MacEwan – Young Team, Big Dreams

 

Griffins coach likes the energy of his young team

MacEwan Coach Eric Magdanz is one of several Canada West coaches who has been dealing with a big turnover of seniors from last season.  “This process of developing a team, and re-forming with new recruits can be challenging, but also rewarding”, says the 4th year mentor.

The Griffs lost Thadius Galvez, Keith Gerdes,  Denzel James, and Tyler Wise,  who were core players.  But, this does not deter Coach Magdanz, who characterizes his team as ‘very young’, but also, “we are long, athletic, and energetic.”

The team will lean on veteran leaders like Ryan Coleman (Edmonton), the only 5th year Griff, and Adonis Monfort-Palomino left, Calgary), the 3rd year point man.  Ali Raza (Calgary), 3rd year wing, had ‘a phenomenol summer”, says Magdanz. “He is a remarkable athlete.” 6-6 Harrison Lane (Edmonton) is a 4th year post man, who should be stepping into a bigger role along with 2nd year English import, Jake Notice.

1st year players dot this roster, with 6-3 Lincoln Anderson (Cardston) expected to contribute right away, “ … he is ready”, his coach exclaims. Abdullah Shittu is a 6-7 Edmonton product who has a 7-2 wing span, and is picking up coaching very readily.   There are 8 rookies, and some will have to ‘wait their turn”, but Coach Magdanz believes, “This group will be great to coach; they will work hard, and, as they become more familiar with each other, we look forward to building a competitive team.”

 

 

Anderson enters as a ‘mature student and athlete’

Lincoln Anderson was a member of the Cardston , AB high school team which captured 2 consecutive 4A provincial titles in 2012 and 2013.  This was big news in hoops crazy Southern Alberta, and Anderson might have been expected to go on and play in Canada West.  But Lincoln had other priorities as a Church of Latter Day Saints member; he served a church mission in New Zealand for 2 years, centred in Auckland. “It was an amazing experience”, says Anderson.  No basketball practice for missionaries, but they did play a little informal rugby (as you would in the land of the ‘All-Blacks” NZ National Team).

Lincoln Anderson, MacEwan wing man

The difficult part of getting back to varsity sport is to “start thinking the game again”, according to the 22 year old. “As a missionary, I was planning every minute of my days in New Zealand, so I’m not having any trouble combining studies and basketball.”  Starting a B Sc. program, Lincoln wants to eventually work as a physiotherapist. “Because I’ve gone through so much work with my knee”, he says, “I’ve become keen on helping other people with similar challenges.”

Anderson was recruited by Coach Magdanz, who, coincidently, coached both Lincoln and Adonis Monfort-Palomino on Alberta’s U-17 team a few years back. “He is a young and enthusiastic coach”, says Anderson. “I like his style of coaching, and his enthusiasm for the team and individual players.”  ‘I’m excited to get playing games”, exclaims Lincoln. “I really look forward to competing.”  Under Magdanz’ tutelage, Anderson expects the Griffins to develop into a team that can “… contend with all the top schools.”  Lincoln Anderson and the others in this freshman class may well be chasing history if his prognostication comes close to fruition.  Dream big … how else can you hope to get there?

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Overtime – 

  • Game schedule … Thursday, Oct 5  –    Calgary Cup starts at UC –  Dinos vs McGill, McMaster vs Acadia  … Saskatchewan at Toronto, Bishops at Victoria, Laurentian at Brandon, NAIT at Thompson Rivers

    Ken Olynyk brings a long and distinguished university sport career to an end.

  • Congratulations to TRU’s Ken Olynyk, who has announced his retirement as the school’s Athletic Director.  Olynyk, a former player in the CIS, and a coach at U. Lethbridge, U. Toronto, and with the WolfPack, has had a very positive impact on basketball and sport at TRU.  We wish him well, and hope he enjoys the extra time he will have to enjoy family and recreational pursuits.  Ken will likely still be involved with hoops in some way, even beyond being a spectator at son Kelly’s NBA games!  More in this story from TRU Athletics.

Wesmen and Griffins Want ‘In’

 

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

Winnipeg Wesmen and MacEwan Griffins

The two Prairie schools we preview today have a similar status in their respective communities.   The University of Winnipeg and MacEwan University are the younger, smaller ‘cousins’ to the big guy across town.  U. Manitoba boasts 25,000+ undergraduate students vs about 10,000 for UW, and the U. Alberta casts even a bigger shadow in Edmonton, with 28,000 to MacEwan’s 11,000. Despite their ‘2nd fiddle profile’, their basketball teams want in to the Canada West playoffs again this coming season.

The Wesmen are ‘chasing the recent success’ of the neighbouring Bisons, and, similarly, the Griffins are ‘newbies’ who don’t have the same CIS tradition as the Alberta Golden Bears up on the South side.  When the Griffs host the W’s in late January in Edmonton, both teams hope they are in the midst of a playoff chase.

Winnipeg  Wesmen
’15-’16 Lost 1st Round playoff  to Regina      10 wins  10 losses

Denzel Lynch-Blair (L) and Ryan Oirbans (R) - return to lead the Wesmen.

Denzel Lynch-Blair (L) and Ryan Oirbans (R) – return to lead the Wesmen.    photos-  UW- Kelly Morton        UC – David Moll

Returnees –  5th year – 6-3, Jamar Farley … 4th years – 6-10 Ryan Oirbans, 6-6 Nate Johnson … 3rd years – 6-4 Denzel Lynch-Blair, 6-4, Marcello Kambola, 5-8 Denzel Soliven, 6-6 Kahlil Lakay … 2nd year – 6-3, Will Sesay … 1st year (redshirt) 6-7 Franki Tocci
New faces – Billy Yaworsky, 2nd, 6-7 fwd, Winnipeg (Tsf, Lakehead), Narcisse Ambanza, 1st year, 6-2 guard, Toronto (E. Commerce), Josh Gandier, 1st, 6-3 guard, Winnipeg,  Louis Makot, 1st, 6-4 guard, Winnipeg, Sean Tarver, 3rd, 6-4 wing, Baltimore, MD, Roan Van Erd, 3rd, 6-5 guard, Winnipeg, Noah Simpson, 1st, 6-7 fwd, Winnipeg.

With a mostly inexperienced squad last season, Coach Mike Raimbault’s Ws squeezed into the last play-off spot, and lost a 3 game set in round 1 at Regina.  “We probably went as far as we should have”, says the 7th year Winnipeg coach.

This season’s team is still fairly young, but have some experience back at key spots.  Raimbault suggests, “We should shoot it better, and we’ll have more effective back-court leadership as the guys are 2nd and 3rd year with some more game experience.”  W wesmen

Denzel Lynch-Blair (17.5 ppg, 4 assts) was a Canada West all-star, and Will Sesay (10 ppg, 7 rebs) got the nod on the all-rookie team, while Jamar  Farley (10.3 ppg) and Marcello Kambola (8 ppg) promise to be positive contributors again.

With the exception of the  big post, Ryan Oirbans (8.6 ppg, 8 rebs), and newcomer Billy Yaworsky, who can hit from 3 point range, this UW team is on the small side.  They make up for that with exceptional team quickness, and a pressing, full-court defensive plan which saw them chart 10.2 steals/game, 2nd in CW.

The big challenges will be to improve on their 16th best rebounding margin, and 14th best field goal percentage, the combination of is usually death for the won-lost record!  Coach Raimbault tells us, “We’re looking for more inside scoring with Ryan (Oirbans) putting in some good work in the summer, and we think the rest of the guys will step-up their offensive games.”

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – vs UNBC, at Saskatchewan, vs Lethbridge, h/h vs Brandon, h/h vs Manitoba  …  Jan/Feb –  vs Trinity Western, at Thompson Rivers, at MacEwan, vs Regina, at Victoria.    Prediction –  Contending for a play-off spot


MacEwan Griffins
’15-’16 – Lost to Alberta in playoff round 1           10 wins    10 losses

Thadius Galvez (L) and Denzel James (R) will be key for the Griffs.

Thadius Galvez (L) and Denzel James (R) will be key for the Griffs.

Returnees – 5th years –  6-3  Denzel James, 6-7  Keith Gerdes, 5-10  Thomas Jereniuk, 6-8  Cole Aikens  … 4th years –  6-2 Thadius Galvez, 6-6 Ryan Coleman … 3rd years – 6-6 Harrison Lane,  6-3 Tarik Scott , 6-0 Deonte Dosov-Doctor … 2nd yr. – 6-6 Atlas St. Paul -Butler … Redshirt 1st years – 6-2 Malik Mate,  6-6 Michael Burnham
New faces – 5th year, 6-6 fwd, Tyler Wise, St. Albert (tsf Red Deer Coll.), 2nd yr, 5-9 guard, Adonis Monfort-Palomino, Calgary (tsf U. Calgary), 2nd yr. 6-5 wing, Ali Raza, Calgary (tsf St. Mary’s U. Coll) … 1st years – 6-3 wing, Jake Notice, Bath, England (Bristol Flyers), 6-4 wing, Thomas Laxdal, St. Albert (Paul Kane), 6-0 guard, Tre Ross, Sherwood Park (Strathcona Christian)

unknownThe Griffins made the playoffs in their 2nd year of Canada West play, and Coach Eric Magdanz returns 7 of his top 9 rotation players this time around. Two key losses were  Ryan May, a steady forward, and Chris Mooney, a skilled wing man.  But the scoring and rebounding of vets Denzel James (14 ppg/5.2 rebs) and Thadius Galvez (13.5 ppg/4 rebs) are a good starting point. Add in the toughness and dependability of equally experienced forwards Keith Gerdes (9.2 ppg), and Ryan Coleman (9 ppg), and Mac may snag a post-season berth once again.

Harrison Lane was a playoff stalwart last Spring, and he should provide defensive leadership.  UC transfer Adonis Monfort-Palomino, a pass-first point man, will “help  get the ball up the floor, and into the right hands”, says coach Magdanz. Ali Raza, another transfer and Calgary high school grad (Crescent Heights), has been showing well in early work-outs, along with Tyler Wise, a rebounding big man, who returns to MacEwan from Red Deer.

Where experience, determined defense, and capable shooting are pluses for the Maroon, they will need to improve their team rebounding if they are to be a factor in next February’s playoff picture.

Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at Lethbridge, vs Regina, vs Victoria, at Mt. Royal, h/h vs Alberta … Jan/Feb –  at Fraser Valley, at Brandon, vs Winnipeg, vs UBC-Okanagan, at Calgary.     Prediction – In the mix for a playoff slot


 Overtime –

  • This week we have CIS teams ‘testing the water’ against CCAA Fr Valleysquads;  as UFV coach Adam Friesen said, “Our guys are happy to play against people who aren’t their teammates, and it’s a great opportunity for our young guys to get some game action.”   UQAM vs CGEP Thetford, Algoma hosting Fleming, Canadore, and Sault Colleges, and Friesen’s Cascades squad plays Capilano College Thursday  at Sardis Sr. Sec. (Chilliwack), then the Seattle Mountaineers on Saturday at UFV.
  • Next weekend sees some interesting inter-regional tournament  play –  The Victoria Vikes have their Guy Vetrie Invitational (Sept. 29 – Oct. 1), with McMaster, McGill, and Regina making it an interesting mix on the Island.  Carleton are the ‘big birds’ in Acadia’s tournament, along with the Axemen, St. FX, and Laval … UNB hosts Maine – Ft. Kent, Bishops, and  Saint Mary’s …  Nipissing are at home to Algoma, Laurentian, and Laurier. Also,  Winnipeg will visit Lakehead, and Queen’s and Ottawa are in Montreal to play Concordia and UQAM.