‘The Ball Goes Up ….’

 

 Fall Pre-Season Games on Tap This Week

Teams have been busy with their early Fall work-outs, and pre-season games are getting underway starting this weekend.  Laurentian and Algoma start things off this Friday in Sudbury, while Alberta has an Alumni game on Saturday.  UBC-O hosts Vancouver Island , a strong B.C. College League team, also on Saturday in Kelowna.  Laval, Cape Breton, Saskatchewan, York, Nipissing, and Western Ontario also have CCAA opponents lined up over the next 10-12 days.

Coach Peter Guarasci and the Heat are busy in September.

UBC-O travel to Ontario next week, where the Heat will play McMaster, Toronto, and Western Ont. Also beginning the last weekend in September will be UVic’s annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament.  The Vikes once again welcome the National Champion Carleton Ravens, along with Concordia Stingers and the Guelph Gryphons.  Winnipeg Wesmen continue their tradition of playing a pair of games in Thunder Bay vs Lakehead on September 28 and 29.

Other games that get our interest …  Memorial visits Brock, McMaster, and York on the 29th-Oct 1. The Eric Garland Tournament at U. New Brunswick has Saint Marys, Cape Breton, and UQAM.

 

NCAA vs U-Sports : 45 – 25

6-8 Eddie Ekiyor and the Carleton Ravens look like championship contenders , even in August.

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports schools and NCAA squads, the edge goes to the Americans by a 45 – 25 count.

Overall,  Carleton owned a 9-2 record over NCAA competition, including wins over Alabama, Vanderbilt,  and Northeastern.  McGill, who won all 3 on a trip to the Caribbean,  was just 1-4 in later home games, and had an overall 4-6 mark. Windsor won both their NCAA games in August, then went to The Netherlands and swept a 3 game series against club-pro teams there. Ottawa Gee-Gees were 3-1 with visiting U.S. schools, with their lone loss to Alabama by an 81-71 score.

Out West, it was Alberta with a 1-1 record against Montana State, as they clipped the ‘Cats  97-72 in their 2nd try in Calgary.  UBC took a ‘modified line-up’ (minus Coach Hanson and ace forward, Conor Morgan, among others) to Costa Rica, and lost 3 straight to Texas -El Paso once and 2 to a strong Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack team.   Full details of these results are available on the fine  U-Sports Hoops web-site , which is so well edited by Martin Timmerman in Waterloo.

 

Keith Omoerah is off to play pro in Norway. Photo – Bisons Sports

Overtime –

  • One of a very strong group of graduates leaving the Manitoba Bisons is wing man, Keith Omoerah, who has signed a pro contract with Baerum in Norway.  Omoerah, Amarjit Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, Brett Jewell, and Jonathan Alexander take a lot of skill and experience away from the U of M roster.   More on Omoerah’s move to Europe in this Bisons Athletics release.

  •  Raptors Train at UVic … In what has become a tradition, the Toronto Raptors will hold training camp in British Columbia for the 4th straight year. UVic’s CARSA Gym will be the site from Sept. 26-29.  While practices will be closed to the public, fans will get a chance to see an   intra-squad game  on Thursday, Sept. 28. Tickets for this intra-squad game “ … were available online and in person at the CARSA membership services counter and were in incredibly high demand,” read the news release from Vikes Athletics as of last Friday.  Actually, the on-line and in- person ticket rush was over in less than 1/2 hour! Sell-out!  There are some standing room seats available closer to game time.

    Canadian Kyle Wiltjer will be one of the new faces in the Toronto line-up this season.

    This is a great tradition by the Raps, who have , in recent years, also had pre-season NBA games in various cities across Canada.  Unfortunately, Victoria will be the only Canadian venue this season.  Toronto has early October games in Honolulu, Portland, Toronto, and Chicago.  More Raptors info

 

 

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

_______________________________________________________________________

 

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

 

Dinos Host Bisons – ‘Feature Series’

 

 

Dinos14 Calgary vs Manitoba Promises an Exciting Opening Weekend

The opening weekend of Canada West League Play sees the Calgary Dinos hosting the Manitoba Bisons, two teams which played in last Spring’s Canada West Final Four. The Dinos have won seven of the last 10 meetings between these teams including a decisive 100 to 74 win at that Tournament in Calgary. Last season’s November League games in Winnipeg, however, both went to overtime as the teams split that series.

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos high scoring wingman, leads UC into a big home-opener series with Manitoba. photo- David Moll, UC

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos high scoring wingman, leads UC into a big home-opener series with Manitoba.          photo- David Moll, UC Athletics

The Dinos are the defending Canada West champs, and return 3 starters from that team, Thomas Cooper, Lars Schleuter, and David Kapinga, along with another 7 veterans including 5th year stalwarts, Jasdeep Gill and Dallas Karch, and 4th year, Jhony Verrone on the perimeter. The post spot is very deep, with veterans Matt Ellis, Mitch Ligertwood, and Connor Foreman along with a strong rookie, Jeff Rodehutskors.

Two more key additions for Calgary are import guard Max Eisle from Germany, and Montreal born wing man, Mambi Diawara, a transfer from Lamar State JC in Texas.  With all these capable players vying for floor time, it will be no small task for Coach Dan Vanhooren to mete out the minutes. “We are anticipating a fast pace of play”, said Vanhooren. “We will need to be moving guys on and off the court in pretty quick fashion.  We’ll expect to get deep into our roster in every game.”Manitoba copy

Manitoba are also blessed with a solid core of veteran players, led by Canada West all-star, Keith Omoerah, who averaged nearly a double/double of 13.2 ppg/ 9.8 rebounds last season.  Last season’s  scoring stats for the Herd were topped by sharp-shooting guard, AJ Basi (17.9 ppg), with combo guard, Justus Alleyn, at 15.6, and 5th year point man Ilarion Bonhomme off the bench at 10.3 ppg.

The Bisons big men, after the graduation of top rebounder, Wyatt Anders, feature the broad-shouldered Brett Jewell, and forward, Jonathan Alexander.  The addition of prized 6-7 rookie, James Wagner, and more minutes from 6-5 vet, Joey Nitychoruk will give them more depth as well.

Our call –  The Dinos have home court, and the UM had a shaky pre-season.  Still, they should be close in both games, with a slight edge to Calgary.

 

Point man, Phil Jalalpoor and his T-Birds team invade Kamloops to tip-off against TRU.

Point man, Phil Jalalpoor and his T-Birds team invade Kamloops to tip-off against TRU.  photo –   UBC Athletics

 UBC Thunderbirds   at  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack –  The T-Birds really don’t believe they are anything but the favourites this season, we suspect.  With seniors Jordan Jensen-Whyte and Will Ondrik, along with 4th year stars, Conor Morgan and Phil Jalalpoor, they have much more big game experience than most Canada West squads.  The ‘Birds lost their 6-8 post-up man, David Wagner, but Coach Kevin Hanson is excited about his 4th year big man, Luka Zaharijevic, a wide-body with ‘soft hands’.  1st year, 6-10 forward Justin McChesney should also get some valuable minutes.

The UBC back-court sees Whyte as the leader at 15 ppg, and Jalalpoor hitting 11.4 ppg last campaign.  Taylor Browne was on the CW Rookie team, and the addition of rookie recruits Isaiah Familia and Izaiah Ugoalah gives them more choices.

TRU Wolf Pack copy

TRU will be hard-pressed to match the ‘dream season’ they enjoyed last year, with a 16-4 record atop the Explorer Division, and finalists in Canada West play-offs, with their 1st-ever trip to CIS Nationals.  Gone are Josh Wolfram (19.6 ppg/9.6 rebs) and Reese Pribilsky, the point man, and his 13.5 ppg, 6.2 assists, and 2.6 steals.  Not minor losses there , fans!

Thankfully, the bruising Volodymyr Iegorov returns for his 5th year, and he is a solid threat to average doubles in both scoring and rebounding. Big ‘Vlad’ is a sure-fire pro prospect.  Another quality forward is 6-5 Luke Morris, who should up his production in his 4th year.  Jeff Tubbs is now the lead guard, and the all-rookie team member from ’15-’16 looks up for the task.   Michael Rouault, a 6-4 shooting guard, is now in his 3rd year, and hoping to step up as a starter.

The ‘Pack have added  imports Maalik Hazziez, a 6-9 post, and Derek Rhodes, a big guard.  Noah Kaefer, a rookie guard, from Vancouver Island’s M. Isfeld Sec. should get some court time as well.

Our call-  The ‘Pack are in their own ‘Den’, but that may not be enough to get them by a powerful UBC team.  TRU won all 3 meetings last season, but we don’t see it this weekend.

 

Saskatchewan Huskies at Fraser Valley Cascades – This is an intriguing match-up, with veterans on both teams capable of leading a winner.  UFV’s Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon, Matt Cooley, Navjot Bains and Mark Johnson will get a boost from UVic

Manny Dulay is a solid 2-way guard for the Cascades.

Manny Dulay is a solid 2-way guard for the Cascades.    photo – UFV Athletics

transfer Andrew Morris, and Simon Fraser transfer, Denver Sparks-Guest.  The Cascades were 9-1 at home last season  … 9-1 !   Dhillon (15.6 ppg),  Dulay (11.6 ppg), and Johnson (12 ppg) can be expected to lead a balanced scoring team, and all 3 can shoot from outside at 40% from 3.  Bains, with 7.2 rebs/game and Johnson with 5.7 will get help on the boards, and UFV usually defends very well and takes care of the ‘ball on offense

The Huskies have a big front line, with Matt Forbes,who will be a big plus as he comes off an injury-plagued ’15-’16 season, and  Shane Osayande (13.8 ppg / 10.3 rebounds). Another big forward is the team 3 point ace,  as Trevor Severinski led Canada West at 47% last season..  Chan De Ciman, and Alex Unruh are back at guard, and the ‘Dogs add 3rd year wing man, Jaylan Morgan, who played 2 years in the U.S.

Our Call –  Saskatchewan has the edge up front, but UFV may well hang in there with a strong guard corps and solid defense.  U of S favoured, but home court for the Cascades makes this a toss-up.

 

at Lethbridge Pronghorns  MacEwan Griffins –  We have to assume that the trio of injured ‘Horns starters, Dejon Burdeaux (, Mike Pierzchala, and Zac Overwater, are not at 100%.  They have past hurts that just seem to pop up too often.  If these 3 can answer the bell, then UL’s fast paced attack should click. Burdeaux scored 12.5 ppg / 4.6 rebounds/ 3.5 asst, and Pierzchala is hitting 17 ppg + in his Fall appearances this campaign. Overwater (10.5 ppg)  is a big man with perimeter skills.  Elliott Sentance is a 3rd year transfer who can score with the best in the League, by early evidence.

The Griffs have a team that could surprise, however, with 7 roster players in their 4th or 5th years, and a 4-2 preseason record.  Denzel James (14 ppg/ 5.2 rebs) and Thadius Galvez (13.4 ppg/ 3.5 assists) are the guard leaders, with Keith Gerdes, Ryan Coleman, and Harrison Lane promising to give Mac a chance in every game. Adonis Montfort-Palomino transfers from Calgary, providing depth at the point.

Our Call-  The ‘Horns run in an enthusiastic herd in their own gym, and, if their starters are able to go, they may get both games here.  Mac is capable of a split.

 

at Alberta Golden Bears   Brandon Bobcats –  We believe the ‘Cats will be better, and Coach Gil Cheung is eager to see how this new group can come together.  But, the road assignment against the GBs is a tough way to start for BU.

Alberta has a dangerous1-2 punch up front with the dynamic slashing all-star, Mamadou Gueye (18.4 ppg/ 7.4 rebs), and last year’s CW rookie of the year, Brody Clarke (12 ppg/ 6.3 rebs).  Brett Roughead, at 7-1, will protect the middle in the effective Bears defense.  Newcomer guards , Austin Waddoups (3rd year import), and Andre Kelly (1st year, Mississauga, ON) will make an immediate impact.

The Bobcats have 5th year leader , Denham Buchanan, on the wing, and he will provide a much bigger presence this season.  Earl Thompson Jr. is another 5th year player who can score (16.5 ppg) and rebound (8 rpg). 6-11 John Paul, who hails from St. Lucia in the Caribbean, is expected to patrol the paint with improved skill and experience.

Our Call –  Maybe closer than we might expect, with Brandon having a shot at a split.  However, the Bears must be favoured on their home floor. 

 

at Regina Cougars   Victoria Vikes  –  This is a match-up of teams with ‘dreams of

Brandon Tull will be one of the key vets expected to lead the Cougars this season.

Brandon Tull will be one of the key vets expected to lead the Cougars this season.

glory’.  Well, certainly firm hopes of

a playoff future.  Regina has had a thorough ‘test run’ in the pre-season, including a loss to these Vikes back on September 29.  But here we are in Regina.  The  Cougars  were 8-2 at home last year, including a sweep of the Vikes.  Yes, they’ve lost Jonathan Tull, but they have a coterie of vets back, led by Brandon Tull (1.8 ppg/ 4 rebs/2 assts) and Alex Igual (10.8 ppg/5.6 rebs/ 5 assts)  and 5th year combo guard, Aaron McGowan, at the perimeter.  Brian Ofori, a 4th year forward, is a robust, quick attacker, and 250 lb, 6-7 Stephen Shields lends size up front.  A key addition at guard is rookie, Johneil Johnson, from Nova Scotia.

UVic lean heavily on 5th year swingman, Grant Sitton, who is putting up big numbers early this season.  The stalwart efforts of forward Justin Kinnear (Montreal) will be more evident as he plays his 3rd season.  Big expectations in the Vikes camp for import guards Wayne Tucker, a 4th year transfer from Oakland, CA, and freshman point, Scott Kellum from Issaquah, WA.

Our Call-  We might get a Regina sweep, but know that UVic will be looking to slow down the Cougars scorers.  This cries out as a probable split. 

 

The Ws will spend a lot of time West of the Rockies this Winter.

at Winnipeg Wesmen  UNBC Timberwolves  –  The Wesmen were the ‘quietest’ 5-0 team in the CIS in the pre-season.  They are still somewhat of a mystery, but have Denzel Lynch-Blair and William Sesay as confirmed stand-outs, with ‘DLB’ scoring (17.5 ppg last year) and Sesay, an all-rookie teamer, an easy bet to improve on 7 rebs and 10 ppg in his 2nd year.  Ryan Oirnans is expected to give more scoring in the post to go with his 8 + rebounds. 2nd Year Billy Yaworsky, at 6’7 should help at the forward, and new faces Sean Tarver ( 3rd year tsf, Baltimore, MD), and 6-2 rookie Narcisse Ambanza will help in the back-court.

UNBC  Coach Todd Jordan is looking for 3rd year guard recruit, James Agyeman (Brampton, ON) to combine in the guard spot with 5th year high scorer  Rhys Elliot (18 ppg/ 5 rebs).  Marcus MacKay, at 6-4, is a big shooting guard, and set for a solid season.  At the forward, Austin Chandler, a 6-6 tsf from Wenatchee, WA Junior College will join Vaggelis Loukas and Sam Zhang on one of the smaller front lines in Canada West.

Our Call-  We see 2 for the home team here.  The Ws will continue their winning ways to start the regular season.

 

Mitch Goodwin promises to be a floor leader for the Heat this season.

Mitch Goodwin promises to be a floor leader for the Heat this season.

at UBC- Okanagan Heat    Trinity Western Spartans –  The Heat will gladly take the home court advantage in the opener, and try and get a running start for the new season.  The guard combo of Mitch Goodwin (13 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and Aldrich Berrios (14.5 ppg/ 3.7 assts)  have already served notice that they are ready to roll in a couple of smart efforts in October.  6-9, 3rd year, Ryan Morck has worked hard to be more productive up front, and he will have the ‘blue collar worker’ David Manshrek right with him.  Rookies Matt Lafontaine (Kelowna), and Tristan Matthews (N. Vancouver), will get a shot at some minutes right away.

Trinity has no where to go but up.  The Spartans will need to get a split in some of these series early on, just for some team confidence.  Vartan Tanielian, a 3rd year wing man, has been looking like their leader in Fall play, and he has big men, 7-1 Matt Hayashi , and 6-10 Patrick Vandervelden with an extra year experience and set to go.  Tee Mayberry, a 3rd year JC tsf from Pasadena, CA will also help at forward. Tyus Allen will be a big plus, as he returns to the guard spot after a year off, and import Pogos Trunyan, Sacramento, CA has shown some spark in the pre-season.

Our Call-  If the Heat guards can spark more UBC-O offense, and if their forwards can hold of the Spartans size, then we see a sweep by the home side.

 


 

Overtime –

  • The U. Calgary has been busy celebrating their 50th Anniversary of ‘independence’ from the U of A.  In 1966 the school moved  from being named UAC  to University of Calgary.  The alumni for most of the athletic teams have held events to mark this anniversary, and none has been bigger than the Nov 4/5 Basketball Weekend.  With the Manitoba Bisons in town for the League opener, ‘The Pioneers of Dinos Basketball’ will be feted at a Saturday pre-game Social.  Every living Dinos coach since 1962 will be in attendance including John Dewar, Don Newton, Skip Morgan, Tom Bishop, Gary Howard, Cory Russell, and current Head Coach, Dan Vanhooren.

    Regina Cougars coach, Steve Burrows

    Regina Cougars coach, Steve Burrows

  • Regina Coach Steve Burrows,  “We have such a balanced league that winning and losing are going to be separated by a fine line. We have to take care of the details and stay in the present. We can’t remember what just happened for very long.” “We don’t have a guy like Jon (Tull, the team’s leading scorer last season who has exhausted his eligibility) anymore who we could say, ‘Here’s the ball. Go make a play for us.’ We’ve got to work together and trust each other at both ends of the floor. That has taken us some time.”  From a Regina Leader-Post article by Ian Hamilton. 

 

  • 2016-17 CW men’s basketball pre-season coaches pollscreen-shot-2016-11-03-at-2-28-12-pm

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 .

‘Old’ Pioneer Powers Scrambling

 

 

 

Changing of the Guard in Canada West ?

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.38.26 AM
After watching all 3 of Victoria, Alberta, and Saskatchewan absorb two losses each this past weekend, we find ourselves in the ‘New Order’ of Canada West Basketball.  These three teams  have figured prominently in Canada West and CIS hoops for years past;  the last 5 Canada West championship games were won by –  2015 – Victoria over Saskatchewan, 2014 – Alberta over Victoria, 2013 – UBC over Victoria, 2012 – Alberta over Fraser Valley, 2011 – UBC over Saskatchewan.

 The T-Birds are still good bets to be in the Final 4, and, of course, host the CIS Nationals, but what of the Bears, Vikes, and Huskies?  It would seem unlikely, or even shockingly improbable for all 3 strong programs to have such a difficult year.  We certainly think U of A and UVic still have playoff shots, but U of S has faded too far South;  graduation of key players, injuries, and defections have conspired to reduce these teams to chasers rather than the leaders they had been for so long.

We suspect they will all be back next season with their usual competitive squads, but, for now, they have given way to ‘upstart teams’, like Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, and Thompson Rivers.  We have 3 weeks of play remaining in both Divisions, and it’s highly likely that we may have a very different slate of teams competing in the Final 4 come March 11-12.

Four Series Sweeps Change the Standings

Manitoba copyWe had 5 series in the Pioneer last weekend, as the 6 Explorer teams and the UC Dinos had the weekend off. We saw movement away from the middle of the standings by several teams, as 4 of these series’ ended with 2-game sweeps.
> Manitoba has officially exorcised their 2nd half of the season ghosts of past years; they pounce all-over the Regina Cougars, 89-82 and 77-63, and sit at 11-5.
> Across town, the Winnipeg Wesmen prepared themselves for the ‘Red River Rivalry’ series by dispatching a scrappy U of S Huskies squad 81-77 and 81-72 to win their 6th in a row for a 9-5 mark.
> At Lethbridge, the short-benched Bears were trounced by a running, pressing Pronghorns team, who used 2nd half onslaughts to dispatch their Northern rivals 93-61 and 88-62.
> In their brand-spanking -new Carsa Centre, the ‘rebuilding‘ Victoria Vikes were sorely pressed to stay anywhere near the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.  UBC took both games with unusual ease … 79-51 and then 86-67.
> It was fitting that both Brandon (Friday) and Trinity Western (Saturday) got their first wins of the season in their series in Langley.  No playoff chances, but the shut-out is averted!

Top Performers last weekend –

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.  photo- Bisons Athletics

  • Keith Omoerah may not have a big ’S’ on his chest, but he should have !  Keith’s return to the Bison Herd has put this team on a path for championship contention, with his rebounding, scoring, and defensive effort.  16 points / 14 rebounds/ 6 assists on Friday, then 18 boards plus 12 points, 3 asst, 4 steals in the Saturday win. Oh, and we might mention A.J. Basi’s  significant sharp-shooting role … 27 points Friday, and Jonathan Alexander chipping in both nights for totals of 26 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Winnipeg’s  Denzel Lynch-Blair has to be in the  all-star discussion, with yet another week of multiple contributions for UW, with 49 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 steals.  Nicely done, young man !  Ryan Oirbans with his rebounding and a 29 point night on Saturday from Jelane Pryce pace the Ws to a sweep.
  • Brandon Brine hits 37 points, with a scoring frenzy at home for the ‘Horns on Friday, then Jared Baker takes over on Saturday, hitting 3s everywhere, and scoring 17 points / 5 assists.  Lethbridge has a ‘not-so-secret-weapon’, however;  Dejon Burdeaux, back to ‘match-fitness’ is a dominant force at both ends of the floor … 31 points over 2 nights, to go along with 16 assists and 12 steals off the very effective UL press.
  • UBC has a varied attack, as they get 8 players contributing in both definitive victories at UVic … their depth is apparent, when their scoring leader Conor Morgan has a quieter weekend, but rookie Taylor Browne steps up with 15 points/ 4 reb, 3 asst on Saturday, while the night before David Wagner returned to the ‘Birds line-up with 12 points/ 6 rebounds.
Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday.

Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday. photo – TWU Athletics

A round of applause for the TWU Spartans’ Lucas Mannes with his tour de force of 56 points/12 reb/14 asst/6 steals; his teammate Kelvin Smith chimes in  with 49 points/ 14 rebounds/ 5 steals.   Brandon’s Earl Thompson pots 37 points / 19 rebounds in the split series, and the Bobcats’ rookie, Pookie Saunders, gets our attention with a combined 39 points /12 boards / 10 asst/ 5 steals.

 

 


 

 CIS Scores  on Sunday –  
Atlantic –   UPEI  97  at Cape Breton   80  … a split of their weekend pair, leaving the Panthers (10-4) in a 1st place tie with Dalhousie, and the Capers (7-6) scratching for a playoff spot, back in 5th spot .


 

Overtime –   

  • UBC are wanting to try and duplicate the feat of the 1982 UVic Vikes under Coach Ken Shields, who won the CIS Championship at Memorial Arena in Victoria that season, the 3rd of 7 straight for the Vikes.  The Birds don’t yet have that kind of roll going, but UBC Coach Kevin Hanson wants to start this March !
  • As for the 7-9 Vikes, Coach Craig Beaucamp says , “We’re trying to stay up in a down time.  There is so much left to play for. We’ve got a good nucleus and can’t lose sight of the big picture. We can still make some noise.” From the Victoria Times-Colonist, Cleve Dheensaw
  • Speaking of the U of A Golden Bears , who his UL team beat twice last weekend in Lethbridge, “They’re a banged up group,” said Horns coach Mike Hansen. “It’s a reversal of fortune. We limped up there last season and lost and this time it was their turn to have a bunch of injured guys. Our guys played great D all weekend,” said Hansen. “Jared Baker and Dejon Burdeaux at the top of our press were great both games.”  From Dylan Purcell in the Lethbridge Herald.

Winnipeg Teams Defend Home Courts

 

Jelane Pryce is big in the Wesmen win, as both Winnipeg schools finish of home sweeps on Saturday.

Jelane Pryce is big in the Wesmen win, as both Winnipeg schools finish off home sweeps on Saturday.

 

at Manitoba 77  Regina  63 –   The Herd rumble to a most convincing shut-down of the visiting Cougars, and get the sweep to improve to 11-5 for the season. Up by 15 at the half, the Bisons widen the gap in the 3rd, then waltz home with the W.  Regina just not in this one, as they hit only 28% from the floor, and are unable to take advantage of a generous 26 Manitoba turnovers. All 5 UM starters score in double digits, led by Keith Omoerah, who also claims 18 rebounds, 3 asst, 4 steals . Jonathan Alexander has a double of 12 points and 11 boards. Aaron McGowan is off the bench with 11 points / 5 asst  for the Cougars, who also have Jonathan Tull with 12, and Travis Sylvestre adding 10. Regina slips to 8-6, with UVic, Calgary, and Saskatchewan left.    Box Score

at Winnipeg  81 Saskatchewan  72 –  With foul trouble hanging over several players in the 4th quarter, the Huskies lost the lead they had for most of the game, as Winnipeg hit 11 points in the final minute from the foul line.  The foul shots really did determine the outcome as the home team shot  27/35, while the visiting Huskies had just 6/10.  Jelane Pryce, with 29 pts / 10 rebounds, and Denzel Lynch-Blair’s 27, with 5 reb/ 6 asst/ and 5 steals  filled the scoresheet for the Ws.  William Sesay added 11 boards, 3 assists, and 2 steals to help Winnipeg to the sweep. Shawn Lathan was good for U of S, with his 19 points/ 5 rebounds, and Mack Burns  grabbed all of 15 rebounds. The Wesmen move up to 9-5, in the thick of the playoff race, with 4 more home games coming up, while Saskatchewan are 4-10, with prospects fading rapidly.  Box Score

at Lethbridge  88  Alberta 62  –   Deja vu for the Bears and Pronghorns, as the home side takes a 5 point lead into the half, then steps up the pace to pull away quickly in the 3rd, with a 25-9 pasting. The U of A cannot match the 52% shooting of the ‘Horns, and the Bears relatively inexperienced back-court cough it up 29 times to add to the agony. Four U of L starters in double figures, with 21 points, 8 assists, 4 steals by import guard, Dejon Burdeaux, and 17 points/ 5 asst by senior guard Jared Baker, who is 5/7 from outside.  Alberta shoots only 33% from the floor, but go to the line for 25/32, as Mamadou Gueye counts 19 points/ 7 rebounds. Lethbridge get to 9-5 with the weekend double over Alberta (7-8), and the ‘Horns travel to Calgary next week to play the 12-3, first place Dinos.   Box Score

# 9  UBC  86 at Victoria 67  –   The UBC offensive power puts the Vikes away for a 2nd straight night, as the home team finds it tough to get inside hoops against the ‘Birds size.  Vic works hard at the defensive end, but the relentless attack by the Thunderbirds (12-4) proves decisive.  53-34 at half-time leaves little doubt as to the result, with UBC hitting 55% from the floor to only 36% for the Vikes. A team effort from the ‘Birds, with 3 players – Jordan Jensen-Whyte (7rebs), Philip Jalalpoor (5 boards), and 1st year guard, Taylor Browne (4 reb, 3 asst, 6/6 shooting) scoring 15 points apiece, then 2 others  with 12.  Victoria (7-9) never threatens, but get Mack Roth with a good shooting night (7/13) at 16 points, and Reiner Theil working hard for 6 rebounds and 13 points.    Box Score

A 36 point effort from Lucas Mannes leads Trinity to their 1st win on Saturday.

A 36 point effort from Lucas Mannes leads Trinity to their 1st win on Saturday.

 at Trinity Western 87 Brandon  78 –  Trinity uses home court on Saturday, and finally land their elusive 1st win of the season, after having come close at least a couple of previous times. A 52 point feast in the 2nd half allows the Spartans to overcome a 3 point half-time deficit, as they shoot 49% on the night to Brandon’s 40%.  Lucas Mannes had a terrific game for TWU, as he scores 36 points/ 6 reb/ 5 asst/ 5 steals, and Kelvin Smith adds 18 points / 9 boards.  Brandon’s rookie guard, ’Pookie’ Saunders, leads the ‘Cats with 21 points/ 7 asst/ 6 rebounds.  Box Score

 

 


 

 

CIS Scores  on Saturday –
Atlantic –   at Cape Breton  77  UPEI   63, at #10 Dalhousie 87 Acadia 68,  at UNB 108  Memorial 90,  Saint Marys 82  St. FX 69
Quebec – #7 McGill  at Bishop’s ,  at UQAM 98 Laval 97,
Ontario –  #1 Ryerson 97 at Nipissing 68, at #2 Ottawa 91 York 61,  at #3 Carleton 99 Queen’s 81, Guelph 80 at Algoma 60, at Laurentian 75 Toronto 74, at Lakehead 74        #4 McMaster  72 , Western 81 Laurier 60,  Windsor 86  Waterloo 58

Play – In, or Out of Quarter-Finals

 

 Play-in Series Look Like Toss-ups 

Dinos host Bisons, with both teams searching for answers –

The Calgary Dinos  have just finished a brutally tough 2nd half schedule, which saw them fall from 1st place, at 9-2 back in December, to 12-8 and 5th in the Division (7th seed in the CW playoff grid).  Their opponents in this weekend’s ‘Play-in series’ in Calgary, the Manitoba Bisons, have lost their last 7 League games, and settled for a 9-11 season mark and 7th spot / 10th seed.

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 6.31.54 AM

 

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is the Dinos 'main man'.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is the Dinos ‘main man’.              photo  – David Moll for Dinos Athletics

So which of these teams can ‘circle the wagons’ to get on to the next round?  There isn’t much to choose, statistically speaking, other than Calgary’s ability to win some of the close games that the Herd could not.

The Dinos depend on the extraordinary abilities of 5th year Winnipeg native, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, with his team-leading 19.3 ppg, 7.3 rebs, and 5.2 assists. Calgary’s other 5th year leader, forward Phil Barndt, scores 10.5 ppg / 4.7 rebs, and hits 51% from 3 point range. 2nd year wing man, L.J. Hegwood averages 9 ppg, but can use his quickness and slashing style to pop into double figures at any time, and 6-7 German import rookie, Lars Schleuter, can get hot from the outside. Veteran guards Josh Owen -Thomas and Jhony Verrone should also be key factors if the Dinos are to advance.

Manitoba's shooting guard, Amarjit Basi.

Manitoba’s shooting guard, Amarjit Basi.

Manitoba are led by point man Stephan Walton, a speedy 5th year import, who pushes the pace and distributes for 3.8 assts while scoring 10 ppg. The leading scorer for the Herd is  4th year guard, Amarjit Basi, at 16.3 ppg, who has 2 other back-court mates in double figures – Justus Alleyn (11.7 ppg) and Andre Arruda (10.6 ppg).  5th year post, 6-9, Wyatt Anders (10 ppg/ 9.1 rebs), and 6-6, Jonathan Alexander (8.6 ppg, 5 rebs) bolster the front line. Team leader, Walton, said the recipe for a playoff victory in Calgary this weekend is straightforward. “Whenever we control the paint,” said Walton, “we’re really hard to beat.” (From the Winnipeg Free Press.

The teams split their 2 League games in Calgary back in November, and this series may well go the 3 games;  Walton is right in suggesting rebounding is a key, but  getting and making good shots is also critical, as is the ability to maintain defensive control, something that has been a challenge for both squads lately.  Too tough to call, really.  Calgary has home court, and a real ace in ‘OJ’, so that might be the edge.

Games go Fri/Sat  at 7 pm Mountain, with a 3rd at 3 pm Sunday, if necessary. The winner goes on to play the # 2 seed, the Fraser Valley Cascades, in the best of 3 Quarter-final series on Feb. 27-March 1.

 

Cross-over series as Winnipeg goes to Thompson Rivers –

The Wolf Pack's Reese Pribilsky will be tested by the Winnipeg defense.

The Wolf Pack’s Reese Pribilsky will be tested by the Winnipeg defense.                photo – A. Snucins, TRU

The 6th place team in the Pioneer Division, the Winnipeg Wesmen (12-8), will be in Kamloops this weekend to play the Explorer Division’s 3rd place team, the TRU Wolf Pack (11-9), in the 1st cross-over series in this 2-Division format. It’s hard to tell how these teams match-up, since they did not play inter-Divisional games this season.

Coach Scott Clark of Thompson Rivers says that “ … it’s good we get to have more practices and spend more time with each other, and now it’s a new season.  They (Winnipeg) could have finished as high as third or fourth down the stretch. They have some athleticism and are well coached. We are going to have to do a good job of handling their athleticism. If we can do that, we should have a good chance.” (From TRU Athletics)

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The teams both come in sporting some ‘nicks and bruises’, with TRU having had both Josh Wolfram and Tallon Milne, their big men, at less than 100%, and Winnipeg missing 5th year forward Mark McNee last week. Wesmen Coach Mike Raimbault wasn’t sure about McNee’s availability.  “We may have to contend with (Josh) Wolfram’s  offensive abilities with a thinner line-up , if Mark can’t go”, he said. The Wesmen have one of the League’s more aggressive defenses, and, with their quickness, they can limit the ‘Pack’s offense. TRU has a capable point man in Reese Pribilsky (13 ppg, 4.5 assts) with the 6-11 Wolfram (18 ppg/ 9.9 rebs) and 6-4, 5th year Brett Rouault (13.6 ppg, 4 rebs) as his main targets.

Winnipeg is blessed with strong guard play as well, with point man, Jordan Clennon, the

Winnipeg point man  Jordan Clennon leads CW in assists.

Winnipeg point man Jordan Clennon leads CW in assists.

Canada West assists leader at 6.5 asst/game, and Chris Baxter a scoring guard (13 ppg, shooting 52% from the floor).  Up front, the Ws have scoring leader Jelane Pryce, a 6-7, 16.5 ppg shooter, who also snares 6 rebs. McNee adds 11 ppg/ 5 boards when he’s fit, and 5th year guard Travis Krahn is a dangerous 3 point shooter.

If McNee can suit up, it will make a real difference to Winnipeg, and we have a hunch they will be too much for TRU to handle with the added depth.

Games are  7 pm – Pacific on Thursday and Friday … 5 pm on Saturday, if a 3rd game is needed.  The winner from this series will play at Saskatchewan against the # 1 seed Huskies in one Quarter-final.

 

 

Overtime –

  •   Because of a Special Olympics event booked for the Tournament Capital Centre, the Winnipeg-TRU games will move to the smaller TRU gym on campus in Kamloops.  It should have little advantage either way, although just the travel will be a disadvantage for the Wesmen. TRU made the CW playoffs for the 1st time in their history last season; both the ‘Pack and the Wesmen lost in the Q-Finals last year.  Winnipeg went to the Final 4 in 2013, where they finished 3rd.
  •   Calgary missed the playoffs the last 2 seasons, and were beaten in the 3rd game at Victoria in the Q-Finals of 2012.  Manitoba made the 2013 playoffs, but lost in 2 straight in the Q-Finals, and, in fact, haven’t won a playoff series since the Great Plains 1st round in 2000.
  • The AUS playoff teams include UNB and UPEI , who get 1st round tournament byes Unknownas the top 2 teams, along with St. Mary’s, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, and Memorial in that order, at present. Memorial clinched the 6th spot with points difference the deciding factor over Acadia.
  • The Canada West Women’s playoffs this week – 2 play-in series –  #10 Calgary at # 7 Victoria and #9 Regina at #8 Fraser Valley.  The # 3 Saskatchewan vs # 6 Winnipeg quarter-final goes a week early as well (gym availability at Sask.).  All are Fri/Sat/Sun. best of 3 series.

Pryce Heats Up the Wesmen

 

Log Jam in Canada West Standings

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After a weekend highlighted by sweeps for the Saskatchewan Huskies and Winnipeg Wesmen over traditional Pacific powers, Victoria and UBC respectively, the Pioneer Division of Canada West has no unbeaten teams, and the standings resemble  a  compacted accordion.  The Huskies are the ‘hot team’ with 3 straight wins moving them to 4-2, and tied in the middle of the charts with UVic, and Alberta, while Winnipeg is now 5-3 as is Lethbridge.  Calgary and Manitoba  share the Division lead after they split 2 close games.

In the Explorer Division, it is Fraser Valley ruling the roost with a perfect 6-0 mark, having gone to Thompson Rivers, arguably their toughest road assignment of the season, and beating the Wolf Pack in both games. The heavy traffic amongst the Explorers is with the chasers, as TRU, Mt. Royal, and the upstart MacEwan Griffins are all at 3-3.

Our 3 teams of the week –Fr Valley copy

Clearly … the 6-0 Cascades, who have major contributions through their contracted roster;  only 8 players have played ( freshman, Luke Braund averages 1.5 mins/game)  … so 7 do all the damage, but how effective they are !  6 players averaging in double figures, led by Kevon Parchment’s 13.3 ppg.  Jasper Moedt (10.2 rpg), Kadeem Willis (7.8 rpg), and Parchment (6 rpg) are their top rebounders, and Manny Dulay is the ‘Director-General’ with his 46% shooting from 3 point range, and 3.3 assist to turnover ratio.  Fraser Valley may be Canada West’s best team, but we won’t know until the February – March playoffs!

U of S Huski copyThe Huskies streak of 3 wins are all at home, and they too are blessed with great depth of talent … Ben Baker, Andrew Henry, and Evan Ostertag lead in the back-court , while Matt Forbes (10.5 ppg / 8.2 rebs) is the consistent presence inside. Imports  Dadrian Collins  and Mike Scott can be ‘headline scorers’.  Now, can they win on the road ?  (Likely, yes !)

The Wesmen lost their 2 opening home games to Calgary, then one at Saskatchewan, but Unknown-2more recently have been looking like solid contenders with their defense leading the way (70.8 ppg against, 2nd in the Division). They’re also 2nd in field goal % at 45.8%, led by  forwards Jelane Pryce ( 17.9 ppg / 52% FG / 7 rebs.), and Mark McNee (11.6 ppg / 50% FG / 6 rebs), and guard Chris Baxter, who’s coming into his own with 13.3 ppg, 54% shooting, and 3 assists. This team has upside, with guys like point man Jordan Clennon, post Ryan Oirbans, and 5th year shooter, Travis Krahn, able to step up their games.

Weekly All-Stars –

Winnipeg's Jelane Pryce carves up the UBC defense.  - photo Kelly Morton

Winnipeg’s Jelane Pryce carves up the UBC defense to lead the Wesmen to 2 wins.
               – photo Kelly Morton for UW

MVP – Jelane Pryce, Winnipeg – The 4th year transfer (Ryerson ) from the Toronto area, was ‘a rock’ all weekend vs the T-Birds, pouring in 57 points on 22/30 (73%) shooting, while grabbing 15 boards, and making 4 blocks. He appears to be getting more comfortable with the ‘leading man’ role, and we can expect more of this as the Ws move along in the season.

Other members of our All-Star team this week –

Dadrian Collins, Saskatchewan – A perfect game shooting is rare, especially when you’re 8/8 and 7 of those are outside the arc, and all 7 in the opening 20 minutes !  ‘Lightening in

UFV's Kevon Parchment drives the offensive attack for the 6-0 Cascades.

UFV’s Kevon Parchment drives the offensive attack for the 6-0 Cascades.

a bottle’ !  The 5th year import scores 28 and sparks the ‘Dogs to their 2nd win over UBC.

Kevon Parchment, Cascades – This 5th year Toronto native stands out in a talented line-up for Fraser Valley, as he scores 35 points, claims 15 rebounds, and delivers 7 assists in an impressive 2 game team effort at TRU.  He is the top player on the runaway leader in the Explorer.

Josh Wolfram, Wolf Pack – The 4th year , 6-10, Kamloops high school star is leading Canada West in both scoring (21.7 ppg) and rebounding (12.7 rpg). In 2 disappointing losses at home, he keeps his eyes on the target, scoring 46 points and snatching 29 rebounds.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson , Calgary – The 5th year Dinos leader fought hard against the visiting Bisons (and took a few heavy body blows from defenders for his efforts); the Winnipeg native scores 46 points and grabs 14 rebounds in a win and a loss to keep Calgary in a tie for 1st.

Jonathan Alexander, Manitoba – This 6-6 Toronto HS grad who played 2 seasons at Tyler, TX, Jr. College, brought his high-intensity inside game to the Bisons-Dinos series.  35 points and 17 rebounds led Manitoba to a split and a tie for 1st place.

 

Overtime –Unknown

  •   1st wins for Trinity W. and Brandon, which is a big monkey off the backs, but now how to move forward and climb out of the cellar.  One week to go before the exam break, so BU needs 1 at Regina, and Trinity the same at Calgary. The ‘Cats, particularly,  have a tough path after the Christmas holidays with Saskatchewan, UBC, Alberta, and Winnipeg coming at them in successive weeks.
  •   The CIS Top 10 will see some movement, but only in the 7-10 spots you would think , since the top 6 all won twice last weekend… #7 UVic drops 2 games, #8 Cape Breton continues their slide, and Saskatchewan wins 2 big ones.  What about Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, and Manitoba?  Well, there are only so many spots, with the top 5 all sealed tight by the OUA. 
  • What does it cost to go to Canada West games ?  In our quick-look survey, Mt.
    MRU has the friendliest ticket prices in the schools we checked for single game tickets.

    MRU has the friendliest ticket prices in the schools we checked for single game tickets.

    Royal is the most ‘reasonable’ at $10 for adults, $7 for school students, under 12 is free, and MRU students and staff are free …  Alberta $15 for adults, $8 sudents, $35 family, under 5 yrs. free, U of A students free …  UBC  $10 adult, $5 students, $20 family, $2 for UBC students … Calgary $15 adults, $8, students,  U-6  free, UC students  free … Manitoba $10 adults , $5 students,  under 6 yrs  is free, UM students $5 … Lethbridge $12 adults, $7 students, 4 and under is free, $3 for UL students.  There are a wide array of season ticket, special event, team, and group deals available throughout the League.

Week 3 All-Stars in Canada West

 

Weekly All-Stars in Canada West –

Josh Wolfram carries TRU to a sweep over UNBC.

Josh Wolfram carries TRU to a sweep over UNBC.

MVP – Josh Wolfram rolls on with 44 points and 26 rebounds in the Wolf Pack sweep of UNBC.

1st Team –

Chris McLaughlin of UVic stands out again, as his 42 pts/ 12 rebounds boost the Vikes to 2 big wins at UBC.

Mamadou Gueye again sparks the Alberta attack with 45 pts/20 rebounds as the Bears maul the TWU Spartans twice.

 

Brandon Tull of Regina totals 43 points in the Manitoba series, as the Cougars get a split.

 Brandon Tull  is at the heart of Regina's drive for wins.

Brandon Tull is at the heart of Regina’s drive for wins.

Denzel James for MacEwan tallies 41 points and 20 rebounds as his Griffs open Canada West play with a home split vs Mt. Royal.

Francko Kouagnia pours in 40 pts and grabs 17 rebounds for his Timberwolves, who come up just short in a pair of losses at TRU.

2nd Team  –

Jonathan Alexander  of the Bisons nets 35 pts/16 rebounds vs Regina

Mark McNee stirs up the offense for Winnipeg with 18 pts/10 rebs as the Ws get the sweep at Lethbridge.

UBC-O's David Manshrek gives the Heat 'grit' in the paint.

UBC-O’s David Manshrek gives the Heat ‘grit’ in the paint.

L.J Hegwood rising up for the Dinos with his 30 pts/15 boards in the 2 UC wins over Brandon.

Earl Thompson Jr. , Brandon’s import wing man,  displays his power with 29 pts/15 rebounds vs Calgary.

Nate Brown has 28 pts/15 rebs for UFV in their 2 close wins at UBC-Okanagan.

David Manshrek for Okanagan scores 35 and claims 18 rebounds to lead the Heat as they push the Cascades in both games in Kelowna.

 

Notes from Around Canada West …

Pioneer Division –

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Alberta –  Y. Ouahrig just 1 minute on Sat. vs TWU ?  Trio of Ken Otieno, Joel Friesen, and Mamadou Gueye  drive this team.  Brett Roughead rebounds and blocks shots.  Rookie, Sheldon Pittman (Calgary, St. Mary’s HS) getting 5-10 mins/game.

Brandon – Low team shooting % has really hurt.  Earl Thompson Jr. is a great addition, with his power, and skills at the hoop. Not sure they’ve settled in with effective court leadership as yet.  It’s a bit early to panic, but if 0-4 becomes 0-6 …?

Rookie guard, Adonis Monfort-Palomino shows poise coming off the bench for the Dinos.

Rookie guard, Adonis Monfort-Palomino shows poise coming off the bench for the Dinos.

Calgary – One of our highly respected regional sources suggests that, with the return of post man, Mitch Ligertwood, the Dinos may have the most depth in the League.  The emergence of Dallas Karch, L.J. Hegwood, and Adonis Monfort -Palomino gives so many options.

Lethbridge –  Maybe the ‘Horns just ran into a highly motivated Wesmen team, but 2 home losses were a surprise.  The offensive numbers were not good, and the turnovers could become a major issue; they have the talent, and should get back on track.

Manitoba – The Herd get a split with another high-scoring game at Regina Saturday.  Stephan Walton plays 22 minutes Friday, then not at all on Saturday, with a leg problem.  (May be able vs Brandon this week). Justus Alleyn (2nd yr., Montreal) steps in Saturday to score 20 / 4 steals.

Regina – Cougars get the win Friday with 40 pts, 13 rebs, 6 steals between the Tull bothers (Brandon, Jonathan).  Alex Igual (6-4 Spaniard via Cuesta Coll., Calif.) is a real find as a big guard, at 6-4.   6-7, Will Tallman, in his 2nd ‘tour’ with the Cougs’ is hitting his stride as a rebounder/scorer.

Saskatchewan –  back in action at home this week vs Manitoba.

Trinity Western –  Coach Allen starts 3 rookies vs the Bears on Saturday; searching for the ‘ignition switch’ for his Spartans.  The 1st year trio of Nick Tancon, Vartan Tanielian, and Kosia Cauw  give future promise.  Now time for some of TWU vets to turn things around.

UBC's Tommy Nixon and his 'mates meet the Bears in Edmonton this week.

UBC’s Tommy Nixon and his ‘mates meet the Bears in Edmonton this week.

UBC – Losing 2 at home vs Victoria has to be a major disappointment, but no reason topanic just yet. The ‘Birds do, however, need to re-focus this week as they prepare for a trip to play U of A in the unfriendly confines of the Saville Centre in Edmonton.

Victoria –  A confidence building weekend over in Vancouver, as they play the defense expected of them, but also have their offense clicking with McLaughlin stepping up, and both Reiner Teil and Marcus Tibbs showing toughness in the clutch. 4-0, with a bye week.

Winnipeg – the Wesmen get just the bounce-back Coach Raimbault would have wanted, as his defense puts the shackles on U of L, and they find scoring from several key players … Jelane Pryce, Mark McNee, Chris Baxter.  The schedule does not let up, however, as they now go to Saskatoon to face the Huskies.

 

Explorer Division –

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Fraser Valley – Tighter games at UBC-O than might have been predicted, but the ‘Cades find ways to win and players to take charge … Kadeem Willis, Manny Dulay, Jasper Moedt, and big Nate Brown are prominent.

MacEwan Griffins – The ‘newbies’ will surprise people with scorers Lee Danderfer and Denzel James plus some big men who will battle … Ryan May, Keith Gerdes, and Brandon Sackey.  Can they get one vs the heavily favoured TRU Wolf Pack this week?

Jalen Gardner is an up-and-comer for MRU.

Jalen Gardner is good young guard for the  MRU Cougars.

Mt. Royal – The Cougars, at their best will pressure on defense and hit open shots with good ball movement; however, 35% from the floor won’t get it done.  Jalen Gardner looks good at Mac, but more guards will have to make an impact.

Northern B.C. – The T’Wolves will give anyone a tough game.  Coach Todd Jordan is right when he says , “I like our toughness and competitiveness … “  Francko Kouagnia is solid, and he gets back-up from Devin McMurtry, Marcus MacKay, Rhy Elliot.

Thompson Rivers –  Coach Clark worries about his defense, but he has the scorers in Josh Wolfram, Brett Rouault, Reese Pribilsky.  Big man, Tallon Milne, is showing his best stuff this early season.

UBC-Okanagan –  This year?  Maybe … they play UFV tough, and some young players look ready to contribute to some wins – David Manshrek is a beast, and Buzz Truss, and Aldrich Barrios don’t shy away.  Mitch Goodwin must keep playing like a leader, and their defense has to be a steady force.

 

Overtime –

  • In answer to Joe Scanlon,  Carleton’s #1 fan/writer :  Joe, this situation with 5 OUA teams at the top of the CIS rankings begs for some scheduling changes.  If the rankings are to be even marginally reliable, it is necessary to have more inter-regional play.

    Joe Scanlon, in the stands covering Carleton Ravens basketball.

    Joe Scanlon, in the stands covering Carleton Ravens basketball.

     How about this –  in the Fall, have several more tournaments which include teams from different regions … teams wishing to be ranked would be encouraged to schedule themselves into these events.  Do the same at the Christmas break – at  existing tournaments, like the Wesmen Classic, the Shoveller Memorial, the Ryerson National plus a couple of new ones, we could create some more meaningful  inter-League play.
    The finances would, presumably be a hurdle, but perhaps we can get more excitement with ranked teams meeting others from other Leagues.  The increasing number of Canada West teams choosing to play in California, Arizona, or Nevada does nothing to promote the CIS brand.  Nor the OUA or Quebec teams holding Florida training camps or playing small U.S schools.
    If we establish a network of competitive inter-regional tournaments, the rankings make sense. Now, not so much, especially once pre-season ends, and we are only comparing within our own region.
  • UFV’s Coach Adam Friesen on his 2014-15 Cascades, “This Fr Valley copyyear, we’re big enough to match up inside with height and with size, but it’s definitely going to be a big challenge,” head coach Adam Friesen said. “I think the challenge for us this season is getting used to being the hunted instead of the hunter. There’s unique and different challenges you have to face in that role, which is new for us.”