Montana State Over Calgary

 

 

 

 Montana State 91  Calgary 71 –

The visiting Bobcats out-scored the Dinos 26-12 in the 4th quarter to pull away from a game, but out-manned Calgary team. The NCAA Big Sky squad from Bozeman, in SW Montana, got to the rim consistently in the final 15 minutes of play.  The Blue and Gold spread their scoring through the the line-up led by all-star guard, Tyler Hall with 15 points.

The Dinos went with 8 players, and noticably faded in the last 4-5 minutes;  down 5 points with 5 minutes left, but unable to match the deeper ‘Cats at the finish.  Lucas Mannes, a transfer guard from Chilliwack, BC (Trinity Western), led UC with 21 pts / 6 rebounds. Max Eisele looked sharp at the point, hitting 15 points / 6 assists, while red-shirt rookie Sasha Pojuzina worked hard for 7 boards and 12 points vs his bigger match-ups.  These teams meet again on Saturday at 3 pm.  MSU plays Alberta Friday at 7 pm and Sunday at 1 pm.

 

Dinos ‘Short’ in the Big Man Position

After graduating Mitch Ligertwood,  having Jeff Rodehutskors transfer to Lethbridge, and  losing Matt Ellis, the Calgary Dinos were left with Connor Foreman as their only returning post player.  The coaches were excited to sign Rhys Larry, a veteran rebounder from Acadia, but Larry changed his mind, and will not be moving West after all.

Connor Foreman, the lone Dinos big man, will not play this weekend due to injury.

“We were unexpectedly left scrambling after the disappointments with Rodehutskors and Larry”, said Coach Dan Vanhooren.  The coaches have tracked several possibilities, and may have found a B.C. high school grad to bolster the roster in the Fall.  There may also be an addition of an import big man, but the staff are showing caution before pulling the trigger there.

With Foreman rehabbing an injured knee , Calgary’s biggest player is 6-7 wing man, Lars Schleuter, who will be in the middle for some alignments vs Montana State this weekend.  9 players will dress for Lead Assistant Coach Matt Skinn, who will temporarily take the reins, with Coach Vanhooren down in Indiana with Team Canada preparing for the Universiade in Taipei.

Bears Bring Experience and Talent 

The 2017 Canada West Champion Alberta Golden Bears may well be the odds -on favourites to repeat in this coming season. The veteran line-up set to play Montana State in a pair of games this Friday 7 pm and Sunday 1 pm is highlighted by 5th year wing man, Mamadou Gueye (16 ppg/ 6 rebs), a 6-7 slasher who is sure to be on pre-season all-star lists.

Geoff Pippus is one of 3 Bears starters in their 5th year.

The Bears also have  rugged 3rd year forward, Brody Clarke  , and 5th year shooter Geoff Pippus, a dangerous outside threat. The U of A point guard, 6-2 Austin Waddoups goes into his 4th year, and triggers the Bears attack. We should see returnee guards Andre Kelly, Ivan Ikomey, and D’Wan Williams, all of whom saw significant playing time last season.  5th year, 6-6 guard, Lyndon Annetts, is another returning starter who can hit the outside shot.

5th year Alberta Head Coach, Barnaby Craddock, has added a transfer guard, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 4th year Montreal native, who played at 2 NCAA Div 2 schools, and will be expected to provide quality depth.

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Overtime –

  • The Canada Team for the FISU Games are now training at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  They are staying on campus at Purdue, and will play 2 games against the U.S. team, comprised totally  of Purdue players, and coached by Matt Painter.  Games are Friday night at Carmel (IN) HS and Saturday at Lafayette Jefferson HS and both will be streamed live on Facebook Live  .
  • Scores this past week from U-Sports teams vs NCAA schools –
  • U. California-Riverside 73  Laval 68, UC Riverside 79 UQAM 39
  • In Costa Rica … Laurentian VGs 76  U. Montana 67, Western kentucky 104  Laurentian 98
  • Towson, a   Div 1 school from the Baltimore area, beats UQAM 94-63, then it’s Towson 76 Carleton 64, and Towson 70  Laval 51
  • In Montreal, Alabama Crimson Tide crushed McGill 96-57, but Carleton bounced back from their loss earlier in the week to clip the Tide 84-71 in Ottawa.
  • McGill gave S. Methodist (Dallas, TX) a scare before falling to the Mustangs 86-83
  • Brock beat Binghamton (NY) 80-69 in St. Catharines.
  • Thursday games –  Alabama 81 at Ottawa 71,  W. Kentucky 118 Laurentian 63 (in Costa Rica), S. Methodist 98  at Ryerson 86,  Towson 84  at McGill 53,

August – Game- On for U-Sports vs NCAA

 

 

Calgary, Alberta, Trinity, UBC  in Upcoming NCAA Games  

Starting on August the 10th to the 13th , the UC Dinos and Alberta Golden Bears have a pair of games apiece against the visiting Montana State Bobcats.  The ‘Cats meet Calgary on Thursday, the 10th and Saturday, the 12th, and are up gainst the Bears on the 1th and the 13th.  All games are at the UC’s Jack Simpson Gym.

The Bears won the Canada West Championship over Calgary last March, and have almost all their players returning, losing only Brett Roughead to graduation. Calgary graduated high scorer Thomas Cooper, along with regulars, Jasdeep Gill, and Dallas Karch.  Both teams added skilled recruits, and this will be an early chance for fans to preview 2 of Canada West’s perennial contenders.

On Wednesday, August 16, the Trinity Western Spartans welcome Div 2 Saint Martin’s University (Lacey, WA) to Langley.   The UBC Thunderbirds are one of 3 U-Sports sqads visiting Costa Rica this month. The ‘Birds will be without CW Player of the Year, Conor Morgan, who will be on Team Canada in Taiwan for the FISU Games along with Coach Kevin Hanson.   UBC has the U. Nevada Wolf Pack on Aug 18, then the U. Texas – El Paso Miners on the 19th, before finishing  vs Nevada again on the 21st.

 

Eastern Powers Busy With August NCAA Play

Carleton guard Emmanuel Owootoah and the powerhouse Ravens start an ambitious summer schedule.      Photo – Go Ravens.ca

Laval Rouge et Or tipped off Wednesday in a 73-68 home loss to U. California-Riverside, as NCAA teams invade Canada for most of this month.  There is more action  this coming August 5th weekend as Laurentian VG’s are the first team to play in a summer series in Costa Rica, tipping off against the U. of Montana on Saturday.  In Montreal and Ottawa, we have U-Sports teams (UQAM, McGill, and Carleton) hosting Towson State and Alabama starting Sunday.

The U-Sports Champion, Carleton Ravens, have 12 summer dates, with home games – Aug 7 – Towson State , Aug 9 – Alabama , Aug 22 – New Hampshire,  Aug 23 – Canisius College, Aug 25 – Northeastern U., Aug 27 – St. Francis (Brooklyn), Aug 28- Sienna College, Aug 30 – Hofstra U.  Away games are in the U.S. Virgin Islands … Aug 14 – 18  –  Vanderbilt U (2 games), Northern Colorado, James Madison U.

McGill Redmen, the Quebec champs, are up for 10 games including 4 in Costa Rica from August 14 – 17 vs Kent State, Lamar, and a pair vs Texas-El Paso .  The  Quebec power team is home for August 7 – Alabama, 8th – Southern Methodist, 10th – Towson before the Costa Rica junket.  Later in the summer slate … Aug 28th at home to St. Francis (Brooklyn) , 30th – Siena, and Sept. 2 vs Hofstra.

Brock Badgers, a team ‘on the rise’, are scheduling 6 games including Aug 16, 17, 20 and 21 in the U.S. Virgin Islands vs Vanderbilt, N. Colorado, James Madison (2 games)  The Badgers are home on Aug 9 – Binghamton, Aug 13 – Jacksonville

Concordia Stingers also have 6 games lined up with NCAA schools, starting August 20th vs Canisius, then 23rd , 24th against Northeastern and New Hampshire.  The Stingers catch St. Francis, Siena, and Hofstra on Aug 29, 31, and Sept 1. All are home games

The Laurentian Voyageurs have 4 games in Costa Rica during the week August 5th through 12th, as they play the Montana Grizzlies, a pair vs Western Kentucky, and finish against Kent State.

The Ottawa Gee-Gees get Alabama on Aug 10, then New Hampshire and Canisius on the 21st and 22nd. Ramapo College (Div 3) visits the capitol on Aug 28.

 

Overtime –

  • In recent years Carleton has notable victories over NCAA ‘power programs’ such as Syracuse, Indiana, Wichita State, and Wisconsin.  All these are on the Raven’s home court, and CU has an historical 26-23 record vs U.S. schools on this side of the border.  Not so much when they travel South, as they are 1-28 in all games played in the U.S.
  • The Canadian squad for the FISU Games – Universiade will leave Saturday for a training camp at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.  This all-U-Sports aggregation will benefit from some generous hosting by the Boilermakers, whose Big Ten team will represent the U.S. at the Taiwan event from August 19-30.  Here’s a story on Thunderbirds teammates, Conor Morgan and Jordan Jensen-Whyte, who are reunited on this Canada team.   

 

 

New RPI Formula for Canada West

 

 

What Impact From RPI, Schedule Changes ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

The formula used in 2016-17 was as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____________________________________________________________________________

Overtime – 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Cooper to Play in Germany

Dinos’ Cooper Will Play in Germany

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

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

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

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

__________________________________________________________________________

Latest Canada West Recruiting News –

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

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

 

UNB signs 2 Southern Alberta stars

Ibrahima Doumbouya with UNB Coach, Brent Baker.

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

 

4 Schools Announce Big Recruiting Classes

 

 

UBC Leads 4 Schools Announcing Big Recruiting Success

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

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

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

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

Dinos add power and finesse in their recruiting class

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

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

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

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

 Lethbridge Bolsters Their Lineup

Kyle Peterson, in CIS Nationals play vs Ottawa.

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

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

Griffins Coach, Eric Magdanz                            Photo – MacEwan Athletics

MacEwan Makes Moves to Strengthen Their Roster

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

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

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Overtime –

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

 

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

 

 

 

Who Goes, Who Stays for Next Fall?

 

 

 

 An Early Look at Canada West Rosters

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

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

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

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

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

Shane Osayande returns for the Huskies with his power game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More team reports up-coming  _________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime – 

 

Rams Challenge Ravens in All- OUA National Final

 

 

Ravens chasing 7 straight, after their defense stops the Redmen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Box Score  

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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Overtime –

  •  The Women’s Finals 8 from Victoria  Saturday – 

Semi #1   Laval 78 vs Queens  67 

Semi #2      McGill 66 vs Carleton 60 

 Consolation Final  –      Regina 79    Saskatchewan  76

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

Calgary vs Saint Marys in Consolation Final

 

 

 

Cooper leads hot Dinos shooting in win over Manitoba

Thomas Cooper drops 30 points as Calgary  beats Manitoba        (photo – Trevor MacMillan)

 Consolation, game  1 – Calgary Dinos  92   Manitoba Bisons  84 –  Fast and loose.  That is a reasonable description of the 1st half of the Dinos-Bisons reprise in Friday night consolation play.  Both teams over 50% from the floor, and both teams with 10+ turnovers.  The Canada West ‘cousins’  trade offensive bursts of 7-12 point runs.

The dust clears with he Dinos up 43 – 42, and this one may get into the 90s before it’s done. And, yes, UC goes up by 13 mid-way in the 3rd, but a buzzer beating 3 by Manitoba’s Keith Omoerah closes it to 4.

The Dinos fight off the Herd in the final frame, with continued hot shooting (54% for the game), while Manitoba (50% on FG, and 47% from 3)  get a late surge which falls just short. Thomas Cooper tallying 30 points / 11 rebounds, 3 asst/ 3 steals , and David Kapinga contributes 18 pts/ 3 asst/ 2 steals.  6-7, 4th year, Connor Foreman, has a nice game off the bench, scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 rebounds, as the Dinos score 49 in the 2nd half..

The Bisons are led by Keith Omoerah’s 15 pts/ 9 boards/ 5 helpers, as he is one of 4 in double figures in scoring for UM. Justus Alleyn is 3/4 from outside, and hits 17 pts/ 4 assists. This was the final game for Manitoba’s 4 seniors, A.J. Basi, Bonhomme, Brett Jewell, and Jonathan Alexander.     Box Score     Calgary will play Saint Marys  in the Consolation Final on Saturday at 8:00 pm Atlantic time, again on   U-Sports TV1   

The Saint Marys bench erupts , as the Huskies win in OT            (photo – Trevor MacMillan)

 Consolation, game 2 –  Saint Marys  98  Alberta  93   OT  –  The Bears catch and pass Saint Marys early in the 4th quarter, in a game that was truly back- and- forth. The Huskies are down 5 with 35 seconds left in regulation, but 2 free throws then a final seconds trey from guard, Marquis Clayton,  gets them to overtime.  SMU make the home crowd happy, winning the extra 5 minute session, with 2 more outside bombs from Clayton pivotal in the win.

The coaches tweak their rotations, and subs are in and out regularly.  Two big advantages for the Huskies are the 6 to 18 turnover chart, and their beating Alberta at their own 3 point shooting game … 14/34 – 41%  vs  9/25 – 36% for the Bears.

Clayton leads the SMU charge with his 24 points/ 6 rebs/ 6 assists , highlighted by his 6/9 from 3 point range. Theon Reefer kicks in with 20 pts/ 5 rebs/ 3 assists, while post man Achuil Lual has an impact with his 11 pts/ 7 rebs.

The Bears share their scoring , with 6 in double figures, led by 20 from Mamadou Gueye, who also grabs 7 boards.  Big Brett Roughead, the lone 5th year senior, plays 29 minutes, and scores 15 points and snares 15 rebounds, leading U of A’s dominant 58-33 edge in that department. Import guard, Austin Waddoups, scores 19 with 7 rebounds, while Geoff Pippus posts a double of 12 points/ 10 rebounds.    Box Score  

SMU will face Calgary in the 8:00 pm Consolation Final on Saturday.

 

Final 8 in Halifax …   Schedule for Saturday –

1 p.m. Atlantic      Semifinal 1     #2 Carleton Ravens  vs  #3 McGill Redmen  (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)

3:30 p.m. Semifinal 2      #1 Ryerson Rams  vs  #5  Dalhousie Tigers  (Sportsnet 360/SN Now)

8:00 pm  Consolation Final – #7 Calgary vs #8 Saint Marys

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Overtime –

Mitchell Wood, younger brother to Ravens’ ace, Connor Wood.   photo – Carleton Athletics

  • Brotherly ‘love’from the Carleton Ravens’  Wood brothers,  “He (younger brother Mitchell) had to survive in the driveway somehow, so he had to be tough,” quips Connor, who majors in psychology. “I always liked to get to the rim more than shoot,” Mitchell concurs. “I was going to get bullied either way, so I had to come hard or just not come out [of the house] at all.”  From David Whitfield, Ravens ‘resident scribe’. 
  • Manitoba Coach, Kirby Schepp, with some classy comments following the game with Calgary tonight, “We have tremendous respect for Calgary and their coaches and program,” said Schepp. “And while there’s a rivalry – we’ve played a lot in the last couple years – it’s a good rivalry, a healthy rivalry. We can complete at a high level and it’s fun competing like that.”  From U-Sports – Halifax
  • U-Sports Women’s Tournament Consolation scores –  from Victoria54

          Saskatchewan 65 Cape Breton 51,      Victoria  78  Regina  64

  •  The Women’s schedule on Saturday – 

2 pm Pacific – Laval  vs Queens in semi #1

4 pm        –  McGill vs Carleton in semi #2

7 pm  –  Saskatchewan   vs Regina

 

Ravens Rebounders, McGill Defense Win Early games

 

 

Offensive boards and 30 point edge off 3s propel Ravens to win

Carleton’s  Connor Wood  makes it a tough shot for the Dinos’ David Kapinga         (photo: Trevor MacMillan)

#2  Carleton 85  #7  Calgary 69 –   The Ravens go up 10 at the half on a run and pitch trey byEmmanuel Owootoah  at the buzzer.  Calgary had played hard at the defensive end, causing 12 turnovers, and slowing-down the Carleton drive, kick, and hit the 3 offense.  Still, the Black Birds were on top having made 7 treys in the opening 20 minutes, and that is deadly for any defense.  With the big rebounding edge for Ravens, Calgary gives up too many extra chances.

Calgary hangs in for much of the 2nd half, and, brings the score within 5 points in both the 3rd and 4th frames.  But, with  about 6 minutes left, the Ravens go on an 11— 0 run to boost it to 16.  There are 5 Carleton players in double figures, as they shoot 47% as a team vs 42% for the Dinos.  The big difference  came from outside shooting, as the Ravens hit 14/35 for 42 pts against UC’s 4/14 for only 12. That’s a tough gap to fill ….

Rebounding by  Carleton did wear down the Dinos, with the final count 48-24, including 17 offensive boards for the defending champs. Carleton had 16 points each from guards Connor Wood, Emmannuel Owootoah, and Kaza Kajami-Keane, with Keane adding 9 assists .  Eddie Eyikor scored 10 plus 7 boards, while big Cameron Smyth cashed 10 and grabbed 9 off the glass.

Thomas Cooper scored 17 for Calgary, plus 6 rebs/ 4 assts, with Mambi Diawara close behind , scoring 15 pts/ 4 asst/ 3 steals.  A brave effort by the Dinos, but the size, rebounding, and shooting of Carleton wins the opener in the 2017 Nationals.   Box Score 

Carleton will play in one semi final vs McGill on Saturday, while Calgary goes Friday at 3 pm Mountain  in the consolation bracket against familiar foe, the Manitoba Bisons.

McGill’s Jenning Leung takes it to the rim against Manitoba      (photo credit: Trevor MacMillan)

#3 McGill  63  #6 Manitoba  53 –  McGill couldn’t have asked for more in terms of the run of play in this offensively-challenged contest .  The Bisons come out looking a little tight, as the McGill defense chokes down Manitoba’s early offensive thrusts.  McGill gets a bigger share of the ball, and convert free throws and a pair of late-on-the-clock treys for a 5 point margin after 20 minutes.

Manitoba picks up their game late in that 2nd quarter, and look more comfortable at the scoring end for a bit. However, the Bisons ball handlers / shooters are ‘off their game’ for the most part. The Redmen win while shooting just 37% from the floor, and 11 for 22 from the foul line!  Just too many sloppy decisions by the Herd.

Manitoba cannot get their break going, and take an uncharacteristically low 8 attempts from 3, and hit just 2.  McGill is only 6/28 from deep, but still come out ahead in that department. Veteran Redmen,  guard Jenning Leung (13 pts) and post work-horse Francois Bourque (13 pts/ 14 rebs/ 4 steals) provide the leadership needed to steer the Reds into the semi-finals.

The Bisons get 13 points apiece from Keith Omoerah (9 rebs/ 4 asst/ 3 steals) and A.J. Basi, who added 3 steals.  Usually productive efforts from other starters were absent, and we can only blame the big stage, and, of course, a rugged McGill defense. Box Score

McGill advance to Saturday’s semi-final against the Carleton Ravens, while Manitoba get to play their Canada West rivals, the Calgary Dinos on Friday at 6 pm Atlantic in the consolation round.

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Overtime –

  • Kirby Schepp, Manitoba Coach, in a wonderful story in the Winnipeg Sun on the Bisons Ilarion Bonhomme , “In my 25 years coaching, I don’t know if there’s anybody ahead of him in terms of the quality of kid and the person he is  …. He treats everyone from the kid wiping the floor, to the secretary, to his teammates with incredible respect. I see the way he is around kids, around my kids, he’s just awesome.”  
  • The All-Canadian Awards ‘Gala’  was night in Halifax, and Connor Wood, a  5th year guard from the Carleton Ravens, was named the 2017 U SPORTS Men’s Basketball Player of the Year.  He is the 8th Carleton player so honoured over the past 17 seasons.  Wood shot over 50% from the floor and from the 3 point line, averaging 19 ppg.
  • Other U SPORTS award winners –   Ottawa wing man, Caleb Agada, is the Defensive Player of the Year, while Laurentian guard, Kadre Gray, accepted the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy  as Rookie of the Year.  Carleton’s Dave Smart won his 8th Stu Aberdeen Memorial Trophy  as Coach of the Year, and Dalhousie forward Kashrell Lawrence, won the Ken Shields Award for Academics and Community Service. 
  • 2017  All-Canadians –   1st Team –

Connor Wood , Carleton , 5th year, Guelph, ON

Conor Morgan,  UBC,  4th , Victoria, B.C.

Adika Peter-McNeilly ,  Ryerson ,  5th , Scarborough, ON

Kevin Bercy ,  St Francis Xavier,   4th,  Kanata, ON

Thomas Cooper,  Calgary,  5th,  Chattanooga, TN

 2nd Team –

Kaza Kajami-Keane,   Carleton ,5th, Ajax, ON

Dele Ogundokun, McGill , 4th , Hamilton, ON

Javon Masters,  UNB , 4th, Kitchener, Ont.

Caleb Agada,  Ottawa ,  5th,  Burlington, ON

Shane Osayande,  Saskatchewan ,  4th ,  Toronto, ON

 All-Rookie Team         

Kadre Gray                Laurentian       Toronto, ON

Eddie Ekiyor              Carleton           Ottawa, ON

Scott Kellum              Victoria            Issaquah, WA

Jamaal Potopsingh    UNB               Brampton, ON

Kendrick Jolin            McGill              Pte. Claire, PQ

Ryerson and Carleton Aiming for Rematch

 

Ryerson and Carleton favoured to meet in Championship Final

Can any other team de-rail the favoured Rams – Ravens ?

Final 8  – Round 1 Previews – Thursday games (Atlantic Time)

12 Noon …   #2 Carleton Ravens  vs #7 Calgary Dinos 

The Ravens are aiming at winning their 7th straight National title, and they beat Calgary 101-79 last March in that 6th consecutive triumph.  Coach Dave Smart is the master at preparing his team for this 4 day event, and the Ravens, who are 27-1 against U-Sports teams this season are a daunting foe.

Kaza Kajami-Keane is the catalyst for Carleton’s offense. photo – Ottawa Citizen

Carleton are led by the OUA Player of the Year, Connor Wood, a 6-4, 5th year shooting guard, who pulls the trigger on the long ball as well as anyone in this field.  His back-court partner, Kaza Kajami-Keane, is a powerful, quick play-maker, who scores nearly 15 ppg, but is really the floor leader. The Ravens power in the post will be a huge plus again this Final 8 Tournament, with Eddie Ekiyor, a 6-8 rookie, teaming up with 6-7 Ryan Ejim, a 5th year vet who was so strong in the paint in last year’s win. As back-up, CU has 6-11, Cameron Smyth, a 4th year from Charles Tupper in Vancouver.  They are big, and can overwhelm  most teams.

Calgary were 24-5 vs all Canadian universities, are the ‘wildcard’ pick, and the 3rd Canada West team in the 8 team draw. The Dinos are a fast-paced attacking team, with 5th year wing man Thomas Cooper their scoring leader at 23 ppg.  Cooper will hope to have better luck against the Ravens defenders  in this re-match with Carleton, after he and the Dinos were thwarted in the 2016 Final.

UC  have had a run of injuries late in the season, which has depleted their very deep roster.  Lars Schleuter, a 6-7 wing man with a dangerous 3 point shot, has been out with a high-ankle sprain.  Also on the shelf was Dallas Karch, a 5th year, 6-7 forward, whose size and athleticism has been a big boost for UC.  Jasdeep Gill, another 5th year wing with the ability to score, has had ankle / leg issues, and is a ‘possible’ for Thursday’s game.

David Kapinga, the speedy 3rd year UC point man, can shoot the 3, and put pressure on opposing ball-handlers.  Jhony Verrone, a muscular 6-0, 4th year combo guard from Montreal is proving his worth as a versatile defender.  Mitch Ligertwood is a 6-6, hard-nosed, 4th year  post man, who should be the key guy inside in this smaller Dinos line-up.

Anytime Carleton plays, they are the favourites.  Eastern experts suggest this could be their best team yet. That says a lot about anyone else’s chances, but their lone loss did take place last Saturday.  Calgary a distinct long-shot in this Tournament opener.     Watch on U-Sports TV 1     9 am Mountain

 

2:00 pm  … #3 McGill Redmen   vs  #6  Manitoba Bisons

The Redmen have been dominant in the 5 member RSEQ in recent seasons, as they return to the Nationals for the 5th straight time.  Coached by Quebec Coach of the Year, David DeAveiro, the Redmen are a solid defensive club, with an experienced line-up, even without any 5th year seniors. 

McGill’s  top scorers are guards Jenning Leung (14.5 ppg) , a 6-4, 4th year shooter, who is a native of the Philippines, and 6-2, 4th year, Dale Ogundokun (12.7 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 3.5 assists).  Ogundokun, a Hamilton, ON high school star, was honoured as the Quebec Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.

Up front the Redmen have 3rd year, 6-8 Noah Daoust, and 6-6 Michael Peterkin, but may be missing their top big man, 4th year, Francois Bourque, a rugged rebounder/scorer/defender who has missed 3 games with an undisclosed injury.

Manitoba have reached this National Tournament for the 1st time in over 30 years, and their seniors are ‘jacked’ with the prospect of competing on this ‘big stage’. Says 4th year  shooting guard , A.J. Basi “Our goal was to get to Halifax at first.  This is like our last week together so we want to make the most of it and we’re all focused on that first game on Thursday against McGill.” (From Global News – Russ Hobson).

Manitoba’s high scoring guard, Justus Alleyn photo – UM Athletics

Basi (13.6 ppg) is one of their key scorers, with his 3 point acumen, and he can be a ball-hawk on defense.  The Herd has a powerful leader in 6-5, 4th year Keith Omoerah, who scores 13.2 ppg, grabs 8.7 rebs and can defend inside and out. Ilarion Bonhomme, a quick, 5-10 import (Washington, DC) point man triggers the Bisons break, and 6-3 Justus Alleyn, is their top scorer at 17.5 ppg, and shooting over 40% from 3 point range.

The Bisons and Redmen should make for a fascinating match-up … McGill with their defense, and Manitoba a quick-strike offense.  This may go down to the wire, if UM can get the hot shooting in a big arena .    (12 noon Central time) 

 

6:00 pm  …   #1  Ryerson Rams  vs  #8  Saint Marys Huskies –  On the surface, this 1-8 match-up suggests a Ryerson win, but the ‘home team’ Huskies will want to have a say before we fill in our semi-final bracket !

Adika Peter- McNeilly is a force for the OUA champion , Ryerson      photo – Rams Athletics

For the 2nd straight season, the Rams are champions of the OUA, having beaten Carleton (86-79) on the Ravens’ home court this time around.  Coach Roy Rana has a team ‘on a roll’, having won 7 of their last 8 and are 22-4 vs U-Sports teams this season.  Ryerson has a pressing, running, and 3 point shooting attack, paced by Adika Peter-McNeilly, a 6-3, 5th year guard, who is the high scorer, but also a quick and headsy defender.  His ‘right-hand man’ is 6-5, 4th year wing, Ammanuel Diressa, who is the #1 disruptor on the defensive end, but also scores in bunches.

The Rams are deep in talent, with 6-8 Adam Voll a big body inside, and 6-6 , Juwon Grannum, a 5th year rebounder, who contributes as well to the 40% + 3 point shooting for the team. Guards Myles Charvis, a former rookie sensation at Waterloo, and quick point man, Roshane Roberts, keep the pressure  coming on defense.

Saint Marys have a history in this National Tournament, having 4 titles to their credit, and have a knack for answering the bell at the Atlantic Tournament, making many Nationals Final 8s.  This year’s squad had a 23-10 U-Sports record, but had limited play outside the Maritimes.

Their core group are led by 5-9 point man, Marquis Clayton, one of 6 Huskies in their 5th year.  Clayton scores 19 ppg, and keys their defense. Theon Reefer, a 6-6, 5th year swing-man, has the quickness to make an impact at both ends, and Brian Rouse, a 6-4 guard, is a tough match-up with his size and scoring touch.  The Huskies have size and experience with 6-8, 5th year post, Achuil Lual, and 6-6, 3rd year, Kingston, ON product, Brent Martindale.

A close 2nd (60-63) to the AUS champs, Dalhousie, Saint Marys pose a threat to Ryerson if they can get their offense on track against the Rams’ press.  This game will be at a very high pace, and turnovers could kill that Huskies attack. Ryerson should prevail, but Saint Marys know this court very well.

 

8:00 pm …   #4 Alberta Golden Bears  vs #5 Dalhousie Tigers –  Two League champions tip-off in the feature game of the night on Thursday, and aggressive defense is a calling card for both teams.

Alberta’s Mamadou Gueye has been a play-off stand-out for the Bears this season.

The Bears are playing their best basketball of the season at just the right time, with an impressive weekend of play in capturing their 12th Canada West  title with convincing wins over Saskatchewan 83-70, and Manitoba 92-73.  They are among the League leaders in points allowed at 74 ppg, and they shoot a CW best 40.6% from 3 point range.

Their forward combo of 4th year Mamadou Gueye, a 6-6 Quebec native, and 2nd year Brody Clarke, a 6-7  Toronto product gives them inside scoring and leads a strong rebounding team effort.  Clarke, the son of former Canada national team star, Norm Clarke ,  will require extra attention from Dal defenders in the paint.  Gueye saved his best games for the Canada West Final 4, and he is a threat from anywhere with his offensive explosiveness.

Austin Waddoups, a 6-2 import guard (Utah)  has been a major addition, and he controls the pace as a point man, but also hits the timely trey on a regular basis. Coach Barnaby Craddock utilizes guards Dwan Williams (6-2, 2nd year, Toronto)   and  6-5 , 4th year, import shooter, Geoff Pippus as complimentary weapons, and both can score when needed.  7-1 Brett Roughead is in his 5th year, and can make things tough on the interior.

Dalhousie will have big local support, and count on their veteran core of senior vets Kashrell Lawrence, Richie Kanza Mata, and Sven Stammberger to lead the way.  The Tigers return to this Final 8 for the 2nd straight season, with a 25-10 record, and wins over Ryerson and Brock earlier this year.

Lawrence,  a 5th year, and only 6-2, is a muscular dynamo up front, and galvanizes teammates and Dal fans with his rugged play on the boards, and in scoring against bigger opponents. Kanza Mata was voted the AUS Defensive Player of the Year, but he can also score from an offense that led the Atlantic League in FG% at almost 47%.

Last season’s U-Sports Rookie of the Year, 6-0 Jordan Aquino-Serjue, is a valuable 6th man off the bench, and 5th year guard, 6-3 Jared Reid, is a solid wing man with a nice offensive game.  In reserve, the Tigers have a pair of big posts in 6-7 Ryall Stroud (tsf Queen’s), and 6-10 import, Sascha Kappos (Miami, FL) .

This promises to be an entertaining finale for Thursday’s card, and picking a winner here may be tough.  Both teams will aim to make life difficult with physical defense, and the ability of the scorers on both squads to break free will be paramount.   This is a 5 pm Mountain tip-off.

Remember, you can   Watch on U-Sports TV 1

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Overtime –

Dave Smart, Carleton, is Canada’s winningest coach

  • Coaching records (U-Sports overall) for the 8 Head coaches in this tournament –    Dave Smart, Carleton – 520-46 (.919) … Roy Rana, Ryerson – 139-69 (.668)  … Dave De Aveiro, Ottawa / McGill – 341-183 (.651) … Jonah Taussig, Saint Marys – 99-67 (.596) … Barnaby Craddock – Brandon, UFV, Alberta – 221-151 (.594) … Rick Plato, Dalhousie – 76-53 (.589) … Dan Vanhooren, Calgary – 304-213 (.588) … Kirby Schepp, Manitoba – 112-124 (.475)
  • This National Championship Final 8 Tournament returns to Halifax for the first time since 2012.  The event will have been played in this venue a total of 30 times in the 44 years since competition began back in 1963.