Dinos Lean on Experience , Guard Depth


Calgary Dinos Preview – 

Out of obvious necessity Dinos look to be increasingly embracing a ‘small-ball’ approach this coming season.  “We are definitely smaller”, said Coach Dan Vanhooren.  “ But we’re very happy with our good mix of returnees and younger players.”

Mambi Diawara attacks the rim for UC.

Guards David Kapinga and Mambi Diawara will be expected to benefit from their summer with Canada’s Universiade Team, which competed in Taiwan. Kapinga, a two-way leader, topped Canada West 3 pt% shooting last year at 48.1%, and can be expected to raise his numbers (11.5 ppg), as UC tries to cover the 24 ppg they got for 2 years from Thomas Cooper.

Diawara  should be another impact player at both ends, with his quickness and size; the Montreal native is an obvious ‘X-factor’ candidate. Defensive stopper, Jhony Verrone, is one of a pair of 5th year players, along with the hard-working post man, Connor Foreman Lars Schleuter, a 4th year forward, has an effective 3 point shot, and will get more minutes inside as well.

There’s no shortage of young talent on the Dinos, with 2nd year German import guard, Max Eisle,  6-5 wing, Sasha Pojuzina (Regina), and rookies Mason Foreman, a 6-6 forward from Winnipeg, along with Andrew Milner a 6-1 lead guard from Nova Scotia.

Calgary will compete for a top 5 finish in Canada West,  counting on their team defense to negate that size deficit. UC has 6 strong opponents to test their ‘new look’ in pre-season action.

Last year – 16-4 …..  Prognosis – 13-15 wins– size matters quite a bit in the Canada West wars.



 Foreman  is Positive for Final Season

Connor Foreman, ‘… thought of myself as a basketball player’ as early as his Junior High years in smalltown, Camrose, Alberta. “I was 6-6 going into 10th grade, and, even though I played many other sports, basketball was it for me.’ Despite this initial love for hoops, it was Volleyball that got Foreman to the University of Calgary. “Actually”, says Connor, “it was also being able to see the mountains every day, and having family in the Calgary area.”

Connor Foreman will be in the ‘thick of things’ for the Dinos. Photo – Edmonton Journal

Not a ‘high profile recruit’ in basketball, Connor had former coach, Pat McFeeley, promoting his volleyball skills to Dinos Coach, Rod Durant. But after 2 years of “… not being able to bang into somebody”, the 225 lb Foreman headed to the Basketball team and Coach Dan Vanhooren.  “Connor is such a dedicated, hard-working young man; he has steadily improved each season with us, and we think he will be key this year.”  Connor describes himself as a ‘grinder’, and when you watch him play you see his extra effort in running the floor for both offense and defense.

His physicality on the floor allows him to ‘bang’ with bigger opponents, and this season, Connor is trying to hone some more productive scoring moves inside.  He is still somewhat limited in practice as he finishes up his recovery from a leg injury. “I want to be back in the line-up, and to play big minutes” , says Connor,  and certainly more than  he has seen in his first 2 years. When he started with the Basketball Dinos, he was motivated by the leadership model he saw in post – man, Matt Letkeman. Foreman suggests that the big B.C. native was “always positive, and encouraging other guys to work hard for their success; he promoted a selfless, supportive  attitude amongst teammates.”

The 6-7 Foreman will finish a BSc in Biology next Spring, then plans to ‘include lots of travel’ in his immediate future. “ My older brothers have kind of led me to this drive to see the world.  One has been in China, and the other in France.  Who knows, maybe I can play ‘ball overseas, and see the sights at the same time.”

But first, it’s a 5th year in Canada West, and, the engaging senior hopes he will compete in his 3rd Nationals in 3 seasons of play. If this is to happen for his Dinos, Connor is sure to play a big role, as he is now ‘the’ big man on the roster!


Overtime –

  • Saturday pre-season games

at Fraser Valley Cascades vs. Seattle Mountaineers, 6 p.m.

UBC-O hosts  Vancouver Island U. in Kelowna


CIS Final 8 Tips Off Thursday !


Connor Wood and the Carleton Ravens still have 'The Cup' until someone wrestles it away ! photo - Ravens Athletics

Connor Wood and the Carleton Ravens still have ‘The Cup’ until someone wrestles it away ! photo – Valerie Wutti, Ravens Athletics

1 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #1 –  Ravens on the way to another championship ?

#2 Carleton Ravens (OUA finalists) – The Ravens are  CIS champs for 11 of the past 15 years !  As such, there are many expert observers who suggest they are the team to beat again, here in Vancouver.  They lost a tight one to Ryerson, but that was at the Rams’ Carleton RMattamy Centre, and, if they were to see each other again in Sunday’s final this week, it’s on a neutral floor.
Meanwhile, they face another strong team in TRU, and it’s almost home turf for the ‘Pack, playing only a few hours drive from Kamloops.  With Interim Coach Rob Smart Jr. going 10 deep regularly, CU has experience, size, and the offensive pace and defensive intensity to take charge of a game very quickly.

Kaza Kajami-Keane is their floor leader at 6-1, and he’s a dynamic 2-way player, and a 1st team OUA all-star.
Guillaume Boucard, a 6-5 swing man, is  2nd team all-OUA, and 14.6 ppg / 5.5 rebs.
6-2 Gavin Resch, a senior leader, is a sharp-shooting guard,  with 10 ppg/ 45% from 3 pt range , while 4th year, Connor Wood is a big  6-4 guard, who has found  his shooting range of late, and can hit the open trey.
Carleton doesn’t figure to lose in the opening round, and should be considered a serious threat to ring up their 6th straight CIS title.

#7  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack (Canada West finalists) – The Orange are breathing the rarified air this March, with their 1st appearance in a Canada West Final 4 and a trip to Nationals in their home province.  So, do they just ‘enjoy the trip’, or are they strong enough to stay with a team like the Ravens?

Coach Scott Clark had a veteran team, then added the muscular Ukrainian, Volodymyr TRU 'PackIegorov, to an already impressive set of forwards. Clark believes in this team, and has them playing extremely well, with a League record of 16-4, and win over UBC in  last week’s  CW Final 4. The Wolves are big, they shoot it well, and they have great court leadership from 5th year guard, Reese Pribilsky, and 6-11 ‘small-forward’ Josh Wolfram.

6-6 Gerard Gore has shown that he is ready to step up and fight it out inside with bigger opponents, and Iegorov has the size and strength to rebound and defend, but also the shooting touch from any range.
TRU will also need ‘best games’ from the likes of 6-5 Luke Morris and 6-2 rookie guard, Jeff Tubbs, if they are to keep it close.  Not an impossibility, but betting against the ‘Blackbirds’ is a ‘bum’s game’.


Mike L’Africain, U. Ottawa’s OUA Player of the Year

3 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #2 –  Gee-Gees have the experience and the star-power

#3 Ottawa Gee-Gees (Wildcard team, 3rd in OUA) – The Gee-Gees have been vying with Carleton for Ottawa, OUA, and CIS honours for a few years now, and they’ve come up just short on many notable occasions. Coach James Derouin has one of the more experienced teams here, and will try and get the Ponies over that last hurdle with some outstanding seniors. Mike L’Africain was chosen the OUA player of the year,  can trigger a potent offense, and will hit the big shot.Ott G-Gs
Caleb Agada, the Gee-Gees’ all-Canadian forward,  missed 3-4 wks with an ankle injury, but has returned to form, and gives OU a cagey, tough, talented 2-way presence inside.  Agada is the top defender for Ottawa and the OUA defensive player of the year.
6-8, 4th year forward, Nathan McCarthy,  and 6-7, 2nd year, Brody Maracle   are ‘solid low post contributors’ (according to our Ottawa expert!) . Matt Plunkett is a 6-6 shooting wing man, who compliments L’Africain.

All three OUA teams are possible winners in this 2016 Final 8 Tourney, and they couldn’t be blamed for looking ahead to facing each other. Ottawa and Carleton, as they’ve done so many times recently, are on a collision course, with wins in the Q-finals, and we would flip a coin for that one.  But let’s give Dalhousie their due as AUS Champs, and don’t overlook them as a respectable opponent for the G-Gs.

Dalhousie Tigers (Atlantic Champions) – Dalhousie (according to our inside source in the Atlantic ) is a  … “tough,  quick, physical , and relentless squad. Nothing seems to phase them, and they seem to have been winning every close game in the AUS over the last season and a half .” Dal Tigers

Their Coach, Rick Plato, the AUS Coach of the Year, is in his 3rd season,  and took the Tigers to the Nationals  last year.  He was a CCAA Coach at Mount Saint Vincent for 25 years,  prior to joining Dal.

The Tigers change their defensive stripes throughout the game, with changeable alignments “ … including   3-2 and 2-3 zone,  full court 2-2-1 pressure , and a ‘kamakazie’ , denying, switching and trapping man defense they employ to disrupt and create turnovers in crunch -time.

Key players –  “ #22,  Kash Lawrence  is the  back to back AUS Tournament MVP , at 6’3”, he plays in the  paint with the shoulders of Dwight Howard ; he’s a great rebounder and finisher and tough as nails.”
“ #11 – Ritchie Kanza-Mata –  First Team AUS All Star,  and 2015 AUS Defensive Player of the Year; he  organizes his team and leads their pressure defense.”

“#7 – Sven Stammberger –  He is the most – improved player in the AUS this season, for sure;  had a 42 point game this year, and is their best 3 point threat from the ‘small-forward spot. “

“#12 – Jordan Acquino-Serjue, was the CEGEP MVP in 2015, and is AUS Rookie of the Year  this season. He is a solid defender and a  good pull- up jump shooter.”

The Tigers have had the ‘magic’ for the past 2 years in the Atlantic, but can they carry that into this tough match-up with an Ottawa team that was top-ranked going into the season last Fall, and who still look like contenders for the Championship here in March ?


Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, Canada West's Most Outstanding Player photo- David Moll, UC

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos, Canada West’s Most Outstanding Player photo- David Moll, UC


6 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #3 –  Two League champs with contrasting styles

#5 McGill Redmen  (Quebec League Champions) – Both Coach Dave Deaveiro, Cadet National Team Head Coach,  and RSEQ Coach of the Year, and some of his team have had experience in this Tournament. The Redmen played in the Final 8 in 2013 and 2014.
McGill is one of the best defensive teams in the country, employing a ‘grind- it- out’  style, McGill Redwith switching defences being a main weapon.  Our Eastern scout tells us , “ They’ll  do whatever they can to make opponents feel uncomfortable, including a 2-2-1 (full-court press) back to match-up 2-3 zone or man.”  Coach Deaveiro says, “It’s probably the deepest team I’ve had at McGill and probably the most athletic team, so we’re able to do a few things we haven’t done in the past.  It gives you some options for doing things, so you’re not as predictable.”
Key players –  #23, 6-4, 5th year, Vincent Dufort – RSEQ 1st Team All Star, “ … he’s their ‘point forward’, and can do everything.”  – 10ppg, 8rpg, 2nd on the team in assists – Team MVP !
#4 – Jenning Leung, 6-1, 3rd year – the point guard is the leading scorer , at 12 ppg, a solid 3pt. shooter.
#3 – Dele Ogundokun, 6-2, – RSEQ Defensive Player of the Year, he scores 10.5 ppg
#21 – Tychon Carter-Newman, a 6-3 guard, in his 5th year – A former Laurentian University stand out , he’s a strong presence on the wing.
#12 – Noah Daoust, 6-7, 230 – “Originally committed to the USA now a super-sub – 6’9″ and their best 3 point shooter – He finishes most games and is an X-factor for McGill.”

#4  Calgary Dinos  (Canada West Champions) –  Having won their last 16 CIS games, the Dinos have a lot  of momentum and confidence entering this Tournament.  Calgary has not played McGill, but had losses to Ottawa and UNB at Christmas, while the Redmen beat the Ponies and the Reds in October.

That lapse in time has seen Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren solidify a substitution pattern Dinos14which has the Dinos going 10-11-12 deep in every game, with more players taking on significant roles week after week. UC has a ‘starting 5’  of  point, David Kapinga, combo guard, Josh Owen-Thomas, swing-man, Thomas Cooper, forward, Lars Schleuter, and post man Matt Letkeman.
From there, it’s a steady flow off the bench for, combo guard, Johnny Verrone,  guard/forward Jasdeep Gill, rookie guard, Torrez McKoy, forward, Dallas Karch, and post men, Mitch Ligertwood, Matt Ellis, and Connor Foreman.
Key players –  The 4th year import transfer, Cooper, leaps up, with his Canada West best scoring – 25.8 ppg, to go with 7.5 rebounds, and several timely assists each game. Schleuter , the Canada West Rookie of the Year in 2015, is a 3 point sniper (44.2%) who scores 12.5 ppg, and has become a solid defender inside, and an aggressive rebounder.   Kapinga, who grew up in Calgary then moved to Kentucky for part go high school, ‘walked-on’ last Fall, and has been a prime factor in the Dinos run, with his quickness and strength.
Calgary can score in bunches , and will test the vaunted McGill defense.  Two League champs teeing off, and we expect a very close, hard-fought quarter-final.



5th year wing man, Aaron Best, is a driving force for the OUA champion, Rams.

5th year wing man, Aaron Best, is a driving force for the OUA champion, Rams.                         photo – Ryerson Athletics

8 pm (Pacific)  Quarter-final #4 –  Can the host T-Birds knock off #1 Rams?

UBC Thunderbirds (Host, 16-4 in Canada West regular season) – The T-Birds last held this Tournament in 1972, when they won the Championship under Coach Peter Mullins, at War Memorial Gym.  In the 4 team event, the ‘Birds beat Acadia 87-80 in the final.  More recently, they have appeared in 2013, 2011, and lost in the Final in both 2010 (Saskatchewan), and 2009 (Carleton).  (You could say Coach Kevin Hanson is hungry for a title, after having knocked loudly on the door!)  UBC will be tough at home, although this is a ‘new arena’ setting, and not their cozy old War Memorial.UBC T-Bird
Key Players –  Jordan Jensen-Whyte is a 4th year wing man, who has ‘bulked-up’ from his days at the point. Leads ‘Birds scorers at 15 ppg (3.1 assts) with his attack -the -hoop style.
6-8, Conor Morgan, is a potential game breaker, who can score from anywhere … 14.8 ppg, he leads the rebounding at 7.3 rpg.
6-4 point man, Phil Jalalpoor, has stepped in this season and is the leading 3 point shooter (42.1%), and very efficient in running the offense.
6-8 post man, David Wagner, is a potent inside scorer, averaging 12.5 ppg / 5.5 rebs
The Thunderbirds key will be to make it a ‘ground game’ vs the speedier Rams, and to control the boards, allowing their attack to dictate the pace.

#1 Ryerson Rams (OUA Champions) –  In winning the Ontario Wilson Cup for the 1st time in their history, the Rams beat an extremely deep field of competitors, including the 5 -time defending CIS champs, Carleton, in the final . With their gaudy 89.3 ppg scoring average (tops in the OUA), the Rams will happily engage UBC in an offensive fireworks display!  The Rams have won 16 of 17 games (Guelph ?!) since the holiday break, and have played a very tough schedule in doing that. Unknown
Coach Patrick Tatham, the Ontario Coach of the Year,  goes 10-11 deep, with 5 players averaging in double figures, and they limit opposition teams to a 37% FG average at the defensive end.
Aaron Best leads the Rams’ scoring at 17.8 ppg plus 7.4 rebounds, and is an OUA 1st team all-star
Anika Peter-McNeilly is a 6-3 guard, who scores 15 ppg / 5.5 rebs, and is also a 1st team OUA all-star.
Ammanuel Diressa – a tough, 6-4  competitor at the guard spot, he’s a 2nd team All-OUA … averaging 14.9 ppg, 5.3 rebs, 3 assists.
Kadeem Green , at 6-8, is a defensive stopper in the middle … 7 rebs and 2 blocks a game
Their confidence is way up there, and they are primed to go deep in this year’s Final 8 Tournament.

Overtime –


  • UBC Thunderbirds’ Head Coach, Kevin Hanson, on the impact of hosting the CIS Nationals at UBC,  “When you think about it, it’s absolutely amazing that the last time the event was held at UBC was over four decades ago,” said Hanson, whose team sat at No. 6 in the national rankings this week. “That is a phenomonal amount of time to pass when you are trying to build a brand for CIS basketball in this country.  So we have to share our love of basketball … and the Final 8 is a tournament that needs to be shared.”  Nice story from Howard Tsumura in The Province. 
  • Ryerson Rams star, Aaron Best, after they win the OUA championship for the 1st time in school history.  ”It’s big for the university, it’s big for all of us, it’s big for the alumni, the players who’ve played here, it’s a testament to all the work that everybody’s put in,” said Best standing on the court post-game with the OUA banner draped around him. “Just to see this come to Ryerson and to win it this way
    Ryerson Coach, Patrick Tatham

    Ryerson Coach, Patrick Tatham

    is a really good feeling.”  From the ‘Eh Game’ – Yahoo Sports 

  • J-u-u-u-s-t in case there’s any confusion as to the goals / expectations of the #1 ranked Ryerson Rams going into this week’s CIS Championship, here’s Coach Patrick Tatham’s take on it, “I think the guys want a different colour medal, something other than the bronze medal we got last year at CIS finals,” said the interim head coach “The guys are hungry and they’re definitely ready to go.”  From The Star, Toronto
  • Torrez McKoy , Dinos rookie point guard, on the experience of playing in Nationals early in his career, “Just getting the opportunity to play as a rookie is really special and I don’t take it for granted either,” said McKoy. “It’s awesome how we have a group of guys where everyone can come off the bench and contribute. We don’t just have six or seven guys deep; we usually have 10, 11 guys. It’s hard not to feel the pressure because it’s everyone’s first time. But after that first couple of minutes from the first game, it’ll be easy from there.”  From Rita Mingo, The Calgary Herald

Dinos Sweep Bears, Wolves Win Game 3


Calgary shakes off rough start and beat the Bears in the 2nd Half

David Kapinga was the catalyst for a big 2nd half comeback, as the Dinos eliminate Alberta.

David Kapinga was the catalyst for a big 2nd half comeback, as the Dinos eliminate Alberta.   photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

at Calgary 87   Alberta  77 –  The Dinos’ David Kapinga put the fire back into his game and that of his teammates, as he was the chief architect of the withering pressure defense, which turned the game from the Bears’ by 13 at half-time to a Calgary lead, 5 minutes into the 3rd quarter.  Steals, tips, recoveries, stops, and defensive rebounds were the recipe for a 2nd half Calgary surge, and entree to the Canada West Final 4.
The Bears were the more aggressive team early on, with forwards Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke riding rough-shod over their defenders.   “We were really flat in the 1st half, and they came out strong”, acknowledged Vanhooren. “But we get some real defensive spark from David, Matt (Letkeman), and all the guys to start the 3rd, and we just kept coming.”
Post men, Letkeman and Mitch Ligertwood, fought the battle well in the final 20, and made life much tougher for the Bears big men. It was the 3/4 court press, however,  which rattled the U of A guards, and changed the momentum in the Dinos favour.
5 Dinos in double figures, as Thomas Cooper had 24 on 11/12 from the line, despite a difficult shooting night from the floor. The lightening-quick Kapinga filled the stat sheet with 15 points/ 4 rebs/ 5 assists/ and 3+ steals. Three other starters, Lars Schleuter, Josh Owen-Thomas, and Letkeman each tallied 12 points. Calgary forced 19 Alberta turnovers, and hit 26/35 free throws vs 19/23 for the GBs. Both the powerful rookie, Clarke, and the slick 3rd year wing man, Gueye, finished the game with 20 points for Alberta, with Mamadou grabbing 10 boards, and Clarke getting 8.
By winning this series, Calgary, who won the Pioneer Division, earned the right to host next weekend’s Canada West Final 4.    Box Score



Wolf Pack power too much for a short-handed Cougars crew

Reese Pribilsky scores 27, and his Wolf Pack are headed to Calgary for the Canada West Final 4.

Reese Pribilsky scores 27, and his Wolf Pack are headed to Calgary for the Canada West Final 4.   photo- TRU Athletics

 at Thompson Rivers  86   Regina  73   –  The Cougars show great determination to  somehow get the game to within 1 point, with just 5 minutes left, after trailing by a 45-33 count at the break. Regina may just have not had quite enough legs left in this 6th game in 9 days. The visitors shoot just 29% from the floor, and TRU is 42%, as they get a masterful effort from their 5th year leader, Reese Pribilsky at the point.

Pribilsky’s  27 points on 8/16 and 4/7 from 3 open things up for the powerful ‘Pack forward corps, and Voldoymyr Iegorov (21 points/ 14 rebounds) plus Josh Wolfram’s 15 points and 15 boards punish the visitors. Gerard Gore (15 points/ 7 rebs) chips in to the potent Orange attack, as they go into the Canada West Final 4 with this clutch 3rd game win.
Regina had a tough fight to get to this point, and they showed great resiliency to force a 3rd game against Thompson Rivers. Jonathan Tull bounced back on Saturday with 17 points/ 7 rebounds, while  brother Brandon scored 14 and 7 boards of his own. Brian Ofori worked extremely hard all weekend, and chalked up 9 points and 12 rebounds for U of R , doing what he could to give his team a chance.     Box Score

 Other CIS Scores –
Atlantic Championship Tournament –  Semi-Finals
Dalhousie 75    St. Mary’s  74,   UPEI  87 Acadia 66

 Ontario Quarter-Finals –  Windsor 79   #5  McMaster 78 , Ryerson 93  Lakehead 71, Ottawa 73 Queen’s 72,  Carleton 90 Brock 52


Screen Shot 2016-03-05 at 10.47.07 PM

Canada West – Last Regular Season Games


Dinos vs  Bears, and Huskies vs  Cougars are Always Fierce Battles

Jonathan Tull and the Cougars will be pumped for the U of S Huskies series in Regina.

Jonathan Tull and the Cougars will be pumped for the U of S Huskies series in Regina.

Saskatchewan at Regina – The Huskies own 20 wins over the Cougars against 1 single  loss since 2007.  That’s domination, by a program that has had quite a run of powerful teams.  It has to be in the minds of the Regina team members, and give the 8th place Saskatchewan squad the focus they want coming to their final weekend of a rough season. U of R are pleased to have made the playoffs, as they describe in this Leader-Post article by Ian Hamilton.
But the Cougars, players and coaches do not intend to look past the always intense Saskatchewan series, “Not a chance,” (Travis) Sylvestre said. “It’s the U of S, so regardless, that game is circled on the calendar.” “We don’t know who we’re playing (in the playoffs) or where, so why worry about it?” (Coach Steve) Burrows added. “Just play the game in front of your face, which is Friday night against the U of S.
A hard-fought split in these games would be our best bet, we think.


Jasdeep Gill, Dinos

Jasdeep Gill,  and the Calgary Dinos are in Edmonton to play the Golden Bears Saturday.

Calgary at Alberta – The Dinos may have the top seed locked up, but any game against the Bears is cause for ‘full battle-stations’ !  Neither team will concede anything here, with Alberta looking to finish as high as they can to 5th spot, realistically.  Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke will be a challenging match-up for the parade of forwards Coach Dan Vanhooren has been employing for Calgary. The often stingy Bears defense will be a key factor, if they want to bump off the Dinos, the #4 ranked CIS team.  (This is a one game deal – Saturday at 7 pm in Edmonton, but there’s a chance that these 2 teams could meet again in the quarter-finals in early March. )

Trinity Western at Lethbridge –  ‘The friendly confines, at last !’  The Pronghorns are delighted to be back in L.A., on home grasslands, to finish up the CW regular season, after having been on the road and gone 1-3 over the past 2 weekends. U of L will be prohibitive favourites over the 1-17 Spartans, especially with a possible home court for quarter-final playoffs at stake.  The ‘Horns will likely have Rob Olsen back in action, and they should get 2 against Kelvin Smith, Lucas Mannes and TWU.

Winnipeg  at UBC – The Wesmen beat UBC once in Vancouver, but that was in October of 2000, and since then the War Memorial Gym has been most unfriendly to UW (not unlike many CW teams).  The Winnipeg defense could slow down the UBC charge, but the T-Birds are back with more size, in David Wagner, and a more cohesive mix in the back-court, as Phil Jalalpoor gets support from A.J. Holloway. A Winnipeg win in either game would be a big upset.

Brandon at Victoria – Two teams really playing out the string, as neither has a playoff chance.  The Vikes won the CW title just a year ago, and will want their seniors, Reiner Theil, Mack Roth, and Brandon Dunlop, to go out with a couple of good games to finish up at their home court. The ‘Cats have shown they can play with some stronger teams, but it usually doesn’t last for the full 40 minutes.  If the Vikes engage the strong defense, Brandon will be in tough for a split.

The Manitoba Bisons get the bye on this final weekend of League play.


Explorer Division – MacEwan Has the Edge for 3rd Playoff Slot

Ryan May, MacEwan forward

Ryan May, MacEwan forward

UNBC at MacEwan –  The Griffs get 2 wins at home, and they’re in their 1st-ever Canada West post-season. Mac has won 3 of 4 in the past 2 weeks, and are 2-0 vs the T’Wolves (in P.G.) earlier on;  the one game was very close, however, and Thadius Galvez and company need to be sharp both nights. UNBC haven’t won in the 2nd half of this season, and would have to have brilliance from Rhys Elliott (quite possible), and extraordinary performances from guys like Colin Plumb, Marcus MacKay, and Austin Chandler.  The Griffins can smell the play-offs, and they seem likely to respond.


Fraser Valley at Mt. Royal –  There is a slim chance that UFV could catch Thompson Rivers for 1st in the Explorer, but Coach Adam Friesen is urging his players to keep their edge against an improved MRU squad,  Says Friesen, “We want to go into this weekend and stay sharp and keep our rhythm going (into playoffs).” (From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics). The Cougars, still mathematically alive for 3rd, boast top rookie rebounder, Brett Layton, and senior post man, James Lefebvre, but Kevon Parchment and his ‘play-off tough’ Cascades teammates will be a tough hurdle.

Reese Pribilsky and his TRU teammates want to finish strong.

Reese Pribilsky and his TRU teammates want to finish strong.       photo – TRU Athletics

UBC-Okanagan at Thompson Rivers – If there is a team in the whole League who will want to ‘tune-up’ for the play-offs, it would be the Wolf Pack.  They lost 2 at Fraser Valley, and will want to get the belief back prior to the post-season. The Heat won a game from the ‘Pack in January in Kelowna, and they are still chasing 3rd place.  Mitch Goodwin and Cam Servatius have been solid for UBC-O lately, but TRU, when they’re really clicking, just may have too much offense for the Heat.



Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 10.38.20 AMThe Ryerson Rams are still #1, and go on the road to play Guelph and Lakehead this week (spoiler alert with the Thunderdome in play!). Carleton and Ottawa are 2 and 3 with no other games left this week or next that should change the top 3.  Calgary stays at #4, after their 11th and 12th straight wins, and McMaster and UBC move up over Brock.  McGill is, tenuously, the top team in Quebec, as is Dalhousie in the topsy-turvy Atlantic.  Manitoba reaches the Top 10, after a strong season, as they await playoffs for 2 weeks.



Matt Letkeman, as a Team Canada member back in his rookie season.

Matt Letkeman, as a Team Canada member – 2010

Overtime –

  • Calgary Dinos graduating senior, Matt Letkeman, in an emotional interview after his Senior Night at UC last Saturday,  “Every year has its own stories, its own guys, its own relationships, its own friendships,” says Letkeman, a six-foot-six starter. “To have the privilege to stay around this long … pretty cool !   details in this Calgary Herald article by Scott Cruickshank.


  • Kelly Olynyk, who was named an ambassador for UBC in promoting the March 17-20 CIS Nationals, ”I’m excited to be an ambassador for the CIS Men’s Final 8 Championship to be held this year at UBC,” said Olynyk …. “As someone who grew,  up playing basketball in this province, I know how great this is for the game in the region. From sportsnet.ca  
  • The Dinos land one of Western Canada’s top recruits in 6-8 Jeff Rodehutskors  of Chestermere (AB) , who said to Calgary Sun writer Rita Mingo at a Tuesday press conference,   “The Dinos are playing so well right now, and they have so many young players. And Coach Dan … we’ve built a good relationship. He’s been I think to more of my basketball games this year than his son’s hockey games. He’s shown that level of commitment to me, and it’s something I felt comfortable with.’’  More in the article in the Sun .
  • Amir Ali, Manitoba senior guard, speaks for his Bisons’ teammates in stating their goal for the upcoming playoffs,  “We’re confident we can go up against anybody,” said Amir, adding, “You always say it’s about the journey, not the destination, but from Day 1 a lot of us have been saying banner or bust.”  From Jeff Hamilton, Winnipeg Free Press.

Dinos Top ‘Horns in Firefight


Round 1 to Calgary in a high-scoring affair –

Thomas Cooper's 24 points led the UC Dinos to a key win over UL on Friday.

Thomas Cooper’s 24 points led the UC Dinos to a key win over UL on Friday. photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

at  #5 Calgary 101  Lethbridge 91 –  As advertised, it was an offensive show on Friday in Calgary, as the 5th -ranked Dinos solved the UL zone in the 4th quarter, after seeing a 17 point – 2nd quarter lead disappear in the 3rd.  Again rolling over his line-up, with 10 players at 10 minutes +, Dinos Coach Dan Vanhooren got good guard play from both Torrez McCoy and David Kapinga at the top of the attack. 5 UC players in double figures, led by the ever-reliable Thomas Cooper with 24 plus 7 rebounds/ 3 assts. Lars Schleuter (17 pts/6 reb)) and both Matt Letkeman and Dallas Karch with 14 points,  pushed the attack, while Matt Ellis claimed 8 boards in just 13 minutes. UL got 21 apiece from Brandon Brine (8 reb) and Dejon Burdeaux, but Burdeaux’s foul trouble hampered the ‘Horns down the stretch.  Calgary is now 13-3, and Lethbridge in a 9-6 log-jam in the middle of the playoff pack.  Box Score

Bisons get game one of the Red River Rivalry on Friday at home.

Ilarion Bonhomme and the Bisons get game one of the Red River Rivalry on Friday at home.  photo – Manitoba Athletics

at  Manitoba 79 Winnipeg 65 –  The Bisons (12-5) opened with a rush, taking a 27 -14 lead after 10 minutes, and held the Wesmen to 36% from the floor to get a big intra-city win at UM tonight. Manitoba hit 47% FG against the tough UW defense, as A.J. Basi did his thing, hitting 23 points with 6/13 from outside, and Keith Omoerah helped with his 17 pts / 9 rebs/ 5 asst. The Wesmen (9-6) got 20 points from Denzel Lynch-Blair, and some good rebounding by Ryan Oirbans (12) and William Sesay (11), but were ineffective at the offensive end in the 2nd half when they needed a rally.  Box Score

Just for our two visiting B.C. schools in the Pioneer Division (UVic in Regina, and TWU at Alberta), we’ve ordered up a virtual ‘heat wave’ in Saskatchewan and Alberta –   Regina +2, and Edmonton +3 ! Shorts weather out here boys ! Did it help the Vikes and Spartans on Friday ?    A-h-h … No ! )

 Regina  85  Victoria 73 –  The Cougars (9-6)  had the hot hand at 49% from the floor as Jonathan Tull played the lead role with 23 points / 6 rebs/ 4 assts/ 2 steals, and ‘little brother’ Brandon cashed 16 points / 4 assists . The home side controlled the boards (44- 35) , with 6th man, guard Aaron McGowan, grabbing 7, and Stephen Shields 6.  10 Regina 3-pointers vs 4 for UVic really put a stamp on it. The Vikes (7-10) had 17 from Mack Roth and 16 by Jordan Charles, but went down 58- 31 at the half to take any drama out of the contest, as they lose their 5th straight.  Box Score

at Alberta  78 Trinity Western  58  –  A stingy Bears defense chokes off the Spartans offense (29% FG) , and the home team uses a 30 point 2nd quarter to stake themselves to a 49-27 lead at the break.  Mamadou Gueye has a stellar effort with 28 points and 8 rebounds for U of A (8-8), and Brody Clarke chips in 17 points / 5 boards.  Kelvin Smith had 15 points for TWU (1-14), who were out-rebounded 52-37.  Box Score
 at Saskatchewan  77 Brandon  76 –  The Huskies carve out a win, despite 4 missed free throws with seconds left, giving the ‘Cats a shot to win … but, no.  U of S led throughout, but never put it away, as Brandon came to within 1 on several occasions .  D.J. Jordan scored 33 points for BU, with 4 of the Bobcats 10 treys (vs only 3 for the Dogs). Saskatchewan had 4 players in double figures, led by 5th year guard, Evan Ostertag with 15, and Shayne Osayande with 13 plus 6 boards. Earl Thompson Jr. hit 20 points / 8 rebounds for Brandon, but they fall to 1-14, while U of S goes to 5-10.  Box Score

Fraser Valley Out-shoots Heat in Kelowna

Nate Brown and the UFV Cascades take a road win over UBC-O.

Nate Brown and the UFV Cascades take a road win over UBC-O.

Fraser Valley  81  at UBC-Okanagan 65 –  Still with Canada West’s shallowest bench (8 players) , the Cascades play a solid team game. Led by 18 points from Nate Brown (8/11) plus 14 points / 8 rebounds by Kevon Parchment,  UFV hits 55% from the floor as they climb to 10-5.  UBC-O (7-8) cannot do better than 35% from the field, and, despite several mini-runs in the middle frames, they could not challenge in the 4th. 12 points / 8 rebounds from Mitch Goodwin and 13 points each from Aldrich Berrios and Cameron Friesen were Okanagan’s best.  Box Score


at Thompson Rivers  87  UNBC 70 –  A slow (13-24 ) start didn’t faze the ‘Pack, as they rang up 31 in next ten minutes and pulled away for a comfortable win in the 2nd half.  52% shooting for TRU (13-2) against 32% for UNBC spells big trouble for the visitors, as Josh Wolfram scores 25 plus 8 rebounds, and Volodymyr Iegorov notches 21 and 10 rebounds to lead the way. Marcus MacKay finds the range for 27 points for the T’Wolves, with an amazing 9/15 from 3 point range; this is not enough, however, to prevent UNBC from dropping to a Division low 3-12.  Box Score

Glen Yang has a big night for MRU as they beat MacEwan on Friday.

Glen Yang has a big night for MRU as they beat MacEwan on Friday.                          photo-  MRU Athletics

 at Mt. Royal 83  MacEwan  74 –  The first game of this crucial set goes to the Cougars as they ride the 26 points from Glen Yang, who converted all 12 of his free throws.  The fouls were a big factor in the outcome, as Mac had 28 to 15 for MRU; that translated into 24 points for the home team to just 7 for the Griffs. The Cougars’ James Lefebvre, with 16 points/ 5 reb, and Brett Layton 12 points / 10 boards also figured prominently for Mt. Royal, who are now 6-9 and tied with the Griffins.   MacEwan got 18 points from Denzel James and 12 points / 11 boards from Chris Mooney, but 22 big turnovers  resulted in 25 Mt Royal points, spelling doom for Mac.   Box Score




More  CIS Scores   –  
Thurs  …  Quebec –  UQAM  82  McGill  78  , Concordia  72  Bishop’s 53
Friday … Atlantic – at St. FX 88  UPEI  85 (ouch!)  , UNB 107  at Saint Marys 97 ,                                  at Acadia 76 Cape Breton 73
Ontario –  at # 1 Ryerson 105 Laurier 82, at #2 Ottawa 78  #3 Carleton 72 ,     # 4 Brock 77 at Toronto 71 , at Windsor 82 Laurentian 62 , Lakehead 78 at York 63, at Algoma 96  Waterloo 68 ,  at Western 75 Nipissing 43 , at Queen’s 93 Guelph 81


Overtime –   

  • Manitoba wing man, Keith Omoerah,  on the excitement around the home and home series with Winnipeg, “Every time you play your hometown rival it’s your toughness (that matters),” Omoerah said. “The playbook kind of goes out the window a little bit. It’s just who’s going to play the hardest that weekend. Whoever plays the hardest usually comes out with the victory.”   From the Winnipeg Sun – Kirk Penton.
  • A celebration of the  Life and Accomplishment  of famed  Alberta Colleges coach, Phil Allen, will be held at the Saville Sports Centre in Edmonton on Wednesday, February 17  at 10:00 am in the main gymnasium. There will be a reception to follow. Players, Alumni, Colleagues, Family and Friends are all welcome. Please RSVP or contact the family directly – joelallenx@gmail.com

Explorer Race is Still On


Final League Games Crucial for ‘Pack, T’Wolves, and Cougars

Francko Kouagnia and his UNBC Timberwolves will be reaching for 2nd place this weekend vs Okanagan.

Francko Kouagnia and his UNBC Timberwolves will be reaching for 2nd place this weekend vs Okanagan.

While the Pioneer Division has all 7 play-off qualifiers finalized before the weekend’s play, the 6-team Explorer loop still has 3 teams vying for 2nd and 3rd behind the runaway UFV train.  UNBC starts tonight in Kelowna with 2 games against the cellar-dwelling UBC-O Heat, but Coach Peter Guarasci’ youthful Okanagan squad have shown they have made progress.  The T’Wolves’ big men, Devin McMurtry and Francko Kouagnia,  may be the difference in this series.

Thompson Rivers look to be without their star forward, Josh Wolfram, and are hand-cuffed on offense and on the boards as a result.  There’s no doubt that, at their best, UFV should take both games in Abbotsford, and, if that happens, TRU is in jeopardy of missing out on the post-season. Mt. Royal has to have a sweep on their home floor against the MacEwan Griffins if they are to get to 10-10, and possibly tie TRU and get 3rd on a tie beaker.

In the Pioneer, we have the 7th spot decided, and it will be the Manitoba Bisons, who will, after playing at UBC this week, wait and see where they go to play that 1st round series against the Pioneer #5 team. The 1 through 6 spots are up in the air, and with upsets a possibility, it may be smart not to do too much prognostication. But … Saskatchewan and UVic have the best chance of securing the top 2 spots, if they don’t stumble against Calgary or TWU respectively. Alberta, UBC, and Winnipeg will be in as well, with places to be  determined by weekend game results.


This Week in Canada West –

Thursday /Friday  the T’Wolves try and finish strong –  

UNBC Timberwolves (10-8)  at UBC-Okanagan Heat (3-15) –  The Wolves are aiming for 2nd in the Explorer Division and a bye to the round of 8 in Canada West playoffs, but beware the home-town Heat, who are coming on of late.  2nd game is Friday in Kelowna again.

Friday /Saturday  in the Pioneer Division –

Can Matt Letkeman and the Calgary Dinos get a win at Saskatchewan?

Can Matt Letkeman and the Calgary Dinos get a win at Saskatchewan?

Calgary Dinos (12-6)  at Saskatchewan Huskies (13-5) – The Huskies are very tough at home, and Calgary has just 1 win in 12 games vs Sask.  An upset is not impossible, but the odds say sweep for the Sled Dogs.

Regina Cougars (7-11)  at Winnipeg Wesmen (11-7) –  The Wesmen have won 5 straight vs the green Cougs, but Winnipeg has to be rattled by their loss at TWU last Saturday. Only if Regina can take advantage, which they haven’t, most recently.

Lethbridge Pronghorns (7-11)  at Alberta Golden Bears (12-6) – Alberta hasn’t lost a home game to Lethbridge since 2006.  The Bears are hot, and the ‘Horns are 2-6 since early January.  Bears sweep.

Manitoba Bisons (9-9)  at UBC Thunderbirds (12-6) – 2001 was the last win by the Herd over the ‘Birds, and U of M goes in on a 5 – game slide.  UBC gets will want to guarantee a playoff series on home court.

Trinity Western Spartans (2-16)  at Victoria Vikes (13-5) – The  win on Saturday was nice for the departing Coach Scott Allen at TWU, but the Vikes are playing the last 2 games ever at MacKinnon Gym.  History demands a pair of UVic wins.


And, in the other  Explorer Division games –

Awet Abraha (L) and Deng Awak  will have to be sharp for MRU to beat the MacEwan Griffins.

Awet Abraha (L) and Deng Awak will have to be sharp for MRU to beat the MacEwan Griffins.

MacEwan Griffins (7-11) at  Mt. Royal Cougars (8-10) – These 2 teams are very well matched, and you have to respect the Griffins showing in their 1st Canada West season .  Mt. Royal can make the playoffs with 2 wins, and they look better over the last 2 weeks. Their guards will need to make good decisions at the offensive end.

Thompson R. Wolf Pack (10-8)  at Fraser Valley Cascades (16-2) –  We’re not sure about the status of TRU’s Josh Wolfram, who has missed with injury since Jan. 30, and obviously that is a huge negative factor for their chances .  Fraser Valley, in ‘full battle readiness’ should finish with 2 home wins to get set for the playoffs.


 CIS Scores from the East –

Dalhousie 84  St. FX 70 – this puts X on the ‘endangered list for the AUS Tournament’.

St. Mary’s 78  Acadia 73

#3 Ryerson 104  Toronto 68 – no prisoners taken there !

Brock 62  Guelph  55

Up – coming –

#8 UNB at St. FX,  Laval at UQAM, Concordia at Bishop’s,   #1 Carleton at Queen’s ,  #5 Windsor at Algoma, #2 Ottawa at York, Nipissing at Waterloo, Laurentian at Laurier


Extra Spot in Nationals Almost a ‘Lock’ for the OUA 

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 9.09.13 AM

Carleton jumps to #1, and we await the next meeting of the ‘Ponies’ and the ‘Blackbirds’  in the playoffs.

Saskatchewan loses and drops back to #6, while Alberta and UBC are in at #10, #9 with impressive wins over the past couple of months. Calgary disappears with their loss to Alberta, as does UFV as they drop 2 of 4 games.

The OUA look like getting 4 teams in Nationals, and the real drama will be for all other Leagues to see who wins their way to Toronto (Ryerson) for the CIS Final 8. One team from the Atlantic – It looks like UPEI and UNB, but their tournament format allows for ‘sudden victory’ by a hot under-dog.

Quebec plays it’s Final 4 at Bishop’s, and that may give the Gaiters the upper-hand in a very tightly -bunched field. One team to the Final 8 for them as well.

Canada West will get 2 teams, with a minuscule shot at a 3rd via wildcard, but that seems far-fetched.  The Huskies and Vikes have the best chance to host the Final 4, as the top-seed, but the predictability has been lower this season than in many years past.

Calgary Comes Back With Key Win


Saturday in Canada West –  

Pioneer Division –

Calgary's Matt Letkeman  attacks UVic's  cccc

Calgary’s Matt Letkeman attacks UVic’s Hayden Lejeune                                                                         Photo – David Moll for UC Athletics


The Calgary Dinos make a strong 2nd half stand at home to grab a split against the Victoria Vikes and cling tenaciously to 1st place, as Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson delivers a stellar effort.  The log-jam around the top 4 spots tightens, as Saskatchewan ties UVic for 2nd by finishing off a big road sweep at Manitoba, and UBC earns their 8th straight to move up to 9-5.

 at Calgary 79  Victoria 73 – The situation cried out for something special as the Dinos Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 11.28.06 PMtrailed the visiting UVic Vikes 35-34 at the half, and needing a strong 2nd half to wrestle a win and a split with the Vikes. Enter the maestro, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, who pours in 18 of his game high 29 points in a huge come from behind victory.  OJ with 3 treys gets huge help from fellow 5th year, Phil Barndt, who goes 4/4 from way outside to tally 18 points plus 5 rebounds. Calgary (11-4) need a late offensive board by Barndt and another from Matt Letkeman to ice the game. The Vikes (10-4) hit just 5/21 (24%) shots from 3 pt. range vs the Dinos’ 9/19 (47%).  Chris McLaughlin fought through some tougher defense for 18 points and 9 boards to lead Victoria, who also had 3 others in double figures.  Box Score

 Saskatchewan Huskies  87  at Manitoba Bisons  81 –  Staring a 65-55 deficit in the face after 3/4s, the visiting Huskies went on a 32 point rampage to grab the sweep and move to 10-4 and a 2nd place tie with Victoria. Matt Forbes led the scoring with 22 pts / 8 rebounds, and Ben Baker put up an huge 19 point / 11 rebound double for the Sled Dogs.  Saskatchewan thrived on 34 shots from the foul line, connecting on 24 (71%) against 10/15 for the Bisons. Manitoba (9-7) had a big night from 2nd year guard, Justus Alleyn, who rang up 28 pts on 10/18 including 6/8 from outside, but was one of three of the Herd to foul out.  Box Score

Alberta Golden Bears 71  at Regina Cougars 64  –  The duo of Joel Friesen and Mamadou Gueye were clutch for the Bears again, as they score 20 and 18 respectively, helping Alberta move up to 9-6. U of A took full advantage of 22/29 free throws (76%) against only 11/17 (65%) for Regina. 22 turnovers also severely limited the home team’s offensive output;  Will Tallman was high man with 16, Jonathan Tull had 15 / 9 rebs, and Brandon Tull 14 for the Cougars (7-9).  Box Score

at Winnipeg  Wesmen  80  Brandon  Bobcats 63 –   The Wesmen (8-6) complete the home and home sweep tonight in Winnipeg, taking a 41-27 lead at the half and finishing cooly with a good defensive effort throughout. Jelane Pryce rolls again, with 21 points / 10 boards, while Denzel Lynch-Blair scores a career high 20 pts, and Jordan Clennon grabs 12 boards and delivers 9 assists. The ‘Cats shoot a chilly 34% from the floor, and were never really a threat; Earl Thompson Jr. came to play for Brandon (1-15), hitting 14 points and snaring 16 rebounds, while Kenonte Ramsay scored 15 / 7 rebs.   Box Score

UBC Thunderbirds 102  at Trinity Western Spartans 80  –  The T-Birds  (9-5) show no let-up, as they pound the Spartans (1-13) with a century for the 2nd night running. 63% from the floor as a team is red-hot !  Tommy Nixon eases back on the throttle with just 27 points, while shooting 8/9 field goals and 10/12 from the line, and grabbing 11 boards. Jordan Jensen-Whyte adds 20 points while dropping 5 assists. TWU (who combine with their guests for 67 free throw attempts) are good on 28/32 (88%) from the stripe. Tyus Allen scores 22 and Denny McDonald 20 for the losers.   Box Score

Explorer  Division –

Jasper Moedt sparks the 14-0 UFV Cascades.

Jasper Moedt sparks the 14-0 UFV Cascades.                      photo – UFV Athletics


UNBC Timberwolves  76  at Mt. Royal Cougars  64  –  Mission accomplished for  the T’Wolves (7-7) , as they get the road sweep with a strong 1st and last quarter, and forcing 18 Cougars’ turnovers while committing just 9 of their own. 25 points from import guard, Rhys Elliot topped the ‘Wolves scoresheet, with Devin McMurtry putting up a 15 point / 16 rebound double in support.  MRU (6-8) just could not generate any offensive momentum … James Lefebvre’s 11 pts / 9 boards, and 11 points from Derek Wolf were their top totals.   Box Score

at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack 95  MacEwan Griffins  87    –  All they needed in the 2nd half of this one was a bugler sounding the charge … MacEwan (5-9) wins the final 20 by a 55-54 count, but could not make-up the 9 point deficit from the 1st half. TRU outshoots Mac 48% to 39% from the floor, but the Griffs take a determined run with their 16/36 from 3 pt. range. All 5 starters for the Wolf Pack (8-6) hit double figures, led by 22 pts / 8 assists by Reese Pribilsky, and  21 pts on 6/9 shooting (5 of 7 from 3) from Brett Parker. Lee Danderfer put up a game-high 27 for the Griffins, hitting 8/17 from outside, and Keith Gerdes counted 22 plus 9 rebounds.  Box Score

 at   Fraser Valley Cascades  79  Okanagan Heat 65  – A paucity of style points for the home-standing Cascades, but they stay well clear of the field in the Explorer at 14-0. Once more Jasper Moedt stands out with a double of 17 pts / 15 boards, and he gets help from 19 points from Kevon Parchment.  The Cascades put up 47 first half points, even though neither team shoots well – UBC-O at 34% and Fraser Valley just 33% from the floor. UFV makes hay from the charity stripe at 19/25 vs 9/10 by the visitors. 18 points from rookie Buzz Truss paced the Heat (2-12).  Box Score


Saturday’s  CIS Scores  From the East –

Atlantic –   UNB 96  at  PEI 75,  St. FX 77  Acadia 71,  Dalhousie 94 Memorial 66

Quebec –   Laval 57 Bishops 55  ,  Concordia 74   UQ – Montreal  70

Ontario –  Carleton 98 Western 61,   Ottawa 81  Windsor  70 ,   Ryerson 90  Queens 65, York 87 Toronto 77 ,   Brock 84   Laurier 80,   McMaster 81 Waterloo 64,



Letkeman Leads as a ‘Servant’


Dinos Program Promotes Student Leaders

Ron Wuotila, the Calgary Dinos Director of Athletics has created a new ‘culture of  leadership from within the ranks’ among UC’s varsity teams, with the institution of ‘Dinos Lead’ this past Fall.  26 student athletes, representatives nominated by their own teams, met on designated weekends to explore different facets of leadership with the aim of helping athletes and teams develop leadership from the group as well as the traditional leadership from their coaches.

“We see this as helping student-athletes become leaders, and to allow coaches to coach”, said Wuotila. “The athlete-leaders are encouraged to support the coach in a respectful way, as they lead from within the player ranks. This program is designed so that we can invest in our players, and to respond to their ideas and their needs”, explains Wuotila, a former high school, college, university, and international coach and administrator. The key concepts of this style of leadership include ‘leadership from behind’, bringing people along with you, and serving your team and your teammates.

Dinos Athletic Director, Ron Wuotila, brings a leadership focus to student-athletes.

Dinos Athletic Director, Ron Wuotila, brings a leadership focus to student-athletes.

Central to the program  is an understanding that there are multiple roles to play in the leadership of an athletic team, and this group of chosen athletes were encouraged to talk about their own strengths as potential leaders and those of other members of their teams. Matt Letkeman, a 4th year Dinos basketball player, was excited to have been part of the program, despite early concerns about “yet another activity demanding more of my time.”  Letkeman lauds the aims and form of the program, referring to ‘servanthood’ as a concept he could embrace. “You believe in the value of everyone on your team, and you try, as a team leader, to help and support all of your teammates.”

Matt cites the Men’s Basketball Team as being a typical example of having a group of student leaders with various strengths which they can lend to “move the team to action.”  He found that he discovered just how many facets of leadership there are among the widely differing group of students involved in the program.  The program made use of the widely acclaimed Strengthsfinder 2.0 by author, Tom Rath, which helps the student athletes increase their awareness of their particular leadership strengths to better serve their team.  “We really are led to think about who we are as individuals, and to understand how everyone on our team is empowered to help us move forward”, says Letkeman.

A highlight of the Fall sessions was the involvement of U.S. Marine training officer,  Mark Bortnem, who has been working with the Canadian Armed Forces in Northern Alberta for several years.  Lt. Col. Bortnem‘s presentation to the student Leaders group “ had a huge impact”, said Letkeman. “With his ‘real life and death experiences’, he spoke with authority on military leadership and it’s application to our situations.”  The whole idea of de-briefing, and getting it right the next time has immediate impact for the team situation.

Coach Dan Vanhooren sees the Dinos Lead program as “ … a great resource, which can provide valuable insights.  This program is very much in line with our team emphasis on trust, respect, and mentorship.”  The 15 year Dinos coach is enthused by the increased awareness of his leadership group, and the dynamic role definitions developed this season.

The initial efforts of this program are very positive, and tie in nicely with the UC campus-wide mission of ‘Eyes High’, the collective thrust to lift the quality of learning, research, and community engagement for the University.


From the Court to the Bigger World

Matt Letkeman is an engaging, enthusiastic young man, who sees basketball as a life-long love which has led him to appreciate so many people and places he has connected with during his young career.  This 6-7 Abbotsford, B.C native has become a notable leader on the UC campus during his 5 years in Calgary, and has already experienced some remarkable places far from his Canadian  home.

“I want to widen my horizons”, says Matt, “to see what’s out there beyond the ‘Western

A young Matt Letkeman in his Team Canada Jr. team uniform

A young Matt Letkeman in his Team Canada Jr. team uniform

World”. Well he’s already begun to do just that; as part of a group of UC athletes 2 years ago, Matt visited Rwanda, and a refugee camp full of displaced African children and families.  The UC student athletes, with Matt taking a leading role, spent a week ‘talking with, and playing with” these vulnerable kids.  The Canadian students saw a part of the world very different than what most of us might understand.

As part of the Canadian Junior National Basketball Team in the Summer of 2011, after an impactful rookie year with the Dinos, Letkeman travelled to Latvia to play in the World Championships. “Basketball has given me the chance to see different parts of the world;  we travel, we meet so many different people”, he says. “What I’m learning and experiencing now, as a member of the Dinos team, I want to take out into the bigger world.”

Faith is a driving force for Letkeman.  The intent young man sees himself as an agent for his beliefs and his faith. He tells us he wants to see the uniqueness in people; he wants to see the good and the evil in far flung places which are away from his day-to-day reality as a Canadian student. “To experience other cultures, and understand how things might differ from what we are used to, and to appreciate those differences is something I want to do”, he explains.

Letkeman, now a 4th year vet with the Division -leading Dinos.

Letkeman, now a 4th year vet with the Division -leading Dinos.

Before he sets out on that quest, Letkeman has a big role to play on his Dinos team, as one of an expanded group of team leaders, and as a ‘brother’ who looks to serve his teammates.  His energy on and off the court do, indeed, serve the greater good for this team, which has so many relatively young players. “I think younger guys have so many transitions, academically, socially, and with their roles on a new team”, Matt suggests, “I hope I can invest my time to help them be more successful with those struggles.”

As a player, a teammate, and a student leader the Calgary Dinos can count themselves lucky to have Matt Letkeman in their camp.  One would guess that whatever challenges he will face beyond his studies and the basketball court will be met with the same spirit and whole-hearted devotion he brings with him every day.

Winnipeg – Alberta in Wesmen Final


Mamadou Gueye sparks Alberta with a big double-double as they defeat Brandon in the semi.

Mamadou Gueye sparks Alberta with a big double-double as they defeat Brandon in the semi-final at Winnipeg.

 One Point Quarter Sinks Bobcats

 Alberta Golden Bears 70  Brandon Bobcats  66 –  Brandon looked solid after establishing a 43-33 half-time lead, then they set what has to be a record for offensive frustration, as they score but a single point in the 3rd quarter, and trail by 1 going into the 4th. The Bears offense responds in that final frame to beat back a Bobcat charge to gain the final vs Winnipeg. Mamadou Gueye with a monster 19 pt/17 rebound double led the GBs, and 5th year wing man, Joel Friesen, scored 20 to aid the Bears’ cause. D.J. Jordan had a game-high 22 points for Brandon, but the ‘Cats gave up too much in that fateful 3rd frame.  Box Score

  Unknown-2Winnipeg Wesmen  91  Manitoba Bisons  77   –  Jelane Pryce is fast becoming one of the big stories of this Canada West season, and he adds a new chapter with a dominant  29 point effort,  catapulting the Wesmen to a semi-final win over the UW’s big rival, the Manitoba Bisons. Pryce hit 11/21 from the floor and added 8 rebounds, as the W’s outshot the Herd 48% to 42% on the night.  Chris Baxter chipped in 19 pts. for Winnipeg, while Amarjit Basi had another strong game for Manitoba with 17 points.  The Wesmen will meet Alberta in Tuesday night’s championship final, while Manitoba takes on Brandon for 3rd. The Bisons started fast and grabbed a 47-34 lead at the half, but the Ws stormed back with 57 points to 30 in the 2nd half to rip the game away from their city rivals.  Box Score


Consolation games –

 Lakehead Thunderwolves  72  Calgary Dinos 61  –   After an aggressively played 1st Lakeheadquarter, the ‘Wolves were up 25 – 24 , and it looked like an interesting (left-side of the draw) game.  Not so much, as the Dinos were ‘offensively challenged’ after that, and found themselves down 60 – 44  after 30 minutes.  Neither team shot it well  (37% apiece) , but Lakehead   hit 11 treys to 7 for Calgary and were 17/22 from the line vs 10/18 for the Dinos. Ryan Doornick scored a game-high 24 for the winners, with Mor Menashe hitting 20.  Calgary got 14 from Matt Letkeman, the only one to reach double figures.  Calgary faces NAIT in the 7/8 game on Tuesday, while Lakehead plays Regina in the consolation Final.   Box Score

Regina Cougars  73  NAIT  Ooks  58 –  Matt Augustine has stepped up for Coach Steve

Regina's Matt Augustine is showing a scoring touch in Winnipeg.

Regina’s Matt Augustine is showing a scoring touch in Winnipeg.

Burrows and his Cougars, in the absence of high-scoring wing man, Jonathan Tull.  Augustine, a 4th year guard from Toronto via Medicine Hat College, hit double figures for the 2nd straight game (scoring 16 and claiming 10 rebounds) in the Wesmen Classic to launch Regina into a consolation final vs Lakeland on Tuesday.  Rookie post Zach Michalicz jumped in with his own double-double of 15 pts/10 boards, and 3rd year forward Travis Sylvestre added 10 and 10. The Ooks got 17 from Donny Moss, but a FG% of 30% and a rebound deficit of 63-42 torpedoed their chances. NAIT plays Calgary in the 7/8 game on Tuesday.   Box Score


 Other CIS Scores –

at Ryerson  … Sunday – Mohawk Coll. 99  Bishop’s  98  , (from Saturday – Ryerson 121  Mohawk 74 , on Monday it was Ryerson 97  Bishop’s  60 as the Rams take no prisoners. 

at Laval’s Tournament –  Le Rouge et Or  76   Algoma  70   ,  Nipissing  74  Montmorency (College)  57,  Laval 94 Nipissing 74

Westminster Coll. (UT)  81 Victoria 80  OT,   Huntington U. (CA) 78  UNBC 57, Dakota Wesleyen 83   Concordia  53, 

 Guelph 56  Rochester Coll. (NY)  55,     Windsor 85  NW Ohio 79


Overtime –

  •   The Regina Cougars’ Jonathan Tull, the leading scorer in Canada West (20.5 ppg) in the 1st half of the season, is absent from the Wesmen Classic due to a hand injury.  No indication of when he may return to action.  Import transfer guard Alex Igual, however, looks like he may miss the remainder of the season with continuing injury problems.  Tough for Regina, who could be a very tough out with both these guys at full clip.
  • The Calgary Dinos, who are not back into League play until a 2 game set vs the Pronghorns in Lethbridge on Jan. 16/17, will make the quick turn-around after the Wesmen Classic, as they board a bus for Montana heading for a January 2 date with Montana Tech in Butte, then a game at Helena the next day (1 pm) vs Carroll College.  Coach Damian Jennings Women’s Dinos will be playing the 2 Montana schools as well. The Women are currently playing in a tournament at Windsor (Dec. 28-30)  against the #1 ranked Lancers, McGill, and Western.  They dropped game 1 … McGill 63  Calgary 50.
  • The Cape Breton Capers did not, in fact, play in the Ryerson Tournament this Holidaythere was a communication mix-up, and the Capers were ultimately not prepared to make the trip.  # 3 Ryerson has scheduled a double with Bishop’s  as a make-up game.  (Lucky Gaiters !)

Road Wins for Dinos, ‘Horns, Huskies


Halloween Friday’s Scores in Canada West –

Lot’s of people disguised as empty seats  for Friday games, as Halloween parties and trick or treating  seemed more of a draw.  Calgary, Saskatchewan, and Lethbridge open with road wins, while Manitoba trounces the visiting TWU, and UVic gouges out a win at home.

Calgary Dinos 77 at Winnipeg Wesmen 64 – Up by as many as 13 in the 2nd quarter, the

  Matt Letkeman registers a big double to spark Calgary to an opening night win at Winnipeg.

Matt Letkeman registers a big double to spark Calgary to an opening night win at Winnipeg.

Dinos see Winnipeg draw to within 37-30 at the break, then, on a 12-2 run to start the 3rd quarter, the W’s take the lead.  From that point Calgary dominated Winnipeg, with a 12-2 run of their own, and stretched it to a 15 point gap late in the game.

Shooting  55% from the floor, and 11/12 from the line, the Dinos get the road win behind 15 pts/9 assists from Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, and an 11 pt/11 rebound double from post man, Matt Letkeman.  Dallas Karch comes off the bench for 10 points for UC.

Winnipeg took a run before and right after the half, but let things get away with a series of 2nd half turnovers, and missed offensive opportunities. Travis Krahn has a game-high 18 pts for the Wesmen, and Mark McNee chips in with 15 pts/8 rebs.   box score

Unknownat Manitoba Bisons 84 Trinity Western Spartans 56 –  Manitoba freezes the Trinity shooters who are 27% from the floor, while the Herd are up 37-20 at the half, and hit 46% themselves, plus 13/15 free throws.   A sharp-shooting Amarjit Basi has 18 for U of M, with import forward, Alfreeman Flowers adding 17 plus 11 rebounds. Manitoba sweeps the glass, as 6-9 , 5th year, Wyatt Anders, claims 17 .

The Spartans get 18/23 from the line, but field goals are scarce (17-64); a pair of rookies, Nick Tancon and Vartan Tanielian, score 10 apiece to lead them.     box score

Lethbridge Pronghorns 85 at Brandon Bobcats 82 – The hot-shooting pair of Ryan Hawley  'hornd copy and Ali Mounir Benabdelhak launch the ‘Cats into a 49-43 half-time lead, taking advantage of Lethbridge turnovers.  But, the final 20 minutes see the ‘Horns storm back (42-33) as the visitors hit 58% from the floor, paced by 18 points from rookie forward Zac Overwater (Lethbridge C.I.)  on 8/9 Fg shooting.  Brandon Brine added 16 points and Brent Watkins has 14 for U of L., who survive 22 turnovers, but win the boards 44-32.

Brandon have 5 players in double figures, with 22 from Benabdelhak, who also grabs 10 rebs.  The Bobcats launch 40 attempts from outside the arc, and cash 14. Hawley had 15 pts, all from 3 pt range, and all in the opening half. Kenonte Ramsay registers 12 points and 7 steals/6 assists.  box score

Saskatchewan Huskies 72 at Alberta Golden Bears 60 – A big win for the ‘Dogs at U of A,

Conner Burns helps Huskies inside

Conner Burns helps Huskies inside

as the visitors pull away in the 2nd half (42-30). The ‘big line-up‘ for Saskatchewan goes inside to draw fouls, and 6-7,Dadrian Collins, 6-8, Connor Burns, and 6-8, Matt Forbes cash 15/16 free throws between them.  Forbes leads them to the win with a double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Ben Baker scores 13, deals off 7 helpers, and grabs 6 boards.

Alberta is thwarted by 24 turnovers and spotty (10/20) shooting from the line. The Bears get 17 from Youssef Ouharig, and 14 by Joel Friesen. 7-1 post man, Brett Roughead, has 10 rebounds to lead Alberta. box score

at Victoria Vikes 72  Regina Cougars  63 –    The Vikes shoot just 33% in the first 20 minutes, but lead 32-23 after Regina chills out at 22% themselves.  Chris McLaughlin controls the boards, and Marcus Tibbs penetrates for points early in the 2nd for UVic, but Regina hangs in until late scores widen the gap in the final 2 minutes.

21 pts/11 rebs for McLaughlin to pace the Vikes, while Tibbs scores 17.  Alex Igual hits 15 for the Cougars, who shoot just 34% from the floor.  The Vikes are not much better at 36%.  box score

With a bye this week, the UBC Thunderbirds played at  Northwest Christian  U. (Eugene, OR-Friday) . Tonner Jackson has 18, but   UBC falls 76-60 to  NWC    box score


Overtime –

  •   In CW Women’s play –  at Winnipeg  63 Calgary 49, TWU 61 at Manitoba 56, Lethbridge  74 at Brandon  62, at Alberta 64 Saskatchewan 57, at Victoria 89  Regina 69.
  • Besides Calgary’s Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson and Phil Barndt, who are the 5th
    This is the final CIS season for the Huskies' multi-talented Ben Baker.

    This is the final CIS season for the Saskatchewan Huskies’ multi-talented Ben Baker.

    year players in Canada West this season. Pioneer Division –  Alberta – Ken Otieno, Joel Friesen, Czar Rowbotham; Brandon – Kenonte Ramsay; none for Lethbridge; Manitoba – Stephan Walton, Amir Ali, Wyatt Anders; Regina Cougars – Darius Mole; Saskatchewan – Andrew Henry, Ben Baker, Dadrian Collins, Connor Burns; Trinity Western – Justin Bakuteka, Denny McDonald; Victoria – Chris McLaughlin, Jeremy Leonard-Smith; Winnipeg – Jordan Clennon, Mark McNee, Travis Krahn;  Explorer Division – Fraser Valley – Jasper Moedt, Kadeem Willis; MacEwan – Lee Danderfer; Mt. Royal – Awet Abraha, Deng Awak, Kyle Wilson; None for UBC-Okanagan; Thompson Rivers – Brett Rouault, Brett Parker, Tallon Milne;  UNBC – Franck Olivier Kouagnia, Jeff Chu, Devin McMurtry.

  • Pay per view ? As a ‘test program’ in conjunction with Canada West League offices, fans who wish to watch Alberta Golden Bears games on Canada West TV this season will be given the option of paying a $1.99 game fee, or a $6.99 season fee. Piccolo Ocampo, the Communications & New Media Coordinator for Canada West tells that “the revenue from this program will go to improving the quality of these streaming video productions across the League, and also to help pay for the airing of all Canada West sports on Canada West TV”.
  • Saskatchewan Coach, Barry Rawlyk, on 5th year transfer, Conner Burns , “We’re still trying to find a way to best fit him into the lineup with the other players that we have,” said Rawlyk. “Sometimes that’s not easy to do because it kind of changes the face of your team a little bit. But as I said it’s a pleasant problem, he’s a significant talent, a great leader, and a very hard worker.” From a Saskatoon Global News story by Jack Haskins.