2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –
’15-‘16 No playoffs 1 win 19 losses (Pioneer)
5th years – Denham Buchanan, 6-3 wing, Toronto. Earl Thompson Jr., 6-5 fwd, Henderson, NV. Chris Stanhope , 6-5 guard, Brampton, ON. Esmat Atem, 6-9 fwd, Ottawa … 4th year – John Paul, 6-11 fwd, St. Lucia. Baka Ngeleka, 6-1 guard, St. Hyacinthe, PQ … 2nd years – Pookie Saunders, 6-1 guard, Calgary. Mitch Marquis, 5-10 guard, Rockwood, ON. Keneal James, 6-2 guard, Chateauguay, PQ. Tyler Anderson, 6-7 fwd, Langley, BC.
New faces –
Josh Bell, 6-3 guard, 2nd year, Mississauga, ON (tsf Lakehead U.) . Tyvon Cooper, 6-0 guard, 3rd year, Middletown, NY (Orange County CC, NY). Girece Kazumba, 6-3 guard, 3rd, Toronto (Vermillion College) . Kobyn Jopp, 6-8 fwd, 1st year, Calgary (Churchill HS). Riley Schaus, 6-1 guard, Red-shirt, Brandon (Crocus Plains)
Earl Thompson Jr. will be in the of the action for Brandon in his senior year. photo – BU Athletics
As a key player on Brandon championship teams, Gil Cheung would like nothing better than to return the Bobcats to a winning program. But, in the last 5 seasons BU has a disheartening record of only 22 wins against 82 losses. The roster loses veterans DJ Jordan (17 ppg) and Troy Grant (11 ppg), as new faces come in bringing fresh hope in the new season.
There are experienced returnees, including 6 players in their 4th or 5th years of eligibility. Earl Thompson Jr. is a strong rebounder (8 rpg ) and able scorer ( 16.5 ppg ), and big guard, Chris Stanhope, is emerging as an offensivee threat ( 9.2 ppg/ 4 rebounds) . 2nd year guard, Pookie Saunders , has the quickness, and 6-11 post man, John Paul (5 ppg/ 6.2 rebs), the potential as an interior defender and rebounder. Is there, however, the on-court leadership to give the Blue and Gold the late – game confidence to win more close decisions?
Two Toronto – area guards, Josh Bell and Grieve Kazumba are recruits who may provide that catalyst. Both have some success at the CIS and College level. Multi-talented import , Tyvon Cooper, may be the lead guard so essential in coordinating an efficient attack. Cooper was the 4th leading scorer (24 ppg) in the U.S. Jr. Colleges last year 1st year forward, Kobyn Jopp, has the size, but may have to be eased into the rotation as the year goes on.
“We are very optimistic for the upcoming season with a nice mix of new student athletes and returning some key parts as well, says Cheung. “ We have 7 pre-season games, and will use them to find rotations, build chemistry, and get some feedback.”
In the opening half of the season, Brandon faces 4 teams which have a recent history of playoff success, and they face Okanagan, a squad which may be on it’s way up into competitive form. Defense may be a big key for the ‘Cats in these first semester contests, at least until they get enough time to develop some offensive chemistry and flow.
Nov-Dec … at Alberta, UBC-O, at Saskatchewan , h/h Winnipeg, Fraser Valley
Jan-Feb … at Mt. Royal, MacEwan, Regina, at UBC, Manitoba
Prediction – It looks lie an uphill climb for the ‘Cats
- The “Kelly Olynyk Basketball Academy”, a developmental basketball program for boys and girls from kindergarten to grade 7, started last week in Kamloops. The South Kamloops Sr. Secondary grad and Boston Celtics star contributed financially to the new start-up, which is being run at the Tournament Capital Centre and the old TRU Gym. “It is an amazing feeling to be able to give back to the City of Kamloops and their youth,” says Olynyk. TRU head coach Scott Clark said, “ … house leagues and youth programs were a big part of my development as a basketball player and individual. I am excited for these kids to be able to grow; learn and develop their skills the same way I did, with a love for the game. ” (From Larry Read, TRU Wolf Pack Athletics)
- In a late result from The Ubyssey , last Friday, the T-Birds beat the Seattle Mountaineers 87-66. 5th year forward, Conor Morgan, was 10/17 from the floor plus 11 rebounds , while returnees, AJ Holloway, Phil Jalalapoor, and rookie Isaiah Familia looked good in the back-court. UBC hosts the Lethbridge Pronghorns in pre-season action this Friday, the 14th, and Sunday, the 16th at War Memorial.
- Scores from last Sunday in the CIS – Laurier 101 at Brandon 76McMaster 76 Dalhousie 70, Nipissing 87 Cape Breton 66, Brock 95 Concordia 78