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.
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.
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.