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.”
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.”
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!
- Saturday pre-season games
at Fraser Valley Cascades vs. Seattle Mountaineers, 6 p.m.
UBC-O hosts Vancouver Island U. in Kelowna