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   

Wide Margins on a Saturday Night

 

 

No mercy in a big handful of high scoring blow-outs from coast to coast on Saturday , as several tournaments wrap up ….

 

at the Calgary Cup  …  Calgary 92   McMaster  68* –  the Dinos waltz to an easy win, their 3rd straight,  with 9 of 11 dressed logging 20+ minutes. Mambi Diawara leads with 16 pts/ 9 rebs, and rookie Mason Foreman has 15 pts.  For Mac it’s the very slick Kareem Collins with 30 pts.  …  Acadia  95   McGill  83 – The Redmen defense is unusually porous, as the Axemen stage a big 2nd half come-back, draining 11/14  from 3 (78%) . Nick DiPalma is perfect from the floor for 20 points for AU.

at UBC … T-Birds 105  Waterloo 73 – The ‘Birds get 21 pts/ 12 boards from Conor Morgan, and 20 from Anthony McNish   …  Alberta 111  Bishops 84 – An offensive feeding frenzy, as the Bears light it up with 57% from the floor,  including 53% from 3. Mamadou Gueye with 23 and Brody Clarke 20 pace the GBs.  Joany Castor Thadal hits 5/9 from outside for 17 to lead Bishops.

in Winnipeg Wesmen 90   Algoma 69  no box score …  Laurentian 87  Manitoba 80 – The VGs extend their win streak behind 24 points from Kadre Gray, while Justus Alleyn counters with 27 for the Herd.

in Montreal Dalhousie  72   Concordia 70 –   The Tigers are tough in this road win against a solid Concordia team.  Big 4th quarter for a comeback W.  Sven Stammberger has 15 pts/ 7 boards for Dal, while Ken Beaulieu hits  a game-high 17 for the Stingers. … Regina 101 York 42 – The Cougars maul the Lions.  40-10 in the final stanza?  5 Reginas in double figures led by 19 from tsf forward Shaquille Harris with 19 pts/ 12 rebs. , while Shawn Lathan chalks up a 16 pt/ 16 reb double.  York shoot a measly 21% FG.

at Cape BretonCapers 90  UPEI 78 – Break up the Capers!  A much-anticipated win for the Orange, as Indiana Rotondo goes 5/11 from 3 to pace the winners …   St. FX 114    SAIT 106 –  SAIT has Levi Taylor with 30 and John Smith  with 29,   and they lose!   Kevin Bercy leads X with 24 as they shoot 59.7% from the floor .

Also … at Ryerson 116  Saskatchewan  43  – no box score, no prisoners … , Lethbridge 87  Medicine Hat  67 …   Trinity Western 73  UBC-O  70 –   8 treys for TWU vs  2 by the Heat.  25/27 from the line from  Trinity , and game!  Vartan Tanielian with 24 its for the Spartans.    UNBC 92  NAIT 66 – quite the turnaround for the T-Wolves!    …    because  Late Friday  – NAIT 70  UNBC 62

Dinos Defense Dumps McGill

 

 

Highly regarded Redmen team goes cold facing Dinos D

Montreal native, Mambi Diawara, has a big night in a Calgary Dinos win over McGill .      photo – David Moll, UC Athletics

In what was somewhat of a surprise, the Calgary Dinos started their pre-season with a decisive 81-61 win over the Quebec champs, McGill Redmen. Calgary defense made things tough on Redmen shooters, who were just 31% from the floor. UC, on the other hand, were 41% , then 18/21 from the line (86%), led by Mambi Diawara’s 25 points against his hometown team.

David Kapinga added 17 points, and Lars Schleuter 15 on 4/7 from 3 point range. Both coaches used their whole line-up in this first game of 3 in the Calgary Cup.  Avery Cadogan scored 15 for McGill and showed some flash taking it to the rim.

In an earlier game on Thursday at Calgary it was Acadia 96  McMaster 67.  On Friday, McMaster meets McGill, and Calgary takes on Acadia.

Other games –

Laurentian 92  at Brandon 79  – Pookie Saunders scores 22 points, and John Paul  has a 10 rebound/ 13 point double, but 24 turnovers gives the VGs extra chances. David Aromolaran scored 21 and Anthony Iacoe 18 for Laurentian.

at Toronto 89  Saskatchewan 66 – Alex Unruh scores 27 for the Huskies, but U of S hits just 4/20 from 3 pt range vs 9/33 for Toronto,  who had 5 players in double figures.

Thompson Rivers 86  NAIT 69     …

Lethbridge 92  Medicine Hat College 58

 No score yet … Victoria  Bishops

 

 

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

‘The Ball Goes Up ….’

 

 Fall Pre-Season Games on Tap This Week

Teams have been busy with their early Fall work-outs, and pre-season games are getting underway starting this weekend.  Laurentian and Algoma start things off this Friday in Sudbury, while Alberta has an Alumni game on Saturday.  UBC-O hosts Vancouver Island , a strong B.C. College League team, also on Saturday in Kelowna.  Laval, Cape Breton, Saskatchewan, York, Nipissing, and Western Ontario also have CCAA opponents lined up over the next 10-12 days.

Coach Peter Guarasci and the Heat are busy in September.

UBC-O travel to Ontario next week, where the Heat will play McMaster, Toronto, and Western Ont. Also beginning the last weekend in September will be UVic’s annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament.  The Vikes once again welcome the National Champion Carleton Ravens, along with Concordia Stingers and the Guelph Gryphons.  Winnipeg Wesmen continue their tradition of playing a pair of games in Thunder Bay vs Lakehead on September 28 and 29.

Other games that get our interest …  Memorial visits Brock, McMaster, and York on the 29th-Oct 1. The Eric Garland Tournament at U. New Brunswick has Saint Marys, Cape Breton, and UQAM.

 

NCAA vs U-Sports : 45 – 25

6-8 Eddie Ekiyor and the Carleton Ravens look like championship contenders , even in August.

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports

In 70 games played this past August – early September between U-Sports schools and NCAA squads, the edge goes to the Americans by a 45 – 25 count.

Overall,  Carleton owned a 9-2 record over NCAA competition, including wins over Alabama, Vanderbilt,  and Northeastern.  McGill, who won all 3 on a trip to the Caribbean,  was just 1-4 in later home games, and had an overall 4-6 mark. Windsor won both their NCAA games in August, then went to The Netherlands and swept a 3 game series against club-pro teams there. Ottawa Gee-Gees were 3-1 with visiting U.S. schools, with their lone loss to Alabama by an 81-71 score.

Out West, it was Alberta with a 1-1 record against Montana State, as they clipped the ‘Cats  97-72 in their 2nd try in Calgary.  UBC took a ‘modified line-up’ (minus Coach Hanson and ace forward, Conor Morgan, among others) to Costa Rica, and lost 3 straight to Texas -El Paso once and 2 to a strong Nevada-Reno Wolf Pack team.   Full details of these results are available on the fine  U-Sports Hoops web-site , which is so well edited by Martin Timmerman in Waterloo.

 

Keith Omoerah is off to play pro in Norway. Photo – Bisons Sports

Overtime –

  • One of a very strong group of graduates leaving the Manitoba Bisons is wing man, Keith Omoerah, who has signed a pro contract with Baerum in Norway.  Omoerah, Amarjit Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, Brett Jewell, and Jonathan Alexander take a lot of skill and experience away from the U of M roster.   More on Omoerah’s move to Europe in this Bisons Athletics release.

  •  Raptors Train at UVic … In what has become a tradition, the Toronto Raptors will hold training camp in British Columbia for the 4th straight year. UVic’s CARSA Gym will be the site from Sept. 26-29.  While practices will be closed to the public, fans will get a chance to see an   intra-squad game  on Thursday, Sept. 28. Tickets for this intra-squad game “ … were available online and in person at the CARSA membership services counter and were in incredibly high demand,” read the news release from Vikes Athletics as of last Friday.  Actually, the on-line and in- person ticket rush was over in less than 1/2 hour! Sell-out!  There are some standing room seats available closer to game time.

    Canadian Kyle Wiltjer will be one of the new faces in the Toronto line-up this season.

    This is a great tradition by the Raps, who have , in recent years, also had pre-season NBA games in various cities across Canada.  Unfortunately, Victoria will be the only Canadian venue this season.  Toronto has early October games in Honolulu, Portland, Toronto, and Chicago.  More Raptors info

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Who Goes, Who Stays for Next Fall?

 

 

 

 An Early Look at Canada West Rosters

We’ve just caught our breath after a long 2nd semester haul to the 7th straight coronation of the Carleton Ravens as U-Sports Champions.  It was a sobering experience for our 3 Canada West teams, as they all drop their round 1 games.  So it is literally ‘back-to-the-drawing-board’ for the 17 schools West of Ontario.

We start with a peek at the  players these teams will lose from rosters from the past season, key returnees, and a number of announced additions and expected jumps from the red-shirt list

Alberta –  2017 Canada West champs … the Bears lose big Brett Roughead, with no word on any other changes from this year’s 14-6 squad.  They return almost their whole roster, including all-stars Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, play-off ace, Mamadou Gueye, and CW rookie team, Andre Kelly. Coach Barnaby Craddock will  certainly have a contender again next season.

Lucas Mannes (tsf-TWU), a sharp-shooting guard, joins the Dinos this Fall.

Calgary –  The Dinos (16-4) win their last 2 of the year, over Manitoba and Saint Marys to finish 5th at Nationals, but four key seniors, Thomas Cooper, Jasdeep Gill, Mitch Ligertwood, and Dallas Karch, will be missed.  Coach Dan Vanhooren does, however, feel good about his returning core, with David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, Mambi Diawara, and Max Eisle at guard.  Forwards are led by Lars Schleuter, Connor Foreman, and Jeff Rodehutskors.  Both 6-6 fwd Sasha Pojuzina (Regina), and 6-1 guard, Jake Nielson (Cochrane) should move in off the red-shirt list, and guard Andrew Milner is a high school signee from Nova Scotia’s U-17 champions. Lucas Mannes, an 18 ppg guard, transfers from Trinity Western.

Shane Osayande returns for the Huskies with his power game.

Saskatchewan – The Huskies  are 14-6 this year, get to the Final 4, but lose to Alberta and Calgary there.  They will miss their solid post man, Matt Forbes, and his 3 point shooting partner, Trevor Severinski.  U of S has the high-octane duo of forward, Shane Osayande, and guard, Alex Unruh, as 5th year leaders in the Fall. Coach Barry Rawlyk will have a strong returning group with veterans, Jaylan Morgan, Lawrence Moore, Mack Burns, and Joseph Barker.  A healthy return for speedy guard, Chan De Ciman, would be a big plus as well.

Manitoba –  A huge push in the 2nd semester, to a 12-8 record,  lifts the Herd to the Final 4, where they qualify for their 1st Nationals in many seasons.  They bid adieu to 4 rotation players including starters AJ Basi, and Brett Jewell, along with point man Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  The Bisons returnees are solid, led by starters Justus Alleyn, a Canada West all-star, and the 2 way hotshot, Keith Omoerah. Coach Kirby Schepp also revels in the depth from forwards James Wagner and Malik Irwin.  He has announced the signing of local high school star, 6-6 Wyatt Tait  ( Oak Park)

Conor Morgan enters his 5th year for UBC this Fall.                 photo- UBC Athletics

UBC Thunderbirds – After a banner 19-1 regular season, UBC suffered a dispiriting 2-0 sweep to Manitoba in play-offs. We expect the T-Birds to rebound as a typically strong contender, but graduating Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Will Ondrik, and Harpreet Randhawa will significantly change the mix. They red-shirted Jauquin Bennett-Boire, an impact lead guard, who came from a ‘partial’ rookie season at Saskatchewan. Coach Kevin Hanson boasts a deep returnee roster, with CW 2017 Player of the Year, Conor Morgan, into his 5th year along with guards, Phil Jalalpoor,  A.J. Holloway, and post man Luka Zaharijevic.  Patrick Simon is another experienced veteran on the front line, and young guards Taylor Browne, Isaiah Familia, Izaihah Ugoalah will step up. Coach Hanson has announced the signing of Cam Morris, a 6-6 forward from St. Thomas More Collegiate (Burnaby).

 Lethbridge – 5th year guard Will Hickey is leaving and  2nd year wing, Scott Mazutinec will depart on a Mission for his church. The ‘Horns were 13-7 and will be hoping to improve on that for 2017-18, with Kyle Peterson, transfer (UVic) combo guard, returning for his 3rd year, after finishing his church mission.  Dejon Burdeaux will be a 5th year leader, with Michael Pierzchala, Elliott Sentance, and Zac Overwater adding offensive punch.   6-6 wing, Mark Rodehutskors, should help, coming off the red-shirt list, and UL likely adds another Australian post man.

Winnipeg – Coming off a 12-8 record in 2016-17, the relatively young Wesmen lose  Jamar Farley to graduation, but boast all-rookie team member, Narcisse Ambanza, and CW all-star Denzel Lynch-Blair.  Sean Tarver is a high scoring wing man, and William Sesay, a talented all-round contributor.  Up front, the Ws return big post man, Ryan Oirbans, along with 6-7 Billy Yaworsky Coach Mike Raimbault has had good luck in recruiting local talent and a few top players from the East in his tenure at UW.

The Cascades’ Nav Bains and Wesmen’s Ryan Oirbans will do battle again next season.

Fraser Valley – Coach Adam Friesen will be looking to re-tool his offense, as the Cascades graduate both scoring guards, Manny Dulay and Vijay Dhillon.  There is, however a ton of talent in ‘The Valley’ and the Lower Mainland, and Friesen has established his program largely with locals. He has announced the signing of Harsimran Bhullar of Panorama Ridge HS , Surrey, B.C.  UFV returns a good core of veterans in Navjot Bains, Denver Sparks-Guest, and Anthony Gilchrist.

Brandon – The Bobcats late season run to 9-11 was one of the good stories in Canada West this Winter, and Coach Gil Cheung will be working hard at building on that momentum. They have some key players graduating this Spring, including scorer-rebounder Earl Thompson Jr, shooter Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem. The ‘Cats do have some young talent in guards Tyvon Cooper, a CW all-star,  and Pookie Saunders. John Paul will be a 5th year leader up front, along with rookie Kobyn Jopp, and Tyler Anderson.

2017 Rookie of the Year, Scott Kellum, will lead the Vikes next season.

Victoria –  The Vikes lose their go-to scorer, Grant Sitton, and Coach Craig Beaucamp has wasted no time trying to improve on their 9-11 League mark.  Scott Kellum, a headsy guard from Washington state, is the 2017 Canada West Rookie of the Year, and a solid building block. Vlad Zasmolin (Calgary-Churchill)  could be a ‘sleeper’ off the red-shirt list, and UVic returns several young rotation players in Jake Newman, J.J. Hamel- Carey, and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson.  We understand that TRU’s impressive rookie, 6-1 guard Trent Monkman, will be a red-shirt with the Vikes this Fall.  Coach Beaucamp was busy early, and has signed 6-7 Hunter Hughes from Surrey (Southridge), Andrew Goertzen, a 6-8 fwd from Walnut Grove (Langley), 6-11 Eric Hegadoran from Lambrick Park, Victoria, 6-2 Jaden Touchie, Victoria, Oak Bay, and 6-3 guard Aaron Tesfegiorgis, from Calgary – Notre Dame.  Very busy.

More team reports up-coming  _________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime – 

 

Clarke Shines as Bears Take Title

 

 

Second half power delivers Canada West title to Alberta

Brody Clarke’s 29 points drive Alberta to the Canada West title   photo – U of A Athletics

 Alberta 92  Manitoba  73  –  The Bears big men, Brody Clarke and Mamadou Gueye, flexed their muscles here in the Final, with Clarke taking it at the Bisons’ low post defenders.  Three UM post men accumulate 11 fouls trying to corral the 2nd year Canada West all-star.  Gueye  was converting his chances from the 3 point line (3/4)  to his feathery step- back post-ups.   The Bruins explode for 54 points in the final 20 minutes, as Manitoba appears to tire.

After the opening quarter, Alberta seized the lead, and really took charge in the 4th, as the foul count mounted against the Herd.  UM foul out both Keith Omoerah and Justus Alleyn, who had been so central in their drive to the final. Alberta converted 22/30 free throws, and won the rebound battle 47-31.

For the Bears, Clarke finishes with a game- high  29 points plus 12 rebounds, while Gueye tallies 20 pts/ 8 boards/ 3 steals.  Geoff Pippus does some 4th quarter damage with his 3 point shot, as he posts 18 points on 4/8 from outside, and Austin Waddoups works hard for 17 points / 5 rebounds.

Manitoba could not find their shooting eye from outside nearly as well as they had done against Calgary in the  Friday semi-final.  The Bisons were just 4/22  vs the GBs outstanding 10/21 from beyond the arc. Both Omoerah and A. J. Basi scored 17 points and Keith grabs 10 boards for his double.  Ilarion Bonhomme records 15 points and 5 assists from his point spot.

Both these teams will represent Canada West in next week’s Nationals, which start Thursday, March 16 in Halifax. Box Score  

 

Cooper’s 19 second half points lead Dinos to OT win 

Dinos Thomas Cooper finds the range in OT win over Saskatchewan                                        photo – David Moll , UC

Calgary 111  Saskatchewan  106  OT –  In one of the strangest games in recent memory, the Dinos snatch victory after trailing by 17 in the middle of the opening quarter following  an 11-0 Saskatchewan run. The Huskies came out firing, and hit 4 treys to surge ahead, and they looked like winners for most of the afternoon.  UC came back with a couple of 3s, and it was 26-20 as the period ended. A late flurry in the 2nd was capped by a buzzer-beating heave for 3 from import guard, Lawrence Moore for U of S., as they were up 51-43 at the break.

Saskatchewan held the lead through all of the 3rd frame, and right into the last minute of regulation, when Calgary’s Thomas Cooper hit a jumper to tie it at 95.  In the OT, Cooper, who had started slowly, poured in another 11 points to pace the spirited Dinos come-back.

Cooper tallied 32 points/ 7 rebs/ 5 assists as Calgary fought to give themselves a realistic shot at the lone wildcard spot in next week’s National Final 8.  David Kapinga played 41 minutes and scored 21 for UC, while Mambi Diawara (17 pts/ 6 rebs/ 5 assts, and Jhony Verrone (16 pts/ 5 assts/ 2 steals/ 3 breakaway dunks )  aided in the big win.

The Sled Dogs, like Calgary, ran right through their line-up , going 10+  deep, with starters Jaylan Morgan and Shane Osayande in pretty early foul trouble. All 5 starters were in double figures, with Moore counting a game-high 33 pts along with 6 rebs/ 4 asst/ 4 steals.  He had big help from Matt Forbes (18 pts/ 6 boards), and Osayande (15 pts/ 8 rebs).     Box Score

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In the East –  

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final  –   #2 Ryerson 86 #1 Carleton  79 –  The Rams pull off the upset for the 2nd straight year.    #4 Brock  69   #3  Ottawa 67 – the Gee-Gees may have cost themselves a wildcard spot with this 3rd place  loss.

Atlantic Tournament   Semis –   #10 Dalhousie  78  Acadia  75,   St. Mary’s  81 UNB 68      The Tigers  – Huskies  all-Halifax championship final is Sunday at 4:30 on  AUS TV    http://www.austv.ca/

 In the Quebec Final  Saturday   #6  McGill 82   UQAM  65 , so the Redmen return as the RSEQ reps at Nationals.

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Overtime – 

  • Saskatchewan defeats  Regina  64-53 for the  Women’s Canada West title on Saturday.   Both teams will join hosts, Victoria in the U-Sports Women’s Final 8 Tournament next week on the Island.
  • Guests shot on Canada West TV for Dinos Assistant Coach Matt Skinn, as he bumps ‘ex-buddy’ John Tramble off the ticket with ace play-by-play man, Lucas Meyer.  (Cut-throat ambition, Matty !)
  • The Sunday Atlantic Championship game will precede the conference call for the Wild-card selection committee, as they choose the 8th team for the nationals in Halifax.