Golden Bears Want More

 

Bears With Bright Outlook

Alberta were primed for last season’s play-off series, and came away with the Canada West crown.  With 10 returnees, including 5th year stalwarts, Mamadou Gueye, Lyndon Annetts, and Geoff Pippus, the Bears bring playing experience and great depth.  Without doubt, this is a top 3 team in Canada West for the upcoming year.

Brody Clarke                         Photo – Bears Athletics

U of A has Canada West All-stars, Brody Clarke, and Austin Waddoups, as well as Rookie of the Year, Andre Kelly.  Oh, and, very likely their best clutch performer in the 6-7 Gueye, a genuine ‘Prime Time Performer’!   Last season Mamadou led Bears scorers at 15.9 ppg / 6 rebs, with Clarke at 14.4 ppg/ 7.1 rebs, and   Waddoups scoring 13.7 ppg/ 3.7 assists.

Alberta utilizes the 3 point shot most effectively with Waddoups hitting  46.8%, Kelly 44.7%, along with Pippus , Ivan Ikomey  and Gueye all over 40% from downtown during the last campaign. Coach Barnaby Craddock, who has the distinction of taking 3 different teams to the National Championship Tournament ( Brandon, Fraser Valley, Alberta), has the talent to get back to Halifax this coming March.

He has added 2 more players in 6-4 wing, Nolan Woodward (Montreal), a powerful offensive threat, and, from France, Hugo Cluysen, a 6-7, 18 year old  forward with club and international experience. Coach Craddock says, “We do have depth, and we think we’ve added some good contributors, as well as some young guys.”

Bears last season 14-6  … Canada West champs … Prognosis – Could well go 16-17 wins … schedule has Alberta at home for key series’.

 

Gueye – “We want to be the best!”

The Alberta Golden Bears, the 2017 Canada West Champions, are blessed with a strong array of veteran returnees, but none so indispensible as their lynchpin wing-man, 5th year star, Mamadou Gueye.  In successive playoff years, Gueye has produced his best basketball when all the chips are on the table.

Mamadou Gueye – Photo Bears Athletics

Last season, after what he himself suggests was a ‘less than spectacular’ regular campaign, Gueye propelled the Bears to their 12th Canada West title with a stellar 30 pts/ 8 rebs in a semi-final win over Saskatchewan, then  20 pts/ 8 boards in the final vs Manitoba. “ Says Gueye, “I was trying to see where to best fit in with our team system as the season progressed.”  “When it came to the play-offs, I knew it was ‘go-time’, and I was confident and ready to play hard”.

Coming to U of A in 2013 from Cegep Ste. Foy in Quebec, Gueye was Canada West Rookie of the Year, and 5 years later he is poised to get his Bachelor of Arts degree this coming Spring.  When asked why he would come West to play his university ‘ball, Gueye explained, “I was impressed with the team, with Jordan Baker and that group who were at Nationals.  And I wanted to see the rest of Canada.  Alberta has the College St. Jean, which has allowed me to use my French in my studies.”

Gueye cites the ‘family feeling’ surrounding the Golden Bears team. “We get great alumni support, and the atmosphere from the fans in our new gym is something we really love.”  Mamadou, a dynamic, slashing scorer, has fed on this positive climate, especially in the play-offs, where he has, unfailingly produced 4-5 more points per game, and taken more of the leadership role in the team’s fortunes.

In this final season, Gueye, who is likely headed for a pro career (Europe?), has some lofty goals; after 2 Canada West titles with U of A (2014 and 2017), he says, “I plan to play with a chip on my shoulder.  We want to be the best, and we want to play our hardest when it matters the most.”   With an outstanding group of returnees, and with Mamadou Gueye’s play-off preparation, we expect to see the Bears in the middle of a title run again in March 2018.

 

Bobcats Beat Bears in Heated Battle

 

Bears Hang Tough With MSU

Bears’ Mamadou Gueye led the scoring with 21 pts, but MSU prevails on Friday.

The Montana State Bobcats won their 2nd straight in Calgary, with a 78-69 edge over the Alberta Golden Bears Friday.  This spirited affair was sparked by some fine guard play for MSU , led by rookie Isaac Bonton (Portland, OR) with 16 points / 4 rebs / 4 assists.  Burly forward , Sam Neumann was 7/8 from the floor for 15 points/ 4 rebounds, as 9 Bobcats played 11 minutes or more, and all 11 hit the score sheet.

The Bears started with very chilly shooting hands, and trailed 37-25 at the half, with just 10/39 (25.5%) from the floor. The second half saw a big turnaround, with hoops off the break producing a healthy 57% FG mark, and Alberta close to within 6 in the 4th frame.  5th year wing, Mamadou Gueye, scored 21 points/ 12 rebounds, while Andre Kelly hit 17 pts, and Brody Clarke 14.  U of A were limited by a pedestrian 12/24 from the foul line, but played very well against a determined Bobcat squad.

9 of the 10 Bears who dressed were rewarded with double digit minutes of playing time.  Not available for this game were 5th year scorer, Geoff Pippus (injury), and import signee, Hugo Cluysen, a 19 year old Frenchman, who will not arrive in Canada until next week.

MSU play Calgary Dinos on Saturday at 3 pm, then their 2nd vs Alberta on Sunday at 1 pm.

Team Canada Right There With Purdue

In game 1 of their 2 game set vs the USA reps for the Aug 19-30 Universiade in Taipei, Canada dropped a 94-86 decision in Carmel, Indiana.  The Canadian team, made up of U-Sports stars, and coached by Kevin Hanson (UBC), Dan Vanhooren (Calgary), and Jacques Paiment Jr. (Laval), were withing 1 point late in the game, but Purdue shooters buried key shots down the stretch.

7-2 post man, Isaac Haas, scored 20 points to lead the Americans, while Conor Morgan  (UBC) and Kaza Kajami -Keane (Carleton) each notched 21 for Canada.  U-Sports Player of the Year, Connor Wood (Carleton),  and forward, Alexandre Leclerc (Laval) were not playing due to injury.  These 2 teams play again on Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette, IN and will travel to Taiwan on Sunday-Monday.   Box Score

 

 

 

Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

Canada West Major Awards and All-stars

 

UBC Dominates Canada West Major Awards

The UBC Thunderbirds claimed 4 of the 5 major awards voted on by Canada West coaches for the 2016-17 season.

Conor Morgan is Canada West Player of the Year – photo  UBC Athletics Rich Lam

Most Outstanding Player – Conor Morgan, UBC, 4th year forward – “Not only did Conor have a great season statistically by leading Canada West in scoring, he also took on a more advanced leadership role on our team. Conor’s hard work in the off-season made him a more complete player this season, and the results showed.” – UBC head coach Kevin Hanson.

Top Defensive Player – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC, 5th year wing –  “Jordan is the consummate team player. He will do anything asked and it all starts at the defensive end of the floor with him. His effort level is contagious and influences the younger players on our team. He has had a remarkable five years at UBC and will go down as one of the top defensive players in school history.” – Coach Kevin Hanson.

 Rookie of the Year – Scott Kellum, Victoria, guard – “Scott was one of our most consistent players all season. By the end of the season he was our starting point guard. It is rare to have a first-year player make such significant contributions to the team in their first season. His future is very bright if he continues to work hard.” – Victoria head coach Craig Beauchamp.
Ken Shields Award  (Academics and Service to the Community) –  Phil Jalalpoor, UBC, 4th year guard – “Phil’s work ethic on the court is matched by his dedication to his academics. He is the prototypical student-athlete and a role model to his teammates. Through his hard work, Phil was able to attain Academic All-Canadian status. He is leader within the greater UBC community and has a bright future both on and off the basketball court.” – UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson.
Coach of the Year – Kevin Hanson, UBC – In his 17th season as the UBC Head Coach, Hanson wins this award for the 6th time.  He was also chosen as the CIS (U-Sports) National Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2010.  His T’Birds had a Canada West League best record of 19-1 in the regular season.
15 All-stars chosen by Canada West coaches

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos   –  Photo – David Moll, Dinos Athletics

 First Team All-Stars

Brody Clarke / F / Alberta / 2 / Toronto, Ont.

Conor Morgan / G, F / UBC / 4 / Victoria, B.C.

Thomas Cooper / G / Calgary / 5 / Chattanooga, Tennessee

Shane Osayande / F / Saskatchewan / 4 / Toronto, Ont.

Volodymyr Iegorov / F / TRU / 5 / Donetsk, Ukraine

 

Manny Dulay , Fraser Valley photo- UFV Athletics

Second Team All-Stars

Austin Waddoups / G / Alberta / 3 / American Fork, Utah

Jordan Jensen-Whyte / G / UBC / 5 / Calgary, Alta.

Manny Dulay / G / Fraser Valley / 5 / Surrey, B.C.

Dejon Burdeaux / G / Lethbridge / 4 / Oakland, California

Justus Alleyn / G / Manitoba / 4 / Winnipeg, Man.

 

Matt Forbes, Saskatchewan Huskies

Third Team All-Stars

Tyvon Cooper / G / Brandon / 2 / Middleton, New York

Brett Layton / F / Mount Royal / 2 / Calgary, Alta.

Matthew Forbes / F / Saskatchewan / 5 / Regina Beach, Sask.

Grant Sitton / G, F / Victoria / 5 / Brush Prairie, Washington

Denzel Lynch-Blair / G / Winnipeg / 3 / Toronto, Ont.

Scott Kellum, UVic Vikes

 All-Rookie Team

Andre Kelly / G / Alberta / Mississauga, Ont.

James Wagner / F / Manitoba / Winnipeg, Man.

Johneil Johnson / G / Regina / Lake Echo, N.S.

Scott Kellum / G / Victoria / Issaquah, Washington

Narcisse Ambanza / G / Winnipeg / Toronto, Ont

Final Weekend Features Scramble for Play-offs

 

 

Final games bring so many permutations and combinations ….

Brandon Tull and the Cougars are at home to TRU.       photo – UR Athletics

Thompson Rivers (8-10) at Regina (7-11)-  This series has implications not only for the 2 teams, but throughout the CW standings.  We have to see Regina as the favourites, being at home, or do we?  The baffling Green Cougars are 3-5 on home court, and 4-6  on the road?  The Wolves are 4-4 on the road this year, and have won 6 of the last 8 meetings with Regina.  TRU are the younger team, but have Volodymyr Iegorov, a tough match-up inside.  It’s a toss-up, with both teams scratching for a play-off berth.   Fri /Sat  at 8 pm

Winnipeg (12-6) at Victoria (7-11) –  Another series where the results will affect all teams in the RPI ratings.  The Vikes would kill for a sweep, and a guarantee of getting into the post -season.  UVic is not keen on missing 2 years in a row. The Ws have won 6 of 8 in the season’s 2nd half, and want to assure a home court for round 1 of play-offs.   These teams are 7-7 over their last 6 seasons’ meetings;  we think a split may be the most likely scenario.   Fri  8 pm / Sat 7 pm

Mt Royal (8-10) at Manitoba (10-8)   –  Both these teams are coming off losses, and we’re not sure how they will respond to these games.  The Bisons are going to be 5th, so there’s no pressure there, but they will want to sharpen -up prior to play-offs.  The Cougs may find themselves in a math tie-breaker for a play-off spot if they can’t get that 9th win.     Fri 8 pm , Sat 6 pm

David Kapinga is having an impressive campaign for the Dinos.         photo – David Moll – UC

MacEwan (7-11) at #6 Calgary (14-4) –  “They’re pretty good!”  So says Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren as he reviews MacEwan game tape.  “Their post guys are tough, and work hard.  (Thadius) Galvez and (Denzel) James can play.”  Yes, the Griffs are under-appreciated by some, but will not go down without a fight.  Calgary are without Lars Schleuter, who is nursing a ‘lower-body injury’.  Closer than we might expect.  Intriguing match-up –  Adonis Montfort – Palomino (former Dino) returns to his home-town  vs the Dinos super-quick point , David Kapinga.   Fri  8 pm/ Sat  7 pm

Matt Forbes, U of S ‘big dude’         Photo – GetMyPhoto.ca

#9 Saskatchewan (12-6) at UNBC (4-14) –  This does not look like a good match-up for the smaller T’Wolves, as the Huskies bring the ‘big meanies’, Shane Osayande and Matt Forbes.  U of S has a shot at the #1 seed (slim as it might be), so they will have that incentive.  Vaggelis Loukas needs help inside, while Rhys Elliott and Marcus MacKay shoot lights out.  Still a tall order for UNBC.   Fri 8 pm / Sat  / 7 pm

#2 UBC  (17-1) at  Trinity Western (3-15) –  The Thunderbirds are, make no mistake, peeved that they will not be the #1 play-off seed.  So they can be expected to be in a surly mood as they travel to Langley to finish their League slate.  TWU won their last, and are playing better, but this should not be close.   Fri and Sat  at 7 pm

Fraser Valley (9-9) at UBC-O (2-16) –  The big question might be, “How do we get to Kelowna, with all the deep snow on the Coquihalla Highway?”  Assuming the Cascades can ‘plow their way through’, they will be excited for a chance to  get to 11 wins, and to host a play-off series the following week.  Their senior guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon will give the Heat’s 3rd year points leader , Aldrich Berrios, and rookies Triston Matthews and Matt Lafontaine  all they can handle.    Fri  8 pm / Sat at 7 pm

Saturday/ Sunday , Feb. 11/12

Andre Kelly’s return should help Alberta vs Lethbridge  Photo – UA Athletics

Lethbridge (12-6) at   #7  Alberta (13-5)   –  The Bears are the ‘odds-on’ to finish as the top seed for play-offs wither tough schedule giving them a boost in the RPI.  This holds true, if they sweep, for sure, or maybe even if they allow Lethbridge a split? ( There are other possibilities, but let’s just wait.)  The Bears look to have an edge at home, and they’re playing better with Andre Kelly back in the line-up.  The ‘Horns will need a 3rd,4th, 5th guy to assist Dejon Burdeaux and Elliott Sentance, if they are to get a win.   Weird game times, with a volleyball conflict.        Sat at 4 pm / Sun at 7 pm

Brandon Bobcats are 9-11, in the play-offs,  and lounging contentedly in their ‘dorm rooms’ this weekend

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In the East –

Tues –  #10  Dalhousie  77 at  St FX  65

Upcoming –  In the OUA – Waterloo at Western Ont,  Laurier at Windsor

Quebec – UQAM  at  #8 McGill

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There are no changes this week, as Ottawa lost to Carleton (doesn’t everybody?), and the Bears and Huskies split.

On the basis of the Top 10, it looks like the OUA has the lead in the ‘At Large Berth’ competition. The U-Sports Final 8 in Halifax March 9-12 will have 2 Atlantic teams, 2 OUA teams, 2 Canada West teams, and 1 Quebec team . An ‘At-large team’ (Wild-card)  will be chosen by a committee of U-Sports coaches. There are many more criteria besides this Top 10  (More later).

 

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Overtime –

  • We think Saskatchewan will be cheering for a split between Alberta-Lethbridge, then Regina -Thompson Rivers, and, finally, a Winnipeg sweep at Victoria.  Then, according to ‘Dr. Timmerman’s Magic Calculator’, the Sled Dogs are CW #1 play-off seed !    (But, those are a whole lot of dominoes magically falling in the appropriate direction!)  Probably Alberta #1.
  • What looks more predictable is some kind of tie for the last play-off spot … involving some of, two of, several of  UVic, Mt Royal, Regina, TRU, or MacEwan.  Stay tuned.

 

 

Top 5 Lists – Canada West

 

Our Top Teams, Players, Rookies in the 1st Semester

Import guard, Austin Waddoups , is a big reason that the GBs are at the top of CW standings.         Photo – U of A Athletics

Top 5  ‘Notable’ Teams  –

  1. Alberta Golden Bears –  10-0 is a big surprise.  We thought Alberta would be in contention, but a clean slate at the 1/2 way mark ?  Outstanding.  Good additions, and more experience with returnees. Defense allows 68 ppg, and offense is cranked up to 86 ppg, 3rd in CW. Tougher 2nd half sched, with Calgary, at UBC, UFV, at Saskatchewan, Lethbridge.
  2. UBC Thunderbirds – 8-0 and coming together with vets and newcomers.  The ‘Birds have had a couple of close ones in the final couple of series vs UVic and Manitoba.  UBC starts the 2nd half at Saskatchewan, home vs Alberta, and at Mt. Royal.  Survive that, and the T’Birds could be top seed.
  3. Calgary Dinos –  They tripped over Manitoba in game 1, but are the top scoring team in CW at 7-1, scoring 95 ppg.  Coach Vanhooren is looking for more consistency, but the depth and talent is there.
  4. Manitoba Bisons –  This team is the ultimate puzzle at 4-6.  The Herd have a tough 1st half sched, but they admit to being disappointed in their start.  But, after beating Winnipeg twice to finish, they have the 2nd half schedule to make a big turnaround.  Maybe as high as 4th ?!
  5. Mt. Royal Cougars –  Under-rated is an apt description.  The Cougs are 5-5, and we suggest they could duplicate that mark in the next 10, and qualify for the play-offs.  4th in CW ppg scored @ 85.4 ppg, they are one of the top shooting clubs (45% from the floor – 4th), 5th best in ‘ball control’.

Top 5  Players in the League –  (Alpha order …  up for grabs, we think.)

Calgary’s Thomas Cooper is Canada West’s top scorer again this season.   Photo- UC’s David Moll

Thomas Cooper, Dinos – The ‘Reigning Champion’ leads the scoring race with 25.6 ppg, and is a ‘prime-time finisher’. He scoops 6 rebs/game, and averages 2 steals.

Volodymyr Iegorov, TRU Wolf Pack –  The big Ukrainian import ‘carries the water’ for the ‘Pack, with his 18.6 ppg/ 9 rebounds and 3.9 assists.  We expect him to finish strong, and give his team a good play-off shot.

The Huskies Shane Osayande is ‘ripping it’ every time out this season. Photo- U of S

Conor Morgan, T’Birds – Putting up some big numbers, and has been ‘unstoppable’ at times.  25 ppg while shooting 61.5% FG, plus 6.6 rebs.

Shane Osayande, Huskies – Averaging a double-double of 20 ppg and 11.6 rebounds !  A constant force on a team which has been inconsistent at times. He blocks 2.5 shots per game.

Josh Ross, MRU Cougars – This import transfer is a player!  Another who posts a double-double ‘every night’ !  Scoring 19.6 ppg / 10 rebounds/ 3.8 assts.

Others-  Keith Omoerah – Bisons, Mamadou Gueye – Bears, Elliott Sentance – Pronghorns, Thadius Galvez- Griffins,  David Kapinga – Dinos,

Top 5 CW Rookies – (again with the alpha list)

Winnipeg rookie, Narcisse Ambanza, is a big factor the the Wesmen.

Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen,  22.2 mins …  The front-runner in this crop, with his scoring and rebounding.  11.9 ppg/ shoots 53% FG / 3.7 rebs/ 2 asst

Max Eisle – Dinos,  15.6 mins … Not the big minutes, or the scoring numbers, but he is tough, skilled, and a top-notch defender.   3.1 ppg/ 41% FG/ 2 asst/ 1.3 steals

Johneil Johnson –  Reg. Cougars, 17.9 mins …  Has been the key man in a couple of games.  He possesses an impressive all-round game. 10.1 ppg/ 48% FG, 3 rebs/ 2 steals

Scott Kellum –  Vikes, 28.3 mins …  A confident player with great leadership qualities.  Playing too many freshman minutes, probably. 9.4 ppg/ 38% from 3 pt/ 2.3 rebs

Andre Kelly – Bears, 18 mins …  Has the game to be a top-notch player as he matures.  Solid numbers for the top team. 6.6 ppg/ 44% FG/ 1.7 asst/ 2.3 rebs

 Others … Tyrell Laing- Timberwolves, Craig Martin- MRU Cougars, James Wagner – Bisons.

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Overtime – 

  • A major facilities announcement from U. Saskatchewan, with a donation from the Graham family, enabling the Huskies to build new practice/tournament courts at the planned Merlis Belsher Place.  From CTV News, Saskatoon 
  •   The Bisons A.J. Basi, in his team blog, on Manitoba’s rough start in the regular season, … “we were disappointed to drop a few close and winnable games. We can’t blame anyone but ourselves for our inconsistency. We all still believe we belong amongst the top teams in our league.”

Bisons Rebound for Win Over UQAM

 

Manitoba Bounces Back for Big Win

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-9-01-42-am-copy

The Manitoba Bisons, who dropped game 1 vs Holland College at the Naismith Classic at Waterloo, turned their fortunes around on Friday.  The Herd topped the previously unbeaten UQAM Citadins  85  – 78 . also   Humber College  76 Waterloo  74

(Many of these pre-season games are without box scores)

Other Friday Game Results – 

at the UBC-O  Heat Tournament – Saskatchewan 68  UBC-Okanagan 56 , MacEwan 80 Thompson Rivers 74 OT

Conor Morgan is red hot for UBC against the visiting Pronghorns.

Conor Morgan is red hot for UBC against the visiting Pronghorns.  Photo Rich Lam – UBC

at UBC  94  Lethbridge 71- The Birds, behind a big 32 point/ 8 rebound night for Conor Morgan, were too much for the visiting ‘Horns. UBC has a 44-33 rebounding edge, shoots 49% to 40% FG,  and hits 24/34 FTs vs 17/23 for U of L.  Lethbridge get 14 from Scott Mazutinec in 15 minutes off the bench, as he goes 5/6 from the floor.   Box Score 

 

 Regina 92  at Brandon 78 –  In a pretty wild affair, the Cougars force 31 Brandon turnovers and outshoot the ‘Cats 46% to 37% from the floor. 6 Regina players in double figures in a balanced team effort, with 13 points/ 10 rebounds from Brian Ofori, and 14 points/ 5 assists by Alex Igual.  Brandon gets 19 points from Tyvon Cooper and 15 bu Chris Stanhope.    Box Score 

 

In the East –

at the Carleton Ravens Tournament in Ottawa –  Carleton 106 Victoria  52 – Yikes ! No game … clinic ! No mercy from the Blackbirds, as they cash 13/27 attempts from outside, and Connor Wood scores 28, including 6 treys . 52% shooting for Carleton, while the shell-shocked Vikes are a cool 36%, and the home side grab 49 boards to UVic’s 26.  Victoria are led by 19 pts. from Grant Sitton, the only one in double figures.  Box Score  also Western Ontario 72 Laval  66

at the Queen’s Golden Gaels Tournament in Kingston –                                      Ottawa 73 Alberta 63 –  A slow start puts the Bears down 40-26 at the half, and the Gee-Gees are never threatened.  37% from the floor for Alberta vs 47% from Ottawa.  Caleb Agada scores 18 and has 8 boards for the ‘Ponies’.  Austin Waddoups with 13 pts and Andre Kelly with 12 are tops for U of A.  Box Score    also  Queens 87 Memorial  67

at the UPEI, ‘Mickey Place’ Tournament – Dalhousie 90  UPEI 78,  Concordia  73  Maine- Ft. Kent 70

at the St. FX Tournament in Antigonish, NS –   St. FX 83  Holland Coll. 76  ,  St. Mary’s  84  Cape Breton  74


 

Overtime –

  •  In CW League play,  each school has the option of home and home scheduling with their ‘traditional rivals’, who may be relatively close by, geographically.  It’s nice to see with the 3 Southern Alberta schools, that fans will see  Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and Calgary.  The Dinos are also 1 game in Edmonton and the other in Calgary vs the Golden Bears.  We think it’s a shame when it could be done, but the schools decide not to give the home fans a look at more visitors, especially regional rivals.  Why not UBC -Trinity, Saskatchewan-Regina, Victoria-UFV , for example?
  • In  the pre-season there are many games which are broadcast by the host  school, either on Canada West TV, or, if the games are in the East, perhaps on OUA TV or AUS TV.   If you’re keen on catching CIS action in October, just check these links for scheduled games.  (Every Canada West , OUA, and AUS League game must be broadcast, but the pre-season is a bit unpredictable.)
  • Quinn Taylor, a 3rd year transfer from St. Mary’s (Calgary) U. of the ACAC, will not play for MRU this season.  Taylor a promising guard and Calgary HS grad, has ACL surgery last week in Banff, and will take the year to recover, and hope to play in the ’17-’18 season.

Bears Roster Sees Turnover

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

Alberta Golden Bears

’15-‘16    –   Lost to Calgary 1/4 Finals                    10 wins 10 losses (Pioneer)

Returnees –bears-3-copy-2

5th year – Brett Roughead, 7-1 fwd, Coleman, AB.  … 4th year – Mamadou Gueye, 6-6 fwd, Quebec City. Lyndon Annetts, 6-6 wing, Beaumont, AB …  3rd year – Sheldon Pittman, 6-5 wing, Calgary … 2nd years –  Brody Clarke, 6-8 fwd, Toronto. Ivan Ikomey, 6-1 guard, Calgary.  Jonah Weyessa, 6-0 guard, Calgary …  1st year (redshirts) – Joel Lutz, 6-7 fwd, 1st, Cardston, AB (Cardston HS). Cole Knudsen, 6-7 fwd, 1st, Barrhead, AB (Barrhead HS).

New faces –   Geoff Pippus, 6-5 wing, 4th, Vancouver (tsf UBC).  Austin Waddoups, 6-2 guard, 3rd year, American Fork , UT (Salt Lake CC). Andre Kelly, 6-2 guard, 1st, Mississauga, ON (The Rock School, FL).  Sam Newman, 6-3 guard, 1st, Ipswich, England .

Coach Barnaby Craddock, in his 5th year at the helm at U of A, is the only coach in CIS basketball history to lead three separate programs to the National Championship Tournament.  With Brandon, Fraser Valley, and Alberta for a total of 12 CIS seasons, the former UL Pronghorn star has never lost an opening round game at the Final 8.

Mamadou Gueye is still the big weapon for the Bear this year.

Mamadou Gueye is still the big weapon for the Bears  this year.                                  photo – U of A Athletics

Craddock’s credentials are impressive, and his coaching acumen will be tested this year, with a big roster turnover for the Bears. 5 veterans are gone, and 4 ‘true freshmen’ or ‘redshirt freshmen’  are now preparing for the new season. The Green and Gold do however, have their big ‘1-2 punch ‘ up front, with Canada West all-star, Mamadou Gueye (18.4 ppg/ 7.5 rebs)  and last year’s Rookie of the Year, Brody Clarke (12 ppg/ 6.3 rebs).  They add a pair of 6-7 redshirts from last year in Cole Knudsen and Joel Lutz, who are better prepared to give relief minutes for Gueye and Clarke.

Brett Roughead is the only 5th year, and the big man will again be counted on for rebounding and interior defense. Perimeter wing men, Lyndon Annetts and Sheldon Pittman will be expected to provide steadier performances with another year under their belts.

Austin Waddoups was a ‘6th man’ for the 2016 National Junior College champs at Salt Lake CC.  He averaged 8 ppg, and showed great ball handling skill, with a 2.63 assist /turnover ratio.  Andre Kelly, the son of Brandon Bobcats 2 time All-Canadian, Jude Kelly, went to a U.S. prep school, but chose to return to Canada.  He is a good shooter, who looks primed to break into the regular rotation.  Geoff Pippus, now a graduate student,  can be a ‘depth player, having averaged 7 ppg in his last full season at UBC.

Schedule –  Nov-Dec … Brandon, at UNBC,  TRU , at Manitoba, h-h with MacEwan              Jan-Feb …  h-h with Calgary, at UBC, Fraser Valley, bye, at Saskatchewan, Lethbridge

Prediction –  Must have depth behind all-stars.  Race for the play-offs.


 

Canada West pre-season games this week – 

Thursday – Calgary Cup –  Windsor at Calgary, Regina at Mt. Royal …                 Lakehead at Brandon

Friday – Manitoba Bisons Tournament –  Laurier vs Manitoba, Lakehead vs Winnipeg,   and  Regina at Calgary, Windsor at Mt. Royal

Saturday –  Seattle Blue Angels at Trinity Western ,  Calgary at Mt. Royal, Regina vs Windsor …  Lakehead at Manitoba, Winnipeg vs Laurier

Sunday – Laurier at Brandon

In Eastern Canada –  

Starting on Thursday, St. FX plays at Brock, Ryerson,  and  McMaster . Dalhousie has games at York, Ryerson, and McMaster.  On Saturday/Sunday  Concordia hosts Brock, Cape Breton and Nipissing in the Stingers Tournoi in Montreal.


 

Overtime –

  •   Mike Hansen, Lethbridge Head Coach, has waited for surgical relief for hip problems, and recently got the call to have the operation. ( It’s not like you’d tell them, “No, I’ll wait until next Spring, thanks.” )  So, not the best time, but Hansen felt he had to take the offered date. He expects to be absent from the ‘Horns pre-season activities for the next few weeks.  We wish him well, and hope he is able to return after a good recovery period.

 

New CW Schedule Creates Inequity

 

Canada West Rolls the Dice With a Complicated Schedule Switch   
The Canada West schedule has undergone a major shift for the up-coming cwest2016-17 season, with many hours of consideration by Athletic Directors and League personnel before trashing the Pioneer – Explorer format of recent years in favour of a new 17 team loop featuring a ‘modified and unbalanced’ slate. As we reported last year, Canada West President, Ian Reade (U of Alberta, Athletic Director) lauded the changes,  “We were able to go through a collective problem- solving process to get to a format, and come together on this one. This allows us to guarantee that traditional and geographic opponents will have the opportunity to play each other annually, while eliminating the perception of having two tiers within the conference.”

In trying to accommodate (or create anew) ‘regional rivalries’ the League has each school playing  4 geographically proximate rivals every season, then 6 of the remaining 12 schools every 2nd year.

ANNUAL OPPONENTS BY SCHOOL –
Alberta – Calgary, Lethbridge, MacEwan, Saskatchewan
Brandon – Regina, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Winnipeg
UBC – UBC-Okanagan, UNBC, Trinity Western, Victoria
UBC-Okanagan – UBC, Fraser Valley, Thompson Rivers, Victoria
Calgary – Alberta, Lethbridge, Mount Royal, Saskatchewan
Fraser Valley – UBC-Okanagan, UNBC, Thompson Rivers, Trinity Western
Lethbridge – Alberta, Calgary, MacEwan, Mount Royal
MacEwan – Alberta, Lethbridge, Mount Royal, Winnipeg  … Winnipeg?
Manitoba  – Brandon, Mount Royal, Regina, Winnipeg  … Mt. Royal?
Mount Royal – Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, MacEwan
UNBC – UBC, Fraser Valley, Thompson Rivers, Trinity Western
Regina – Brandon, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg
Saskatchewan – Alberta, Brandon, Calgary, Regina
Thompson Rivers – UBC-Okanagan, Fraser Valley, UNBC, Victoria
Trinity Western – UBC, Fraser Valley, UNBC, Victoria
Victoria – UBC, UBC-Okanagan, Thompson Rivers, Trinity Western
Winnipeg – Brandon, MacEwan, Manitoba, Regina

And here are the opponents for each team for the ’16-’17 season …

Victoria – at Reg2, Cal2, Mac2, UBC1/1, at TRU2, at Okan2, Leth2, TWU2, at UFV2, Wpg2
UBC – at TRU2, Man2, Vic1/1, Okan2, at Sask2,  Alb2, at MRU2, Bran2, UNBC2, at TWU2
Fraser V – Sask2, TWU1/1, UNBC2, at Bran2, Mac2, at Cal2, at Alb2, TRU2, Vic2, at Okan2
Trinity W- at Okan2, UFV1/1, at UNBC2, Reg2, Leth2, at Wpg2, Man2, at Vic2, at MRU2, UBC2
Okanagan- TWU2, at Bran2, MRU2,  at TRU2, at UBC2, Reg2, Vic2, at Leth2, at Mac2, UFV2
T. Rivers- UBC2, at Man2, at Alb2, Okan, at UNBC2, Vic2, Wpg2, at UFV2, Cal2, at Reg2
UNBC – at Wpg2, Alb2, TWU2, at UFV2, TRU2, at Leth2, MRU2, at Man2, at UBC2, Sask2
Alberta – Bran2, at UNBC2, TRU2, at Man2, Mac1/1, Cal1/1, at UBC2, UFV2, at Sask2, Leth2
MacEwan- at Leth2, Reg2, Vic2, at MRU2, Alb1/1, at UFV2, at Bran2, Wpg2, Okan2, at Cal2
Calgary – Man2, at Vic2, Leth1/1, MRU1/1, Alb1/1, UFV2, Sask2, at Reg2, at TRU2, Mac2
Mt. Royal- Leth1/1, at Okan2, Mac2, Cal1/1, Bran2,at UNBC2, UBC2, at Sask2, TWU2, at Man2
Lethbridge – Mac2, MRU1/1, at Wpg2, Cal1/1, at TWU, UNBC2, Sask2, at Vic2, Okan2, at Alb2
Regina – Vic2, at Mac2, at TWU2, Sask2, at Okan2, Man2, at Bran2, at Wpg2, Cal2, TRU2
Saskatchewan – at UFV2, Wpg2, Bran2, at Reg2, UBC2, Leth2, at Cal2, MRU2, Alb2, at UNBC2
Brandon – at Alb2, Okan2, at Sask2, Wpg1/1, UFV2, at MRU2, Mac2, Reg2, at UBC2, Man2
Manitoba – at Cal2, TRU2, at UBC2, Alb2, Wpg 1/1, at Reg2, at TWU2, UNBC2, at Bran2, MRU2
Winnipeg – UNBC2, at Sask2, Leth2, Bran1/1, Man1/1, TWU2, at TRU2, at Mac2, Reg2, at Vic2

Schools clearly choose whether or not to engage in the ‘home and home’ format with regional rivals … some do and some don’t.  The Dinos have 3 such 1 and 1 series, while Winnipeg, Lethbridge, MRU, and Alberta are playing 2 reciprocals each.  But seemingly obvious chances to play the home and home are passed up by Saskatchewan-Regina, UBC-O – TRU, Brandon-Manitoba, and Trinity W-UBC.

UBC T-Bird

T-Birds lead the list of ‘power teams’ in CW.

Vs ‘Traditional Powers’ ( in 1985-86, Lethbridge had the temerity to win Canada West, and Brandon won in 2001-02 … since 1986 we have UBC with 9 titles, Victoria with 8, Alberta has 7,  Calgary has won 4, and Saskatchewan 1)  We include the Huskies as a power team because of their recent record in League play and presence in the playoffs.

Where is the balance when  Winnipeg has just Sask and Victoria to face, while both UBC-O and TWU have only UBC and UVic,  and the Vikes are slated vs just Calgary and UBC? Meanwhile, Lethbridge has to contend with all of Calgary, Sask, Victoria, UBC, and Alberta, and TRU gets Alberta, Calgary, UBC, and UVic

No games between … Calgary – UBC, UVic – Sask, or UVic -Alberta … Manitoba misses UVic, Lethbridge, and Saskatchewan.   UBC doesn’t play Fraser Valley? Little wonder that virtually every Canada West coach has registered disdain for the unbalanced schedule.  But, the League officials point out that every other year you will play the teams you missed the previous year.

So every 2nd year, for example, Calgary will play UBC, Trinity W., Winnipeg, Brandon, UNBC, and Okanagan (non-regional ), with the following year dropping those and getting UVic, UFV, Manitoba, Regina, and Thompson R.  As someone pointed out … “So we get home games every 4 years vs UVic and UBC, who are both traditionally big spectator draws?  Terrific !”

The one saving grace, if you want to look at the big slate of play-off games, is that 12 of the 17 teams get into the post-season merry-go-round.  Of course, if you’re 13 or 14, you may be unhappy, and certainly number 5 and 6 will have a beef in missing a 1st round bye if they deem their schedule tougher than that of the ‘favoured 4’.

Comment is welcomed ….

Overtime –

  • The CIS Men’s Basketball Final 8 returns to it’s ‘traditional site’ in
    TRU's Josh Wolfram

    TRU’s Josh Wolfram signs pro contract in the Swedish League.

    Halifax for the next 2 seasons (March ’17 and March ’18), with bids being entertained in the coming years. The Women’s Tournament will be in the West for the next couple of years, with Victoria hosting in March ’17 and Regina in March ’18.

  • TRU’s graduating All-star, Josh Wolfram has signed a pro contract to play in Sweden this coming Fall/Winter.  The 6-10 forward, was among the leaders in both scoring and rebounding for the Wolf Pack,  Canada West Silver-medalists in his senior season.  Josh has signed a guaranteed contract with Umea Basket of the Swedish League. More details in this News Kamloops article. 
  • Riley Schaus, the top prospect out of the Brandon City League,  has signed to play for the home-town Bobcats under Coach Gil Cheung. Cheung likes the 6-1 Crocus Plains HS star for his ‘fine-shooting, and great determination’.  (Name another Crocus Plains star who became a CW All-star back in the 1990s.)
  • Adonis Montfort-Palomino, ex-Dinos, who was originally slated to go to Cape Breton this Fall, has decided, probably due to the coaching change with Matt Skinn moving to Calgary, that he will play at MacEwan.  Closer to home, friends, and likely more familiarity with the program.
  • Some other notable signings … 6-3 guard, Andre Kelly (Mississauga, ON) to Alberta, Regina lands Johneil Johnson, a 6-0 guard from Nova Scotia, UBC adds Aussie import, 6-5 swingman, Jerome Thompson, plus Isaiah Familia a 6-2 guard from Windsor, ON.

Busy Canada West Recruiting Scene

 Canada West Schools Announce New Recruits –  here’s the latest update on recent signings for Canada West teams this late Spring period.

Fraser Valley rivals, Jordyn Sekhorn (11) and Riley Braich (5) sign with UFV.

Fraser Valley rivals, Jordyn Sekhorn (11) and Riley Braich (5) sign with UFV.

  • Fraser Valley signs 2 more local high school stars for next season.  Fraser Valley friends and competitors, Riley Braich, a  6-3  guard  from Abbotsford (Yale)  and  Jordyn Sekhon a 6-5 wing from W.J. Mouat  of Abbotsford, are both headed for UFV, as Coach Adam Friesen re-builds after graduating Kevon Parchment More in this Abby News article. 
  • TRU Head coach Scott Clark signed 6-1 guard, Trent Monkman,  (Smithers, B.C.), who led his team to the 2A Provincials this March, and scored over 40 ppg in his senior season.  Details in this News Kamloops story.  6-6 forward, Ryan Miller,  of Valleyview Secondary  (Kamloops) will also join the Wolf Pack this Fall.

    Nigel Boyd, guard from London-Steveston, joins the TWU Spartans.

    Nigel Boyd, guard from London-Steveston, joins the TWU Spartans.

  • Trinity Western’s Coach, Aaron Muhic, has launched a youth movement … he signed 6-3 guard Nigel Boyd (Steveston-London, Richmond, B.C.)  .  Boyd was the top scorer on a team which reached the 3A Final in the B.C. High School Provincials.  Another new face for the Spartans is Justin Robinson, a 6-0 guard from Maple Ridge Christian, who averaged 29 ppg in his senior season.  Most recently, Trinity announced the signing of 2 more West coast high school stars – 6-7, Daniel Stead, (Langley, B.C., Walnut Grove), and 6-5 wing man, Aaron Paetkau (Parksville, B.C., Ballenas Secondary ).
  • Andre Kelly, a 6-3 guard from Mississauga, ON and The Rock High School, Gainesville, FL. has signed with the Alberta Golden Bears.  He is the son of former  Brandon Bobcats All Canadian, Jude Kelly.  Details from Matt Gutsch of U of A Sports
  • Another talented import guard from South of the border is headed to Saskatoon to join the U of S Huskies. Jalen White, a 6-1, 3rd year transfer (South Carolina State) will provide experience and leadership in an already strong back-court.

    Kelowna Owls star, Matt Lafontaine, stays home at UBC-O.

    Kelowna Owls star, Matt Lafontaine, stays home at UBC-O.

  • The Okanagan Heat welcome Kamloops high school star, Justin Melnychuk, a 6-4 guard from St. Ann’s Academy (Kamloops) More in this Kelowna Now storyCoach Peter Guarasci also adds Kelowna Owls guards, Matt Lafontaine (6-4), and Nav Sandhu (6-2), who were instrumental in helping the Owls win their 1st-ever BC 4A Provincial title this past year.

 

 

  • The Manitoba Bisons add hometown guard, Zach Giesbrecht  from Winnipeg’s John Taylor Collegiate –  Press release details from GoBisons

    Narcisse Ambanza is a big signing for the UW Wesmen.

    Narcisse Ambanza is a big signing for the UW Wesmen.

  • Winnipeg Wesmen Coach, Mike Raimbault, mines another nugget from the Toronto area talent pool, as he signs Narcisse Ambanza, a 6-3 combo guard from Eastern Commerce HS .  More in this UW press release 

 

 

 

 

Overtime –

New UBC Athletic Director, Giles Lepine

New UBC Athletic Director, Giles Lepine