Tournament Scores – Friday

 

 McGill, Concordia, Dalhousie, Dinos, Bears   post impressive wins

   Calgary Cup … Calgary 91   Acadia 70 – After a back and forth 1st half, Calgary led by 3 , but, after the break , the Dinos dominated 50-32, with just 8 Axemen points in the runaway 4th stanza. Mambi Diawara ran amok over the Acadia defense with 39 points including 7/11 3 point shots, and 11 boards.  Erik Nissen had 13 pts/ 7 rebs for Acadia.    McGill 97    McMaster 78 –  McGill found their shooting touch in this one, as Jenning Leung led a whole-team effort, with 19 points.   McMaster had no answer to the balanced effort by McGill, as the Redmen pulled away in the 3rd quarter, with no effective response by the Marauders.

NAIT at UNBC  – no score yet

at U of MManitoba 84   Algoma 81 – Bisons get 24 , including the game-winner from Joey Nitychoruk, and James Wagner has a double of 12 points/ 11 boards.  Laurentian  87   Winnipeg 81 – again, the visitor comes out on top, as the Voyageurs come out hot, shooting 48% from 3 and 50% overall. JD West is a scintillating 8/10 from downtown as he posts 26 points, helped along by Kadre Gray’s 24 pts/7 rebs, 5 assts.  The Wesmen get 22 from Nathaniel Johnson , but cash just 5/6 from the line to 15/19 by Laurentian.  (Winnipeg matches the VGs 48% from 3).

at UBC Invitational …  UBC 99   Bishops 92 – The Birds shoot 58% from the floor, but cannot shake the Gaiters, who cashed 21 free throws vs 12 for the home side.  Conor Morgan scored 21 for UBC, as both they and Bishops subbed freely, with shared scoring both ways.  For BU, it was Abdul Kamane with 21 and Alex Boisse adding 18 points  …  Alberta 103   Waterloo 74  59 by the Bears in the opening 20 minutes spell lights out!  Austin Waddoups has 22 pts/ 8 rebs/ 8 assts, while Mamadou Gueye hits 5/6 from 3 for 22 pts as Alberta is 54% from the floor. Nedim Hodzic leads the Warriors with 19 points.

Concordia hosts in MontrealStingers 92    Regina 76 –  the home side prevails … Dalhousie 84   York 70

Cape Breton’s Fall Classic –   St. FX 95   Cape Breton 89 – X wins a close one, and the Capers show a competitiveness they were missing last season.  Kevin Bercy tallied 26 pts/ 11 rebounds for St FX, while Martin Campbell had a game-high 29 pts/ 7 boards for the Capers.   SAIT 101(Calgary)     UPEI  89 – The Trojans of the Alberta Colleges League upset the Panthers. Levi Taylor with 24 pts and Gemie Muya scoring 20 for SAIT.  Milorad Sedlarevic hits 18 for PEI.

 

 

Bisons Hit Re-start

 

 

Graduations Leave Manitoba With Young Roster

“We are really young,” exclaims Kirby Schepp, the lead Bison in the Herd.  This is indeed a group of fresh new faces for Manitoba, after seeing the graduation of starters, Keith Omoerah, A.J. Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Brett Jewell, along with strong forward Jonathan Alexander.

Justus Alleyn, Bison’s CW All-star guard.       Photo – Bisons Athletics

The Brown and Gold return Justus Alleyn, a 6-3 guard who led team scoring at 17.4 ppg, and hit 43% from beyond the arc.  But a practice injury has taken veteran forward, Malik Irwin, out for the season, and other troubles have kept several players out of the early season roster.  Can you say, ‘overhaul’?

New challenges for Coach Schepp to be sure, but he is nothing if not enthusiastic. “I’m excited about our freshmen, and couple of red-shirts who can step in now and get in the roatation,”  says the 9 year head coach.

‘We certainly have a fast developing forward in James Wagner,” ( 6-7, 2nd year, Winnipeg), says Schepp, “ but 6-7 red-shirt forward, Cameron O’Hara, is also a  big body inside, and he’s going to help us defensively.”  He also mentions Wyatt Tait, a 6-6 rookie from Winnipeg, and 6-1 Rikki Zimbakov, another local product.  These 2 were rated 1 and 2 in the group of graduating high school players in the province.

The Bisons added Rashawn Browne (Toronto), a point man entering his 3rd year, after playing at both New Mexico State and California U. (Pittsburgh). Browne is expected to be the floor leader on the U of M offense.

Bisons last season 12-8   … Finalists in Canada West … Prognosis –  Tough to match that with so many new recruits –  may have to scramble for a play-off spot.

 

Back to Canada for Bisons new lead guard

U of M transfer, Rashawn Browne, in action at New Mexico State

In high school, Rashawn Browne played at Eastern Commerce in Toronto, then in the GTA Prep League while at Bill Crothers Sr. Secondary in Markham. In a tournament in the U.S. with his club team, he played well against a strong AAU team which included future NBA star, Jamil Okafor,  and  Rashawn was approached by New Mexico State. ‘I red-shirted there, then with injuries and coaching changes I moved on to Pennsylvania, “ says Browne.  Pointing out that he is not a ‘basketball gypsy’, the 3.5 GPA student says, “I was just not happy with the way things were run in the U.S.  It was more like a business, with the coaches trying to protect their jobs. Here at Manitoba, the other players are very friendly; we support each other, and Coach Schepp and his staff are interested in our doing well in our classes as well as on the court.  It’s just more fun here.”

The ‘pass-first’ point man suggests he is happy to have Justus Alleyn to pass to, and happy to have James Wagner as a skilled forward.  ‘I’m excited to be part of this program, and to be playing with this group of guys”. Coach Schepp says, “Rashawn is a solid floor leader; he’s the real deal!  He shows a very high basketball IQ, and he’s also got a calm demeanour when the action heats up.  He’s a quality young man, and we think he will be a great addition to our team.”

Pursuing a Business degree and looking forward to wearing the Bisons colours in his first game next week in a home tournament,  Rashawn starts a very new chapter in his young life.  This may well be the classic case of opportunity meeting solid preparation, and the Herd looks to have a most capable new on-court leader.

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UVic hosts the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament this weekend.

Canada West Pre-season picks up this coming weekend

Teams are ‘breaking the huddle’ and taking to the court against someone other than their own teammates this week.  We build towards the Annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at Victoria, where Coach Craig Beaucamp and the Vikes will host the defending champions of everything, the Carleton Ravens, along with the Guelph Gryphons, and the Concordia Stingers.

The Okanagan Heat make a trip East to  play OUA teams, and Winnipeg have their annual ‘holiday trek’ to Thunder Bay to play a pair with the ‘Wolves. Coach Todd Jordan and his  UNBC T’Wolves make a 3 game swing through S. Alberta.

the schedule –

Thursday, Sept. 28 – UBC-O at McMaster

Briercrest College at Saskatchewan,    Winnipeg at Lakehead

Friday, 29th    – at UVic … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph

Winnipeg at Lakehead,   UBC-O at Toronto,    UNBC at Mt. Royal

Saturday, 30th     – Carleton – Victoria, Guelph-Concordia (at UVic)

UBC-O at Western Ontario,   Seattle Mountaineers at Trinity Western

UNBC at Mt. Royal

Sunday Oct 1  – Victoria vs Concordia, Guelph vs Carleton (UVic)

UNBC at Lethbridge

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Overtime –

Canada West weekend results –   Seattle Mountaineers 77  Fraser Valley 74          UBC-O  94  Vancouver Island U.  88

OUA –  York 107 Centennial Coll. 61, York 80  G. Brown Coll. 64, St. Clair Coll. 85  Western Ont. 73

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

Long Road for 1st Round Play-off Teams

 

 

 4  Competitive Series in 1st Round of Playoffs

              … Thursday start for ‘Play-in’ series’ in Canada West

As the top 4 seeds, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and UBC rest-up, heal, and prepare, there is no slow-down for the 8 teams heading into the ‘Play-in’ series this weekend.  Games start at Manitoba and Winnipeg on Thursday night in two of the best of 3 sets, with Brandon and Lethbridge hosting series’ to begin on Friday.

Here are the match-ups –

Keith Omoerah contributes to the Bisons offense in many ways.      Photo – J. Miller, UM Sports

#12 Regina Cougars at # 5 Manitoba Bisons –  If we look at the past history between these teams, we might be tempted to call this a lock for the Herd.  Manitoba has beaten Regina in 15 of the most recent 16 meetings, including a January sweep at Regina (84-75, and 93-81).  But the Bisons have not been as convincing over the past month, with a couple of losses at Brandon, then close calls with UNBC, and both nights last weekend against Mt. Royal. Regina comes off a solid weekend at home, where they swept the TRU Wolf Pack.

The Cougars and Bisons are both laden with experience;  Regina features guards Alex Igual (14.7 ppg/ 4.6 rebs/ 3.3 assts), Brandon Tull (13.5 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and rookie, Johneil Johnson (12.2 ppg/ 3.7 rebs). Forwards, Brian Ofori (13 ppg/ 6.3 rebs) and  Travis Sylvestre (9 ppg/ 3.6 rebs) have played well of late.

Manitoba have a strong, veteran group, with Justus Alleyn their top scorer at 17.4 ppg/3.6 rebs, and the all-around play of Keith Omoerah (13.2 ppg/ 8.7 rebs).  AJ Basi (13.3 ppg) and Ilarion Bonhomme are dangerous back-court threats.  James Wagner, a big rookie can give the Bisons a boost inside, along with veteran post, Brett Jewell .  The question remains, ‘Which team can pull together and win 2 games this weekend?’  The home court favours Manitoba, and UBC awaits the winner .  (Central) 7:30 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (if a 3rd game is necessary)

Winnipeg’s William Sesay will be a key factor vs Fraser Valley.

#10  Fraser Valley Cascades at #7  Winnipeg Wesmen –  This is the other Thursday start, and we have two guard – oriented teams facing off after both just had road trip weekends.  The Cascades have the quick turnaround from a bus-trip up and back on the icy, snow-packed Coquihalla Highway to Kelowna last weekend.  Wash the uniforms, pack the bags, attend a brief 2 days of classes, and off they go to Winnipeg.  The Wesmen come off a 2 loss weekend in Victoria, and somehow have to ‘right the ship’ , and win the home series vs a UFV squad that has won 4 straight to finish the season.

5th year Cascades back-court shooters, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon against  Winnipeg’s Denzel Lynch-Blair, Sean Tarver, and rookie,  Narcisse Ambanza. The much improved Fraser Valley post man, Nav Bains, battling with the Ws’ big Aussie import, Ryan Oirbans.  Talented complimentary players like the Wesmen’s William Sesay and Jamar Farley  vs Fraser Valley’s Denver Sparks-Guest, Mark Johnson, and Andrew Morris.

The Cascades have won 5 of the past 7 meetings, but the Wesmen have home court.  This is looking like a 3 game series.  Note the different game times (Central) –  Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 3 pm, and Sat. , if necessary, again at 3 pm.  The Saskatchewan Huskies will host the winner in the quarter-finals. 

UVic’s Grant Sitton will be a focus for ‘Horns defenders this weekend.        photo – UVic Athletics

#11 Victoria Vikes at #6 Lethbridge Pronghorns –  Prior to last weekend’s play, the Vikes were literally hanging by a thread, and needing a home sweep of a good Winnipeg team to make the post-season.  They got that sweep, and now are in S. Alberta to face the ‘Horns, who own 2 League wins over the Vikes in January at Victoria.

The Pronghorns are the clear favourites with their guard leader, Dejon Burdeaux (17.1 ppg/ 5.4 rebs/ 4,5 asst/ 3.6 steals) , taking the team on his back, and leading them to key wins.  3 of Burdeaux’s main ‘wing men’ are the sharp-shooting British import, Elliott Sentance (17.6 ppg/ 7 rebs/ 40% from 3 pt),  Mike Pierzchala (11 ppg/ 6 rebs), a threat to ‘run the table’, and 6-8 Zac Overwater (11.6 ppg/ 4.3 rebs.

The Vikes have leaned very heavily on 6-8 Grant Sitton, who’s surely a Canada West all-star, with his 20 ppg/ 6.8 rebs/ and 1.2 steals.  UVic’s only other double digit scorer is rookie import guard Scott Kellum (13.2 ppg), who hits 44% from 3 pt range, and chalks -up 2.4 asst per game.  Justin Kinnear is close to 10 ppg at forward, and he will need help from  Jake Newman and Hassan Abdullahi on the glass, if the Vikes are to stay with the ‘Horns.

We like Lethbridge as the home team here;  Victoria will have to make another jump forward if they hope to get the wins.  Game times are (Mountain) 7 pm on both Friday and Saturday, and 3 pm for a Sunday game, if it’s needed.  The winner here travels to Edmonton to play the Bears in the quarter-finals.

#9 Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   at  #8  Brandon Bobcats –  The Bobcats host their 1st play-off series since 2009 in the old gym  ( SI Director Matt Packwood tells us).  This is the 1st one in their new ‘Healthy Living Centre’.  These teams have only played 9 times, ever, with the most recent a BU home win over TRU in January of 2014, so we can’t rely on trends!

We will watch a compelling battle of the big men, as the ‘Pack bring 5th year, 6-7  import, Volodymyr Iegorov, along with 6-5 Luke Morris, and 6-5 Joe Davis, who are all double digit scorers , with Iegorov among the League’s top rebounders at 9.1 rpg. Brandon responds with high-scoring Earl Thompson Jr (16.2 ppg/ 8.6 rebs), 6-5 Chris Stanhope, and a surging giant in 6-11 John Paul from St. Lucia in the Eastern Caribbean.  Brandon’s guards are led by shooter, Tyvon Cooper, while TRU has wing man, Michael Rouault, and import guard, Derek Rhodes.

There will be some new-found excitement surrounding this Bobcats team at home, and, if they can limit their turnovers and continue their improved shooting, they may pull this off.  The ‘Pack played in the CW Final last year, and this young team are looking to take another crack at it.  Only improved guard play and team defense will get them to the next round.  It may take 3 games to sort this out.  Winner goes to Calgary to face the Dinos in quarter-finals. 

 

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Overtime –

  • UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, with comments about the RPI system, whereby his 19-1 T-Birds finished as the  4th play-off seed,  “Overall, it’s frustrating but we have known that it’s been coming for a few weeks,” said Hanson.   “It is out of our control and we’re not whining about it. Our players are long over the shock. We are getting prepped to play whomever is put in front of us.  (From  Howard Tsumura’s ‘Varsity Letters’ blog  )
  • In that same ‘Varsity Letters’ posting from last weekend, Hanson reports that Conor Morgan has an ankle injury, but is expected to be ‘shooting by the end of the week.’  Guard Phil Jalalpoor is also getting treatment for an ankle injury. UBC has a bye as a top 4 team this week, and will be at home vs the winner of the Manitoba – Regina series Feb . 23-25.

 

 

T-Birds and Dinos Pulling Away

 

Top two teams pulling away from the field with wins in Calgary

Dinos Thomas Cooper with a 3 -way gem in a winning effort over Saskatchewan                                   photo – David Moll – UC Athletics

at  Calgary Dinos 82   Saskatchewan Huskies  69  –  In a fairly scrappy game, the teams went to the line a total of 56 times, and there were ice packs and bandages on the bench and after the tussle.  The Dinos defense limited Saskatchewan to just 37% from the floor vs 47 % for UC.  Thomas Cooper played an inspired game for Calgary, with his 23 points/ 14 rebounds/ 7 assists, as he lays it all out at crunch time.  Shane Osayande was top man for the Huskies with 23 pts/  7 rebs, while Matt Forbes fought hard for his 18 pts/ 7 boards.  Calgary climbs to 11-2, while the Dogs drop to 8-5.   Box Score     The  2nd game is 7 pm Saturday

 UBC Thunderbirds  81  at  Mt. Royal Cougars 60  –  Up by 9 at the break, the T-Birds padded their lead by another 13 with a dominating 3rd quarter. UBC (12-1) shoots 49% to only 31% for the over-matched Cougars. Conor Morgan leads the ‘Birds with 24 points/ 7 rebs, and the rest of the team in in single digits. Brett Layton shines for the Cougars (7-6) with a double of 19 pts/ 10 boards, and Derek Wolf adds 13 points.  Box Score   It’s an early 6 pm tip on  for the Saturday contest.

logo UFVFraser Valley  73   Alberta Golden Bears 71 –  In the night’s only big upset, it’s he UFV version of the ‘Splash Bros.” , Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon with 9 treys between them, including Dhillon’s ‘dagger’ 3 with 45 seconds left. Dulay scores 20, and Dhillon cashes 14 as the Cascades gut out a road win to advance to 6-7.  The Bears (11-4) shoot just 35% from the floor, one of their coldest games of the year, and they are in it late through their 16/22 from the foul line vs 5/6 for the visitors. Mamadou Gueye is the U of A leader with 24 points/ 7 rebounds, while Brody Clarke hits 18 pts/ 9 rebounds/ 4 assists.  Box Score     It’s 7 pm Sat. for game 2

Lethbridge Pronghorns  76  at   Victoria Vikes 58 –  Two hot quarters do the trick for

Elliott Sentance enjoys 6th man success in ‘Horns win at UVic         photo – UL Athletics

the visiting Pronghorns, as they go a combined 47-27 in the 1st and 3rd.  The Vikes are as cold as they can be at 24% from the floor, while Lethbridge manages 43% , including 9/18 from 3 point range. Elliott Sentance plays the 6th man role to  perfection for the ‘Horns, with 22 points in 18 minutes off the bench, going 4/5 from deep.  Zac Overwater scores 15 in a similar role as a sub for the visitors as Coach Mike Hansen rolls his whole line-up at UVic.   Grant Sitton’s 18 points and 12  rebounds pace the Vikes, and Scott Kellum scores 15, including 4/5 from 3 point territory.  Box Score    7 pm Saturday

at Brandon Bobcats 95 Regina Cougars 91  –  This was a very well played game by both teams, and a couple of extra finishes off turnovers salted it away for the ‘Cats. Brandon (6-9)  scores 55 in a wild 2nd half, including the winning 5 points straight in the final minute.  Regina (6-7)  has several chances to close the gap, but gets nothing to drop at the end.  30 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists for a career effort by the Bobcats Tyvon Cooper, with Chris Stanhope pouring in 26 pts on 10/13 and 5/6 from outside.  Both teams are over 40% from 3 point range. Regina has 5 starters in double digits , led by the 19 with 9 boards by Alex Igual, and a tidy 10 points/ 8 boards from Samuel Hillis.   Box Score    7 pm Saturday for game 2.

Manitoba Bisons 108  at Trinity Western Spartans  76 –   It was 57 – 29 Manitoba at the half, and the teams basically traded hoops for the 2nd half.  The Bisons (7-6) destroy the Trinity defense, shooting 59% from the floor, led by 20 points from Justus Alleyn.  Rookie forward James Wagner scores 18 for the Herd off the bench, and Joey Nitychoruk adds 16.  TWU’s Pogos Trunyan tallied a game high 24 points on 6/8 from beyond the arc.    Box Score             Game 2 is 7 pm Saturday

__________________________________________________________________

In the East – 

AUS – Thurs. –  #9 Dalhousie 101 at Acadia  84 –  The Tigers are the AUS leaders, and they go to Wolfeville and play one of their better offensive games.  Dal plays at home vs  UNB on Saturday.            Friday –  Saint Marys 101 Cape Breton 70

Quebec –  On Thursday –   at Concordia 66   #7 McGill  56 –  Stingers avenge big 96-56 drubbing from the Redmen at McGill back in late November.  ‘The Beehive’ proves to be a friendlier venue as this Quebec League seems less predictable /  more competitive as we get deeper into the schedule.           Fri –  UQAM 70 Bishops 61

OUA – #1  Carleton 90  Guelph  54 , #2 Ottawa  89  Lakehead  60,  #8 Brock 77 Queens  63,  Windsor 89  Algoma 47, Nipissing 69  Laurentian 66, York 71  McMaster 68,

__________________________________________________________________

Overtime – 

  • Canada West Women’s scores … Regina 77 Brandon 40, Mt. Royal 80  UBC 75 !!!  ,  Saskatchewan 62  Calgary 53 , Alberta 63  UFV  51, Trinity W 70 Manitoba 65,  Victoria  84  Lethbridge 59

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.

_____________________________________________________________________

 

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.”

Canada West League Play Looms

 

Canada West Teams Wrap-up Pre-Seasoncwest-copy

Canada West League play looms this week, as 8 series are scheduled with Mount Royal on a bye.  We are now past the “We’re looking at different combinations … it’s early … we are just trying to give everyone a chance to show us what they can do under game conditions.”  (Or words to that effect).  No. No … ‘It’s GO TIME !’

What have we seen in the past weeks of pre-season play ?    Well … this …

UBC    6-0 …   Beat   Western O,   Lethbridge – 2,  Nipissing,  Laurier,  Lakehead 

Calgary 5-0 … Beat MRU, Windsor, Regina, Algoma, Saskatchewan

Winnipeg- 5-0 …  Beat Lakehead -3,  Laurier,  Brandon

Saskatchewan 4-1 … Beat TRU, UBC- Okan, MacEwan, Algoma … Loss Calgary

Alberta 5-2 …  Beat UNBC, Queens, Memorial, Nipissing, Western O … Lost to  Ottawa, Regina 

Victoria  5-3  … Beat  Regina, Western O, Laval … Loss  Carleton, McMaster, McGill

Lethbridge 4-2  .. Beat UFV, Bishops -2 , Regina … loss 2 to UBC  

MacEwan 4-2 … Beat TRU, UNBC,  UBC-O, Western O … loss to Sask, Nipissing

Thompson R.  2-2 … Beat TWU,  Lakehead  … Loss  MacEwan, Saskatchewan

Manitoba  2-3 … Beat UQAM, Laurier … Loss  Lakehead, Waterloo, Brandon

Regina  4-8 … Beat  Brandon, Guelph, UQAM, Alberta … Loss  Ryerson, Windsor, Calgary, Mt. Royal, McGill, McMaster, Victoria , Lethbridge  

Fraser Valley  1-1  …  Beat Laurier …  Lose Lethbridge

UNBC   1-3 …    Beat Lakehead … Loss   MacEwan,  Alberta, Laurier    

Brandon 1-4 … Beat Manitoba … loss Wpg, Regina, Laurier, Lakehead

Mt. Royal 1-5 … Beat Regina … Loss  Windsor, Calgary, Bishops, Victoria-2

UBC-Okanagan  0-5 … Loss   Sask, MacEwan, McGill, McMaster, Laurentian

Trinity Western  0-1 …   Loss  Thompson Rivers     

(Trinity and quite a few other CW schools played Canadian College teams and some U.S. schools, from NCAA (various Divisions), NAIA,  and National Junior College.  We did not include these games in the record)

The Dinos and UBC are the 'teams to beat' in Canada West, as we anticipate the start of League play.

The Dinos and UBC are the ‘teams to beat’ in Canada West, as we anticipate the start of League play.

Based on these results, UBC and Calgary are our two favourites in early November.  They are deep, have great experience, and have added some significant talent.  Winnipeg, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Victoria, Lethbridge all look capable of chasing the top 2, and of securing a post-season berth.

MacEwan appears to be a veteran team with a great chance to surprise, and Regina has a couple of very good wins in a ‘chock-full’ October schedule, with enough quality returnees to make it interesting.

Manitoba, who had some injury troubles, still were surprisingly ineffective in October.  They have the horses, now, can they answer the bell for the start of the regular season?  Mt. Royal, Thompson Rivers, and Fraser Valley may be competitive again, but it’s hard to assess right now.  Fighting to keep the pace are UNBC, UBC-O, Brandon, and Trinity Western.

 

Sunday’s final Pre-season games – 

  •   Fraser Valley  74  W. Laurier 71 –  The mask he was wearing to protect a broken nose didn’t seem to bother Vijay Dhillon, as he scored 21 points to lead the Cascades to a close win over the traveling Laurier Hawks. Manny Dulay had 17 points for UFV, and Laurier’s high scorer was Tevoun Koko with 19 points.
  • in Ottawa –   Bishops 78 Toronto 76 , Ottawa 73  McGill  43 ,  Concordia  75 Waterloo  66        

Canada West Newcomers expected to make an immediate impact –

Elliott Sentance comes to Lethbridge with a wealth of experience and a sweet shooting stroke !

Elliott Sentance comes to Lethbridge with a wealth of experience and a sweet shooting stroke !

  • Elliott Sentance – Lethbridge – scoring in large bunches.  Sentance, a veteran of high level club ‘ball in Britain, and in the JC League in the U.S. , should be among the top scorers in CW all season.
  • Austin Waddoups – Alberta –  A poised, skilled, and mature player.  Waddoups, a 6-2 guard, played at S. Utah Univ, and Salt Lake City C.C. after a 2 year Mormon mission following high school.
  • Tyvon Cooper, Brandon – the 6-0 guard was the 4th highest scorer in the National Jr. College ranks in the U.S. at Orange County College , NY.
  • Mambi Diawara, Calgary – The 6-5 Montreal product played 2 years at Lamar State – Port Arthur, TX  Jr. Coll.  A smart, long defender, he averaged close to 20 ppg last season.

    UFV's Andrew Morris is a key addition for the Cascades this Fall.

    UFV’s Andrew Morris is a key addition for the Cascades this Fall.

  • Andrew Morris, Fraser Valley  – The 6-5 Morris has a smooth shot, and uses his size effectively as a defender and rebounder.
  • Josh Ross, Mt. Royal – The 6-4 Ross was the 2016 Player of the Year in the Canadian Colleges, as he led the Vancouver Island Mariners to the CCAA title.
  • Johneil Johnson, Regina –  the 6-0 point man was the top player in Nova Scotia high schools.  ‘Tremendous athlete, and a quick defender.’
  • Jaylan Morgan, Saskatchewan – a strong 6-5 wing man, he averaged 15 ppg / 56% from the floor at Williston State JC, ND after a brilliant high school career in Brampton, ON.
  • Pogos Trunyan, Trinity W … The 6-2 shooting guard from Sacramento, CA played 2 seasons at Sierra College, Lake Tahoe, CA, and last season with the Bellevue (WA) Bears.  He is a confident 3 point shooter.
  • Isaiah Familia, UBC – This multi-skilled 6-2 guard will be on our ‘all-rookie’ watch list.  He was a 2-time ‘Mr. Basketball’ in Windsor -area high schools.
  • James Wagner , Manitoba –  The 6-7 Wagner was a coveted recruit across the CIS.  He played for Canada’s U17 team this past summer, and is a strong rebounder.
  • Scott Kellum, Victoria –  The Vikes have the Issaquah, WA  rookie coming off the bench at the point, but he has the composure and skills of a veteran at both ends of the floor.
  • Sean Tarver, Winnipeg … The Baltimore, MD high school star, played  two years with the Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk Lions.  He is a scorer and a creator on offense, and an aggressive defender.

 


Can we have ‘pivotal series’ in the opening week ?

 Week 1 Schedule –  November 4/5

at Calgary   Manitoba

at Thompson Rivers   UBC

at Regina   Victoria

at Alberta   Brandon

at Fraser Valley  Saskatchewan

at Winnipeg    UNBC

at Lethbridge    MacEwan

at UBC-O     Trinity Western


 

Overtime –

golf-basketball-21c9f3y

  • TRU Head Coach Scott Clark, on a couple of his favourite games ,  “If this were golf and you shoot 100. You go out the next few times to whittle it down to 90. You have to work on the little things to be a good golfer. That is kind of like what it is for us right now. We are trying to perfect a bunch of little things to be a good basketball team.”  (Chipping, putting  … foul-shooting, rebounding ….)  Nice !
  • UFV Cascades head coach Adam Friesen, after their  win over Laurier on Sunday,  “It was nice to see Vijay (Dhillon) get into a rhythm,” said. “He’s been battling injuries for a while now, so he hasn’t seen much court time. But to see him get into some game rhythm at the end of this one bodes well going into league play.”   
  • The Ottawa pasting (73-43) of the Q’s top -rated squad, McGill, yesterday is the ultimate ‘statement game’ by someone other than Carleton.  The ‘Ponies’ shut down the Redmen and they scored inside on the usually stingy McGill defenders.  This follows a ‘mixed October’ for Ottawa, who lost to UQAM early on, and were not ‘flying’ in a couple of other fairly close wins.
  • As a skilled rookie, you may come into a program where you will play 15-20 minutes plus, or you may see yourself lower on the depth chart on a deeper squad.  Here are some 1st year guys who are strong players, but may have to wait their turn, or ‘get more experience’ at this higher level.  Jeff Rodehutskors, Calgary, Riley Braich, UFV, Dharmjit Dhillon, Manitoba, Tristan Matthews, UBC-O, Noah Kaefer, TRU, Josiah Meppelink, TWU, Justin McChesney, UBC, Narcisse Ambanza, Winnipeg

 

Wesmen Undefeated in Early Going

 

 

Saturday …  Manitoba Bisons Tournament –   

 Winnipeg 90 Laurier 86 –

Don’t look now, but we have an undefeated team in Manitoba after 4 straight wins, as the

Denzel Lynch-Blair fires 29 to lead Winnipeg

Denzel Lynch-Blair fires 29 to lead Winnipeg   photo –     Kelly Morton

surprising Winnipeg Wesmen continue to impress in the pre-season Saturday vs the Hawks. This after 3 straight over Lakehead, one on Friday at UM, after winning both at Lakehead last weekend.

Denzel Lynch-Blair, a CW all-star last season,  hit for a huge double of 29 points/10 rebounds.  All-rookie team member, William Sesay, had 17, while Ryan Oirbans went 11 pts/ 8 boards.  Hot outside shooting by Laurier (14/30 ) was led by Tevaun Kokko who tallied 25 points in the loss.

Lakehead 77 Manitoba 72 –  The T-Wolves pull the big upset, with a 38-27 half-time lead, and able to hold off a Bisons charge late. 40% vs 32% shooting is a key, with Manitoba suffering a cool night from the floor.  Lakehead hits 12 team treys  against 8 for the Herd.   Quincy Johnson for the ‘Wolves with 15 points on 5 long bombs, while Andre Robichaud scores 14 on 4 from outside .  UM loses at home, as they get 9/9 free throw shooting from Ilarion Bonhomme, who leads with 14 points. Justus Allen scores 12 including 3/3 from 3 point range.  Box Score  


 Saturday’s games at the Calgary Cup  – 

 Calgary Dinos 88  at Mt. Royal  79   

Windsor 70 Regina 67  (at MRU)

…   More Canada West –   at Trinity Western 72   Seattle Blue Angels 62   


 

In Eastern Canada –  Dalhousie 58 Ryerson 54 – A big win for the AUS Tigers, as they are in Toronto against one of the OUA favourites.

Mc Master 80 St. FX 63  as the Marauders stay undefeated.  Mac hosts Dalhousie today in Hamilton.

 Concordia Stingers Classic  –  Concordia 75 Cape Breton 53,  Brock 85 Nipissing 54 ,


 

Overtime –

  •   Manitoba Bisons  rookie James Wagner will be a key factor this season, as he plays 33 minutes in the Saturday game after 20 in the Laurier game on Friday.  Saturday line 8 points, 8 boards, 3 blocks, 3 steals.
  • Sean Tarver, a 3rd year transfer from Baltimore, MD,  looks like a great pick-up for the Winnipeg Wesmen, with his outside shooting touch opening up opposing defenses.

 

Dinos and Bisons on a Collision Course

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

Our season previews start with a pair of teams who both figure to make a hard run at the March 2017 Canada West Final 4.  Despite being early in Fall camp, both the Calgary Dinos  and the Manitoba Bisons will be looking ahead to their meeting in Calgary for the opening weekend of play in November.

Calgary Dinos
– 2016 Canada West champions   – 17 wins  3 losses

screen-shot-2016-09-21-at-9-05-27-am

5th year stalwarts, Dallas Karch (L) and Jasdeep Gill (R) will be primed for a big 5th year with the hometown Dinos.

Returnees – 5th years – 6-5,Thomas Cooper, 6-7, Dallas Karch, 6-5, Jasdeep Gill … 4th years- 6-0, Jhony Verrone, 6-7, Mitch Ligertwood, 6-6, Connor Foreman, 6-7, Sunvir Johal … 3rd years – 5-11, David Kapinga, 6-7, Lars Schleuter,        6-7, Matt Ellis.
New faces – Mambi Diawara, 4th yr, 6-5 wing, Montreal (Lamar State C.C. TX) , Aloysius Calaghan, 4th yr, 6-0 guard, Calgary (MRU), Max Eisle, 1st yr, 6-4 guard, Ulm, Germany, Jeff Rodehutskors, 1st yr, 6-8 fwd, Chestermere, AB, Sasha Pojuzina, 1st yr, 6-6 wing, Regina, Jake Neilsen, 1st yr, 6-3 guard, Cochrane, AB, Ethan Scott, 1st yr, 6-2 guard, Vancouver, (Orangeville Prep, ON)

blk dinos copyThe Dinos went all the way to the CIS Final last March, where they lost decisively to the mighty Carleton Ravens. The temptation is to focus on how you can return to the Final 8 next Spring and win the ‘Cup’ next time.  But, that was then … this is now.

This Fall U. Calgary appears deep, experienced, big, with good team quickness.  But, even in their opening series of the ’16-’17 season on November 4/5, the Dinos face a formidable foe in the Manitoba Bisons. Coach Dan Vanhooren says, “We’re excited about this group of guys”, but knows it is a long road through a rugged League schedule.

UC returns 71.8 ppg in scoring, lead by last year’s top CW sniper, Thomas Cooper, (25.8), and tall wing man,Lars Schleuter (12.5).  The explosive quickness of David Kapinga and Jhony Verrone lead the back-court defense, and both are opportunistic scorers. That guard experience and the growing confidence of forwards Matt Ellis and Mitch Ligertwood should make up for the loss of Josh Owen-Thomas and Matt Letkeman, last year’s senior leaders.

Both Jadeep Gill and Dallas Karch are veteran players with size and toughness, with Gill a big offensive threat, and Karch with his speed and quick jumping ability. Connor Foreman will provide post depth, as will rookie, Jeff Rodehutskors, an extremely athletic big man.
Newcomers Max Eisle, a lead guard with experience in the German League, and Mambi Diawara, a dynamic wing transfer from his Texas JUCO, will be in the playing rotation. Sasha Pojuzina is a high school recruit with size and skill.
Schedule –  Nov/Dec – vs Manitoba, at Victoria, home/home with Lethbridge, h/h with Mt. Royal …  Jan/Feb – h/h with Alberta, vs Fraser Valley, vs Saskatchewan, at Regina, at Thompson Rivers, vs MacEwan.             Prediction –  Top 3 team


Manitoba Bisons
’15-’16 – Lost to Calgary and UBC in CW Final 4        – 15 wins 5 losses

A J Basi (L) and Keith Omoerah (R) head up a talented, veteran Bisons crew.

A J Basi (L) and Keith Omoerah (R) head up a talented, veteran Bisons crew.

Returnees – 5th years –   5-11, Amarjit (AJ) Basi, 6-0, Ilarion Bonhomme, 6-6, Jonathan Alexander , 6-7, Brett Jewell … 4th years –  6-5, Keith Omoerah,   6-3, Justus Alleyn, 6-5, Malik Irwin, 6-4, Keenan Benarroch , 6-5, Joey Nitychoruk  … 3rd year-  6-7, Osahon Eghosa … 1st years (after red-shirting), 6-5, Dharmjit Dhillon ,  6-6, Raj Sidhu , 6-0 Keiran Zziwa
New faces –  (all 1st years) James Wagner, 6 – 7 fwd, John Taylor (Winnipeg) , Zach Giesbrecht, 6-1 guard, John Taylor, Cam O’Hara,  6-7 forward, St. Paul’s HS (Winnipeg), Joel Adu Quaye, 6-6 forward, St. Paul’s  (Winnipeg), David Mugugu, 6-5 forward , Kildonan-East Collegiate (Winnipeg).

Manitoba copyThe Bisons were right on the cusp last season, but just missed a trip to Nationals with 2 losses  in the Final 4.  They graduated their top rebounder, Wyatt Anders, but still have size with Jonathan Alexander, Brett Jewell, Keith Omoerah, and Osahon Eghosa.  (Eghosa suffered through salmonella poisoning in a trip to the U.S. this summer, and will be working his way back to ‘match fitness’ this Fall.) Adding 6-7 rookie, James Wagner, who played on the Canada U-18s this past summer, has  Coach Kirby Schepp exclaiming, “He may be our top recruit in the recent history of our program !”.

Canada West all-star, Omoerah (13 ppg), Justus Alleyn (15.6 ppg), and Amarjit Basi  (18 ppg) were offensive leaders last season, and the veteran import point man, Ilarion Bonhomme, a former Brandon Bobcat, has proven to be a great addition.

Joey Nitychoruk is a ‘high-energy’ player, who transferred last year from Lakehead, and Schepp expects him to be a solid contributor. A slow start last year may have given the Herd a tougher road at play-off time, but, with so much experience returning, we can expect them to be more ready for this campaign. They had better be, because they have one of the toughest front-end schedules before the Holiday break!

One very impressive stat is that 15 of their 18 roster players are Winnipeg high school products; an amazing pool of home-grown talent! “We are very proud of our ‘Manitoba content’ on our roster”, says Schepp.
Schedule –  Nov/Dec – at Calgary, vs Thompson Rivers, at UBC, vs Alberta, h/h with Winnipeg … Jan/Feb – at Regina, at Trinity Western, vs UNBC, at Brandon, vs Mt. Royal                            Prediction – Top 5 team


New Schedule ‘Not Universally Popular’

What is the RPI, and why will it bother us?  Learn more as we examine the shiny new schedule which Canada West has rolled out for the coming season.  No more ‘Pioneers’ and ‘Explorers’, as we’re all one big, happy, 17- team Canada West League now!  (Actually there may be the odd coach here or there who is a smidge shy of happy.)    Because … there are a few oddities to the new format –

The 'tricky math' of the RPI tries to smooth out the new schedule.

The ‘tricky math’ of the RPI tries to smooth out the new schedule.  But it is apples vs oranges in this set-up.

> Schools don’t play the same teams.  You see, each school has 4 designated ‘traditional rivals’, who they play every year … 8 games … then they play 6 of the remaining 12 teams … 12 games  = 20
> So we miss 6 teams each year , but get them the following year.
> Who makes the playoffs ?  “ The top 12 teams based on winning percentage at the conclusion of league play … “
> How do we break ties ?  Well, here are the first 4 tie breakers in the manual –  when Two Teams are Tied:
1. Win/Loss record in head to head competition.
2. Win/Loss record versus common opponents.
3. Each teams RPI ranking.
4. Points difference in head to head competition between the tied teams.
Three or More Teams Tied:
Use the same procedure as a two‐teams tied. Once one team has been separated from the tied group, go back to step one with the remaining tied team(s).
> How are the playoff teams ranked ? “The top 12 teams are then ranked 1 to 12 based on each team’s RPI standing in order to account for the various strength of schedules faced by each team.”  Er-ah ?!  (The OUA people may get this, but we Westerners are scratching our heads !)
> What is the RPI ?  “ Each team’s RPI is based on the following formula: = 25% team winning percentage (WP) adjusted for home and away wins (1.2 for an away win and 0.8 for a home win), 50% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP) .  O-h-h-h-h-h-h … now it’s clear.  (Actually, could either Tyler from Winnipeg or Martin from Waterloo give us a formula for this ?  As always, we need math help !)


 

Overtime –

  •  Ex-Calgary Dino, Robbie Sihota, has signed a new one-year
    Robbie Sihota

    Robbie Sihota

    contract with MAFC Budapest of the Hungarian A Division. Last season the 6-6 forward, who heads into his 7th year as a pro, scored 18.5 points per game (3rd in league) and snared 9.3 rebounds per game (4th).
    Sihota had previously played in the Dutch League, Switzerland, Germany, and in Edmonton of the IBL.

  • Brandon Brine, the Lethbridge Pronghorns’ 5th year Canada West all-star last year signed a pro deal with San Pablo Inmobiliaria Miraflores Burgos in Spain. The 6-7 Aussie will be missed by UL, but is expected to be one of the top players for his club in Miraflores.
  • The powerhouse Carleton Ravens landed another big recruit in August in 6-9, Eddie Ekiyor of Ottawa,  This was a late switch  for the widely recruited Canada Basketball team member, who had originally signed with Xavier (Cincinnati), an NCAA Div 1 school.
  • It was great to hear Coach Marc Dobell answer his office phone at Mt. Royal University;  the personable 13 year coach of the Cougars returns to Fall practice after some time away recovering from a heart attack.  We wish him well, not only with his team, but in a full recovery health wise .