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   

The 2 Hottest Teams in Canada West

 

 

 

Thunderbirds and Bisons both on a roll in League play 

5th year defensive stopper, Will Ondrik and his T’Birds teammates move to 15-1 on the season.   photo – Richard Lam  ,  UBC Athletics

The 2 hottest teams in Canada West continued to reel off the wins this past weekend. The UBC Thunderbirds, as expected, swept their 2 game set with the Brandon Bobcats in Vancouver, and the ‘Birds are now 7 wins in a row, 2nd only to the Manitoba Bisons in winning streaks, with the Herd up to 8.  Manitoba got a scare on Friday at home against the UNBC T’Wolves , but pulled it out, and won more easily on Saturday.

But, in this ‘Year of the RPI Monster’, both teams lost ground in the ‘order of finish’ race.  Last week the T’Birds stood at .6559 , but dropped .109, still in the top spot for the moment.  The Herd, after their 2 wins, fell 149 points from last week’s .5842.  (I guess you just play your best, and let the chips fall …. ).  UBC looks to be destined for the 3rd or 4th play-off seed, even at 19-1, while Manitoba are likely 5th in the RPI ordered seeding list.

Both these teams will be ‘tough outs’ in the post-season , and may be good picks for the Final Four.  Our best guess for the hosts may be either the Alberta Golden Bears or the Saskatchewan Huskies, who seem to rise to the top spot as we try various guesses for the results of remaining League games.  The Dogs and GBs meet in saskatoon this coming weekend to decide the issue.

Who else is going well?  The Lethbridge Pronghorns have won 4 straight, and locked up a play-off spot, and have a bye week to marshal their forces before their final week’s appointment vs the Bears in Edmonton.

 

15 League All-Stars will be tough to decide

Shane Osayande, Huskies          photo – Huskies Athletics

Coaches across Canada West are nominating top players for all-star consideration at season’s end.  They have 15 players to select, and we thought we’d look at an expanded number of possible candidates.

Keith Omoerah, Justus Alleyn of Manitoba  … Denzel Lynch-Blair- Winnipeg … Earl Thompson Jr – Brandon … Brandon Tull – Regina … Shane Osayande, Matt Forbes – Saskatchewan … Dejon Burdeaux, Elliott Sentance – Lethbridge … Brett Layton, Josh Ross – Mt. Royal  …  Thomas Cooper, David Kapinga – Calgary … Brody Clarke, Austin Waddoups, Mamadou Gueye, Alberta … Thadius Galvez – MacEwan … Rhys Elliott – UNBC … Volodymyr Iegorov – Thompson Rivers …  Aldrich Berrios – UBC-Okanagan … Patrick Vandervelden – Trinity Western … Manny Dulay – Fraser Valley … Conor Morgan , Jordan Jensen-Whyte – UBC … Grant Sitton – Victoria

So, there are 25 of the best.  We know we could form a play-off team with 10 who we left off this list, but this is a pretty good crop from which to select.

Top 10 Rookies –

Scott Kellum, UVic import guard

Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen,   James Wagner – Bisons,  Johneil Johnson –  Reg. Cougars,  Max Eisle – Dinos, Scott Kellum –  Vikes,  Brett Warren  – Pronghorns, Craig Martin- MRU Cougars, Trent Monkman – Wolf Pack, Isaiah Familia – T’Birds, Matt Lafontaine – Heat

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92 Years of Refereeing Experience

Richard Schear (L) and Art Unsworth (R) team up at a recent high school tourney .

Richard Schear, who lives in Redcliff, AB, began officiating basketball (and, eventually, football) after he had completed his Education degree at University. The 72 year old has been active as a ref now for 48 years, while his taller, much younger side-kick, the irrepressible Art Unsworth, has been a ‘zebra’ for 44 years.  Schear explains why he enjoys officiating …  First, the camaraderie  with the other officials.  Second, it forces him to keep in good physical shape.  Third, being a referee in high school sports, gives Richard a chance to  interact with the youth of today.  “By and large those young people who play high school sports are great kids, they will be the leaders of tomorrow,” says Schear.  Unsworth, a farmer-rancher near Maple Creek, SK, has 2 sons,  Clint (6-10) and Chris (6-8) who both graduated from U. Saskatchewan, having won a Canada West and CIS Championship with the Huskies in 2010.

As well as cheering his boys through high school (Medicine Hat, AB)  and university ball, Art, has been a mentor for many young refs in the latter part of his career. We congratulate these two fine gentlemen on their amazing contribution to the game over the years.

Overtime –  

Coach Steve Burrows         photo –  Regina Leader-Post

  • Regina Cougars head coach Steve Burrows on his team’s effort in topping the Calgary Dinos on Saturday,  “I wish I could say it was something I said or did, but these guys stuck together and they kept on working at it and kept on going,” Burrows said. “A couple of things went our way and we made some shots. It was just that whole thing of believing and trying to stick with what we were doing.”  From a Regina Leader-Post article by Rob Vanstone 
  • Huskies Coach, Barry Rawlyk, celebrated his 100th and 101st Canada West conference wins as head  man for the U of S  team with a two-game sweep at home over the Mount Royal  Cougars. Rawlyk spent the majority of his long coaching career as a high school coach, before taking over at U. Saskatchewan in 2010.  The leading active coach, in his 17th year at UBC is Kevin Hanson with 270 wins in Canada West play.  2nd is Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren, who, over the same 17 years has 201.  3rd – UVic’s Craig Beaucamp with 191 in 13 seasons. 4th – TRU’s Scott Clark, in his 17th year has 179. 5th – Barnaby Craddock of Alberta has 153 in his 12 years at 3 different schools.
  • Derek Wolf plays his final home game at MRU on Saturday.         photo – MRU Athletics

     This , of course, is the time of year for ‘Senior Nights’, as senior players finish their eligibility, and most also finish a degree. The  MRU Cougars graduating players, Brett Layton and Derek Wolf, will be honoured on Saturday night between the 4 pm Women’s game and the 6 pm Men’s contest.  TRU’s big man, Volodymyr Iegorov, plays his last home game this Saturday for the Wolf Pack, and 6 other schools will recognize the accomplishments of their senior grads this weekend.  UFV –  Manny Dulay, and Vijay Dhillon, Winnipeg – Jamar Farley, Brandon – Earl Thompson Jr, Chris Stanhope, Denham Buchanan, and Esmat Atem, MacEwan-  Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, and Thomas Jereniuk,   Saskatchewan – Matt Forbes, and Trevor Severinski,  UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and Will Ondrik.

 

Dinos Host Bisons – ‘Feature Series’

 

 

Dinos14 Calgary vs Manitoba Promises an Exciting Opening Weekend

The opening weekend of Canada West League Play sees the Calgary Dinos hosting the Manitoba Bisons, two teams which played in last Spring’s Canada West Final Four. The Dinos have won seven of the last 10 meetings between these teams including a decisive 100 to 74 win at that Tournament in Calgary. Last season’s November League games in Winnipeg, however, both went to overtime as the teams split that series.

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos high scoring wingman, leads UC into a big home-opener series with Manitoba. photo- David Moll, UC

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos high scoring wingman, leads UC into a big home-opener series with Manitoba.          photo- David Moll, UC Athletics

The Dinos are the defending Canada West champs, and return 3 starters from that team, Thomas Cooper, Lars Schleuter, and David Kapinga, along with another 7 veterans including 5th year stalwarts, Jasdeep Gill and Dallas Karch, and 4th year, Jhony Verrone on the perimeter. The post spot is very deep, with veterans Matt Ellis, Mitch Ligertwood, and Connor Foreman along with a strong rookie, Jeff Rodehutskors.

Two more key additions for Calgary are import guard Max Eisle from Germany, and Montreal born wing man, Mambi Diawara, a transfer from Lamar State JC in Texas.  With all these capable players vying for floor time, it will be no small task for Coach Dan Vanhooren to mete out the minutes. “We are anticipating a fast pace of play”, said Vanhooren. “We will need to be moving guys on and off the court in pretty quick fashion.  We’ll expect to get deep into our roster in every game.”Manitoba copy

Manitoba are also blessed with a solid core of veteran players, led by Canada West all-star, Keith Omoerah, who averaged nearly a double/double of 13.2 ppg/ 9.8 rebounds last season.  Last season’s  scoring stats for the Herd were topped by sharp-shooting guard, AJ Basi (17.9 ppg), with combo guard, Justus Alleyn, at 15.6, and 5th year point man Ilarion Bonhomme off the bench at 10.3 ppg.

The Bisons big men, after the graduation of top rebounder, Wyatt Anders, feature the broad-shouldered Brett Jewell, and forward, Jonathan Alexander.  The addition of prized 6-7 rookie, James Wagner, and more minutes from 6-5 vet, Joey Nitychoruk will give them more depth as well.

Our call –  The Dinos have home court, and the UM had a shaky pre-season.  Still, they should be close in both games, with a slight edge to Calgary.

 

Point man, Phil Jalalpoor and his T-Birds team invade Kamloops to tip-off against TRU.

Point man, Phil Jalalpoor and his T-Birds team invade Kamloops to tip-off against TRU.  photo –   UBC Athletics

 UBC Thunderbirds   at  Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack –  The T-Birds really don’t believe they are anything but the favourites this season, we suspect.  With seniors Jordan Jensen-Whyte and Will Ondrik, along with 4th year stars, Conor Morgan and Phil Jalalpoor, they have much more big game experience than most Canada West squads.  The ‘Birds lost their 6-8 post-up man, David Wagner, but Coach Kevin Hanson is excited about his 4th year big man, Luka Zaharijevic, a wide-body with ‘soft hands’.  1st year, 6-10 forward Justin McChesney should also get some valuable minutes.

The UBC back-court sees Whyte as the leader at 15 ppg, and Jalalpoor hitting 11.4 ppg last campaign.  Taylor Browne was on the CW Rookie team, and the addition of rookie recruits Isaiah Familia and Izaiah Ugoalah gives them more choices.

TRU Wolf Pack copy

TRU will be hard-pressed to match the ‘dream season’ they enjoyed last year, with a 16-4 record atop the Explorer Division, and finalists in Canada West play-offs, with their 1st-ever trip to CIS Nationals.  Gone are Josh Wolfram (19.6 ppg/9.6 rebs) and Reese Pribilsky, the point man, and his 13.5 ppg, 6.2 assists, and 2.6 steals.  Not minor losses there , fans!

Thankfully, the bruising Volodymyr Iegorov returns for his 5th year, and he is a solid threat to average doubles in both scoring and rebounding. Big ‘Vlad’ is a sure-fire pro prospect.  Another quality forward is 6-5 Luke Morris, who should up his production in his 4th year.  Jeff Tubbs is now the lead guard, and the all-rookie team member from ’15-’16 looks up for the task.   Michael Rouault, a 6-4 shooting guard, is now in his 3rd year, and hoping to step up as a starter.

The ‘Pack have added  imports Maalik Hazziez, a 6-9 post, and Derek Rhodes, a big guard.  Noah Kaefer, a rookie guard, from Vancouver Island’s M. Isfeld Sec. should get some court time as well.

Our call-  The ‘Pack are in their own ‘Den’, but that may not be enough to get them by a powerful UBC team.  TRU won all 3 meetings last season, but we don’t see it this weekend.

 

Saskatchewan Huskies at Fraser Valley Cascades – This is an intriguing match-up, with veterans on both teams capable of leading a winner.  UFV’s Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon, Matt Cooley, Navjot Bains and Mark Johnson will get a boost from UVic

Manny Dulay is a solid 2-way guard for the Cascades.

Manny Dulay is a solid 2-way guard for the Cascades.    photo – UFV Athletics

transfer Andrew Morris, and Simon Fraser transfer, Denver Sparks-Guest.  The Cascades were 9-1 at home last season  … 9-1 !   Dhillon (15.6 ppg),  Dulay (11.6 ppg), and Johnson (12 ppg) can be expected to lead a balanced scoring team, and all 3 can shoot from outside at 40% from 3.  Bains, with 7.2 rebs/game and Johnson with 5.7 will get help on the boards, and UFV usually defends very well and takes care of the ‘ball on offense

The Huskies have a big front line, with Matt Forbes,who will be a big plus as he comes off an injury-plagued ’15-’16 season, and  Shane Osayande (13.8 ppg / 10.3 rebounds). Another big forward is the team 3 point ace,  as Trevor Severinski led Canada West at 47% last season..  Chan De Ciman, and Alex Unruh are back at guard, and the ‘Dogs add 3rd year wing man, Jaylan Morgan, who played 2 years in the U.S.

Our Call –  Saskatchewan has the edge up front, but UFV may well hang in there with a strong guard corps and solid defense.  U of S favoured, but home court for the Cascades makes this a toss-up.

 

at Lethbridge Pronghorns  MacEwan Griffins –  We have to assume that the trio of injured ‘Horns starters, Dejon Burdeaux (, Mike Pierzchala, and Zac Overwater, are not at 100%.  They have past hurts that just seem to pop up too often.  If these 3 can answer the bell, then UL’s fast paced attack should click. Burdeaux scored 12.5 ppg / 4.6 rebounds/ 3.5 asst, and Pierzchala is hitting 17 ppg + in his Fall appearances this campaign. Overwater (10.5 ppg)  is a big man with perimeter skills.  Elliott Sentance is a 3rd year transfer who can score with the best in the League, by early evidence.

The Griffs have a team that could surprise, however, with 7 roster players in their 4th or 5th years, and a 4-2 preseason record.  Denzel James (14 ppg/ 5.2 rebs) and Thadius Galvez (13.4 ppg/ 3.5 assists) are the guard leaders, with Keith Gerdes, Ryan Coleman, and Harrison Lane promising to give Mac a chance in every game. Adonis Montfort-Palomino transfers from Calgary, providing depth at the point.

Our Call-  The ‘Horns run in an enthusiastic herd in their own gym, and, if their starters are able to go, they may get both games here.  Mac is capable of a split.

 

at Alberta Golden Bears   Brandon Bobcats –  We believe the ‘Cats will be better, and Coach Gil Cheung is eager to see how this new group can come together.  But, the road assignment against the GBs is a tough way to start for BU.

Alberta has a dangerous1-2 punch up front with the dynamic slashing all-star, Mamadou Gueye (18.4 ppg/ 7.4 rebs), and last year’s CW rookie of the year, Brody Clarke (12 ppg/ 6.3 rebs).  Brett Roughead, at 7-1, will protect the middle in the effective Bears defense.  Newcomer guards , Austin Waddoups (3rd year import), and Andre Kelly (1st year, Mississauga, ON) will make an immediate impact.

The Bobcats have 5th year leader , Denham Buchanan, on the wing, and he will provide a much bigger presence this season.  Earl Thompson Jr. is another 5th year player who can score (16.5 ppg) and rebound (8 rpg). 6-11 John Paul, who hails from St. Lucia in the Caribbean, is expected to patrol the paint with improved skill and experience.

Our Call –  Maybe closer than we might expect, with Brandon having a shot at a split.  However, the Bears must be favoured on their home floor. 

 

at Regina Cougars   Victoria Vikes  –  This is a match-up of teams with ‘dreams of

Brandon Tull will be one of the key vets expected to lead the Cougars this season.

Brandon Tull will be one of the key vets expected to lead the Cougars this season.

glory’.  Well, certainly firm hopes of

a playoff future.  Regina has had a thorough ‘test run’ in the pre-season, including a loss to these Vikes back on September 29.  But here we are in Regina.  The  Cougars  were 8-2 at home last year, including a sweep of the Vikes.  Yes, they’ve lost Jonathan Tull, but they have a coterie of vets back, led by Brandon Tull (1.8 ppg/ 4 rebs/2 assts) and Alex Igual (10.8 ppg/5.6 rebs/ 5 assts)  and 5th year combo guard, Aaron McGowan, at the perimeter.  Brian Ofori, a 4th year forward, is a robust, quick attacker, and 250 lb, 6-7 Stephen Shields lends size up front.  A key addition at guard is rookie, Johneil Johnson, from Nova Scotia.

UVic lean heavily on 5th year swingman, Grant Sitton, who is putting up big numbers early this season.  The stalwart efforts of forward Justin Kinnear (Montreal) will be more evident as he plays his 3rd season.  Big expectations in the Vikes camp for import guards Wayne Tucker, a 4th year transfer from Oakland, CA, and freshman point, Scott Kellum from Issaquah, WA.

Our Call-  We might get a Regina sweep, but know that UVic will be looking to slow down the Cougars scorers.  This cries out as a probable split. 

 

The Ws will spend a lot of time West of the Rockies this Winter.

at Winnipeg Wesmen  UNBC Timberwolves  –  The Wesmen were the ‘quietest’ 5-0 team in the CIS in the pre-season.  They are still somewhat of a mystery, but have Denzel Lynch-Blair and William Sesay as confirmed stand-outs, with ‘DLB’ scoring (17.5 ppg last year) and Sesay, an all-rookie teamer, an easy bet to improve on 7 rebs and 10 ppg in his 2nd year.  Ryan Oirnans is expected to give more scoring in the post to go with his 8 + rebounds. 2nd Year Billy Yaworsky, at 6’7 should help at the forward, and new faces Sean Tarver ( 3rd year tsf, Baltimore, MD), and 6-2 rookie Narcisse Ambanza will help in the back-court.

UNBC  Coach Todd Jordan is looking for 3rd year guard recruit, James Agyeman (Brampton, ON) to combine in the guard spot with 5th year high scorer  Rhys Elliot (18 ppg/ 5 rebs).  Marcus MacKay, at 6-4, is a big shooting guard, and set for a solid season.  At the forward, Austin Chandler, a 6-6 tsf from Wenatchee, WA Junior College will join Vaggelis Loukas and Sam Zhang on one of the smaller front lines in Canada West.

Our Call-  We see 2 for the home team here.  The Ws will continue their winning ways to start the regular season.

 

Mitch Goodwin promises to be a floor leader for the Heat this season.

Mitch Goodwin promises to be a floor leader for the Heat this season.

at UBC- Okanagan Heat    Trinity Western Spartans –  The Heat will gladly take the home court advantage in the opener, and try and get a running start for the new season.  The guard combo of Mitch Goodwin (13 ppg/ 4.5 rebs) and Aldrich Berrios (14.5 ppg/ 3.7 assts)  have already served notice that they are ready to roll in a couple of smart efforts in October.  6-9, 3rd year, Ryan Morck has worked hard to be more productive up front, and he will have the ‘blue collar worker’ David Manshrek right with him.  Rookies Matt Lafontaine (Kelowna), and Tristan Matthews (N. Vancouver), will get a shot at some minutes right away.

Trinity has no where to go but up.  The Spartans will need to get a split in some of these series early on, just for some team confidence.  Vartan Tanielian, a 3rd year wing man, has been looking like their leader in Fall play, and he has big men, 7-1 Matt Hayashi , and 6-10 Patrick Vandervelden with an extra year experience and set to go.  Tee Mayberry, a 3rd year JC tsf from Pasadena, CA will also help at forward. Tyus Allen will be a big plus, as he returns to the guard spot after a year off, and import Pogos Trunyan, Sacramento, CA has shown some spark in the pre-season.

Our Call-  If the Heat guards can spark more UBC-O offense, and if their forwards can hold of the Spartans size, then we see a sweep by the home side.

 


 

Overtime –

  • The U. Calgary has been busy celebrating their 50th Anniversary of ‘independence’ from the U of A.  In 1966 the school moved  from being named UAC  to University of Calgary.  The alumni for most of the athletic teams have held events to mark this anniversary, and none has been bigger than the Nov 4/5 Basketball Weekend.  With the Manitoba Bisons in town for the League opener, ‘The Pioneers of Dinos Basketball’ will be feted at a Saturday pre-game Social.  Every living Dinos coach since 1962 will be in attendance including John Dewar, Don Newton, Skip Morgan, Tom Bishop, Gary Howard, Cory Russell, and current Head Coach, Dan Vanhooren.

    Regina Cougars coach, Steve Burrows

    Regina Cougars coach, Steve Burrows

  • Regina Coach Steve Burrows,  “We have such a balanced league that winning and losing are going to be separated by a fine line. We have to take care of the details and stay in the present. We can’t remember what just happened for very long.” “We don’t have a guy like Jon (Tull, the team’s leading scorer last season who has exhausted his eligibility) anymore who we could say, ‘Here’s the ball. Go make a play for us.’ We’ve got to work together and trust each other at both ends of the floor. That has taken us some time.”  From a Regina Leader-Post article by Ian Hamilton. 

 

  • 2016-17 CW men’s basketball pre-season coaches pollscreen-shot-2016-11-03-at-2-28-12-pm

Regina Preview – Weekend Summary

 

Cougars ‘Fitting the Pieces Together’ –   preview 

 Regina Cougars

’15-’16 – Lost to TRU in 1/4 Finals,     11 wins – 9 losses  (Pioneer Division)

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Returnees – 5th years –  Aaron McGowan , 6-1 guard, Toronto. Travis Sylvestre, 6-4 fwd, Regina. Stephen Shields, 6-7 fwd, Brandon. Matthew Augustine, 5-11 guard, Toronto .  4th years – Alex Igual, 6-4 guard, Barcelona, Spain . Brandon Tull, 6-4 guard, Ajax, ON. Brian Ofori, 6-6 fwd, Montreal. 2nd year- Samuel Hillis, 6-5 guard, Regina.

Newcomers –  Johneil Johnson, 1st year,  6-1 guard, Lake Echo, N.S. / Combine Academy (N.C.).  Ramiro Martinez, 6-6 fwd, 3rd, Yecla, Spain (Barstow College). Kornel Tokolyi, 6-7 fwd, 3rd, Budapest, Hungary (Barstow College). Benjamin Hillis, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina, ( LeBoldus HS).  Kieran Hebert, 1st, 5-9 guard, Regina (Riffel HS). Carter Millar, 1st, 6-4 fwd, Regina (Leboldus HS). Brayden Kuski, 1st, 6-1 guard, Regina (Leboldus HS).

Head Coach Steve Burrows is using the ‘pre-season’ to get a good look at all his ‘ponies’; “We’re trying to see how to best utilize each guy’s talents, and what’s the best way for us to play.”  Yes, the 4th year bench boss has 7 returnees in either their 5th or 4th years, but he’s also working to blend in 7 new faces, including 5 in the 1st year out of high school.

“The team worked well in their summer program, and we’re pleased with how they’ve arrived at camp this Fall,” says Burrows.  “We are making adjustments with our style of play, and getting a good look at everybody in these October games.”

Guard, Brandon Tull (L) and forward, Brian Ofori (R) will be among the core group for the Regina Cougars.

Guard, Brandon Tull (L) and forward, Brian Ofori (R) will be among the core group for the Regina Cougars.

Canada West all-star, Jonathan Tull has graduated with his 17 ppg/5.2 rebs/2 asst/2.5 steals, so how do the Cougs fill that gap?  Burrows says, “We’re working to build confidence in the new roles some of our guys may have.  Not unlike everyone else!”

Both Aaron McGowan and Alex Igual are experienced lead guards, and rookie Kieran Hebert has the ‘bloodlines’ and skills to step in there eventually.  Matt Augustine, a defensive stopper, returns for his final season after missing last year.  Samuel Hillis goes into his 2nd year ready to step up, and his brother joins the team as a star local grad.  Both are sons of former Cougars Head Coach James Hillis.

Brandon Tull and Travis Sylvester can be real leaders on the wing, and they get some big man help from 5th year, Stephen Shields. A pair of imports from Barstow College, CA , Ramiro Martinez a Spaniard, and Kornel Tokolyi from Hungary, will try and work their way into the rotation, and help in the paint.

After having narrowly missed a slot in last March’s CW Final 4, the green Cougars will be aiming to get back to the post season.  ‘It’s a new team”, says Burrows, “ and we’re trying to find a fit for each guy, and an effective style for this team.”

The schedule gives the Cougs  some key games on home court, and we’ll note they’re another squad with a 4/6, back-loaded schedule, with a bye in the 1st semester.

Schedule –  Nov-Dec – Victoria, at MacEwan, at Trinity W., Saskatchewan,  (4)            Jan-Feb -at UBC-O, Manitoba, at Brandon, Calgary, at Winnipeg, TRU (6)

Prediction – Playoffs, we would bet .


WEEKEND  REVIEW –

Vikes, Cougars Still ‘Works in Progress’

Out on the Island, the results of the GUY VETRIE MEMORIAL show McMaster Marauders of the OUA winning the event with a 3-0 mark ( 69-62 over McGill,  75-61 over Regina, and 76-65 past the Vikes on Saturday – Box Score). Victoria went 1-2, with a lop-sided  loss to McGill 69-44-  Box Score, and then their lone win, in a comeback, over Regina 76-67.  The Cougars, without Aaron McGowan, and having star recruit,  Johneil Johnson, go down with an injury, dropped all 3 games.

Both UVic and Regina are trying to incorporate a significant number of new faces into the playing roster.  Obviously, more games left in October to try and do that.

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A nice pair of wins for the Winnipeg Wesmen at Lakehead … 76-70 on Friday  Box Score, and  74-69 Saturday over the ‘Wolves. Box Score

UBC-O beats last year’s CCAA champs, Vancouver Island 82-53

Saskatchewan squeaks past Medicine Hat College  66-65 in OT  Box Score

UNBC beats Red Deer College 94 -83  The T’Wolves also win over NAIT 82-67

MacEwan beats UNBC 96-73 in Edmonton     Box Score ,  and Alberta topped the T- Wolves 92-61.

Elsewhere –

CIS champs, Carleton Ravens, served notice that they are back with ‘bad intentions’, as Carleton Rthey sweep the field at Acadia’s Stu Aberdeen Tournament in Wolfeville.  It was Ravens 85-62 over Laval (just loosening up …), then, on Saturday Carleton crushed the home Axemen 112-62.  The Blackbirds danced on St. FX on Sunday, to the tune of 116-72. Quels joueurs !

At UNB’s Eric Garland, the class of the field were the Saint Mary’s Huskies, as they beat the Reds 98-84, then Maine -Ft. Kent 84 – 73, and finish Sunday over Bishops Gaiters 82-66.

Concordia handles Queen’s in Montreal 74-53

UQAM also beats Queen’s  83-61, and Ottawa 76-73

More scores –

Toronto 105  Memorial 69,  Ryerson  123 Mohawk Coll. 76,  Laurier 74  Nipissing  50,  Bishops 69  UNB 60, Dalhousie 83 Mt. St. Vincent 54, Seneca College 80  York 78,  St FX 82  Laval 66, Guelph 90  Memorial 65, Laurier 62  Algoma 52,

Sunday –  Sheridan Coll. 94 Guelph 80, Dalhousie 102 Holland Coll. 92, Western Ont. 64 Humber Coll. 60, Memorial 78 York 74, Maine- Ft. Kent 85 UNB 81, Nipissing 68  Algoma 64, Laval 84 Acadia 76

______________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime –

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos' Canada West Player of the Year, leads a group of '15-'16 all-stars who are returning this year.

Thomas Cooper, UC Dinos’ Canada West Player of the Year, leads a group of ’15-’16 all-stars who are returning this year.                 photo –  David Moll, UC Athletics

  •   10 of the 15 Canada West All-stars from last season return to their teams for this campaign.  They are Player of the Year Thomas Cooper – Calgary, Jordan Jensen-Whyte- UBC, Mamadou Gueye- Alberta, Keith Omoerah – ManitobaBrett Layton – Mt. Royal, Conor Morgan – UBC, Denzel James – MacEwan, Denzel Lynch-Blair – Winnipeg, Volodymyr Iegorov – TRU, Lars Schleuter – Calgary.

 

 

 

Recruiting News – Critical Roster Building

 

 

Canada West Teams Busy With Recent Signings –

5th year seniors Wyatt Anders (Bisons) , Matt Letkeman , and Josh Owen -Thomas (Dinos) shown in recent playoff action, will leave opportuninties for new recruits at Manitoba and Calgary this Fall. photo - UM Athletics

5th year senior graduates,  Wyatt Anders (Bisons)  and Matt Letkeman   (Dinos)  , shown in recent playoff action, will leave opportunities for new recruits at Manitoba and Calgary this Fall.  photo – UM Athletics

Manitoba Coach, Kirby Schepp announced the signingof local Winnipeg high school stars, Cameron O’Hara, a 6-7 post man from St. Paul’s HS, and James Wagner, a 6-7 forward from John Taylor Collegiate, who talks about his move to the Bisons for next season,   in this Winnipeg Free Press article by Alana Trachenko .  

> The Fraser Valley Cascades add 3 ‘blue-chip’ recruits for the coming Fall. 

Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey), will suit up for UFV. - photo - Surrey Leader

Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey), will suit up for UFV. – photo – Surrey Leader

Andrew Morris, a B.C. College all-star with Capilano College transfers in, and high school stars, Daniel Adediran, Pacific Academy (Surrey)  and Sagar Dulay,  Tamanawis (Surrey).  More details in this story from Dan Kinvig, UFV Athletics
Trinity Western coach Aaron Muhic signed guard Josiah Meppelink (Langley), who joins the Spartans via Lynden, Wash. The 6-foot-3, 160-pound Meppelink, who moved from Langley to Lynden when he was 12 years old, averaged eight points, 10 assists and six rebounds per game this past season at Lynden Christian School. In his Grade 12 year, Meppelink was also named to the All-NWC (Northwest Conference) Second Team. From TWU Athletics

Calgary Dinos Coach, Dan Vanhooren, has already signed import guard, 6-4 Max Eisle from Ulm, Germany, and the intensely recruited Jeff Rodehutskers, an exceptionally talented 6-8 forward from Chestermere High School (Alberta).

 

Lethbridge Coach, Mike Hanson,  previously announced the signing of 6-4 guard, Scott Mazutinec, from Stirling HS in S. Alberta, and Mark Rodehutskers, the 6-4  younger brother of Jeff.  Mark, who was academically accelerated in grade school, will graduate from Chestermere HS this June as well.

 

UBC Head Coach, Kevin Hanson, has landed 2 highly sought-after high school athletes in Parker Simson, a 6-3 guard (and football prospect) from Kelowna Sr. Sec., and Izaiah Ugoalah, a 6-5 guard from Sir W. Churchill (Vancouver).

 

> UVic Coach, Craig Beaucamp, has been busy with 3 signees … transfer guard , Wayne Tucker, a 6-1 import from Oakland , CA  via Olds College (Alberta) … a 2nd import guard, 6-1 Scott Kellam, Issaquah HS, WA, and a 6-5 wing man, Vladislav Zasmolin, from Sir W. Churchill HS, Calgary.

> Regina Head Coach, Steve Burrows, is surely delighted with the fact that he has signed 3 local stars to play for his Cougars next Fall . 6-2 guards, Ben Hillis and Brayden Kuski, along with 6-4 forward, Carter Millar, all played at LeBoldus High School, Regina.   Details in this story from UR Athletics .

> In a 17 team CW League, it can be a big ask to ‘capture the Cup’.  If you don’t win your last game, do you have to see the season as a failure?  Well, obviously not !  There are many victories and moments to celebrate along the way, as this story from the UM ‘The Manitoban’ does so well .

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> The CIS announced their dates and venues for the next 2 years for the Final 8 National Tournament –  The Championships will be held back in Halifax in the the Spring of both 2017 (March 9-12) and 2018 (March 8-11).  This is a week earlier than it was this season.  We are back to traditional dates, and will not conflict with the First and Second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. (Smart move on the dates … not sure about a one year deal for UBC, but maybe the cost – risk is too high ?)

>  April, for most CIS coaches, is a time when they are either wrapping up their recruiting for the coming Fall season, or they’re still busy attempting to build or re-build their roster with ‘late signings’.  UBC T-Birds Football Coach, Blake Nill, a seasoned recruiting guru says, “You have to have made the initial contact with the student athlete probably in their grade 10 year or at least in their grade 11 year,” said Nill, as he explained the traditional timeline for athletics recruitment today. “ So you can get the process [started] and give it enough time to develop the relationship that you need.” More reflections on the recruiting process in this article by Olamide Olaniyan in The Ubyssey.

> We have a new source for CIS recruiting news from a favourite web-site – Martin Timmerman, who does such a great job with all things CIS Basketball at cishoops.ca has added an up-to-date recruiting info page, which was sorely needed, with the retirement of long-time ‘primo-source’ Barry Hayes.  Check out this recruiting page at CIS Hoops

Both Series’ Go To Third Game

 

Outside shot is key to Griffins game 2 win

Keith Gerdes and the GMU Griffins earn a game 3 shot vs Alberta .

Keith Gerdes and the GMU Griffins earn a game 3 shot vs Alberta .

at  #8 MacEwan Griffins  77  #9 Alberta Golden Bears 62   –  The plot thickens in Edmonton, with a developing rivalry breaking into a fierce battle.  GMU go right at Alberta in the opening 10 minutes, as the lead grows to 20-9 on a late trey from Denzel James, finishing an 18-2 run.  Another great crowd at Mac, with energy transferred to the Griffs on the floor. James tallies 19 in the 1st half, as the Maroon  expand their lead to 44-27, while the defense makes it tougher on the GBs. The deep ball is McEwan’s friend in this 2nd game, as the hosts cash 13/32 (40%) from 3 point range vs 5/28 (18%) from Alberta; the Mac shooting was far better than in Friday’s loss, as they outshoot the Bears 42% to 34% from the floor. James finishes with 24 points/ 8 rebounds/ 3 assists to pace the winners, helped by 17 points / 5 assists  from Thadius Galvez, and 16 points/ 6 rebounds by forward Keith Gerdes.  Between the trio , they are 12/20 from outside the arc. The Bears have 14 from Mamadou Gueye, while Sheldon Pittman totals 13 points/ 4 rebounds coming off the bench.  The 3rd and deciding game is again at GMU – game time 2 pm Mountain.  The winner of that game faces the top seeded Calgary Dinos in a 3 game series starting next Friday night in Calgary.      Box Score

Cougars dig deep to engineer a 2nd half surge

The Cougar mascot expresses some concern early in the Saturday contest.

The Cougar mascot expresses some concern early in the Saturday contest.

at #7  Regina Cougars  67            #10   Winnipeg Wesmen  64 –  The Cougars appear to have suffered from the virus which has effected the UR campus, as they’re moving slowly, and just not able to convert offensively early on. Up by 33-32 after 20 minutes, the Wesmen go 11-0 to start the 3rd; Brian Ofori and Jonathan Tull provide Regina some energy to finish the stanza, with UW up 51-44.  Much more urgency from the home side in the fourth, and a larger Saturday crowd gets behind the come-back. Will Tallman leads Cougars’ scoring with 19 points, including 3/6 from outside, plus 9 rebounds;  18 by Jonathan Tull, and 8 rebounds, while Alex Igual also cashes 3 treys in scoring 15 points/ 7 rebounds/ 4 assists.  Winnipeg stops scoring in the 4th, and shoots just 35% for the game, with UR almost the same, at 36%. Ryan Oirbans is tops for UW, with 18 points and 10 boards / 5 assists.  Game 3 in this series goes at 7 pm on Sunday night. The winner from this series travels to Kamloops to play the #2 seeded TRU Wolf Pack, starting next Thursday.    Box Score


  More CIS Scores  –
Atlantic –  at Cape Breton 88  Saint Marys  80,  Acadia 103  UNB 92 , St. FX  87  at Memorial  71
Quebec – at #8  McGill 76  Bishop’s 46 , at UQAM 81 Laval 76
Ontario –  #1 Carleton 68 at  Nipissing 39 ,  #2 Ottawa 102 at Laurentian 79 ,                 #3 Ryerson 81 at York 72 , at Queen’s 77 Toronto  68 ,  at   #7 Brock 65 at  Guelph 62,      at Western 72  Algoma 58 ,  Laurier 104  Waterloo  82  , Lakehead  at Windsor  (late score).


 

Overtime –   

  •  On Friday, and again tonight the Regina Cougars had just nine players dressed, as Stephen Shields sat while undergoing  concussion protocol,  and   Rawane Ndiaye, who has been used very sparingly in any case, had to return to the U.S. with visa issues.  Shields has been a significant presence in the regular season, and his size would have been useful in dealing with Winnipeg’s Ryan Oirbans.  To complicate matters, the U of R campus had a ‘Norwalk Virus’ alert, and things were basically shut down, which explains the sparse crowd at Friday’s game.
  • Neither team looks to have a clear advantage in the Regina-Winnipeg clash, and the 3rd game will be a confrontation of wills, with fatigue looking like it may well be a factor. “The playoffs are always tough. This was a very close game, and our guys know we’ll need to bring a great effort tomorrow”, said Winnipeg Coach Mike Raimbault.  Cougars Coach Steve Burrows was, of course, happy with the win. “It was just a reversal of Friday’s game where they had made the big comeback; I told our guys in the locker room that I felt they had shown the character we saw from them all season long”, said Burrows.
  • Just as a reminder – in the March 3-4-5-6 QUARTER-FINALS – we have …
    Series A – GRIFFINS / BEARS winner  at #1 CALGARY
    Series D- #5  FRASER VALLEY  at  #4  MANITOBA                                                        –  ( Winner of series A  vs Winner  D at the Final 4, March 11/12)
    Series B – COUGARS/WESMEN at #2  TRU
    Series C – #6 LETHBRIDGE  at  #3  UBC                                                                    –    ( Winner- series B  vs  Winner of C at the Final 4 )
    That Final 4 runs March 11-12, Friday-Saturday,  at he home of the highest winning seed.

Saskatchewan and Regina Previews

 

Saskatchewan Huskies, Coach Barry Rawlyk, 6th year

Huskies big man, Matt Forbes

Huskies big man, Matt Forbes

The Huskies, without big men, Matt Forbes and Shane Osayande, have  won 4 of 5 CIS pre-season games to date, including a win over all 3 of UVic, Carleton, and Fraser Valley at the Vikes Tournament.  That suggests to us that, despite some key player losses, U of S will again be one of the top contenders in Canada West.

 Evan Ostertag may be the CW 6th Man of this sesaon, with his scoring touch heading for a 15 ppg+ level, and added experience gives Trevor Severinski a brighter green light to launch his outside shot.  Forbes, when healthy, is a beast inside, and Osayande shows the potential to give  a big assist as a strong defender and a tough rebounder.

Yes, Coach Barry Rawlyk landed yet another San Diego-area recruit in wing man Shawn Lathan, but perhaps more tellingly, he snatched the impressive point man, Jauquin Bennett-Boire, away from B.C., and coaxed the lightening -quick Chan DeCiman up from Regina. These are 2 great rookie additions, and Devin Wittow out of Alberta also looks sharp.

The ‘Dogs host their Graham Construction – Huskie Invitational this coming weekend, with Regina, Windsor,  and Concordia providing an intriguing mix of teams. Rawlyk has a .75% winning record in Canada West and CIS competition, and he may guide the Huskies into another playoff run this time around.

Returnees-

Alex Unruh           G      5-10,  3rd year,  Saskatoon

Evan Ostertag      G       6-1,    5th,     Saskatoon

Jonathan Karwacki  G    6-0,    3rd,      Saskatoon

Joseph Barker          F     6-7,    2nd,     Saskatoon

Matthew Forbes        F     6-6,     5th,     Regina Beach

Shane Osayande       F     6-6,     3rd,     Toronto

Trevor Severinski        F     6-6,     4th,      Pitt Meadows, BC

Mack Burns                F    6-6,       3rd,      Regina

New Faces – 

Devin Wittow             F     6-6,      1st,       Leduc, AB

Chan DeCiman          G    6-2,       1st,      Regina

Shawn Lathan             W   6-4,        2nd,     San Diego, CA (tsf S’Western Jr. Coll. )

Davis Humbert            G     6-2,        1st,      Saskatoon

Jauquin Bennett-Boire  G   6-2,        1st,       Abbotsford, BC

Reid Thuringer             G    6-2,         1st,     Warman, SK

 

Regina Cougars – Coach Steve Burrows, 3rd year

Regina copy

There are rumblings around the West that imply the Cougars may be more vicious predators in the 2015-16 campaign. Coach Burrows is typically reluctant to predict great things … “We are trying to build a winning culture and attitude … one day at a time.”  Well Coach, it should be easier with a healthy Alex Igual, the flashy import guard, and a solid returnee group led by the high-octane brothers Brandon and Jonathan Tull, shooter Travis Sylvestre, and big men Jeremy Zver and Will Tallman.

 Brandon Tull will be a leader for U of R

Brandon Tull will be a leader for U of R

Coach Burrows said, “Both Stephen Shields and Gurkirat Kular have the skills to give us a little more useful depth.  But we won’t get Ndiaye until after Christmas … he is finishing his degree in Tennessee.”

Regina has the size, the experience, and, maybe now with Igual, the offensive consistency to take a determined run at the post-season.

This group was not that far away last year, and, as the Coach points out, “We’ve added a few more pieces to help us win the games that may have slipped through our hands in past years.” An early indication will be how they fare against some pretty good teams at the U of S Tournament this weekend. The ‘Green Cougars’ also travel to Nova Scotia in  a couple of weeks to play in the Cape Breton U. Classic.

Returnees –

Travis Sylvestre  6-4   F,       4th,    Regina

Will Tallman       6-8     F,      5th,    Regina

Brandon Tull     6-4    G,     3rd,    Ajax, ON

Jonathan Tull    6-4     G      5th,    Ajax

Matt Augustine 6-0     G      5th,    Toronto  (* injured)

Alex Igual          6-4       G,    4th      Barcelona, Spain

Jeremy Zver      6-5        F,     5th     Regina

Brian Ofori         6-5        F,     3th,    Montreal

Mike Malecha      6-2       G,    3th,   Regina

Zach Mihalicz      6-8        P,     2th     Parker, Colorado

Brandon Buttazoni 6-0     G,    3th,     Regina

Additions: 

Stephen Shields     6-7      P,     4th,    Brandon, MB  ( tsf Brandon )

Kolton Bellamy       6-6      F,     1st,     Regina

Rawane Ndiaye       6-10    P,     2nd,   Bronx, NY (tsf Tennessee )

Gurkirat Kular           6-4      G,    1st,    Surrey, BC ( tsf Simon Fraser )

Sam Hillis                  6-3       G,    1st,     Regina

 

Overtime –

  • The Doug Mitchell Sports Centre at UBC has a new basketball court, in preparation for the 2016 CIS Final 8 Tournament. Story in The Ubyssey. The floor was ‘christened’ on Oct. 2 as UBC hosted their Fall Invitational Tournament.
  • Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (Dinos) and Jordan Baker (G. Bears) are both starting for Galitos-Tiey in the Portuguese Pro League.  We are having no luck getting a translated page, but will keep trying.
  • Howard Kelsey, Canada Basketball, encourages a look at the new National Team Alumni website –   http://www.nbtaa.com
  •  Scores from last week –  Calgary 93 Saskatchewan 81,  Brock 103 Brandon 86, Sask. 69 Mt. Royal 62, Calgary 76 Alberta 64, Brock 81 Winnipeg 52, MacEwan 65 Manitoba 64, Mt. Royal 53 Alberta 50,  UFV 90 Trinity W. 81, Winnipeg 75 MacEwan 66, Brock 79 Manitoba 75, UFV 77  TWU 68, Brandon 114 MacEwan 107.
  • Saskatchewan vs Concordia, and Regina takes on Windsor to tip off the Graham Construction Tournament in Saskatoon on Thursday.  The Stingers won 3 straight at their own Dore Tournament last week, and Windsor may be a Top 10 team again this year in CIS.