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UBC Thunderbirds – Coach Kevin Hanson, 16th year
This is a big year for T-Birds Basketball, as they prepare to host the CIS Final 8 Nationals next March. The ‘Birds, led by 5-time CW Coach of the Year, Kevin Hanson, have 7 new faces in their 12-man roster, and Hanson suggests, “ … it’s going to depend on how we jell; how we work together as we build for March.”
Of his 5 returnees, 4 have played big roles in previous seasons; 5th year forward , David Wagner, should be a very reliable scorer and rebounder as will Conor Morgan, who can play an ‘all-court’ offensive game. Veteran guard, Jordan Jensen-Whyte has experience, and exceptional quickness for a big guard. Coach Hanson recruited several players who are ready to step in immediately – wing man, Will Ondrik, red-shirted last season for UBC after 3 years at TRU, and guards Taylor Browne and Phil Jalalpoor will be in the rotation. Patrick Simon (ex-Simon Fraser) is a big body forward who will add depth up front.
The T-Birds won 2 of 3 in their own October Invitational, and Coach Hanson allowed that, “We liked the players’ effort and performance in our Tournament.” The veteran coach would like nothing better than to have his Thunderbirds playing well enough to be a bonafide contender for that CIS title in the Spring.
UBC has more pre-season games vs the Seattle Mountaineers, Simon Fraser, Mt. Royal Cougars, and the ‘Fighting Geoducks’ of Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA. UBC plays their entire pre-season schedule in the ‘friendly confines’ of War Memorial Gym.
Elijah Campbell-Axson G 6-0, 2nd Year, Vancouver
Jordan Jensen-Whyte G 6-6, 4, Calgary
David Wagner F 6-9, 5, Kamloops
Conor Morgan W 6-9, 3, Victoria
Luka Zaharijevic F 6-7, 3, Vancouver
Will Ondrik F 6-7, 4, Vernon, tsf Thompson Rivers
New Thunderbirds –
A.J. Holloway G 6-2, 4, Tacoma, WA, tsf Bellevue Comm. Coll.
Taylor Browne G 6-2, 1, Surrey, Holy Cross HS
Phil Jalalpoor G 6-2 3 Shifferstadt, Germany, tsf Olds Coll.
Dominic Gilbert F 6-6 1 Sydney, Australia, Reno International Prep
Patrick Simon F 6-8 2 Port Coquitlam, tsf Simon Fraser
Roger Milne F 6-8 1 Winnipeg, Oak Park HS
Victoria Vikes – Coach Craig Beaucamp – 13th year
UVic Coach Craig Beaucamp, another 5-time CW Coach of the Year winner, contends that “ Our best recruits are our returning players; they’ve worked hard, and developed their skills, strength, and knowledge of our game.” He puts great stock in his players doing things, ‘the Vikes way”, and the defending Canada West champs will be determined to compete at that level again this season.
The latest ‘reincarnation’ of feisty guard Brandon Dunlop give the Vs a great leader at the point, and Mack Roth has become somewhat of a go-to scorer, with his range and strength to get inside, while Reiner Theill will be the defensive stopper, who can hit timely shots. Grant Sitton is extremely skilled offensively, and has the size to out-match perimeter defenders.
Frankly, the one man who will be ‘impossible to replace’ is Chris McLaughlin, now a pro in Austria, after earning the League MVP last year; UVic ‘lived large’ off his scoring and rebounding dominance. Early results show that there is much work to be done as the season wears on, but “ … our best local recruiting class in many years gives us great confidence for the future”, says Beaucamp. Indeed, the addition of 1st year players such as Josh Charles, Tyus Barfoot, and 2nd year transfer Billy Yaworsky give instant depth to the team.
The Vikes are on the road for the next 2 weekends, in S. Ontario , then at Eastern Oregon for 2 games on the 30/31st. Their opening League weekend (Nov. 6/7) has them at home against the Saskatchewan Huskies.
Grant Sitton F 6-8, 4th year, Brush Prairie, WA
Reiner Theil W 6-5, 5, West Vancouver
Kai Greene G 5-10, 2, Seattle
Mack Roth F 6-6, 5, Saskatoon
Brandon Dunlop G 6-1, 5, Victoria
Jordan Charles G 6-5, 3, Duncan, BC
Justin Kinnear F 6-6, 3, Montreal
Hassan Abdullahi G 6-3, 3, Scarborough, ON
Hayden Lejeune F 6-7, 2, Chilliwack
New Vikes –
Jason Scully F 6-4, 1, Victoria /St. Michael’s
Josh Charles F 6-5, 1, Duncan, BC/Cowichan
Tyus Barfoot F 6-5, 1, Nanaimo /Nanaimo District
Graeme Hyde-Lay G 6-1, 1, Victoria /St. Michael’s
Billy Yaworsky F 6-7 Winnipeg – tsf/Skagit Valley Jr Coll
Taylor Montgomery-Stinson G 6-3, 1 , Victoria / Claremont
- Here’s the Regina / Calgary schedule for the Cape Breton Tournament, starting Thursday.
Thursday Friday Saturday
1-Regina – UPEI Winner 1 vs W2 Championship
2-Nipissing-Acadia Loser 1 vs L 2 3rd place
3-Calgary-St. FX Winners game 5th
4-Cape Breton-Western Losers 7-8
- Other Thursday games- Victoria at Brock , Bishop’s at Guelph ; the Vikes continue with games at McMaster on Friday, and Guelph Saturday.
- Our condolences to the family of Lon Doty, who passed away earlier this week. A great Dad to his children, he was a big Calgary Dinos supporter during and after his son Steve played for Gary Howard back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Lon made a big commitment to his community, both in business and in his generous work for charities. He was a tremendous friend to so many, and he will be fondly remembered by those who knew him.
- Recruiting news – Here’s a nice story by Howard Tsumura on a star 2-sport athlete, Parker Stimson, from Kelowna HS. He’s likely to be pursued by schools like UBC, Calgary, Alberta et al … those who have football and basketball. Truly, it’s a very tough assignment to be successful at both sports while studying at a university, but it’s hard for some athletes to give up on one or the other game.