CIS Update – League Standings



League standings –

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Ryerson beats Carleton and Ottawa in league play, and we have quite a separation in all but the OUA West.  Ottawa, Carleton, Ryerson, Brock, McMaster, and maybe Queen’s are in with a chance in the playoffs.  In the West, we have a scramble between Western, Laurier, and Windsor.   Our guess –  Ryerson and Ottawa , then a battle between Carleton, Brock, and McMaster for the 3rd OUA spot in Nationals. The Ontario league plays 5 more ‘weeks’ in the regular season; plenty of games left!

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Further East –


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The Atlantic is a dog-fight all the way …  from #1, UPEI, to #7, Saint Marys, with St FX, unusually, on the outside this campaign. Because of the 5 weeks of play remaining in the regular season, and the AUS Tournament (Halifax) format, it is almost impossible to make any definitive choices at this stage.

 in Quebec the same would hold true, where the air has gone out of the McGill balloon, with 2 losses to cross-town rival, Concordia. The Stingers , Redmen, Laval, and UQAM will play in the semi-finals it would appear most likely;  it’s too early to be picking a tournament winner, and their lone CIS Nationals rep.


UnknownCanada West Pioneer Division games –   all games are on Canada West TV
Friday  –    From East to West (early-late) –
8 pm  Central  –  Regina at Manitoba   …    Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
8 pm Mountain  – Alberta at Lethbridge
8 pm Pacific  –  Brandon at Trinity Western      …   UBC at Victoria
Saturday –  (early – late)
4 pm Central – Saskatchewan at Winnipeg
6 pm  Central – Regina at Manitoba
7 pm Mountain – Alberta at Lethbridge
7 pm Pacific –  Brandon at  TWU  …   UBC – UVic
Calgary has a bye.  All Explorer Division teams have a break this week.

 CIS Scores –  
OUA Weds – Brock 83  Guelph 49,  Windsor 90  Laurier  78, Western 65  Waterloo  46

Overtime –   

  •  We missed it back in December, but Alberta post man, Sebastian Denault apparently returned to Quebec over the holiday, and will not play for the Bears.  Also missing from their line-up since the mid-season break is Toronto guard, D’Wan Williams; this leaves Jonah Wyessa (Father Lacombe HS, Calgary) as their point guard coming off the bench in support of starter, Colby Jackson.

Spartans – Bobcats After a Win


D.J. Jordan and his Brandon Bobcats will be looking for win # 1 at TWU this weekend.

D.J. Jordan and his Brandon Bobcats will be looking for win # 1 at TWU this weekend.

Spartans or Bobcats to ‘spoil perfect record’ –

Feature Series –  Brandon  at Trinity Western –  Heartlessly we refer to this as ‘The Battle of the Titans’;  two teams who are having very disappointing and frustrating seasons.  Don’t forget that you have very talented players on both teams, and they dedicate a great deal of time and effort to their sport.  Let’s hope the games are well-played and competitive !  Lucas Mannes, Vartan Tanielian, and TWU? Go Spartans !  Or will it be D.J Jordan, Earl Thompson Jr. and Brandon? Go Bobcats !

Alberta (7-6) at Lethbridge  (7-5) –  Two teams in the heat of the playoff battle, who would both love to sweep, but know the odds are on a split.  If the Bears get Sebastian Denault back on the court, their size / power may be a big factor, with Brody Clarke starting to put his stamp on every game. Alberta could use 1 more perimeter shooter to hit shots (couldn’t we all) against the zone defensive schemes of U of L.  The ‘Horns have been leaning heavily on their 2 mainstays, Brandon Brine and Rob Olsen;  they may need wider contributions, should either star have an off-night.

Can Jordan Charles and UVic knock off the UBC T-Birds in Victoria this weekend?

Can Jordan Charles and UVic knock off the UBC T-Birds in Victoria this weekend?    photo- AP

UBC (10-4) at Victoria (7-7) –  This, in past seasons would have been the ‘big show’, but for the rival Thunderbirds’ first visit to the new CARSA Centre, it lacks that drama, with the Vikes floundering in the middle stages of this season.  UBC comes with the ‘eye of the hunters’, as they chase the UC Dinos for top spot in the Pioneer, while UVic are fighting for their playoff lives.  The Vikes want to set themselves back on course, after dropping 7 of 10 games in the last 5 League weekend series’.  Which headline is more likely? “Conor Morgan comes home to lead the ‘Birds to victory”?  Or  “Vikes Rally, and Upset T-Bird Rivals” ?

Regina (8-4) at Manitoba (9-5) – Two top teams coming off big wins last Saturday (Regina at UBC, Manitoba at Lethbridge), and the home court is a reassuring sight for the Herd.  The Bisons have won 10 of the past 11 games against the Cougars, and both teams may as strong as they’ve been for at least the past 5 – 6 seasons. Keith Omoerah, A.J. Basi, Wyatt Anders, and Justus Alleyn have been stellar for UM, but Regina’s Tull brothers, Alex Igual, Aaron McGowan, and Travis Sylvestre will try to use their momentum to get at least a split.

Saskatchewan (4-8)  at Winnipeg (7-5) – With rumours of some discord in the Huskies camp surrounding rookie guard, Jacquin Bennett-Boire, Saskatchewan faces the Wesmen in Winnipeg. U of S may have their role reduced to ‘spoilers’, just as UW appears to be solidifying their game, and seeking a playoff berth.  Jelane Pryce, Denzel Lynch-Blair, and big rebounder, Ryan Oirbans have been coming on strong, as the Wesmen play the first of 6 straight home games. The ‘Dogs will look to big man, Shane Osayande, and guards, Evan Ostertag and Chan DeCiman to lead them back on the winning track.

Calgary is on a bye week in the Pioneer, and the entire 6-team Explorer Division are taking a mid-winter break.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 3.07.27 PMRyerson Rams- the New # 1

For the first time since November of 2012, a team other than Carleton or Ottawa is in the #1 slot of the Coaches Top 10 poll !  The Ryerson Rams, who beat both the Ravens and Gee-Gees last week in Toronto jumped ahead of their OUA rivals. McMaster jumps over Brock, while McGill loses 3 spots, with 2 losses, and Calgary climbs to # 6 with their 8th straight win.

> Note – the CIS Nationals wildcard spot will go to an OUA team – done!

CIS Scores –
Cape Breton  100  St. FX  86 – a sweep of the home and home series for the Capers, with this return match delayed by last week’s big storm.



Overtime –

  • MRU Coach , Marc Dobell, mirroring the thoughts of most Explorer
    MRU Coach Marc Dobell is happy to have time to rest his team.

    MRU Coach Marc Dobell is happy to have time to rest his team.

    teams getting this week off,  “It is good. We are banged up. We were playing without one player tonight (last Saturday at TRU). A fifth-year player (James Lefebvre, forward) who would have made a big difference for us. He is going to get a chance to recover along with another guy who played limited minutes tonight because he is sore. It is a good time for us to heal some of our nicks and wounds and start focusing in on the last three weekends.” From TRU Athletics – Larry Read.

  • Senior Nights honouring the ‘graduating’ 5th year players across the League are cropping as early as next weekend … Feb. 5/6/7, and through the last regular season games on Feb. 20.  Good reason to get to the gym and see the games live; if you’re alum, you can pay special attention to the young men who will be joining your elite group !

Bears – Dinos, Wesmen – Cougars

Calgary's Matt Letkeman will be battling Alberta's Sebastien Denault in the post on Saturday. photo - David Moll

Calgary’s Matt Letkeman will be battling Alberta’s Sebastien Denault in the post on Saturday.                photo – David Moll, UC

North-South, Red-Green, Dinos or Bears ?

It’s the traditional ‘Battle of Alberta’  for our 2 oldest university programs, and these are some of the hardest fought games of the season, no matter the relative League standings.  In this year of overall balance in the upper and middle tiers of the Pioneer Division, neither team will be taking anything for granted in this single game on Saturday.  Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 2.19.58 PM

Calgary, at 5-3, and with the home court on Saturday (7 pm), has a deep team, with 10+ players in the rotation every game. The Dinos scoring, however, is dominated by 4th year import wing man, Thomas Cooper, who is the Canada West leader, at 27.5 ppg, as well as the 5th leading rebounder, at 8.8 rpg.  Their only other player averaging double digits is Lars Schleuter, the 6-7, 2nd year German import, and last season’s CW Rookie of the Year.  This is the 1st of 2 meetings in the home and home series, with the 2nd in Edmonton in late February..

Alberta has also been going pretty deep onto their bench, with 9 players over 10 mins/game, and 3 Bears are in double figures scoring – Mamadou Gueye, their 3rd year wing man from Montreal, is at 17 ppg, with import guard, Colby Jackson adding 11.4, and Sebastien Denault, the 2nd year post, also from Quebec, is scoring 10.4 ppg and the team leader in rebounds , with 8.4 rpg.


Brian Ofori, a UPEI transfer, is an aggressive forward for the Cougars.

Brian Ofori, a UPEI transfer, is an aggressive forward for the Cougars.  photo – U of S

Prairie Rivals, Regina and Winnipeg, Want to Finish Strong

Winnipeg Coach, Mike Raimbault, says, “Every game is a big game, isn’t it?”  Well, yes, but our premise is that, for the Wesmen and the Cougars, this December weekend series in Regina could be very big, if one of the teams manages to win both games!Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 2.20.16 PM

5 – 3 is one whole lot better to sit with over the break than 3 – 5, after all.  Winnipeg comes off a bye week, and Raimbault says he’s not sure if they’ll be ‘game sharp’ for Friday, but feels the break helped his Ws recover from a few small hurts. “We are really trying to improve as the season progresses”, says Raimbault.  “We are very inexperienced with many of our players, so they are learning as we go.”  The Ws have speed and quickness, and rely on a relentless defensive effort to give them an advantage.  The offensive leaders are 5th year wing, Jelane Pryce, who’s scoring is down to 12 ppg this season, with his best yet to come.  Denzel Lynch-Blair is at 15 ppg, plus 3 steals, and shooting 50% from the floor, while Jamar Farley scores 11 ppg.

Regina comes off a rough weekend in Edmonton, as they dropped 2 to the GBs, and will try and use home court and a big team rebounding edge to get back on track. Jonathan Tull is their ‘lead ‘Cat’ with 17 ppg / 6.5 rebs/ 3 steals, and they also have great depth on the perimeter with Brandon Tull (10.2 ppg), Alex Igual (10 ppg/3.5 asst/6 rebs), and UFV transfer Aaron McGowan a dandy ‘6th man’ with 10 ppg/2.5 asst.

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TRU and Lethbridge Get Support in National Poll

With a few changes this week, the big news for Cnada West might well be the rise up to #10 for the 7-1 Thompson Rivers WolfPack and the Lethbridge Pronghorns (5-1) getting into the picture as well.

Calgary moves up 1 spot, as does UBC, and McMaster advances a couple of rungs, while Western remain in the Top 10 despite a 3-4 record.  Dalhousie is an also-ran, but we wonder why no other Atlantic team (UNB?) might not get any love?

Manitoba might feel snubbed, but it’s all about the March results for Canada West teams, in any case. CW will have 3 teams at Nationals in Vancouver, and no more, we surmise.


Overtime –

  • The only other CIS game this weekend is Laval playing at #3  McGill in Montreal on Friday night.  After this, everyone hunkers down for the exam period, and Christmas holidays, short as they may be.  There is tournament and exhibition action scheduled post-Christmas, with teams playing in Canada and the U.S.
  • The Calgary Dinos ‘6th Man Club’ (Alumni group) is hosting Saturday afternoon Dinos-Bears Alumni ‘fun games’, with the aim to ‘renew acquaintances’ from past years.  There are social events planned at that time, then again for the varsity game that night … Molson -Coors sponsor.

Alberta and Lethbridge – Previews



Lethbridge Pronghorns, Coach Mike Hansen, 3rd year 

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It was a game changer for the ‘Horns when their 5th year import post, Brent Watkins, suffered what likely will be a career-ending set of injuries as a result of a summer car accident. Watkins’ recovery has been heartening, and the extended U of L community has extended great support to the family back in California.  Now, without the defense, rebounding, and 61% FG shooting of Watkins, and with Tyson McIntyre struggling with another knee injury, Coach Mike Hansen suggests, “We are a small team, and we’ll have to find new ways of getting the ball to the basket.”

The U of L roster has more returning players than almost any team in Canada West, and 5 of those are 5th years, including their superb guard combo of Jared Baker and Rob Olsen.

Rob Olsen is a hot-shooting 5th year guard for U of L.

Rob Olsen is a hot-shooting 5th year guard for U of L.

Forward Brandon Brine is a potential all-star at forward, and Coach Hansen is happy with the progress of 2nd year players Zac Overwater and Josh Sparkes, “They made a big jump over the summer, and are now stronger and more skilled.”   Also, the addition of (former UL star) Alex Fletcher as a full-time Assistant will be big for player development. Hansen cites a new push at Lethbridge to provide resources for Athletics, and Fletcher’s post is one example.

The late summer signing of import point guard Dejon Burdeaux will spark the guard corps, and ACAC College transfers Chris Maughan and Brian Preneslo give some help up front. Lethbridge may fly under the radar as they integrate the new talent, but they have enough experience and capable leadership in their veterans to contend.


Brandon Brine           F        6-6,    5th year, S.Australia

Lynden Nummi          G       5-9,    5th, Lethbridge

Spencer Lambert      G        6-1,    3rd, Lethbridge

Mike Pierzchala         F        6-4,   2nd, Lethbridge

Zac Overwater          W        6-7,   2nd, Didsbury, AB

Josh Sparkes            G        6-0,   2nd,  Medicine Hat

Jason Nysten            W        6-3 ,  4th, Carstairs, AB

Jared Baker               G        6-2,   5th,  Raymond, AB

Rob Olsen                  G       6-2,   5th,  Cardston, AB

*Brent Watkins            F       6-10,  5th –  injured in a car accident

*Tyson McIntyre –         F     6-7,    3rd –  knee injury

New ‘Horns –

Dejon Burdeaux   G      6-0  3rd, San Leandro, CA (tsf-Fresno City  Coll.)

Will Hickey          G      6-0, Golden, BC, (tsf-Lethbridge  Coll )

Brian Prenoslo    F       6-4, 4th  Sherwood Park, (tsf-Red Deer College)

Chris Maughan    F     6-9,  3rd,  Calgary, (tsf Lethbridge Coll.)



Alberta Golden Bears – Coach Barnaby Craddock, 5th year

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The Golden Bears will be in a re-building mode after losing mainstays Joel Friesen, Ken Otieno, and Youssef Ouahrig. Coach Barnaby Craddock, who has had success at Brandon, Fraser Valley, and Alberta as the head man, can see an effective forward line developing, especially with the often-spectacular play of 3rd year Canada West All-Star, Mamadou Gueye, and the physical ’14-’15 rookie star, Sebastian Denault. Add in the experienced Rav Dhaliwal, ‘BIG’ Brett Roughead, and red-shirt rookie, Brody Clark, and this should be a formidable group.

Mamadou Gueye will be a major force for the Bears.

Forward, Mamadou Gueye, will be a major force for the Bears.

Guard play will be ‘a work in progress’, according to Craddock.  “Losing a lead guard as good as Ouahrig will have us scrambling for the first part of the season”, he says. Both import Colby Jackson and Ontario star, D’Wan Williams come with impressive credentials, and veteran Ethan Dixon may get a chance to shine. Andriy Halushko and Lyndon Annetts are both capable outside shooters, and they may help U of A’s back-court step up as the season progresses.

Losing 4 of their 5 first pre-season games has to be concerning for Coach Craddock, but there is too much talent there to count out the perennial contenders this early in the ‘re-construction phase’. The GBs are home for their own Invitational on Oct. 23-24 vs UNBC and Queen’s.


Ethan Dixon                G     6-0,      3rd year,  Edmonton

Andriy Halushko          G     6-4,      2nd, Edmonton

Sheldon Pittman          G     6-5,     2nd,  Calgary

Lyndon Annetts            G     6-6,     3rd,  Beaumont, AB

Mamadou Gueye          F      6-6,     3rd,  Quebec City

Rav Dhaliwal                  F     6-7,     4th,   Surrey, BC

Brett Roughead             P      7-1,     4th,  Coleman, AB

Sebastien Denault         P       6-9,     2nd,    La Prairie, QC

New Bears –

Jonah Weyessa      G       6-0       1st,  Calgary -Fr. Lacombe

Colby Jackson        G       5-8,     1st,  Las Vegas, NV- Clark  HS

Joel Lutz                 F        6-7,     1st,  Cardston, AB

Cole Knudsen          F       6-7,     1st,  Barrhead, AB

Brody Clarke           F      6-8,     1st Toronto – Oakwood

Ivan Ikomey             G      6-1,    1st,  Calgary – McNally

D’Wan Williams       G      6-2,    1st, Toronto- Oakwood


Game Scores  – 

Thurs. Oct. 15 –  Windsor 94 vs Regina 80,  Concordia 80 at Saskatchewan  67

at McMaster 90 Cape Breton 68


Overtime – 

  •   Josh Mayorga (TRU) was on the Canada West All-Rookie team last March, but the young man informed Wolf Pack Coach Scott Clark that he did not want to continue with school and basketball this year.
  • In a similar vein, Adonis Monfort-Palomino, after a rookie year as back-up to Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson at Calgary, has recently chosen to leave the team, but UC still has 2nd year Cory Hauck, rookie Torrez McCoy, and transfer David Kapinga up to the challenge at that spot .

    Coach Craddock is the only coach in history to lead 3 different schools to the CIS National Tournament.

    Coach Craddock is the only coach in history to lead 3 different schools to the CIS National Tournament.

  •   Bears Coach Craddock, who was very busy himself this past summer as Head Coach of Canada’s Development Team, who played in the Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea, is very high on the future of Brody Clark, his red-shirt freshman forward. “Brody was the only CIS player on the Canada Junior (U-19) team, (which finished 6-1, 5th place in the FIBA Worlds in Heraklion, Greece in July) …”  Craddock suggests Clark has the physical talent and the work ethic to eventually become an All-Canadian for Alberta.

Thursday – Bears-Vikes, ‘Birds-‘Wolves


Can the Vikes and Chris McLaughlin get past the Golden Bears ?

Can the Vikes and  Canada West’s Player of the Year, Chris McLaughlin, get past the Golden Bears  in the Q-Finals?

Victoria and Alberta – Two Traditional Powers

In one Canada West Q-Final beginning on Thursday night, UVic hosts Alberta in a match-up of teams with a history of success at the League and National level.   The Vikes  have been to the last 2 CIS Nationals, but haven’t won Canada West since 2006, while the Bears were at the CIS Final 8  last season and in ’12 , and they were CW champs in both those years and in 2005.

Only one of these ‘power teams’  will move on to the Canada West Final 4.  The Vikes have home court, where they beat Alberta twice in League play, while the Bears have the longest current win streak , 8 games, in the League.  Key players and key numbers –

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The Golden Bears have a bit more depth (by minutes played), their defense is at least as good as UVic’s, and they shoot the 3 pointer better as a team.  The Vikes have 2 game-changers in McLaughlin and Tibbs, plus as good a rebounding team as there is in CW.

Youssef Ouahrig is another key for Alberta at the point, and Reiner Theill can hit the 3 and play the D for Victoria. Prediction – Home court edge in a 3 game series for UVic. 


5th year forward, Tommy Nixon, is UBC's ace in the paint !

5th year forward, Tommy Nixon, is UBC’s ace in the paint !

Timberwolves at Thunderbirds –  UBC  Has ‘Dynamic Duo’

In the other Thursday start, the Explorer Division’s UNBC Timberwolves (12-8), in their first-ever CIS playoff series (this is only their 3rd year in Canada West), step onto historic War Memorial Gym hardwood to face the 14-6 UBC T-Birds. UBC has been one of Canada West’s winningest programs, with 5 League championships  over the past 12 years. The ‘Birds slipped to 11-11 last season, and started 1-5 this campaign, but finished 13-1 since late November.  Key players and key numbers –

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The two dominant figures for UBC over that stretch have been Tommy Nixon, the Canada West scoring leader, and 6-9, Conor Morgan.  UNBC counters with their ‘bigs’ Francko Kouagnia and Devin McMurtry, plus a sharp-shooting Aussie import, Rhys Elliott.  The T-Birds bring more size and experience with  6-8, Tonner Jackson and 6-8, David Wagner,  and their 3rd year point man, Jordan Jensen-Wright, has grown more and more comfortable in that role.

The T’Wolves defense needs  to have a big series, and control the efforts of Nixon and Morgan, mostly inside.  UBC scores (highest ppg in Canada West) in the paint, and at the line !  Prediction – UNBC hasn’t turned it over, and they allow  fewer points, but this still looks like a 2 game sweep for UBC.

  >   Both  these series tip-off Thursday at 7 pm – Pacific


 Canada West Men’s Basketball Individual Award winners:


Huskies Ben Baker- Defensive Player of the Year

Huskies Ben Baker- Defensive Player of the Year

 Player of the Year: Chris McLaughlin, Victoria – As the ‘go-to man in the middle for the Vikesthe 6-10 McLaughlin led his team to a 15-5 season, and averaged 19.8 points per game 2nd in CW scoring, and 10 rebounds.  In his final season at Victoria, the Ontario native is a sure -fire pro candidate.

Defensive Player of the Year: Ben Baker, Saskatchewan – Leading the  Huskies (15-5)  to the #1 seed,   Baker finished  with 2.1 steals/ game,  and 7.7 rebounds, while contributing 12 ppg offensively. He also won this award in 2013.



 Calgary's  Lars Schleuter, is CW Rookie of the Year.

Calgary’s Lars Schleuter, is CW Rookie of the Year.     Photo – David Moll –  UC

Rookie of the Year: Lars Schlueter, Calgary – This 6-8, import wing-man from Germany is … “ a high percentage shooter with a quick enough release to handle the speed of our game and can run the floor very well”, says his Coach Dan Vanhooren.  He averaged 9.6 ppg and 3.2 rebounds, and defended opposing forwards very well, as he started every game for the Dinos.


Dan Vanhooren, UC Dinos, wins Coach of the Year.

Dan Vanhooren, UC Dinos, wins Coach of the Year.  Photo- David Moll, UC

Coach of the Year: Dan Vanhooren, Calgary – This is the first Coach of the Year selection for the Dinos 15 year head man, as he moves the team from 2 non-playoff seasons in 2013 and ‘14 to their 12-8 year this campaign, much of it spent in the CIS Top 10 rankings. Vanhooren has won 2 Canada West titles with his Dinos teams in 2004 and 2009.




Student-Athlete Community Service Award: Devin McMurtry, UNBC – The formidable 5th year rebounder was a peer-tutor, helping his teammates and other student-athletes with their studies, and also coached in the Jr. Timberwolves program.  The clincher, though, was his shaving is famous ‘flowing locks’ for the latest cancer fund-raiser!

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Overtime –

  • Further to the OUA’s use of the RPI as a decision-maker for playoff seeding … The RPI is a metric calculated on the following formula: 25 percent a team’s record, 50 percent a team’s opponents’ record, and 25 percent a team’s opponents’ opponents’ record.
  •  CIS Champions over the past 15 years – Carleton – 10 wins, including the last 4 seasons, Saskatchewan in 2010, Brock in 2008, Alberta in 2002, and St. FX in 2001, 2000. So 11 of 15 for the OUA, and 10/15 for Coach Dave Smart and the Ravens.  Canada West has 2 wins, as does the AUS, and Quebec hasn’t won since Bishop’s in 1998.
  •   Two big recruit signings for  Coach Mark Dobell of Mt. Royal, as theMRU has the friendliest ticket prices in the schools we checked for single game tickets. Cougars land Tyis Yellowhorn, a 6-4 combo guard from Chestermere (AB) High School. Yellowhorn, a key player on Coach Rob Wilson’s  powerhouse team ( 28-0 vs Canadian schools ), had been recruited by several other CIS schools, but stays close to home in the Calgary area. Coach Wilson says, “Tyis is a very good shooter, who builds everything else off that shot.  He makes good decisions as a ball-handler.“   The 2nd addition for MRU is Nate Wall, a 6-8 wing man from Holy Trinity, Okotoks, AB, and another highly sought -after grad, who Coach Dobell describes as having “ … a huge upside. He also shoots the ball really well, and can  put it on the floor.  He has some maturing to do physically (as do most high school grads), but we like his skills as a big kid.”

Three All-Star Teams


 Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is our pick for Canada West's Most Outstanding Player.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is our pick for Canada West’s Most Outstanding Player.


Eccentric All-Star Voting – 

The Canada West coaches will be making nominations for individual awards this week, we believe, and the winners will be announced as we move toward the Final 4 in March.Unknown

“ For fairness when there is no inter-lock and one division is larger than another, there is a weighted ranking system for coaches voting on Canada West All-Stars.” (Excerpt from the CW operations manual)  Ergo :  Each vote and ranking point from the coaches in the Pioneer division this year will be worth 6/11 or .545, while the Explorer coaches’ votes are worth 1.0 .

The top 1 to 5 All-star vote getters from the nominees will be the first team, 6-10 will be the 2nd team, and, for the first time, the 11-15 will make up a 3rd all-star team.  The player receiving the most votes in the All-star process is automatically the winner of the Canada West Outstanding Player of the Year.

(Of course, we might contend that a stand-out performer in the Pioneer has played against tougher competition than those nominated from the Explorer.  Opinion may vary here ….  )


Canada West – Individual Awards –  (Our own take)

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One Game – Possible Re-Shuffle in the Pioneer

Can Ben Baker and the Huskies get a sweep vs the Dinos , and hold on to first ?

Can Ben Baker and the Huskies get a sweep vs the Dinos , and hold on to first ?

By simply picking the favourites to sweep at home this week, we have the order of finish in the Pioneer Division determined as –

1st) Saskatchewan – 15-5 …  2nd) Victoria – 15-5 … 3rd) UBC – 14-6 … 4th) Alberta – 14-6 … 5th) Winnipeg – 13-7 … 6th) Calgary – 12-8 …  7th) Manitoba  … 9-11

Just for entertainment … let’s suppose the Calgary Dinos win a game at Saskatoon this week.  (Everyone else does what we suggested they might –  Bears, T-Birds, Vikes, Wesmen all sweep at home).  That game changes things !

  •   Vikes get 1st  with a 15-5 record
  • We have Alberta, Saskatchewan, and UBC are  all tied at 14-6 , and Calgary at 13-7, tied with Wpg
  • 1st tie break – games within that group –
    • UBC is +2 … they beat Sask twice, and split with Bears  … T-Birds finish 2nd !
    • Bears  are ‘0’ … they split with UBC, Sask,  … Alberta is 3rd
    • Huskies are -2 …  ‘Dogs lost 2 to UBC, split with Bears … U of S are 4th !
    • In the other tie, Calgary swept Wpg, so the Dinos are 5th and the Wesmen 6th.

It could happen ….


Overtime –

V Vike

  • The Victoria Vikes close out the historic McKinnon Gym as their playing site, as they  host the Trinity Western Spartans this Friday and Saturday.  The teams are scheduled to move to the new Centre for Athletics, Recreation and Special Abilities (CARSA) starting next Fall. There will be a celebration of Vikes history at McKinnon / Ken and Kathy Shields Court on Saturday, Feb. 14 .
  • Coach Scott Allen, who has had little to celebrate with his TWU Spartans this season, after Saturday’s home win over Winnipeg, “Sometimes you forget how good it feels to win.  It seems like every interview we’ve done this year, I’ve said the same thing: ‘The guys work hard enough to deserve a win, but we didn’t get it done.’ It’s pretty fitting to win the last game at home.” –  (From The Langley Advance )
  • Cougars Coach Marc Dobell … staying low.

    Cougars Coach Marc Dobell … staying low.

  •   Sorry … we left Oluwafemi Ogun, post man at Mt. Royal, off their 5th year grads list !  Good luck, Femi !
  •   Most coaches stand and move along the sideline.    What’s the deal with the low-profile crouching by MRU head man, Marc Dobell ?  What about the towel?  The affable Dobell responds – “When I walked back and forth in front of the bench, and something happened on the court, I would ask my guys on the bench, “Wasn’t that a travel?”  or something. They’d say they couldn’t see it, because I was in the way.  So I crouch.”  And the towel ?   “ It’s only used at home games.  Mt. Royal’s ‘austerity program’ has our gym ‘below freezing’ … I use it to keep my hands warm.”  And there you have it … we get to the vital matters during this playoff run !

Mt. Royal Ends UFV Win Streak



Cougars Surprise Cascades 

Awet Abraha scores 19 as Mt. Royal topples UFV.

Awet Abraha scores 19 as Mt. Royal topples UFV.          Photo – MRU Cougars

at Mt. Royal  74  Fraser Valley  72 –   In a sharp turn of form the Cougars end the Cascades 15 game win streak on Sunday, with some tenacious defense down the stretch to secure the win and a spilt in the weekend series.  The chief architect for MRU is Awet Abraha who does it all, with 19 pts/ 5 rebs/ 4 assists/ 1 steal/ and a pair of blocks. For Abraha  this has to be particularly satisfying, as he and his teammates have been frustrated of late.  The 5th year guard from Calgary’s Bishop McNally HS has seen his scoring average drop from 15 ppg in the 2012-13 season to just 6 ppg this campaign.

But Sunday, against the # 8 team in the CIS, he played his most complete game of the season, and was particularly strong in the final minutes, scoring 5 of MRU’s last 6 points as they hold off a frantic Fraser Valley attempt to tie. Manok Akwl scored 13 and James Lefebvre combined 11 pts and 8 rebounds for Mt. Royal, who are still chasing 3rd place with a 7-9 record.  “It was a good win for us, of course,” said Marc Dobell, Cougars’ Coach. “We now have to take this momentum and play well next week at Thompson Rivers.” Even though disappointed with their 1st loss, Cascades Coach, Adam Friesen suggested (to UFV Athletics’, Dan Kinvig),  “You never set out to lose, but it’s an opportunity for us to get that winning streak off our backs and really focus on what we need to be focusing on, and that’s getting ready for playoffs,” he said.

UFV lost big man, Nate Brown after just  4 minutes on Sunday, and they missed his robust efforts at both ends;  they also lost 5th year wing Kevon Parchment, who fouled out with about 4 minutes remaining after contributing 14 points / 4 rebounds/ 3 assists/ and 2 steals.  The Cascades were led by the 17 points/ 2 assists/ 2 steals of Manny Dulay, along with a hard-working double of 19 rebounds/ 10 points by post man, Jasper Moedt, and 13 points/ 5 boards off the bench by Kadeem Willis.

Next week  Mt. Royal is in Kamloops for a pair with the TRU Wolf Pack, while Fraser Valley travel again, this time to Prince George to face the streaking UNBC Timberwolves.  Box Score 


Huskies and Vikes Share Top Rung of the PioneerU of S Huski copy

The drama continues in the Pioneer Division, and there are so many teams on the move that we find it hard to sort out !  Saskatchewan are now the hottest team in the Division, with 8 straight wins, and, if they win out,  they earn the #1 Canada West playoff seed, as they hold the tie breaker over the UVic Vikes (2 decisive – 12 and 25 point margins – Huskies wins at Saskatoon in November).  The Vikes could Bears 3 copybe #1 with a Saskatchewan loss, and from there it gets very murky ! Calgary, Alberta, Winnipeg, and UBC are all lurking with 5 and 6 losses, with 1 good/bad result moving you from 2nd to 6th, from 5th to 3rd ?  Manitoba have a week off now to lick the wounds from 5 consecutive defeats, and they will hope to hold off Regina for the 7th playoff spot.

We are impressed with 2 Wesmen wins over the Bisons in their ‘Red River Rivalry’ (AKA the Duckworth Challenge), and the Ws are at Trinity and home to Regina to finish.  Alberta has their experienced group on a 5 game roll as they prepare for act 2 of the ‘Battle of Alberta’ series vs Calgary.  The Dinos won 90-84 in Edmonton, and get home-court for the return bout this coming Thursday.  Calgary finish up with a road series at Saskatchewan, in as tough a 2nd half as any in Canada West.  UBC travel to Regina, then host Manitoba.  The Herd hold the tie-breaker over Regina (by getting 1 win over Alberta, by our estimation), and should claim the 7th playoff position in the 11 team Division.

But still way too many question marks !  Enjoy the race to the line !


Cascades Still Rulers of the RoostUNBC copy

The Explorers have one ‘Over-Lord’ in the UFV Cascades, then an intriguing run by the UNBC T’Wolves at 2nd, where they are locked up with the ‘in and out’ TRU ‘Pack. Both these teams have the ‘bully-boy’ Cascades in the next 2 weeks, with TRU hosting Mt. Royal and UNBC at Okanagan. Who knows?  Mt. Royal must be encouraged by their win over UFV on Sunday, but still have an uphill climb ( at TRU, home to MacEwan) if they are to make the post-season line-up. UBC-O have already spoiled TRU’s fun, and will get a shot at UNBC in the final week.


Top Players this last weekend in January –

Dadrian Collins leads the Huskies to their 8th straight.

Dadrian Collins leads the Huskies to their 8th straight.                      Photo  U of S Athletics

Chris McLaughlin, Victoria – The big 5th year man continues to lead the 1st place Vikes, with a 27 point , 13 rebound, 2 block gem on Saturday, following up on a 28 point, 5 rebound, 4 block game from Friday, as Victoria sweep the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, Calgary – OJ creates a You Tube finish with a buzzer-beating trey for a win at UBC … he scores  45 points / 8 rebounds/ 10 assists / 7 steals as the Dinos split with the ‘Birds.

Rhys Elliot, Northern B.C. –  I 2 big wins over MacEwan, the Aussie guard scored 50 points, and had 6 steals, 6 rebounds, as the T’Wolves make a move on 2nd spot.

Tommy Nixon, UBC –  Tommy takes charge on Saturday to pace the T-Birds to a win and tallies 51 points / 18 rebounds / 5 assists / 4 steals  in the two tight home games with Calgary.

The Alberta pair of Joel Friesen  (48 points / 7 rebs) and Mamadou  Gueye  43 points / 19 boards in 2 home wins over Brandon, as the Bears get their 5th straight win.

Denzel  Lynch-Blair, Winnipeg –  The rookie from Toronto scores 26 points, grabs 18 rebounds,  records 5 assists, and 7 big steals in the Wesmen sweep of Manitoba.

Dadrian Collins, Saskatchewan – Breaks open the Saturday game with TWU, hitting 6/10 from 3 pt range, scoring 26 points plus 4 assists.

Mitch Goodwin, UBC-O –  The 3rd year guard scores 25 in a big rivalry win over TRU … in a loss on Friday, he grabs 10 rebounds.  Provides needed leadership to a young team.


Top Canada West Rookies –

The Canada West coaches will be submitting their nominations for all-stars and top rookies very quickly here, so we thought we would take a shot at it ourselves, starting with- Our All-Rookie Team –  

UBC-O point man, Aldrich Berrios

UBC-O point man, Aldrich Berrios                        Photo- Graystoke Photography

Our Rookie of the Year –  Aldrich Berrios, 6-1 guard,  Okanagan Heat … last game he’s 8/9 from the floor for 21 points, plus 5 boards, 2 assists, 2 steals. He’s Canada West’s top scoring rookie at 12.6 ppg, and hits 39% from 3, and leads rookies with 3.1 assists/game in a ‘work-horse’ 34 minutes.                                                                                  Zac Overwater, Lethbridge –  The 6-8 wing man shoots 44% from the floor and 46% from 3, 9.6 ppg, 1.8 assts, and 4 rebounds in 26 minutes.                                                                                      Sebastian Denault, Alberta – The 6-8 post man, who had early season injury troubles, shoots 55% from the field, 7 ppg, and gets 5 rebs in 19 minutes.                                                Denzel Lynch- Blair, Winnipeg – This 6-4 wing is coming on strong, averaging 8 ppg, with  4.5 rebs, 51% shooting from the floor, and 1.5 steals in 21 minutes.                                                Lars Schleuter, Calgary –  The German import forward, at 6-7, scores 9 ppg, 2.5 rebs, shoots 38% from 3 in 25 minutes.



In the Atlantic (In fact, way off in St. John’s, NL) …memorial 'hawks

  at Memorial 76  St. FX 70  –   It’s a big deal for the Seahawks to get a couple of wins over Coach K’s mighty X-Men !  The ‘Hawks win 51-34 on the boards, and have a nice little free throw cushion – 20/28 (71%) vs 7/15 (46%) for X. A trio of ‘Mun’ players with double -doubles, led by forward Caleb Gould with 26 pts/11 boards.      Box Score


Overtime –

  •   Coach Adam Friesen of the unbeaten Fraser Valley Cascades, on his talented point guard, Manny Dulay, “Weve been really harping on Manny to try and be more aggressive”,  Friesen said after Saturday’s 87-65 win at Mt. Royal.  “He’s such a great shooter, but sometimes he only wants to shoot when he’s wide open. We want him to shoot even when he’s somewhat contested.”    From Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics.
  •   Joy in the camp of the Okanagan Heat !  There’s nothing like a regional rivalry to UBC-O logostoke the fires, and Mitch Goodwin, the 3rd year guard who scored 25 points to lead the young UBC-O squad 84-75 on Saturday over the TRU Wolf Pack, reflects the thrill of their 3rd League win, “We have been a bit down on ourselves the past few weeks … but the young guys really showed how mature they are with how hard they competed tonight,” said Goodwin, the one third-year on a very young team. “I would say that we’ve come a long way since September. I’ve witnessed all of them grow on and off the court and tonight we showed just how far we’ve come as a team.”  From a ‘Kelowna Now’ story by  Stacy Penner.