Cougars ‘Fitting the Pieces Together’ – preview
’15-’16 – Lost to TRU in 1/4 Finals, 11 wins – 9 losses (Pioneer Division)
Returnees – 5th years – Aaron McGowan , 6-1 guard, Toronto. Travis Sylvestre, 6-4 fwd, Regina. Stephen Shields, 6-7 fwd, Brandon. Matthew Augustine, 5-11 guard, Toronto . 4th years – Alex Igual, 6-4 guard, Barcelona, Spain . Brandon Tull, 6-4 guard, Ajax, ON. Brian Ofori, 6-6 fwd, Montreal. 2nd year- Samuel Hillis, 6-5 guard, Regina.
Newcomers – Johneil Johnson, 1st year, 6-1 guard, Lake Echo, N.S. / Combine Academy (N.C.). Ramiro Martinez, 6-6 fwd, 3rd, Yecla, Spain (Barstow College). Kornel Tokolyi, 6-7 fwd, 3rd, Budapest, Hungary (Barstow College). Benjamin Hillis, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina, ( LeBoldus HS). Kieran Hebert, 1st, 5-9 guard, Regina (Riffel HS). Carter Millar, 1st, 6-4 fwd, Regina (Leboldus HS). Brayden Kuski, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina (Leboldus HS).
Head Coach Steve Burrows is using the ‘pre-season’ to get a good look at all his ‘ponies’; “We’re trying to see how to best utilize each guy’s talents, and what’s the best way for us to play.” Yes, the 4th year bench boss has 7 returnees in either their 5th or 4th years, but he’s also working to blend in 7 new faces, including 5 in the 1st year out of high school.
“The team worked well in their summer program, and we’re pleased with how they’ve arrived at camp this Fall,” says Burrows. “We are making adjustments with our style of play, and getting a good look at everybody in these October games.”
Guard, Brandon Tull (L) and forward, Brian Ofori (R) will be among the core group for the Regina Cougars.
Canada West all-star, Jonathan Tull has graduated with his 17 ppg/5.2 rebs/2 asst/2.5 steals, so how do the Cougs fill that gap? Burrows says, “We’re working to build confidence in the new roles some of our guys may have. Not unlike everyone else!”
Both Aaron McGowan and Alex Igual are experienced lead guards, and rookie Kieran Hebert has the ‘bloodlines’ and skills to step in there eventually. Matt Augustine, a defensive stopper, returns for his final season after missing last year. Samuel Hillis goes into his 2nd year ready to step up, and his brother joins the team as a star local grad. Both are sons of former Cougars Head Coach James Hillis.
Brandon Tull and Travis Sylvester can be real leaders on the wing, and they get some big man help from 5th year, Stephen Shields. A pair of imports from Barstow College, CA , Ramiro Martinez a Spaniard, and Kornel Tokolyi from Hungary, will try and work their way into the rotation, and help in the paint.
After having narrowly missed a slot in last March’s CW Final 4, the green Cougars will be aiming to get back to the post season. ‘It’s a new team”, says Burrows, “ and we’re trying to find a fit for each guy, and an effective style for this team.”
The schedule gives the Cougs some key games on home court, and we’ll note they’re another squad with a 4/6, back-loaded schedule, with a bye in the 1st semester.
Schedule – Nov-Dec – Victoria, at MacEwan, at Trinity W., Saskatchewan, (4) Jan-Feb -at UBC-O, Manitoba, at Brandon, Calgary, at Winnipeg, TRU (6)
Prediction – Playoffs, we would bet .
WEEKEND REVIEW –
Vikes, Cougars Still ‘Works in Progress’
Out on the Island, the results of the GUY VETRIE MEMORIAL show McMaster Marauders of the OUA winning the event with a 3-0 mark ( 69-62 over McGill, 75-61 over Regina, and 76-65 past the Vikes on Saturday – Box Score). Victoria went 1-2, with a lop-sided loss to McGill 69-44- Box Score, and then their lone win, in a comeback, over Regina 76-67. The Cougars, without Aaron McGowan, and having star recruit, Johneil Johnson, go down with an injury, dropped all 3 games.
Both UVic and Regina are trying to incorporate a significant number of new faces into the playing roster. Obviously, more games left in October to try and do that.
A nice pair of wins for the Winnipeg Wesmen at Lakehead … 76-70 on Friday Box Score, and 74-69 Saturday over the ‘Wolves. Box Score
UBC-O beats last year’s CCAA champs, Vancouver Island 82-53
Saskatchewan squeaks past Medicine Hat College 66-65 in OT Box Score
UNBC beats Red Deer College 94 -83 The T’Wolves also win over NAIT 82-67
MacEwan beats UNBC 96-73 in Edmonton Box Score , and Alberta topped the T- Wolves 92-61.
CIS champs, Carleton Ravens, served notice that they are back with ‘bad intentions’, as they sweep the field at Acadia’s Stu Aberdeen Tournament in Wolfeville. It was Ravens 85-62 over Laval (just loosening up …), then, on Saturday Carleton crushed the home Axemen 112-62. The Blackbirds danced on St. FX on Sunday, to the tune of 116-72. Quels joueurs !
At UNB’s Eric Garland, the class of the field were the Saint Mary’s Huskies, as they beat the Reds 98-84, then Maine -Ft. Kent 84 – 73, and finish Sunday over Bishops Gaiters 82-66.
Concordia handles Queen’s in Montreal 74-53
UQAM also beats Queen’s 83-61, and Ottawa 76-73
More scores –
Toronto 105 Memorial 69, Ryerson 123 Mohawk Coll. 76, Laurier 74 Nipissing 50, Bishops 69 UNB 60, Dalhousie 83 Mt. St. Vincent 54, Seneca College 80 York 78, St FX 82 Laval 66, Guelph 90 Memorial 65, Laurier 62 Algoma 52,
Sunday – Sheridan Coll. 94 Guelph 80, Dalhousie 102 Holland Coll. 92, Western Ont. 64 Humber Coll. 60, Memorial 78 York 74, Maine- Ft. Kent 85 UNB 81, Nipissing 68 Algoma 64, Laval 84 Acadia 76
Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos’ Canada West Player of the Year, leads a group of ’15-’16 all-stars who are returning this year. photo – David Moll, UC Athletics
- 10 of the 15 Canada West All-stars from last season return to their teams for this campaign. They are Player of the Year Thomas Cooper – Calgary, Jordan Jensen-Whyte- UBC, Mamadou Gueye- Alberta, Keith Omoerah – Manitoba , Brett Layton – Mt. Royal, Conor Morgan – UBC, Denzel James – MacEwan, Denzel Lynch-Blair – Winnipeg, Volodymyr Iegorov – TRU, Lars Schleuter – Calgary.