Trinity Western in Transition

 

Trinity Western Spartans –  

3rd year Coach Aaron Muhic will be counting on his 7 returning 4th and 5th year players to help his Spartans turn the tide on 2 rough seasons for the Langley, BC crew. 5th year, 6-0 guard, Pogos Trunyan, a 3 point shooting threat from  Sacramento, CA,  led Trinity scorers with 14.7 ppg last year, and 4th year wing, 6-4 Vartan Taniellian (White Rock, BC) was 11.8 ppg / 3.6 rebs. Expect 4th year, 6-5 wing, Max Viitala (Melbourne, Aus) to up his 11 ppg scoring, with his 49% accuracy from the floor.

TWU’s leading scorer, Pogos Trunyan, returns for his 5th year.

Josiah Meppelink, a 2nd year, 6-3 guard from Langley stepped in as a rookie to post a solid 1.5 assist to turnover mark as a 24 mins/game rookie.  Newcomers this Fall include 3rd year transfer (Briercrest, SK), Ethan DaSilva (Calgary), a slick lead guard with an eye for the hoop.

‘Walk-on’ at the forward spot is, Steve Sesink, a 6-8 big body, who Coach Muhic feels, ‘can help us inside’. The Spartans also added 6-7 Daniel Stead from a good program at Langley – Walnut Grove, and 6-6 Aaron Petkau, Ballenas HS, Parksville

Coach Muhic describes himself as a ‘builder’, and he wants to develop a winning program and to graduate his players.  This may be a challenge for one of Canada West’s smaller schools, but Muhic’s track record as one of the NAIA’s winningest coaches while at William Jessup University (CA), suggests that he is up for it. This may be a ‘transitional year’ with as many new faces as returnees.

Last year – 3-17 …..  Prognosis –  Aiming for 10-10, but with a very rugged schedule in 2017-18.

 

Tanielian Trains in Homeland

5th year Trinity Western Spartan, Vartan Tanielian, went ‘home’ for much of this Summer.  In his case ‘home’ is all the way back to childhood, in Lebanon.  The trip was, however, primarily to take advantage of an opportunity to work-out with National Basketball Team players in the country of his birth.

“It was brilliant”, gushes the enthusiastic Tanielian, who made a big enough impression that he made the top 15 on this National squad. “It was a real eye-opener, to see how these pros prepared for competition.  To see how hard they trained, and took care of physical conditioning.  I certainly learned the level of dedication it takes to reach their level, to succeed in the pros, and to stay there over a number of years.”  Vartan was invited to travel to Serbia with the team, and he was part of their training for a series there.

A key returnee for the Spartans in his final season, Vartan believes this overseas experience will help him give more to TWU over the Fall and Winter. Asked to comment on the challenges for Trinity with a very rugged League schedule, the young man said, “I like the tough slate of games. We’ll know where we stand.  I think this can be our year, and I’m looking at 10-12 wins as a team goal.”

Moving from Lebanon to Los Angeles at 6 years old in 2001, Vartan said he had to learn resilience as he faced cultural biases from Americans shortly after 9-11.  “But I found friends, and I discovered how much I loved playing basketball”, he said.  Vartan’s enthusiasm for life and basketball allowed him to get through this traumatic time in his life.

Moving on to B.C., his family settled in White Rock/ Surrey, and he made more friends who were basketball players.  One of these was fellow TWU player, Tyus Allen. “We grew up together”, says Tyus. “He is like a brother to me; I loved playing with him (at White Rock Christian Academy, then on to TWU).

Allen, whose Dad, Scott, coached the Spartans for their 1st 3 years at the school, is a talented point guard, but has, in the past couple of years, had several knee injuries. The latest, he suffered in a game last season (one in which Tyus was headed for a triple -double’ on the stats sheet).  “It’s hard for me to see my friend have to struggle through these injuries”, says Vartan. “He will be a player-coach with us for now, but I realize how hard it is for him to deal with his severe injury.”

Tanielian, who was disappointed in his season last year, suggests, “I am better prepared now, and in much better physical shape.  I’m looking for us to have our bgest season yet.”  If this new-found determination and confidence can be matched by the rest of the Spartans, they just may surprise many observers.

 

Carroll Exploits Foul-line Visits

 

UL turnovers and more foul line visits give Saints a winning edge

Lethbridge team photo of Dejon Burdeaux

24 points by Dejon Burdeaux lead the ‘Horns in Montana.

The Lethbridge Pronghorns shot the ball well enough to get a win in their road game with Carroll College on Saturday. But, 24 turnovers hand-cuffed the ‘Horns and gave the Fighting Saints a big advantage in their 12th straight win over Lethbridge.

UL was 53% from the field, slightly better than the Saints 50% , but Carroll had the big edge of 20/25 free throws vs just 5/6  for the visitors. Lethbridge was led by Dejon Burdeaux with 22 points, Elliott Sentance scored 15 and DeAngelo Ashley had 12.   Box Score     …  Next up for Lethbridge will be a home date on December 28 vs Montana State-Northern.

 

 

2nd half slump sinks Spartans 

Working from a hopeful 41-34 halftime deficit the TWU Spartans scored only 10 points in the final 20 minutes to fall by an 82-44 count to home- standing U. Alaska- Anchorage Sea Wolves on Saturday.

The Seawolves go 41 to 10 in the second half as 16 Trinity turnovers (to 6 for UAA) give the home team just that many more  opportunities. The Spartans shoot just 30% from the field and were out-rebounded 55-37. Post man Patrick Vandervelden had 12 points for TWU, while import guard, Pogos Trunyan,  added 11 points . Box Score     The same 2 teams play Sunday in Anchorage.

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Upcoming CIS games –

Sunday, Dec 18 – Trinity Western at Alaska-Anchorage

Monday, Dec 19 – Trinity Western at Alaska-Fairbanks

U. of Calgary Dinos logo

Calgary Dinos make an early break to warm weather. 3 games in Arizona this week.

Tuesday, Dec 20 – Calgary Dinos vs Montana Tech  at Chandler, AZ

Weds , Dec 21 – Calgary vs Warner-Pacific  at Chandler, AZ

Thurs, Dec 22- Calgary vs Arizona Christian U.  at Phoenix, AZ

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Overtime –

  • “Maybe next year we can play Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine the Canada West Final Four.”  So says Kamloops This Week columnist, Adam Williams, as he discusses the Canada West Basketball schedule and play-offs.  Williams’ somewhat facetious take on the play-off ranking system is highlighted in this ‘Fooled ‘Em Again’ column from Thursday’s KTW article.
  •  Mea culpa … We used too many toes to count the #6 ranked NAIA team Carroll College 11 game win streak over Lethbridge. 11(now 12) , not 16 !

    TWU photo of Josiah Meppelink

    Rookie point man, Josiah Meppelink.

  • As if they needed the added hardship, the Trinity Western Spartans suffered the loss of floor leader, Tyus Allen, to a season-ending knee injury in late November.  This moved Coach Aaron Muhic to insert 6-3 rookie, Josiah Meppelink , (Lynden Christian, WA) at the point.  His 6 assists were a plus for the Spartans in their loss to UA-Anchorage, as he now ‘learns on the fly’.

 

 

 

 

 

Recruiting News – Critical Roster Building

 

 

Canada West Teams Busy With Recent Signings –

5th year seniors Wyatt Anders (Bisons) , Matt Letkeman , and Josh Owen -Thomas (Dinos) shown in recent playoff action, will leave opportuninties for new recruits at Manitoba and Calgary this Fall. photo - UM Athletics

5th year senior graduates,  Wyatt Anders (Bisons)  and Matt Letkeman   (Dinos)  , shown in recent playoff action, will leave opportunities for new recruits at Manitoba and Calgary this Fall.  photo – UM Athletics

Manitoba Coach, Kirby Schepp announced the signingof local Winnipeg high school stars, Cameron O’Hara, a 6-7 post man from St. Paul’s HS, and James Wagner, a 6-7 forward from John Taylor Collegiate, who talks about his move to the Bisons for next season,   in this Winnipeg Free Press article by Alana Trachenko .  

> The Fraser Valley Cascades add 3 ‘blue-chip’ recruits for the coming Fall. 

Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey), will suit up for UFV. - photo - Surrey Leader

Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey), will suit up for UFV. – photo – Surrey Leader

Andrew Morris, a B.C. College all-star with Capilano College transfers in, and high school stars, Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey)  and Sagar Dulay,  Tamanawis (Surrey).  More details in this story from Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
Trinity Western coach Aaron Muhic signed guard Josiah Meppelink (Langley), who joins the Spartans via Lynden, Wash. The 6-foot-3, 160-pound Meppelink, who moved from Langley to Lynden when he was 12 years old, averaged eight points, 10 assists and six rebounds per game this past season at Lynden Christian School. In his Grade 12 year, Meppelink was also named to the All-NWC (Northwest Conference) Second Team. From TWU Athletics

Calgary Dinos Coach, Dan Vanhooren, has already signed import guard, 6-4 Max Eisle from Ulm, Germany, and the intensely recruited Jeff Rodehutskers, an exceptionally talented 6-8 forward from Chestermere High School (Alberta).

 

Lethbridge Coach, Mike Hanson,  previously announced the signing of 6-4 guard, Scott Mazutinec, from Stirling HS in S. Alberta, and Mark Rodehutskers, the 6-4  younger brother of Jeff.  Mark, who was academically accelerated in grade school, will graduate from Chestermere HS this June as well.

 

UBC Head Coach, Kevin Hanson, has landed 2 highly sought-after high school athletes in Parker Simson, a 6-3 guard (and football prospect) from Kelowna Sr. Sec., and Izaiah Ugoalah, a 6-5 guard from Sir W. Churchill (Vancouver).

 

> UVic Coach, Craig Beaucamp, has been busy with 3 signees … transfer guard , Wayne Tucker, a 6-1 import from Oakland , CA  via Olds College (Alberta) … a 2nd import guard, 6-1 Scott Kellam, Issaquah HS, WA, and a 6-5 wing man, Vladislav Zasmolin, from Sir W. Churchill HS, Calgary.

> Regina Head Coach, Steve Burrows, is surely delighted with the fact that he has signed 3 local stars to play for his Cougars next Fall . 6-2 guards, Ben Hillis and Brayden Kuski, along with 6-4 forward, Carter Millar, all played at LeBoldus High School, Regina.   Details in this story from UR Athletics .

> In a 17 team CW League, it can be a big ask to ‘capture the Cup’.  If you don’t win your last game, do you have to see the season as a failure?  Well, obviously not !  There are many victories and moments to celebrate along the way, as this story from the UM ‘The Manitoban’ does so well .

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> The CIS announced their dates and venues for the next 2 years for the Final 8 National Tournament –  The Championships will be held back in Halifax in the the Spring of both 2017 (March 9-12) and 2018 (March 8-11).  This is a week earlier than it was this season.  We are back to traditional dates, and will not conflict with the First and Second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. (Smart move on the dates … not sure about a one year deal for UBC, but maybe the cost – risk is too high ?)

>  April, for most CIS coaches, is a time when they are either wrapping up their recruiting for the coming Fall season, or they’re still busy attempting to build or re-build their roster with ‘late signings’.  UBC T-Birds Football Coach, Blake Nill, a seasoned recruiting guru says, “You have to have made the initial contact with the student athlete probably in their grade 10 year or at least in their grade 11 year,” said Nill, as he explained the traditional timeline for athletics recruitment today. “ So you can get the process [started] and give it enough time to develop the relationship that you need.” More reflections on the recruiting process in this article by Olamide Olaniyan in The Ubyssey.

> We have a new source for CIS recruiting news from a favourite web-site – Martin Timmerman, who does such a great job with all things CIS Basketball at cishoops.ca has added an up-to-date recruiting info page, which was sorely needed, with the retirement of long-time ‘primo-source’ Barry Hayes.  Check out this recruiting page at CIS Hoops