will not conflict with the First and Second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. (Smart move on the dates … not sure about a one year deal for UBC, but maybe the cost – risk is too high ?)

>  April, for most CIS coaches, is a time when they are either wrapping up their recruiting for the coming Fall season, or they’re still busy attempting to build or re-build their roster with ‘late signings’.  UBC T-Birds Football Coach, Blake Nill, a seasoned recruiting guru says, “You have to have made the initial contact with the student athlete probably in their grade 10 year or at least in their grade 11 year,” said Nill, as he explained the traditional timeline for athletics recruitment today. “ So you can get the process [started] and give it enough time to develop the relationship that you need.” More reflections on the recruiting process in this article by Olamide Olaniyan in The Ubyssey.

> We have a new source for CIS recruiting news from a favourite web-site – Martin Timmerman, who does such a great job with all things CIS Basketball at cishoops.ca has added an up-to-date recruiting info page, which was sorely needed, with the retirement of long-time ‘primo-source’ Barry Hayes.  Check out this recruiting page at CIS Hoops

Vikes – Huskies in Feature Series

 

CW … Series of the Week –

Likes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies' Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.

Vikes Brandon Dunlop drives against Huskies’ Chan De Ciman (#1) and Trevor Severinski (#13) in October U of S win.          photo – UVic Athletics

#9 Saskatchewan Huskies (1-1) at  Victoria Vikes (2-0) – The Victoria Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

Mack Roth , Vikes

are having yet another ‘Official Home Opener’ for the their bright new, yellow -themed CARSA Centre, as the Saskatchewan Huskies return for this week’s League series. Fans will remember the October opening for the Guy Vetrie Tournament, when the Sled Dogs won 3 games over ‘heavy-weights’, Fraser Valley, Carleton, and the Vikes … that one was 95-72 !

But … this is now.  UVic is 2-0, and ‘finding a different way to get things done on the court’.  A shaky pre-season brought some doubt, but Mack Roth, Reiner Theil, and Grant Sitton are hoping to lead a quick resurgence for the defending Canada West champs.  They, like the Huskies, will be playing a more guard-oriented game, even though both teams pride themselves in getting the ball into the paint.  It’s just not your classic back to the hoop , Chris McLaughlin – type attack.

  • Key Huskies –  Evan Ostertag, Jauquin Bennett -Boire, Shawn Lathan, Trevor Severinski
  • Key Vikes –  Grant Sitton, Brandon Dunlop, Mack Roth, Reiner Theil.

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 5.20.34 PM

One notable match-up is the grizzled  5th year vet, point man Brandon Dunlop (left, above), in his 3rd ‘Tour of Duty’ on the Viking ship, going up against ‘raw rookie’, Jauquin Bennett-Boire (right), the Huskies QB on offense. JB-B is more likely to be a scoring threat, but Dunlop is a cagey and tireless worker, who will give all he has for a Vikes win in both these games.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.

Dinos rookie guard, Torrez McCoy, returns to Winnipeg with the Dinos.  photo – David Moll – UC

#6 Calgary Dinos (2-0) at Manitoba Bisons (1-1) – Home-opener for the Bisons, who have big dreams, but they’ve dropped 5 of their past 6 meetings with the Dinos, and need to find a way to control the diverse Calgary attack.  The trio  of Wyatt Anders on the boards (#1 in CW at 12.5 rpg), AJ Basi (21 ppg) with the deep treys, and point guard Justus Alleyn (4.5 assts, 9 ppg) are central to the Bisons game plan.  Calgary has a 10-11 deep rotation, led by 4th year import wing, Thomas Cooper, averaging a double/double of 25 ppg/10 rebounds. Dallas Karch (11 ppg, 5 rebs) and Lars Schleuter (10 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) are a pair of 6-7 forwards who got off to a good start in week 1.  Both these games should be nip and tuck, and won in the final few minutes.

Winnipeg Wesmen (0-2) at Alberta Golden Bears (1-1) –  Second prize for the Ws is another weekend in Sunny Alberta !  Tough scheduling start for the Wesmen, who need a bigger dose of offensive flow against a Bears team intent on leading with their aggressive defense. UW’s Jelane Pryce is expected to produce 15+ ppg, and needs a better shooting performance this week. Jamar Farlay (14.5 ppg) looks to be a big cog in the offense, but the Wesmen need more ‘hands on deck’. Alberta are good at home, and had Mamadou Gueye, Sebastian Denault, and 1st year import guard, Colby Jackson, score in double figures vs UBC last week.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Brine leads the Pronghorns into their home opener vs Brandon.

Brandon Bobcats (0-2)  at Lethbridge Pronghorns (0-0) – Opening night for the ‘Horns, who have one of the longer returnee lists in the League.  Guards, Jared Baker, and Rob Olsen, along with forward, Brandon Brine, are ‘prime-time players’, and import guard Dejon Burdeaux (Fresno CC) is a potent back-court addition for U of L . For the revamped Bobcats, DJ Jordan scored19 ppg in Brandon’s 2 losses vs Regina last weekend, and he  gets help from Chris Stanhope (17 ppg) and Earl Thompson Jr., a beast on the boards (10 rpg) who scored 11 ppg .

Trinity Western Spartans (0-2) at UBC Thunderbirds (1-1) – Trinity may encounter  a flock of angry T-Birds this week, after UBC dropped their home opener to Alberta last Friday. Conor Morgan, David Wagner, and Jordan Jensen -Whyte and company figure to do some damage to a TWU squad trying to establish some team cohesion;  Dean Richey (import guard, Spokane, WA) looks like a leader, and Kelvin Smith has the tools; team shooting and rebounding need to pick up.  We note the Spartans improved turnover ratio, as new Coach Aaron Muhic works for a more efficient style.

The 2-0 Regina Cougars get the bye this week.


 

Explorer Division – 

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

Nate Brown is a strong presence inside for the Cascades.

MacEwan Griffins (1-1) at  Fraser Valley Cascades  (2-0) –  Another test for the defending Division champions, as they host a veteran-laden Mac team.  UFV may not overwhelm, but they get the job done, with their experience and toughness. Mark Johnson (3rd year tsf from Coll. of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA), is obviously a great addition, and he joins battle-tested vets, like Kevon Parchment and Nate Brown to form another strong Cascades squad. The Griffins will have to earn everything they get; Denzel James and newcomer Thadius Galvez look like a dynamic pair for the Griffs.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent 'Pack attack.

5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, leads a potent ‘Pack attack.  – photo – TRU

Thompson R. WolfPack (2-0) at Mt. Royal Cougars (1-1) –  The ‘Pack come in with an 8-0 record over the pre-season and opening week.  Josh Wolfram, Reese Pribilsky, and  Vololodymyr Iegorov are a ‘wrecking crew’ on offense.  The Cougars respond with new-found size and scoring by 1st year post Brett Layton, a 6-8 returned Mormon missionary, who retained and refined some of his hoops skills last summer. James Lefebvre and Derek Wolfe are seniors that MRU will rely on, if they are to get a win vs the ‘Pack.

UNBC Timberwolves (0-2)  at UBC-Okanagan Heat (0-2) –  Here are 2 teams looking for their first victory of the young season.  Both coaches see these as ‘winnable games’, and a split is a necessity, even on this 2nd weekend. The T-Wolves ride the scoring touch of Aussie guard, Rhys Elliot, and an increasingly confident Billy Cheng, who scored 32 in the first of 2 strong team efforts against TRU last week. Okanagan also came to play on the road at Fraser Valley, and they showed more offensive depth, with Dean Johnston, Mitch Goodwin, Aldrich Berrios, and newcomer, Randall Mosca all averaging double figures.


 

Overtime –

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU's new 'secret weapon' !

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU’s new ‘secret weapon’ !  photo – TRU Athletics

  • TRU’s Coach Scott Clark appreciates the impact that  Vololodymyr Iegorov  the 6-7, 3rd year  forward, from Donetsk, Ukraine is making on his WolfPack team.  “He scores in a variety of ways, “ Clark explains. “He doesn’t score in your face. He got to the line, he scores in transition. He scores a three or two. He got a couple from the post some from the back cut. He is like a ‘silent assassin.’ He is a good player and that is the way good players go about their business.”  (From News Kamloops ).  Iegorov scored 29 ppg on opening weekend, and he is a huge addition, playing beside TRU’s other ace big man, Josh Wolfram.
  • You are Thompson Rivers, at 8-0 vs CIS and U.S. Colleges, but do you get even a sniff from the CIS Top 10 voters ?  Ah-h-h, NO!  Why you say? Well, it’s obvious that the Canada West Explorer Division is considered a ‘B League’ .  Any team in the Explorer, even the consistently competitive Fraser Valley Cascades, are passed over by this perception. These teams may have to live with that until 2016-17, when Canada West again merges the teams into one almost unfathomable 17 team League.