Heat Working for the Future

 

 

The goal is to bring every player along, and build a competitive team

 Coach Peter Guarasci ‘sees the glass as (at least) half-full’.  Yes, his UBC-O Heat have had a tough transition to Canada West, with wins being few and far-between last season.  But this is now, and, with a new mix of players in Kelowna, Guarasci says, “We are pleased with a group of guys who want to work, and who we feel can develop into a very competitive team.  We’re not going to get worried about wins and losses, but on developing this team, and seeing progress from week to week.”

Aldrich Berrios will be in the middle of the action for UBC-O.  Photo – Heat Athletics

Guarasci, now in his 5th year at Okanagan, has only 5 returnees, 1 of whom is a starter.  Luckily, that is 4th year guard Aldrich Berrios, who led the team with 17.6 ppg/ 4.8 rebs/ 3.3 assists, and 1.4 steals.  The twist is that Berrios is also playing defensive back for the Okanagan Sun Jr. Football team this Fall ! “ I wasn’t going to tell him no”,  says Coach Guarasci, “but I do kind of hold my breath every weekend ….”   A ‘returnee’ after a year away is 3rd year wing man, Cam Servatius (Chilliwack), who is ‘stronger, and will be seeing some key minutes for us’, according to his coach.

 

Tristan Matthews, a 6-4, 2nd year guard from N. Vancouver, is working extremely hard, and turning into a capable rebounder. A key acquisition is 6-7 forward Ben Kornelson (Armstrong, BC), who brings a gritty inside game after a couple of seasons at Briercrest College.  Another big man with a nose for the action is 4th year transfer (Lakeland College), 6-6, Kyrin Cybenko (Saskatoon), who ‘really gets after it’ against bigger opponents.   Another transfer who is impressing coaches with his skills and desire to blend into the team concept is 4th year guard Aloysius Callaghan (Calgary).

The Heat have a big 1st year group, with 6 rookie on the expanded roster. 6-7 Gurman Bhangu (Surrey, BC) is ‘keen on competing right away’, and he has a good scoring touch. Another young big man is 6-9 Owen Keyes (Kelowna) who works extremely hard and is making great progress.  Rookie import, 6-1, Kareem Moussa (Texas) ‘has great instincts’, and can make good decisions as a lead guard.

“We know we will have lots of development work to be done with a very young group,” says Coach Guarasci. “We do, however’ have some more mature guys who can ‘float the boat’ competitively while we allow their younger teammates to progress. “

Heat last season 2-18   … Long-range plans  … Prognosis –  May be a year away, but looking for pluses –  Big men may be the key, and the Heat are bigger than ever.

 

Heat Assistant Boosts Youth Program

Landry Ndayitwayeko,  the lead Assistant Coach for the UBC-O Heat,  ‘eats and sleeps’ basketball these days.  After finishing his CIS career for the Heat, and earning an Economics degree in 2014, the Windsor, ON  native dove into the coaching side of the game.

Landry Ndayitwayeko leads the Junior Heat program.

“It’s a full-time job,” says Ndayitwayeko. “Between coaching the university guys and heading up the Junior Club program, I see this as a great opportunity.”   “Pete (Heat Head Coach, Peter Guarasci) is very supportive and flexible, as we divide our time between the varsity team and the youth programs.”  When Landry says ‘we’, he includes Yasine Ghomari and Mitch Goodwin, who are also Heat assistants and active with the youth program.

“We ran 9 teams this past Spring-Summer, from U-12 through U-17”, says Ndayitwayeko.  “This Fall we are running an Academy program, with one night of skills training and one for games. I just love coaching the young players”, he exclaims. “We want to teach the game, and help the kids develop.  Our vision is to see this program grow, and to grow our numbers.  We are working to help these kids take their game as far as they can.”

As far as his own coaching aspirations, Landry suggests, “I’m pretty happy with my combined role right now as an assistant with UBC-O and putting a lot of effort in with Yasine and Mitch in building our youth program.”  Coach Guarasci says, “Landry is a real driver of that Club program, and his energy and vision are amazing.”

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Overtime –

  • The Heat have 3 games in Ontario this weekend.  Coach Guarasci sees this as a huge team-building opportunity;  they have booked a very big house in Toronto, and will make excursions out from there for the games in Hamilton (McMaster), downtown Toronto (U of T), and out West in London (Western ).
  • The UVic ‘Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament’ games are all available on Canada West TV.  Fans should have their subscriptions in place for a whole season’s schedule of games, including these and other pre-season fixtures.
  • The Winnipeg Wesmen games at Lakehead this Friday and Saturday are also available on OUA TV 

Hanson and Vanhooren Lead FISU Team

 

UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson, will be the head man for the FISU Games team this summer.
(PHOTO: Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography)

Canada West Coaches Guide Universiade Squad

The two longest- tenured Canada West head coaches (17 years each) will team-up to lead this summer’s Canadian team to compete in the FISU Games in Taipei, Taiwan from August 19-30.  The team’s Head Coach will be Kevin Hanson, UBC, and Assistant coaches are Dan Vanhooren, U. Calgary, along with Jacques Paiment Jr., Laval U. (Quebec City).

The Universiade  is staged every two years , and consists of 14 compulsory sports and up to 3 optional sports chosen by the host country.  After a Silver medal in Men’s Basketball in 2011, Canada has been 4th in both 2013 and 2015, qualifying for the medal round in each of these last 3 Universiades.

Coach Hanson will be coaching his 4th FISU Games team, having won a bronze in 2003, fifth-place  in 2005 and that silver with the 2011 squad.  “It’s a real honor to be able to represent Canada at the FISU games. It’s absolutely an incredible experience and a life-long memory for the players and the coaching staff”, says the T-Birds mentor.  This is Coach Vanhooren’s 1st assignment for a Canada team, and he says, “ … to be part of a games that size is a wonderful experience and any time you get a chance to represent your country, it’s something you have to do. I’m looking forward it.”

 

‘Local Heroes’  Highlight Recent Signings

Thompson Rivers –  Coach Scott Clark has inked 3 B.C. high school stand-outs for the

Tyus De Vries and father, Greg.    photo- Nelson Star

coming season, and one name stands out as being very familiar to long-time Canada West followers.  Tyus De Vries is a 6’4” shooting guard from Sardis Sr. Secondary (Chilliwack, BC), and the son of Greg De Vries, who won 2 CIS Nationals with the Alberta Golden Bears (1991-96).

With his Dad coaching him from youth basketball through to his 30 ppg senior year at Sardis, Tyus learned from a 2-time CIS All-star, and he has skills beyond his scoring.  Dad says, “Tyus is taller and stronger than I was at his age … he is a better rebounder … he played against tougher competition than I had (at L.V. Rogers, Nelson, BC).

Coincidentally, Coach Clark has also signed 6-8 Jon Steele (GW Graham Sec, Chilliwack), who was a teammate of De Vries’ withe the Trans-Canada Club team.  “He is quite a mobile kid, good frame on him with good skills and play with his back to the basket,” says Clark, who also cautions, of course, that , “ All of those things need to be refined, but he has the potential of being a good player.”

The Wolf Pack also welcome their previously announced local star, Devin Halcrow (Nor-Kam Sr Sec, Kamloops) , who at 6-7 + , looks like a mobile big man with speed and 3-4 skills.  When Coach Clark calls him “ … a good basketball player”,  it means the veteran mentor is excited about Halcrow’s future with the Pack!

Update –  TRU has also added a ‘pass-first point guard’ in Nolan Willett, who, although a Canadian citizen, played his high school (Junipero Serra HS, San Juan Capistrano, CA)  and 1 college year ( Hancock Coll., Santa Maria, CA)  in the U.S.  After having checked out several othe U-Sports and Canada West schools, the 6-1 Willett was most impressed with TRU, the city, and futire Wolf Pack team members.  Says Coach Clark,  “He wants to get his teammates involved. He has played a high level—both in high school and the junior college. His background is good.”

 

Matt (12) and Nick Bernhard (14) are the latest local high school stars to sign with the Regina Cougars.

Regina –  The 6-6 Bernhard brothers, Nick and Matt, (LeBoldus HS, Regina) have been a big part of the Golden Suns’ 4 City and 3 Provincial championships.  Their all-round games have UR Cougars’ Coach, Steve Burrows, “ … excited about their potential.”   Burrows likes their veratility, with both scoring 15+ ppg and being consistent rebounders. Nick and Matt join 4 other Le Boldus grads who are on the current Cougars roster … Benjamin and Samuel Hillis, Carter Millar, and Brayden Kuski.

Trinity Western –  The Spartans sign 6-4 Abbotsford, BC product, Levi Leyenhorst (Credo Christian HS) ,  who was a B.C. ‘A’ Tournament all-star the past 2 seasons.  Coach Aaron Muhic also lands a couple of experienced transfers;  Ethan DeSilva is a multi-talented ‘buzz-saw’ guard, who played for 2 seasons at Briercrest, where he posted 7.4 assts/game, which was 2nd in the whole CCAA.  The Calgary (W. Aberhart HS) product can score in the double digits and is a noted ball-hawk.

Steve Sesink, at 6-8, 240 lb, has an obvious appeal, but will have to get back into playing mode following an 8 year hiatus from competition, after he had 1 season at King’s Univ., Edmonton. Coach Muhic has confidence, however, as he suggests “ “Steve will be a joy to coach and will provide toughness, hustle and rebounding.”

More signings – 

Ben Kornelson is a key transfer at a forward spot for the Heat.      photo – Briercrest Athletics

UBC-Okanagan –  Another 2 year star transferring from Briercrest is 6-7 Ben Kornelson, who returns to the Okanagan, where he lived in Armstrong , BC, and played with the Heat JR Program while in high school.  Kornelson was the team MVP at Briercrest this past season.  Coach Peter Guarasci had previously announced 6-10 Owen Keyes (Kelowna Sec.) and 6-4 Jake Stokker from Penticton Sr. Sec.

UNBC – Coach Todd Jordan added a seaoned BC Colleges transfer in 6-6 Jesse Mushiana, a 4th year coming from 2 seaons at Langara College and one at Capilano.  The self-described “big-bodied’ player is a welcome addition to the T-Wolves, who are looking for added height/size to win more battles on the inside this coming season.

Winnipeg –  Wesmen signee, Don Dayrit, is a proven scorer as a 6-0 guard at Sisler HS (Winnipeg), and was the MVP as his team won the 2016 Wesmen Classic Tournament.  He was ranked as one of top 5 high school grads in Manitoba this year.

 

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   

Spartans to Alaska, ‘Horns to Montana

 

 

Two games on tap Saturday …  

Dejon Burdeaux and the UL Pronghorns travel to Helena, MT to face Carroll College

Trinity Western vs Alaska -Anchorage, and Lethbridge at Carroll College, Helena, MT.

‘Halo’, the Carroll College St. Bernard, seems confident the Fighting Saints will get another win over Lethbridge Saturday.

With records back to 1995, the Lethbridge Pronghorns are 0-11 vs the Carroll College Fighting Saints of Helena, Montana.  The ‘Horns make the 4 hour road trip to Helena for their Saturday game, having dropped a 93-67 verdict to the Saints in Lethbridge  back in late October.  Carroll is 8-2 so far this season, and will be a tough assignment for UL.

 

In Saturday’s other game, it’s the Trinity Western in Anchorage , Alaska to play the NCAA Div. II, U. Alaska-Anchorage Sea-Wolves.  The ‘Wolves are 6-5 this season, and they compete in the 11 team Great Northwest Athletic Conference, along with Alaska- Fairbanks, and Burnaby’s Simon Fraser Clan. The Spartans play 2 games vs the Sea Wolves, then at Fairbanks for a single vs the U. Alaska Nanooks.   These are the 1st games for TWU against either of these Alaska schools.

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Overtime –

  • One of the absolutes for Canada West schools based in ‘smaller centres’ is the ability to land the top local talent in your recruiting efforts.  UBC-O Coach, Peter Guarasci, has done that with his announcement of 6-9 Kelowna Owls’ post man, Owen Keyes.  The 4th member of the KSS squad which won the 2015 B.C. 4A High School title to join the Heat, Keyes has a shot at being, “ … a real impact player at his position in Canada West”,  says Guarasci.  Details in this story in Kelowna Now. 

    MRU’s Josh Ross is averaging 19.6 ppg and 10 rebounds.  Photo – Cougars Athletics

  •  6-3 forward, Josh Ross, has energized the Mt. Royal Cougars offense this season, after his transfer from Vancouver Island U. of the B.C. Colleges League.  Ross, who hails from Burlington, Iowa,  gets high praise from Cougars Coach Mark Dobell, “He scores and he rebounds, but I think his biggest strength is his court vision and his ability to move the basketball and see teammates.”  Nice story in the Calgary Herald from Rita Mingo.