Huskies Scrambling to Re-Build Roster

 

 

 Huskies in Scramble Mode as Tournament Tips-off

The news from Saskatchewan this late Summer and early Fall hinted at some big changes for a roster full of veteran players, and a team that may well be in their usual championship contention.  We get confirmation from Coach Barry Rawlyk (8th year) in a Star-Phoenix article by Darren Zary.

5th year Huskies floor leader, Alex Unruh

Gone is 5th year all-star forward, Shane Osayande.  Gone also wing man, 3rd year, Jaylan Morgan, and forward Mack Burns.  All 3 were projected starters.  Still listed on the roster, but unllikely to play this season is Chan DeCiman, a speedy, talented 2nd year guard, who has some continuing physical issues.  Also gone were veterans Dave Humbert, Reid Thuringer, and Jonathan Halvorson. 

That’s leaves Rawlyk in ‘scramble mode’ as he tries to patch together a competitive team around the few key players he has left.  To make matters worse, the Huskies 3rd  year import guard, Lawrence Moore, missed their  games  last week in Toronto vs UT and Ryerson.  Latest recruit, 3rd year, import guard, JT Robinson, who could add some significant firepower, also has an injury, keeping him off the court for now.

Moore is back for the U of S Graham Construction Tournament, and he joins 5th year guard Alex Unruh, 2nd year wing, Addison Dewar, and 2nd year guard, Emmanuel Akintunde.  Forwards Dean Wittow (6-7) and Joseph Barker (6-6) are both injured, leaving 3rd year transfer 6-6 Sebastien Turcotte (Saskatoon), and 1st year locals, 6-5 Savion Tyson, and Aidan Smithen to ‘hold the fort’ .

These are trying times, but the Huskies will be doing their best to contest their 3 games this weekend vs Mt. Royal on Thursday,  UBC Friday, and Western on Saturday.    Today’s U of S – MRU  game –  Live stats –  7 pm local   

5 Tournaments Highlight Hoops Week

 

 

This Week in U-Sports Hoops Action

We see more inter-League play this week, with 5 tournaments  – at Saskatchewan, Waterloo, Queens, Carleton, and UPEI 

  •  Big Games to Watch –
  • UBC  vs Western at Saskatoon
  • Laval and Acadia challenge Carleton in Ottawa
  • Ottawa Gee-Gees look like the big horses at the Naismith in Waterloo ; can Regina, Laurier keep it close with UO?
  • Concordia, Lethbridge, and Dalhousie all have high expectations, so the Tindall at Queens bears some attention.

We’ll get a look at rival Canada West squads when Victoria plays a pair at Fraser Valley.  Both teams look to be ‘re-tooling’ for this campaign.

 

Tuesday, Oct 10  – at York 75 Franklin and Marshall (Div 3)  70 , Marietta Coll (Ohio, Div 3)  89  at Windsor  76

Thursday, Oct 12 – * Saskatchewan’s Graham Const. Tourney – 3 days … Huskies  vs Mt. Royal ,  UBC vs Western Ont.

  • Naismith Tournament – at Waterloo … Ottawa vs Regina,  Laurier vs UQAM, Waterloo vs MacEwan
  • also …  at McMaster   Saint Marys ,  at Brock  Redeemer Coll.

Friday Oct 13 –  *House-Laughton Tournament at Carleton … Acadia vs Bishops, Carleton vs Laval

  • Micky Place Tourn. (at UPEI) … UPEI vs Cape Breton , Maine- Ft. Kent vs Mt. Allison
  • Queens – Tindall Invitational.  … Concordia vs Lethbridge ,  Queens vs Dalhousie
  • In Saskatoon –   Saskatchewan  vs UBC ,  Western  vs Mt. Royal
  • in Waterloo – Ottawa vs MacEwan , Regina vs Laurier,  Waterloo vs UQAM
  • Also –  Victoria at Fraser Valley  , Camosun Coll. at Trinity W,  UNB at Guelph,  Algoma  at Lakehead

We will get Sat / Sunday games later ….

 

East to West, West to East

 

 

Tournaments bring some intriguing inter-league play

Early returns as we head into October play ... For all of the other 46 U-Sports teams, it is ‘reassuring’ to see that the Carleton Ravens appear to be back to familiar territory. (13 of the last 15 National titles have been won by Carleton!)  The Ravens, despite a scare in their Friday opener with Concordia (82-79 last 2 minute win), did sweep 3 games in the Guy Vetrie Memorial in Victoria.

Javon Masters, UNB, ‘Fillin’ it up’! photo – UNB Athletics

There are challengers, of course, and we will have to let more games play out this month before we anoint the Blackbirds.  In thee AUS … UNB wins their own Eric Garland Tournament over Saint Marys, UQAM, and Cape Breton, with the highlight being Javon Masters’ 45 point outburst vs the Capers.  Atlantic observers suggest it may be St. FX taking a run this season, but it’s usually a free-for-all, so we hold fire for a few weeks.

Ryerson Rams ace, Ammanuel Diressa

In the OUA and other points East, for detailed analysis readers would be best served by referencing Mark Wacyck’s excellent coverage in his  CanHoops.ca      Ottawa looks good in an 85-70 road win over Bishops,  while both Ryerson and Brock are poised to show their strength, and Windsor has a fair string of wins going.  In the ‘Q’ , Laval may be right in the mix, as they start well in a pair of road wins in Ontario (at Laurier, McMaster).  The Stingers followed their tight loss to Carleton with strong wins over both Guelph and Victoria McGill plays in Calgary this week, and they must be regarded as the Q favourites until someone knocks them off.

Now for Canada WestLethbridge is a 101-71 winner at home vs UNBC,

Dejon Burdeaux, Lethbridge lead guard

and the ‘Horns are sporting a ‘post-free’ line-up with some fresh new talent to make them one of the teams to watch in Canada West.  The Timberwolves played 3 games on the weekend, with a split at Mt. Royal on Fri/Saturday.

One of the biggest stories in the West has to be the changing roster for the Saskatchewan Huskies.  The ‘Dogs hammer Briercrest College in their traditional warm-up last Thursday, but they do not have ‘All-League’ star Shane Osayande, guard Chan De Ciman, forward Mack Burns, nor swingman, Jaylan Morgan.  More to come … (we still await the release of team rosters for many of the 17 teams.)

4th year guard, Jordan Charles, is back for the Vikes.

UBC-O had a close one at McMaster, then not so much with Toronto and WesternWinnipeg lost 2 competitive games at Lakehead, but the Wesmen have a core of solid returnees.  The UVic Vikes have a number of new faces, but they are a ‘work in progress’, as are most Canada West teams over the next few weeks.  Too early to tell, but Alberta, UBC, Calgary, and Lethbridge appear to be the most obvious contenders.

 

 

The schedule this week-  What a great weekend  of inter-League play ! 

Calgary Dinos host Acadia, McGill, and McMaster this weekend in one of several inter-league tournaments.

Thursday, Oct 5  –    Calgary Cup starts at UC –  Dinos vs McGill, McMaster vs Acadia  … also Saskatchewan at Toronto, Bishops at Victoria, Laurentian at Brandon, NAIT at Thompson Rivers

Friday, Oct 6      –  Calgary Cup … Calgary Acadia,  McMaster  McGill

Lethbridge at Medicine Hat Coll, at U of M … Manitoba  Algoma, Winnipeg Laurentian,  at UBC Invitational …  UBC  Bishops, Alberta Waterloo

Concordia hosts in Montreal … Stingers vs Regina,  York Dalhousie

Cape Breton’s Fall Classic – Capers vs St. FX, UPEI   SAIT (Calgary)

Saturday  , Oct 7 –   at UC …  Calgary  McMaster, Acadia McGill , at UBC … T-Birds  Waterloo,  Alberta  Bishops, in Winnipeg … Wesmen  Algoma , Manitoba  Laurentian,  in Montreal … Concordia  Dalhousie, Regina  York. at Cape Breton … Capers  UPEI , St. FX  SAIT  ,   Also … Saskatchewan at Ryerson  ,  Lethbridge vs Medicine Hat,  Trinity Western and UBC-O

Sunday , Oct 8 –   Victoria vs Waterloo,   at CBU … Capers  SAIT, St. FX  UPEI,  at Concordia … Stingers  York,  Regina  Dalhousie

Cougars Aiming Higher

 

Change for MRU  – hunting a play-off berth

As with many Canada West teams this season, the MRU Cougars have undergone significant changes.  Gone is ace big man, Brett Layton, with his 16 ppg/ 9.5 rebounds.  And graduated is solid combo guard, Derek Wolf.

Longtime Assistant Coach Tyler McVicar has also moved on. Coach Marc Dobell, now in his 14th year as the Cougs head man, moved MRU from a National Championship in the CCAA (2009) and eventually into Canada West in 2012.  The program has been competitive, but never quite made the playoff grid in 5 seasons. Dobell suggests that he is looking at changes in a positive light this Fall. “We’ve tried things one way for some time, and I think we can embrace new ideas this season.”

Floor leader, Josh Ross, in his 5th year. photo – MRU Athletics

The Cougars do have 7 players back who were in the rotation last year, including leading scorer, 6-5, 5th year import Josh Ross (16.6 ppg/ 9.9 rebs/3.6 assists/ 1.9 steals) , a ‘point forward’ kind of talent, with multiple skills and a competitive drive.  Glen Yang (Calgary) a 6-3 combo guard who should be a double- digit scorer this year, and 5th year wing, Ryan Cunningham (Calgary), looks ready to up his offensive out-put as well.  Noah Lewis (6-4, guard, Comox, BC) is another 5th year who will be expected to step into a bigger role. Wiande Kher (Calgary), a 6-6 wing man, has also been frustrated with injuries, but, “He is physically sound, and is moving very well”, according to Dobell.  6-7 3rd year, Nick Tancon (Comox, BC) will be  ready to share the load up front.

There is enthusiasm for several new faces, including 4th year wing man, LJ Hegwood, who moves from SAIT, and, at 6-6, has the skill and size to be an impact player for Mt. Royal.  Ben Kapinga, younger brother of David at UC,  is a 5-10 guard who comes in ‘under the radar’. “We are impressed with Ben’s play”, says Dobell. “He is quick, and he makes good decisions with the ball.”   3rd year guard, Quinn Taylor, can shoot the ball, and Coach Dobell is pleased to see his progress after he red-shirted with an injury last year. Kristian Zjak is a skilled and eager Australian import who is expected to get time at the forward spot.

Cougars Last year – 8-12  … fall short in too many close games. Prognosis – the roster turnover brings fresh hope, and they should be right in the play-off hunt.

“This is the Year”, vows Lewis

Noah Lewis is now in his 6th year attending Mt. Royal University, and, in his 5th season of eligibility, he and his teammates are determined to make this a play-off year for the Cougars. “We are not content”, says the Vancouver Island ‘import’. “The team dynamic this Fall is really good; we want to make it to the play-offs together.”

5th year guard Noah Lewis. All-in for team break-through.

Lewis wants to help this team as a senior leader, and suggests, “I’ll do what it takes to contribute to the team success,  My role may change within the system, but that’s good with me, and I think we are togther as a team in wanting to move forward.”  The consistent hard work, and the acceptance of change are something Noah embraces in this final year on this team. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time.  I love being a part of the team, and I know I’m going to miss it when it’s over”, he says.

Lewis will leave Mt. Royal with a Health / Phys Ed Degree, and says he wants to ‘work with athletes’.  That may be in strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, or even Sports Medicine. ” It’s been such an amazing time in Calgary, and it’s come to feel more like home. I’ve had so many different teammates and forged long-term relationships with some great people”, he declares. “I’ve loved competing at such a high level, and to associate with such a great bunch of teammates and coaches.”

Noah Lewis will likely not be among the top scorers in Canada West.  But, if the desire he shows for team success in this his final season is any indication, one can expect his Cougars to have a very positive run at a play-off spot come February. “I’m excited for this season with this group of guys”, he says.  Go Cougars !

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Overtime –

at McMaster 72  UBC-Okanagan 68 OT … break out game for transfer Aloysius Callaghan (Calgary) who hangs up 25 points in a good team effort on the road.

at Saskatchewan 105  Briercrest 49  … Lawrence Moore and Emmanuel Akintunde score 20 apiece for the Huskies

at Lakehead 90  Winnipeg 83  … Billy Yaworsky scores 18 pts / 12 rebs for the Wesmen, with Narcisse Ambanza chipping in 15 points.

Friday games – 

Guy Vetrie Memorial  at Victoria … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph

All games on Canada West TV

Winnipeg at Lakehead – on OUA TV

UBC-O at Toronto

UNBC at Mt. Royal

In the East – at McMaster   Laval, Queens at Bishops, Seneca Coll at Nipissing, Memorial at Brock, and in the Eric Garland Tourney in New Brunswick … Cape Breton – UQAM , and Saint Marys – New Brunswick

Bisons Hit Re-start

 

 

Graduations Leave Manitoba With Young Roster

“We are really young,” exclaims Kirby Schepp, the lead Bison in the Herd.  This is indeed a group of fresh new faces for Manitoba, after seeing the graduation of starters, Keith Omoerah, A.J. Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Brett Jewell, along with strong forward Jonathan Alexander.

Justus Alleyn, Bison’s CW All-star guard.       Photo – Bisons Athletics

The Brown and Gold return Justus Alleyn, a 6-3 guard who led team scoring at 17.4 ppg, and hit 43% from beyond the arc.  But a practice injury has taken veteran forward, Malik Irwin, out for the season, and other troubles have kept several players out of the early season roster.  Can you say, ‘overhaul’?

New challenges for Coach Schepp to be sure, but he is nothing if not enthusiastic. “I’m excited about our freshmen, and couple of red-shirts who can step in now and get in the roatation,”  says the 9 year head coach.

‘We certainly have a fast developing forward in James Wagner,” ( 6-7, 2nd year, Winnipeg), says Schepp, “ but 6-7 red-shirt forward, Cameron O’Hara, is also a  big body inside, and he’s going to help us defensively.”  He also mentions Wyatt Tait, a 6-6 rookie from Winnipeg, and 6-1 Rikki Zimbakov, another local product.  These 2 were rated 1 and 2 in the group of graduating high school players in the province.

The Bisons added Rashawn Browne (Toronto), a point man entering his 3rd year, after playing at both New Mexico State and California U. (Pittsburgh). Browne is expected to be the floor leader on the U of M offense.

Bisons last season 12-8   … Finalists in Canada West … Prognosis –  Tough to match that with so many new recruits –  may have to scramble for a play-off spot.

 

Back to Canada for Bisons new lead guard

U of M transfer, Rashawn Browne, in action at New Mexico State

In high school, Rashawn Browne played at Eastern Commerce in Toronto, then in the GTA Prep League while at Bill Crothers Sr. Secondary in Markham. In a tournament in the U.S. with his club team, he played well against a strong AAU team which included future NBA star, Jamil Okafor,  and  Rashawn was approached by New Mexico State. ‘I red-shirted there, then with injuries and coaching changes I moved on to Pennsylvania, “ says Browne.  Pointing out that he is not a ‘basketball gypsy’, the 3.5 GPA student says, “I was just not happy with the way things were run in the U.S.  It was more like a business, with the coaches trying to protect their jobs. Here at Manitoba, the other players are very friendly; we support each other, and Coach Schepp and his staff are interested in our doing well in our classes as well as on the court.  It’s just more fun here.”

The ‘pass-first’ point man suggests he is happy to have Justus Alleyn to pass to, and happy to have James Wagner as a skilled forward.  ‘I’m excited to be part of this program, and to be playing with this group of guys”. Coach Schepp says, “Rashawn is a solid floor leader; he’s the real deal!  He shows a very high basketball IQ, and he’s also got a calm demeanour when the action heats up.  He’s a quality young man, and we think he will be a great addition to our team.”

Pursuing a Business degree and looking forward to wearing the Bisons colours in his first game next week in a home tournament,  Rashawn starts a very new chapter in his young life.  This may well be the classic case of opportunity meeting solid preparation, and the Herd looks to have a most capable new on-court leader.

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UVic hosts the Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament this weekend.

Canada West Pre-season picks up this coming weekend

Teams are ‘breaking the huddle’ and taking to the court against someone other than their own teammates this week.  We build towards the Annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at Victoria, where Coach Craig Beaucamp and the Vikes will host the defending champions of everything, the Carleton Ravens, along with the Guelph Gryphons, and the Concordia Stingers.

The Okanagan Heat make a trip East to  play OUA teams, and Winnipeg have their annual ‘holiday trek’ to Thunder Bay to play a pair with the ‘Wolves. Coach Todd Jordan and his  UNBC T’Wolves make a 3 game swing through S. Alberta.

the schedule –

Thursday, Sept. 28 – UBC-O at McMaster

Briercrest College at Saskatchewan,    Winnipeg at Lakehead

Friday, 29th    – at UVic … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph

Winnipeg at Lakehead,   UBC-O at Toronto,    UNBC at Mt. Royal

Saturday, 30th     – Carleton – Victoria, Guelph-Concordia (at UVic)

UBC-O at Western Ontario,   Seattle Mountaineers at Trinity Western

UNBC at Mt. Royal

Sunday Oct 1  – Victoria vs Concordia, Guelph vs Carleton (UVic)

UNBC at Lethbridge

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Overtime –

Canada West weekend results –   Seattle Mountaineers 77  Fraser Valley 74          UBC-O  94  Vancouver Island U.  88

OUA –  York 107 Centennial Coll. 61, York 80  G. Brown Coll. 64, St. Clair Coll. 85  Western Ont. 73

Basi Latest to Go ‘Euro-Pro’

 

 

AJ Basi to Play Pro in Britain

Bisons’ grad, Amarjit Basi, will play in Newcastle, Britain.

The dream of a very young Amarjit Basi was to play basketball at a high level.  The 5th year graduated captain of the Manitoba Bisons has been moving on to a higher level since he was 9 and 10 years old.  After helping the Bisons, under Coach Kirby Schepp, to the 2017 U-Sport Nationals in Halifax, Basi, a slick ball-handler and deady outside shooter, recently signed with Newcastle in the British Div. 1 professional ranks.  (Story in the Winnipeg Free Press).

He joins many Canada West grads who are continuing their playing days with professional teams in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  We wish AJ the best in Britain, and the same to UVic’s Grant Sitton (Slovakia), Calgary’s Thomas Cooper (Germany), and  Thompson River’s Josh Wolfram (Czech Republic).

 

New Canada West Campaign Prompts Logo Changes

The ‘New Canada West’ re-brand is yet another change  for what started as the Western Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Association, and this is a whole League promotion to launch a new marketing effort.  The details of this new branding are itemized here at their new web-site.

As the League moves forward, so do several schools, with new logos for their teams.  On our  header you will see the up-dated looks for the Brandon Bobcats and the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.  We have also included the new logos for both the Mt. Royal Cougars and the UNBC Timberwolves in this story.

 

One of the most important things the League and it’s schools can do is to make a yearly effort to increase their appeal to potential fans.  University sports may deserve a bigger presence in mainline media than they currently receive, but it is encumbent upon the League and individual schools to become more active in capturing that market.

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NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Hofstra (Div 1 – NY) 88 at McGill 76, Hofstra 99 at UQAM 87, Hofstra 110

at Bishops  51, Hofstra 85  at UQAM  62,   Siena (NY- Div 1) 79  at McGill 71

St. Francis (Brooklyn -Div 1)  75 at Concordia 66, Carleton 73  Siena  66,

McGill 80  St. Francis 67, Ottawa  80  Ramapo College (Div 3 – NJ)

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 Overtime – 

 

  •  Lethbridge signs highly-rated Edmonton guard, Awak Piom, at 6-5 , (Harry Ainlay High School), he was instrumental in helping the Titans win  back-to-back provincial championships in 2014 and 2015  Details from U of L

 

  • Nice story in the Kenora Miner and News about the U. Winnipeg Women’s Team, on a team-building weekend reaching out to young players in Kenora , Ontario   These community connections are an important part of every Canada West program!

 

 

Win over Chinese Taipei for Canada

 

 

 Canada 98  Chinese Taipei  61

Canada dominates the home side in front of a big crowd in this ‘consolation -side match.  Kaza Kajami-Keane and Connor Wood , both Carleton Ravens vets, played strong games in leading Canada’s offense. Kaajami-Keane notched a game-high 25 points, adding 6 assists and 4 steals at the other end.  Wood tallied 15 points on hot (5/9) shooting from 3 point ranged, and passed for 9 assists.  UBC’s Jordan Jensen – Whyte scored 13 points, and all 11 Canadian players dressed hit the score-sheet and played  at least 12 minutes.

Canada’s defense harassed the Taipei ball-handlers as Calgary’s David Kapinga had 5 steals and Kajami-Keane had 4.  UBC’s Conor Morgan was rested again, with his ankle injury, while Manitoba’s Justus Alleyn, UNB’s Javon Masters, and UC’s Kapinga were in the mix after sitting in the Germany game.

The championship quarter-finals featured close , competitive games, with the U.S out-gunning Israel 111-107, Latvia edging Germany 78-76, Lithuania nipping Argentina 72-70, and Serbia getting by Finland 85-84.   Canada plays the Czech Republic on Monday, then has one last game on Tuesday as Basketball competition closes out.   Box Score 

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NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Friday – Carleton 70 Northeastern U (Div 1-Boston)  66

Saturday – Northeastern  77 Bishops 61

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Overtime – 

New brands for several schools in Canada West, along with a re-vamp of the new look for the League itself.  Here’s Mt. Royal Cougars fresh , furry face –

Alberta Claims Big Win Over Montana State

 

 

Bears Shoot Their Way to Impressive Win 

The Alberta Golden Bears made a ‘Summer statement’ with a  decisive 97-72 win over the touring Montana State Bobcats in Calgary on Sunday afternoon.  Bookend 26-12  opening and closing quarters sealed this win for the reigning Canada West champs, and handed the Bobcats (NCAA Div. 1 – Big Sky Conference) their only loss in 4 games in Canada.

Lyndon Annetts is hot from the outside in Bears win over MSU.  photo – U of A Athletics

The Bears shot the ball very well, and that improvement over their Friday night loss was a major factor … 49% from the floor vs 41% for MSU, and 74% (17/23) from the free throw line.  The veteran – laden U of A line-up had 4 players in double figures, led by 3rd year post man, Brody Clarke, with 24 pts/9 rebs, and 18 points on 6/9 from 3 point range by wing man, Lyndon Annetts.  2 other starters, Mamadou Gueye and Austin Waddoups, tallied 14 apiece.

These Summer games may just be exhibition tilts, but they can reveal the potential for the upcoming season.  MSU had played 4 games in 4 days, and chose to rest or limit a few of their top players, but let’s not discount a strong showing by an obviouly deep Alberta team.  Coach Barnaby Craddock has another definite contender for League honours this season.   Box Score

 

Scores from other Sunday games –

at Brock 85  Jacksonville (FL)  95

Binghamton (NY)  74  Toronto 61

Some upcoming games this week – McGill is in Costa Rica to play Kent State (OH), Lamar (TX) , and 2 games vs Texas – El Paso.  Carleton travels to the U.S. Virgin Islands to face Vanderbilt (TN)  of the SEC (2 games), N. Colorado (Big Sky), and James Madison (PA).  Brock is also in the USVI  to play those same 3 teams.  Trinity Western is at home for a single game on Wednesday vs Saint Martins , a Div 2 NCAA school from Lacey, WA.

 

Overtime –

  • The Manitoba Bisons announced the signing of Riki Zimbakov, a 6-1 guard from John Taylor Collegiate in Winnipeg.
  • Marc Dobell, Head Coach at  Mt. Royal, was disappointed earlier this summer upon learning that talented recruit Diew Moses (Calgary, Bishop McNally) failed to qualify academically, and will not be with the Cougars after all.
  • The Calgary Dinos have reportedly signed 6-1 guard, Angelo Mbituyamana (Calgary – Bishop O’Byrne).  ““We like Angelo’s quickness, pace of play, and ability to get defensive touches”, said Head Coach Dan Vanhooren.

 

 

New RPI Formula for Canada West

 

 

What Impact From RPI, Schedule Changes ?

Canada West recently announced the 2017-18 playing schedule, which still has 17 schools each playing a different slate of games.  This unequal 20 game set-up has schools playing a pair of contests with 4 ‘traditional rivals’ each year, but  they change 6 teams on alternate years.

So, for example,  Saskatchewan, who have Alberta, Calgary Regina, and Brandon as ‘rivals’  will reverse home and way with those schools this coming season;  the Huskies played Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, UBC, Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and UNBC in 2016-17, but will meet the other 6 ‘non-rival’ schools … Manitoba, Thompson Rivers, Victoria, MacEwan, UBC-O, and Trinity Western in the 2017-18 schedule.

Conor Morgan and his T-Birds ‘mates will be gunning for another big winning year, and hoping for a higher seeding this time around.                    photo – UBC Athletics

Each school has different rivals, and a different slate of 6 ‘non-rivals’, and, in another twist of scheduling, each school determines if they will play any ‘home and home series’.  Example – Calgary has all three of Alberta, Mt. Royal, and Lethbridge home and away.  Saskatchewan,  Regina, TRU, UBC-O, and UNBC have none.  Other schools have 1 or 2 ‘home and homes’ with geographically close rivals.  All this leads to some differences in number of home and away games for some teams.

With all that, the League governors chose to continue using an adjusted RPI index to ‘even -up’ the standings between ‘unequally scheduled’ teams.  Last year, as fans might remember, this led to the juggling of final seeding spots for play-offs, putting 19-1 UBC in the 4th seed behind 16-4 Calgary #1, 14-6 Saskatchewan #2, and 14-6 Alberta #3.

The effect of these RPI results prompted schools to ask for a modification in those statistical manouvres.  Canada West now has a new RPI formula  –

The formula used in 2016-17 was as follows:

RPI = 25% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.2 away win + 0.8 home win, 50% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The new formula for 2017-18, with changes in bold, is as follows:

RPI = 35% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.1 away win + 0.9 home win, 40% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The League is hoping that this will bend the final standings a little less, and keep teams with a higher winning percentage in higher seeding spots.  We still, however, have the unequal schedule.  How unequal is it?

Alberta, defending Canada West champs, have Mamadou Gueye leading a solid corps of returnees. photo –                  Bears Athletics

Well, we have done a somewhat subjective analysis of each team’s schedule, and we’ve assigned points based on a) Last year’s finish, b) team losses from graduation or other (as announced) c) recruiting news as we’ve followed it.  We give UBC a 16, Calgary and Alberta both at 14, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan are 12, Manitoba, UVic, Winnipeg are 10, with Brandon, Regina and UFV 9. TRU is 7, MRU 6, MacEwan 6, UNBC 5, and TWU and UBC-O  are both at 4 in this ranking scale. Certainly subjective, but it can generate some ‘informed guesses’ for what lies ahead in the coming year.

Who has the ‘toughest’ schedule?  Who might have the ‘easiest’ … we add up the teams’ opponents’ ranking scores, and here’s what we have, with toughest at the top, and ‘easier’ at the bottom –

The Okanagan Heat, who were 2-18 last season, hardly need this rugged path … at UVic, UFV, UNBC (the only non-playoff squad from 2016-17), Calgary, Winnipeg.  Home to TRU, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and UBC !  Ouch!

Trinity Western were 3-17, but it’s all uphill with the likes of the Bears, UVic, UBC, Calgary, and Saskatchewan on their schedule as well.  They play just 2 non-play-off teams from last year.

Interestingly, UBC has what looks like one of the ‘lighter’ schedules once again.

If we look at Thompson Rivers, by contrast, we see the ‘Pack facing only Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Victoria from last year’s top seeds. The Orange play all 5 of last season’s non-playoff teams.  Fraser Valley gets 4 of those 5 who missed the 2016-17 playoffs.

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Overtime – 

  •  The play-off schedule has changed for this coming season, with CW deciding to scrap the Final 4 Tournament in favour of a single game for the championship. The first round has the top four seeds with  byes, and the next eight playing single-elimination games (12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, and 9 @ 8) . Feb 8 -11.  Best of 3 quarter-finals  are   February 15-18, and the Semis (best-of-three) February 22-25.  The Canada West Final is March 2 or 3.  ( CW may play a 3rd place game, if it is necessary for wildcard chances at U-Sport Nationals (Halifax, March 8-11).

 

  • Alberta Golden Bears have reportedly added Montreal native, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 220 lb wing man, who will enter his 4th year after stops at NCAA Div 2 schools, Gannon University  (Pennsylvania), and American International U. (Massachusetts) .

 

  • Josh Wolfram, former TRU Wolf Pack Canada West all-star, moves from Sweden to the Czech Republic in signing a contract with Sluneta – Usti Nad Labem (USTI)  for his 2nd pro experience in Europe.  More details in this story from TRU Athletics.

 

 

 

 

These 7 Teams Look to Move Up in Canada West

 

 

Brandon Tull will be a senior leader for the Regina Cougars.      photo – Arthur Ward

 Regina – The Cougars go 9-11 and are good at their best, but are troubled by injuries in the 2nd semester.  Coach Steve Burrows will enter his 5th year at the helm, and faces the task of ‘renewing’ a roster which loses 3 veteran mainstays.  Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, and Matt Augustine graduate, and more size will be crucial in the recruiting project.  The Cougs have dependable vets returning in Brandon Tull, Alex Igual, and Brian Ofori.  Burrows looks to the younger Hillis bothers, Ben and Samuel, and rookie star, Johneil Johnson to pick up some of the slack.  An infusion of talent, especially in the bigs, will be necessary if UR is to move up.

Thompson Rivers –   Coach Scott Clark loses a ‘franchise player’ in import forward, Volodymyr Iegorov, who graduates this Spring.  Clark could anticipate that challenge, but the veteran bench boss also has his rookie stand-out, Trent Monkman,  transferring to Victoria. The Wolf Pack, 8-12,  have been a play-off team in recent years, and Clark has worked successfully to develop his young talent. This coming season will test his resolve once more.  The Orange returnees include import guard, Derek Rhodes, strong forward, Luke Morris, guard, Michael Rouault, and scrappy point man, Madhu McConnell.  TRU will also be looking for some size in the recruiting process, and certainly more depth for this young group.

MRU’s import star, Josh Ross,  returns for his 5th year        Photo – Cougars Athletics

Mt. Royal –  The ‘Blue Cougars’ face a familiar challenge, as Coach Marc Dobell sees 2 big post men, Brett Layton, and Ray Goff leaving the roster along with 5th year guard, Derek Wolf .  Layton is wanting to start Law School, and Goff has had very tough nagging leg injuries, and is graduating early next year.  MRU does return guards Glen Yang, Noah Lewis, and Craig Martin along with import  scoring leader, Josh Ross, Ryan Cunningham, and forward, Nick Tancon.  Coach Dobell is waiting to announce his signees, and has not quite finished the process.  We do understand that L.J. Hegwood is looking to transfer in from SAIT, and that McNally HS (Calgary) star, 6-7 Diew Moses, may be headed to the Cougars as well.

MacEwan –  There will be significant change with the Griffins, as they say goodbye to Denzel James, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens, Keith Gerdes, and Tyler Wise as 5th year grads.  Thadius Galvez, their outstanding lead guard, is also on the move, and Coach Eric Magdanz is left with a major recruiting task.  Returnees Ryan Coleman, Harrison Lane, Adonis Montfort -Palomino, Ali Raza, and Atlas St. Paul-Butler will be counted on next Fall. The Griffs have younger players like British import, Jake Notice, along with 3rd year guard,  Tarik Scott, coming off an injury rehab, and a local red-shirt freshman, Deonte Doslov-Doctor.  Recent signees include Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 guard from Cardston, AB, who comes off a 2 year Mormon  church mission, and 6-8, Ben Niles, from Kamloops (Valleyview Sr Sec).  Coach Magdanz is also excited about Dustin Gatski  (Westlock, AB), a 6-4 transfer after  1 year of Junior College in Wyoming, and Moreau Amadou  a 6-4 wing from   Sir Winston Churchill, Calgary.

Marcus MacKay will carry a big scoring load for the Timberwolves.

UNBC –  Starting last season at 4-4 last Fall, The T’Wolves struggled through 12 straight losses to finish at 4-16, well out of play-off contention.  They lose their slick guard, Rhys Elliot, along with Elliott Rowe, and Sam Zhang to graduation. Coach Todd Jordan will be looking to add some size and more punch to his roster this Spring and Summer.  The UNBC returnees should include big shooting guard, Marcus MacKay, lead guard, James Agyeman, Vaggelis Loukas, an active forward, and Anthony Hokanson, who is a skilled wing man.   Adam Pahl, a  6-6 wing from Okotoks (Foothills HS) , AB was announced in January, and he comes with high hopes.  Volodymyr Pluzhnikov, is a ‘tough-minded’ guard coming off the red-shirt list, and Jordan has a few more prospects he hopes to sign in the next few weeks.  “We need to get bigger, and to make big improvements in our rebounding”, says the 5th year Head man.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans, 3-17 last season, do not graduate any 5th years, and Coach Aaron Muhic suggests that his returnee list should include all of his current roster players. We have mentioned veteran guard, Tyus Allen, who is rehabbing his injured knee, but who will not be ready until at least the Fall of 2018.  The Spartans will return  import guard, Pogos Trunyan, their high scorer (15 ppg), along with 6-10 post Patrick Vandervelden (13 ppg/7.2 rebs), and Vartan Tanielian, a 12 ppg scorer at wing. Among his younger contributors will be guards Max Viitala, and Josiah Meppelink.  TWU have not announced any new signees or transfers.

UBC-Okanagan –  After an 8-12 record in 2015-16, the Heat cooled off to just 2-18 last season.  Coach Peter Guarasci, in his 5th year, loses guard Mitch Goodwin to graduation.  But, he also has 7 other roster players (Cam Friesen, Randy Jernidier, Ryan Morck, Austin Penrose, Buster Truss, David Manshreck, and Davide Ciancio) who will not return, which obviouly leaves a daunting task of recuiting this Spring. Aldrich Berrios, his high-scoring (17.6 ppg) guard is back for his 4th year, along with back-court rookies, Matt Lafontaine, and Tristan Matthews.  Noma Obeseki, an athletic small forward,  will be entering his 3rd year.  Owen Keyes, a 6’9” Kelowna Sr Sec. stand-out has already signed, and looks like a strong prospect. Jake Stokker, Penticton Sr. Sec  is another big man signee , details in this story from Kelowna Capital News 

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Overtime –

  • Mason Foreman, a 6-7 forward from Winnipeg, who most recently attended Athlete Institute Prep just outside Toronto, has signed with the Calgary Dinos for next Fall.  Mason’s father is Jeff Foreman, who was a 3-time CIS All-Canadian with the Winnipeg Wesmen (Great Plains Athletic Conference)  in 1992, ’93, and ’94. ( In 1994, Jeff was CIS Player of the Year, and he was also a member of the Canadian national team.)
  •  UVic will, later this week, induct two former basketball stars into their Vikes Hall of Fame. Spencer McKay , was a dominating post man for Vikes teams of the late 1980s – early 1990s, and Carol Turney-Loos, was a key to their 1980 National title.   More details in this Oak Bay News article