T’Birds Boast Imposing Depth

 

 

T-Birds have unfinished business

It’s not often that a coach admits he is 100% satisfied with his recruiting and his roster, but UBC’s veteran mentor, Kevin Hanson (18th year) appears awfully close.  “We did very well, and no one (recruit) said no”, says Hanson.  This has the T’Birds, who were 19-1 in Canada West play last season, looking for a repeat, and then more fortune at play-off time. After major disappointment in the post season last Spring, this is a team looking for something special.

“Things happen from week to week”, says the coach. “Injuries, illness … we felt that we needed more depth.”  Well, they have it now, in spades!  5 new faces counting  , Jauquin Bennett-Boire, the explosive2nd year lead guard who red-shirted last season.  Add in the heralded arrival of 6-10 Grant Shephard (Kelowna), who chose UBC over chances in the NCAA ranks.  Mason Bourcier is a 6-4 guard who played with Shephard at Kelowna Sr. Sec.  A pair of former Toronto high school guards, 6-3 Anthony McNish, and 6-4 Grant Audu, come from a year’s play in U.S. high schools.

Conor Morgan, now a 5th year, returns to chase a title for UBC   Photo – T-Birds Athletics

Two more young local recuits will be red-shirting;  the T’Birds, after all, do return 6 – 8 roster players from last season.  Three 5th years  head that list, led by 6-9 Conor Morgan (Victoria), the 2017 Canada West player of the year, along with point man, 6-2, Phil Jalalpoor (Germany), and 6-8 Luka Zaharijevic (Vancouver).

Taylor Browne (Surrey) returns as a fast-rising 3rd year guard, who “worked hard on his game over the summer”, and can be a valuable complimentary scorer and creator on offense. Patrick Simon (Port Coquitlam) is a 4th year, 6-8 post , and guards Isaiah Familia (Windsor, ON) and Izaiah Ugoalah (Vancouver) are in the mix.

“We are still working on our different combinations.  Certainly, we have a great group here; I’m excited to coach these guys. We want to focus on team, and getting them to jell and work together”, says Hanson.  The 5- time Canada West coach of the year exclaims, “I feel energized, and hungry to make this a very good team.”

‘The Bazooka’ trains with a purpose

In high school, at nearby Kitsilano Sr. Secondary, Luka Zaharijevic, was a legendary star, who scored at will with a 6-8 frame carrying as much as 300 lbs.  Dubbed ‘Luka, The Bazooka’, he stood out for many reasons.  On arriving at

Luka Zaharijevic is a 5th year UBC post man.  Photo – T’Birds Athletics

UBC, Luka played few minutes as he was behind more mature post men.  His size wasn’t helping, because his fitness wasn’t what it should have been.  “We’ve wanted to start Luka in the last couple of seasons”, says Coach  Hanson, “But he was hurt, and he was never quite ready.”  “This past Spring and Summer, Luka has dedicated himself to preparing for a big final year.”  The transformation has been impressive, as Hanson tells us the young man has pursued his training with a vengeance.  He is, reportedly, eating better, ‘riding his bike all over town’, and focused on his post game skills.

In lthe Waterloo game last weekend the big man was 8/9 for 17 points in just 13 minutes;  he looks ready to step in as one of the T-Birds big weapons up front.  With an eye to a possible pro opportunity, Luka is determined to make his 5th year one to remember.

Bears Hang Up a Big W at Saskatchewan

 

 

Bears outside shooting shocks the Huskies on Friday in Saskatoon

Mamadou Gueye and the Golden Bears claim a huge road W in Saskatoon. photo – U of A Athletics

 # 7  Alberta 80 at # 9 Saskatchewan 67 –  The Bears engage their top weapon, the 3 pt shot, with 13/27 – 48% from outside, and pull away in the closing minutes fo the big road win.  Alberta defense limited the Huskies to 38% from the floor, and the visitor’s sharp ball-handling gave them a 4-14 advantage in the turnover column.  6 points was as close as U of S got in the final frame, and Mamadou  Gueye’s 2 treys in the last 2 minutes iced the cake, and Alberta moves to 13-4.

The Bears get 22 pts from import guard, Austin Waddoups, as he cashes 4/6 from beyond the arc, and  Gueye finishes with 21 and 5 boards.  The Huskies (11-6) have 4 starters in double figures, with a 12 point/13 rebound game from Shane Osayande, and 16 pts/ 8 boards by Matt Forbes before he left with 5 fouls late in the 4th.  Box Score     8 pm Central again on Saturday

at Brandon 79  Manitoba  68 –   The Bobcats (8-11) poke a stick in the Bisons’ spokes,

Tyvon Cooper scores 21 as Brandon derails Manitoba in game 1.  Photo –   Bobcats Athletics

with some aggressive team defense and shut-out rebounding.  Manitoba can hit just 30% from the floor in dropping their 1st game in the last 9 League efforts.  Tyvon Cooper shines for the ‘Cats in this upset , with 21 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 steals, and he gets lots of help.  Big men, John Paul (12 pts/ 13 boards) and Earl Thompson Jr  (13 pts/ 10 rebs), both record handy double-doubles, and Pookie Saunders deals out 8 helpers.  The frustrated Herd (10-7) have Ilarion Bonhomme, the ex-Brandon point man, collect 14 points/ 6 rebs/ 7 assists as their top man.  Keith Omoerah totals 13 pts/ 11 rebs for his double, but there’s not enough offense on the night for the visitors.   Box Score    7 pm  Central  on Saturday

 

 

at  Winnipeg 102  Regina 93 –  Regina (7-10) looked like their hot shooting would get them a road win, but their defense allows 57 points in the 2nd half to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.  It’s ‘very rare’ to shoot 58.5% from the floor (50% from 3 !) and manage to lose.  20 turnovers, and a +10 for the Ws from the foul line certainly aided the charging home side. Winnipeg (11-6) have 6 players in double digits, with Sean Tarver the leader, scoring 21, Denzel Lynch-Blair 18, and big Ryan Oirbans recording a double of 14 pts/ 10 assists/ 8 rebs.  The Cougars get 25 points/ 5 rebs/ 4 assts from the explosive Brian Ofori, and both Brandon Tull and Alex Igual drop 21 pts for the visitors.    Box Score         7 pm  Central on Saturday

# 6 Calgary 84 at Thompson Rivers 76 –  A 21-11 final frame gets Calgary to the road win, after they trail for most of the opening 30 minutes.  The Dinos overtake the Wolves despite a decided 3 point shooting edge for TRU (10-5), but Calgary makes more trips to the line (25/34 vs 14/18) .  The Dinos move up to 13-4, while the ‘Pack fall to 8-9, after a closely contested match.  Thomas Cooper helped UC finish strong, as he collects 22 pts/ 11 rebounds, and got help from Mambi Diawara, who was good for 14 pts.  4 TRU players hit double figures, with Derek Rhodes cashing 16 pts, and Volodymyr Iegorov scoring 14 plus 10 rebs/ 9 assts.  Box Score          7 pm Pacific  again Saturday

 

at  MacEwan 74   UBC-Okanagan  62  –   A big 2nd quarter gets the Griffins a clear lead, and they are even from there for their 7th win vs 11 losses on the season. GMU out-shoots (47% to 35%) and out-rebounds (43-33) the visiting Heat, who are now 2-15. Denzel James leads Mac with 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 4 assts, while forward Ryan Coleman is off the bench for 14 pts/ 8 boards, and Keith Gerdes chips in with 13 pts/ 8 rebs. Both Austin Penrose (7 rebs) and Aldrich Berrios tally 16 points apiece for UBC-O.  Box Score                 7 pm Mountain  on Saturday

 at  Mt. Royal 96  Trinity Western 66 –  The Cougars open up a 51-30 half-time lead, and cruise to their 8th win, with 5 players hitting double figures.  TWU have offensive troubles stemming from 27 big turnovers, and they shoot only 3/5 free throws vs 19/25 for the home side.  Josh Ross paces MRU with his 16 pts/ 8 rebs/ 6 assts, while Brett Layton adds 14 pts/ 8 boards.  Max Vitala tallies 18 pts for Trinity, as they are now 2-15.  Box Score               6 pm Mountain on Saturday

Manny Dulay leads UFV to a come-from-behind win photo- UFV Athletics

at Fraser Valley 87 Victoria 83 –  A somewhat unexpected offensive explosion in Abbotsford, as the Vikes (7-10)  post 33 points to grab a 73-65 lead at the 3/4 mark, only to see the Cascades win the 4th by a 22-10 count for the come-back victory.  Manny Dulay’s 36 points for UFV (8-9) continue a personal hot streak, but none hotter than Friday.  Dulay splashes 8/11 from 3 pt range and adds 7 assists, while Andrew Morris helps with 14 pts.  as Fraser Valley shoots 51% from the floor.  The Vikes are 50% from outside on 14/28, but their offense stalls out in the 4th.  Grant Sitton scores 26 for the visitors on 4/8 from beyond the arc, and he adds 9 rebounds/ 5 assts.  Box Score        7 pm  Pacific  on Saturday

 

 at   UBC 123  UNBC 75  –  Up 56-37 at the break, the T’Birds top that with 67 points in the final 20 minutes to post a most lop-sided win.  Cruel and unusual ….  Conor Morgan pours in 36 pts for UBC, with 13 rebounds, while Taylor Browne notches 20 pts off the bench, as the Thunderbirds shoot 67% from the field.  UNBC  has 14 pts/ 5 assts/ 4 steals from James Agyeman Box Score              7 pm  Pacific on Saturday

 

Lethbridge has the bye this week

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Scores from the East –

Atlantic -at #10 Dalhousie 88 Memorial  63, at UPEI 92  UNB 77 , St. FX 85 at Saint Marys 83, at Acadia 101 Cape Breton  88

Thursday in Quebec  … at Concordia 68 Laval 54,  at #8 McGill 79  Bishops 62

In the OUA … #1 Carleton 74 # 3 Ottawa 61, at Toronto 79 York 58, at #5 Ryerson  70 Queens 59 ,  at Laurentian 73   Lakehead 67,  Western 79 at Algoma 67, at Nipissing 79  Guelph 69

 

Overtime –

  • Congratulations to Howard Tsumura, long-time Vancouver Province columnist and blogger, on his new website  ‘Varsity Letters’ . http://varsityletters.ca    This impressive site continues Howard’s amazing coverage of school sports, from high school to university.  He provides thoughtful profiles on individual athletes,  covers the progress of teams, leagues, and championships, with a very keen focus on British Columbia specifically.  It is great to see this popular writer continuing to  lead the way in covering so many amateur sports and athletes.
  • UVic vs UFV coaches’ thoughts going in to a pivotal weekend series,  “We know they can score and they have had some very good results in the second half of the year, knocking off Alberta and playing Calgary really tough,” Vikes Coach Craig Beaucamp said of the Cascades. “We are going to have our hands full, we have to play well on the defensive side of the ball for sure.”    The Cascades head man, Adam Friesen says, “UVic tries to grind it out and games like that come down to a possession here or there. Whoever wins the battles in the paint gives themselves a better chance to win.”   (From a story by   MARIO ANNICCHIARICO in the Victoria  TIMES COLONIST.)

Weekend Sweeps Move Teams Up

 

 

Love the Sweep !   Teams on the rise …

The UBC Thunderbirds made the biggest ‘statement’ of the Canada West season with their 102-76 battering of the Alberta Golden Bears on Saturday in Vancouver.  Their 2 game sweep of the Bruins puts the ‘Birds at 11-1 with building confidence in the quality of their depth and determination as a potential CW champion. UBC is not just Conor Morgan, but have the gritty leader, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, and another 5th year stand-out in 6-7 Will Ondrik.  As their ‘supporting cast’ deliver performances like those of Luka Zaharajevic, Taylor Browne, and A.J. Holloway vs the ‘GBs’, we see the T-Birds as the favourites to host the Final 4 in early March.

The Saskatchewan Huskies (8-4) won 2 ‘bonus RPI’ games at Lethbridge this past weekend, and are looking more like a top 4 contender with their deeper playing roster. Since his arrival after semester 1, import guard Lawrence Moore (3rd yr, 6-3, Chicago) has averaged 14 ppg and 4.8 assists.  Jaylan Morgan (3rd, 6-5, Toronto) is stepping up his game, and, when he returns from injury, Chan De Ciman will add to the mix.  Then, of course, the Green and White have the formidable post pair of Shane Osayande (18.7 ppg/ 11 rebs) and Matt Forbes (13.3 ppg/ 8.3 rebs).

The Calgary Dinos (10-2) get a weekend home sweep over Fraser Valley, one a 106-68 blow-out, but the 2nd a somewhat shaky 92-87 last minute win.  UC will have to sort out the consistency of their effort as they welcome the aforementioned ‘Sled Dogs’ to town this Friday and Saturday. This is the feature match-up this week in Canada West. Can Thomas Cooper get back to his prolific scoring ways?  Can the Dinos defend the Huskies bigs?  Can Calgary use their vaunted depth to turn aside the advancing Prairie power?

Bisons guard, Justus Alleyn

The Manitoba Bisons (6-6) have started on their hopeful drive to 10-0 leap up the standings in this 2nd semester.  They brush aside the fading Regina Cougars (6-6) with 2 convincing road wins behind veterans Justus Alleyn and Keith Omoerah.  A trip this week to Trinity Western is unlikely to slow the rumbling Herd, who have plans to keep climbing the League table.

The Victoria Vikes (5-7) return home with fresh hope after 2 wins at UBC-O, the 1st Vikes sweep of the season.  Their challenge this week will be to defend home court against a tougher opponent, the Lethbridge Pronghorns (8-6). Can rookie Scott Kellum match the ‘Horn’s main man, Dejon Burdeaux?  UVic has little wriggle room as they vie for a playoff spot, but UL will be wanting to turn things around after 2 home losses.

Josh Ross has been a catalyst for the Cougars attack

The Mt. Royal Cougars get a pair of road victories at UNBC to move to 7-5, and their forward duo of Josh Ross and Brett Layton are giving the Cougs reason for optimism. Uo next for this under-rated former college power?  Oh,just  a home court visit from the mighty Thunderbirds !  MRU will step on Kenyon Court as decided underdogs, with UBC rolling more troops off their bench .Win one of these, and the Cougars will draw even more lavish praise.

 

 

5th Year players on a final tour  …

Many of these 5th year players across the 17-team Canada West will be very familiar to faithful fans.  Most with skills we’ve come to appreciate, some who’ve made a big play to beat our home team, and some who’ve captured accolades, trophies, and championships.  A tribute is in order to these 5th years, the great majority of whom will be finishing off a degree and moving on to a very different phase of their lives.

Here’s a list of these 5th year players … give them a hand as they play in your gym for what may well be the last time.

Alberta – Brett Roughead … Brandon –  Earl Thompson Jr, Denham Buchanan, Chris Stanhope, Esmat Atem … Calgary Dinos – Jasdeep Gill, Thomas Cooper, Dallas Karch … Fraser Valley – Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon … Lethbridge – Will Hickey … MacEwan – Denzel James, Keith Gerdes, Thomas Jereniuk, Cole Aikens … Mt. Royal – Derek Wolf … Regina – Aaron McGowan, Travis Sylvestre, Stephen Shields, Matthew Augustine … Saskatchewan –  Matthew Forbes, Trevor Severinski … Thompson Rivers – Volodymyr Iegorov … UBC – Jordan Jensen-Whyte , Will Ondrik … UBC-O – Mitch Goodwin …  UNBC – Rhys Elliot, Elliot Rowe, Sam Zhang … Victoria – Grant Sitton … Winnipeg – Jamar Farley

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Scores from the East  on Sunday –

Atlantic – at UNB 93 Memorial 79,  at Saint Marys 75 # 8 Dalhousie  71 …one more season in the AUS where we see the teams in the 6 team League run hot and cold from one weekend to the next.  Memorial Seahawks were flying high last week at 7-3 atop the standings, but lose 2 at UNB.  UPEI move from 2-7 to 4-7 with last second wins at St. FX and Cape Breton (the only predictable team left).   So, despite their loss to their  ‘down the street’ rival Saint Marys, the Dal Tigers lead at 7-3, with X and UNB 7-4, and Memorial now 4th at 7-5.  On any given night ….

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The big game in U-Sports this week is Tuesday’s first matchup of the season at U. Ottawa’s Montpetit Hall  between the twin 9-0 ‘Bytown Bullies’, the #1 Carleton Ravens and #2 Ottawa Gee-Gees.  The ‘Ponies’ swept this series last year, but, as they do, the Blackbirds came on at playoff time to claim yet another CIS Championship.  Many of the faces are the same, with Connor Wood and Kaza Kajami-Keane guiding the ravens, and Caleb Agada still powering Ottawa.  New faces include big Eddie Ekiyor for Carleton and Adam Presutti a key transfer from McMaster, now in Gee-Gees colours for his final season.   Fans can watch live on OUA-TV  (8 pm Eastern)  TUESDAY –  RAVENS vs GEE-GEES

Here are the Divisional standings in the 17 team OUA, where they also use RPI to seed their season -end Wilson Cup play-offs.

 

UBC boss Kevin Hanson

Overtime –

  • UBC Coach Kevin Hanson, after his T-Birds’ thrashing of Aberta on Saturday, “The way our three leaders (Morgan, Jensen-Whyte, Ondrik) started the game, they brought so much confidence,” began Hanson. “And they just seemed to transfer that energy to the rest of the team. It was free-flowing energy and when our bench came in, they just carried on with no fear of failure.” From Howard Tsumura, The Province
  • TRU’s rookie, Trent Monkman, on his more significant role in helping the Wolves to a home win on Saturday over Winnipeg, “It was a bit of a special one. It was a big game for us — we were coming off a loss — and it felt good to have a bit of an impact,” the native of Smithers said. “It feels good that the coaches are trusting me a little bit to get in there and show what I can do.” From an Adam Williams story in Kamloops the Week    

 

 

Bears and T’Birds Fight Back

 

Canada West Leaders gain road splits in feature match-ups

 

Alberta’s Austin Waddoups buries the winner against Calgary

# 8 Alberta  81  #3 Calgary 80 – The Bears (11-1) win a real ‘nail-biter’ courtesy of the 8 key points from speedy guard, Austin Waddoups , in the final 3 minutes.  His 3 foul shots , then a natural 3 point play set the table for a tense final minute, as Brody Clarke hits free throws to give the changing lead back to Alberta.  After a Thomas Cooper dunk off a steal, Calgary  goes back ahead at 19 secs.  A leaning jumper by Waddoups finds the mark with 6 secs remaining, and that’s the winner. The Bears win the rebound (39-27) and  FG%  (47%- 43.5%) battle , but Calgary forces 28 U of A turnovers to keep it close.  Mamadou Gueye has a much better night than he did Thursday, with his 22 points/ 5 boards, while Waddoups hits 19 pts/ 5 rebs/ 6 assts.

The Dinos (8-2) spread the scoring, as Jasdeep Gill hits 4/5 from 3 point range for 14 points in just 17 minutes.  Cooper is held to only 14, which is 10+ below his average.  This is an intense match-up, and Alberta responds to Thurday’s disappointment with a gritty team effort in Calgary to get the series split. Box Score  

UBC’s Conor Morgan goes for 30 points in win at Saskatchewan

# 2  UBC  83  Saskatchewan 74   –   Conor Morgan’s 30 point night sparked the T’Bird attack, as they get a big road split with a much sharper offensive display on Saturday.  Now at 9-1, UBC established a 12 point lead at the break, and pulled away in the 3rd, as they hit 46% FG to 40% for the Huskies (6-4). Taylor Browne came off the bench for the Thunderbirds to score 11 points/ 6 rebounds. U of S gets 20 pts/ 8 rebs from Shane Osayande, and 16 points each from Alex Unruh and Matt Forbes.    Box Score   

at Winnipeg 84 Trinity Western 80  –  The  Wesmen (8-4) may have been caught ‘counting their chickens’ on Saturday, and the underdog Spartans (2-10) gave them a real run. The visitors hung in right down to the final minutes, but went cold on offense just at the crucial time.  Winnipeg hit 3 more 3s, hit 3 more foul shots, and committed  9 fewer turnovers to win a close one.  William Sesay shone for the Ws, with 21 points/ 7 rebs/ 4 steals, and Denzel Lynch-Blair was tough, with 19 pts/ 8 rebs/ 6 assists for UW.   Max Vitala played another strong game for Trinity with 24 points/ 5 rebs, and Patrick Vandervelden had a career night with 20 points and 18 big rebounds.  Box Score    

Earl Thompson Jr. leads the Bobcats to a road win at MRU

Brandon 86  at Mt. Royal  80 –  The Bobcats (4-8)  got a road win after Friday’s close -call, as they shot 51% from the floor.  All 5 Brandon starters were in double figures, with 13 points/ 16 rebounds from the relentless Earl Thompson Jr.  MRU’s Brett Layton scored 18 and snared 17 boards, while Josh Ross hit 18 points/ 7 rebs/ 5 asst.  This one hurts for the Cougars on their home floor, as they drop  to 5-5.      Box Score   

Lethbridge 76 UNBC  63 –  The  Pronghorns (8-4) get the sweep with a 45-33 2nd half surge.  UL benefit from 20/24 from the line compared to just 7/9 for the visiting T’Wolves, who can only manage 36% from the floor.    Dejon Burdeaux leads Lethbridge once more, with 20 pts/ 6 rebs/ 3 assts, with Elliott Sentance chipping in with 15 points and 10 boards.    UNBC’s top scorer, Austin Chandler, has a game-high 21 plus 5 rebounds/ 3 blocks.  The Timberwolves fall to 4-8.      Box Score  

at Thompson Rivers  78  Victoria  71   –   The ‘Pack roar out to a 23-8 lead after 10 minutes, and move to 6-6 as they never lose control of this one. TRU shoot a hot 53% from the floor as Volodymyr Iegorov scores 20, Joe Davis 19, and Derek Rhodes 17.  The Wolves deploy just 7 players for all but 2 minutes, and they dominate UVic on the glass (39-23) .  Scott Kellum leads the Vikes (3-7) with 15 points/ 5 assts, and Grant Sitton has 12 pts/ 6 rebs/ 4 assts/ 4 steals.      Box Score   

at UBC-Okanagan 79  Regina  70 –   The  Heat match the Cougars down the stretch, and are full marks for just their 2nd win of the CW season.  UBC-O shoots 49% from the field. led by  Aldrich Berrios’ 21 points, and 18 from his ‘wing-man’  Mitch Goodwin.   Johneil Johnson comes off the Regina bench for 23 points, as they fall to 6-4.    Box Score  

Manny Dulay nails 7 of 9 from 3 pt range to help UFV to a sweep

at Fraser Valley  89   MacEwan  82  –  A very satisfying sweep for the Cascades, as they climb to 5-5 on the year, while Mac may be in dire straits at 3-9.  A season’s best 56% from the floor for UFV, as Manny Dulay lights it up with 7/9 from outside the arc, finishing with 23 pts./ 5 steals.  Vijay Dhillon of the Cascades drains 4/5 long ones of his own for 19 points.  Keith Gerdes comes up big for the Griffins with 25 points, including 7/12 from 3 pt range.   Box Score 

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In the Atlantic – at St. FX 85  UNB  66 ,  #10 Dalhousie 90 at UPEI 86 , Saint Marys  70 at Memorial  93

In Quebec –    UQAM 68  at Concordia  67

In Ontario – #1 Carleton 101  Waterloo  60 , at #5 Ryerson 98 Guelph 76,at   Laurentian 95 #9 McMaster 87 ,  at Nipissing 69  # 6 Brock  66,  #4 Ottawa 87  Laurier 58   , Windsor 78  Queens 77  ,  at Western Ont. 81 York  71,  Toronto 74  Lakehead 64

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Overtime –

  •  There are also some highlight jams in Canada West action this and every season.  Who has the top ‘flush’ of  the season ?  Maybe it’s the UFV Cascades Nav Bains in this Friday win over MacEwan !  Coach Adam Friesen liked it, as he tells us in this article by UFV’s Dan Kinvig. “Nav’s dunk is one of those things that he’ll probably remember for a long time, and it got the crowd and the team pumped up,” Cascades head coach Adam Friesen said afterward.
  • Canada West Women’s scores on Saturday –  Calgary 60 Alberta 57, Saskatchewan 73 UBC 69,  Regina 80 UBC-O 60, Trinity W. 72  Winnipeg 68, Fraser V. 59  MacEwan 55,   Brandon 92 Mt. Royal 85, Lethbridge 73  UNBC 69, Victoria 80 Thompson R 70

T-Birds Loaded For Battle

 

2016-17 Canada West  Previews –

UBC Thunderbirds

 ’15-‘16 –  3rd at CW Final 4,  Host Nationals                 Wins 16   losses  4    (Pioneer)

Returnees –    5th years – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, 6-6 wing, Calgary. Will Ondrik, 6-7  UBC T-Birdwing, Vernon, BC.  … 4th Year – Conor Morgan, 6-9 wing, Victoria. Phil Jalalpoor,  Germany. Luka Zaharajevic, 6-7 forward, Vancouver. A.J. Holloway, 6-2 guard, Tacoma, WA.  … 3rd Years – Patrick Simon, 6-8 forward, Port Coquitlam, BC.… 2nd Years – Roger Milne, 6-8 forward, Winnipeg. Taylor Browne, 6-2 guard, Surrey, B.C.

New faces –   Isaiah Familia, 6-2 guard, 1st year, Windsor, ON (Holy Names HS).   Izaiah Ugoalah, 6-5 guard, 1st, Vancouver (Sir W. Churchill).  Justin McChesney, 6-10 forward, 1st, Prince Rupert, B.C., (Charles Hays Sr.)

 From his start at UBC in 2000 through the ’15-’16 season, Coach Kevin Hanson has a .750 winning percentage in Canada West League play.   Money !       So,  barring any major upset, we can safely assume this season’s Thunderbirds will be near the top of the 17 team loop once again.

The ‘Birds have experience, and they’re high quality returnees at that!  Jordan Jensen-Whyte, formerly a rangy, slim point man, has morphed into a bruising slasher at the wing.  He averaged 15 ppg, 48% from the floor, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists.  Conor Morgan is a very tall, inside-outside offensive force, and should improve on last year’s ‘pretty good’ numbers – 14.8 ppg/ 7.3 rebounds / 1.5 blocks per game.

Luka Zaharajevic is getting his shot at making a big impact for UBC.

Luka Zaharijevic is getting his shot at making a big impact for UBC.    photo- UBC -Wilson Wong

A less well-known character, outside of Point Grey and Kitsilano areas in Vancouver, is 6-7, 255 lb post man, Luka ‘The Bazooka’ Zaharijevic.  Big Luka recently laid a career high 24 point/ 8 rebound game on the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns, and Hanson said, “We’re very proud of him. He’s worked so hard, in dropping 25 lbs.  He could be great!  He’s a thick bodied, massive guy.  He hurts guys in practice!”

On the perimeter, UBC counts on Phil Jalalpoor at the point, with AJ Holloway and Taylor Browne both back, and looking ready to contribute even more this year.  Two rookies who are sure to get some attention are the two Iz(s)aiahs,  Isaiah Familia and Izaiah Ugoalah, a pair of tall, athletic shooters with great upside.  Familia was ‘Mr. Basketball’ in Windsor, ON the last 2 years in high school, and the coach says, “He’s a gamer … better than we even thought he’d be.”

Justin McChesney is a very big rookie, and, according to Hanson, “ … a diamond in the rough.”  Initially projected as a red-shirt, the Prince Rupert post man has played his way onto the 12-man roster.

We could go on.  We should.  They also have Will Ondrik, a tough, tall defender, and  two big forwards, Patrick Simon and Roger Milne off the bench. Suffice it to say that the T’Birds are loaded, and they want to get back to Nationals after hosting last year.  By their early season form, we could easily see that happening, if all the pieces fall into place.  But those pieces certainly appear to be there!

(* Credit to the Province podcast ‘Varsity Letters’ , with host Howard Tsumura interviewing Kevin Hanson last week)

Schedule –  Nov-Dec – at Thompson Rivers, bye, Manitoba, home/home Victoria, UBC-O – 4 series   Jan-Feb – at Saskatchewan, Alberta, at Mt. Royal, Brandon, UNBC, at Trinity W  – 6 series in the 2nd half.

 Prediction –  The ‘Birds should fly high.  A solid contender for League honours.


 

 

Overtime –

  • UBC has a big red-shirt group, including the talented, but unpredictable Jauquin Bennett-Boire, who started for Saskatchewan as a rookie last Fall, but dropped out of school at Christmas.  Still with the T-Birds football team is Parker Simson, a highly recruited guard / QB from Kelowna.  Coach Hanson says, “ He’s a tough, gritty competitor with a championship attitude.” Due to the football schedule his status with the hoops squad is a bit unsure.
  • On the topic of pre-season schedules … See Canada this Fall !  Play for the Regina Cougars ! … 10 games so far, from Victoria to Calgary,  day trip to Brandon, off to St. Catharines, ON, and a bus ride to Lethbridge this week for #11-12.  On the other hand, we have Fraser Valley, with a couple of short cab rides for some B.C. College scrimmages, and 2 home games vs Lethbridge and Laurier.  At least the Cascades are hitting all their classes !

Carleton vs Calgary for the CIS Title

 

Jasdeep Gill provides the clutch hoops as Calgary defeats #1 Ryerson

 photo - Rich Lam - UBC Athletics

Calgary’s Jasdeep Gill drives against Ryerson’s  Juwon Grannum in Saturday’s 2nd semi-final . photo – Rich Lam – UBC Athletics

 

 Calgary 98  Ryerson 87  – The Calgary Dinos have now beaten the Quebec and OUA Champions to earn their shot in the CIS Final against the Carleton Ravens, the 5 time defending champs (11 in 13 seasons). Not an easy path, but Calgary has found a way, and they ride a wave of momentum built up over 18 straight victories.
Up 47-38 at the break, the Dinos saw Ryerson fight back to within 5 in the 3rd quarter, then, up steps 4th year wing man, Jasdeep Gill, hitting a pair of treys 25 seconds apart to restore a double digit margin. Gill hits a 4th quarter 3 to halt another Rams rally, then converts a 3 point play off a layup near the 3 minute mark, to give Calgary the breathing room once more. Free throws from David Kapinga and Thomas Cooper finished off the Ontario champs, as the Dinos now look at getting past the Ravens for their first-ever National title.
Cooper has 30 points / 11 rebounds and Kapinga totals 26 points/ 6 boards/ 6 assists to drive the offense to the momentus win.  But it was Gill, cheered on by his personal 24 member ‘entourage’ / family, who seemed to come to the fore at those times when his team most needed him; 23 points , including 4/7 from outside/ 4 rebounds.
Ryerson get 22 points/ 8 rebs/ 4 asst from Adika Peter-McNeilly, 20 points by Ammanuel Diressa, and 15 points / 10 rebounds/ 3 blocks from big Kadeem Green.
Calgary hits 12/25 attempts from beyond the arc to just 6/39 by the Rams.  Ryerson stays in touch much of the way with 27/32 free throws vs 20/32 by Calgary.  UC plays Carleton in the 5:30 Championship final, while Ryerson are in the 3 pm bronze medal game against the Dalhousie Tigers.   Box Score

Carleton returns to final as Ejim leads the way

 Carleton's Mitchell Wood guards Dalhousie's Sven Stammberger in the 1st semi final at the CIS nationals in vancouver on Saturday. photo- Rich Lam - UBC Athletics

Carleton’s Mitchell Wood guards Dalhousie’s Sven Stammberger in the 1st semi final at the CIS Nationals in Vancouver on Saturday.              photo- Rich Lam – UBC Athletics

Carleton 76 Dalhousie  66 – The Ravens will try and defend their championship for a 6th straight title vs Calgary on Sunday night.  Dropping out of the #1 spot in the CIS Top 10 this season, and this year playing without the explosive offensive power of the Scrubb bothers, as in past seasons, CU has once more  shown their competitive edge on the CIS’ biggest stage.

Carleton out-played the smaller Dalhousie crew, with 46% shooting from the floor vs just 35% for the Tigers, and by grabbing 41 rebounds to 37 for Dal. Carleton defensive efforts thwarted Dalhousie efforts to close the gap, as shooters were denied, and drive lanes closed off.  The size of CU delivered 7 blocked shots, and made the Tigers settle for rushed or low percentage attempts.

Dalhousie did force 21 Carleton turnovers and 19 Tigers points, but never the run necessary to put a significant dent in the CU lead. The Ravens were led by the all-round play of Ryan Ejim, who had 20 points/ 5 rebs/ 3 asst/ 2 steals, and 18 points on 4/9 from outside by Conner Wood. Dal got 18 points / 5 rebs from Kashrell Lawrence, and 16 points by Aquino-Serjue Jordan.  Ritchie Kanza-Mata goes for 10 points/7 rebounds/  6 assists.   Box Score

 

UBC Takes 5th with win over Ottawa

UBC's Taylor Browne takes it to the hoop vs Ottawa in Saturday's 5th place game. photo - Rich Lam - UBC Athletics

UBC’s Taylor Browne takes it to the hoop vs Ottawa in Saturday’s 5th place game.            photo – Rich Lam – UBC Athletics

 UBC 93  Ottawa 76 –   The T-Birds capture the Consolation final by finishing strong in this free-scoring affair;  48 second half points allowed the home team to pull away, and dispense with the drama the ‘Birds had suffered in their first 2 tournament games. ‘Red-hot’ is the only description for the UBC attack, as they rip-it for 68% from the floor, and 20/23 free throws.

Ottawa, without their CIS Player of the Year, Mike L’Africain, (ill, injured?), played a solid game, but could not match the pace and sharp-shooting of the hosts.  In this battle of 3rd – place Conference teams, the Thunderbirds came with all guns blazing, and all 5 starters score in double figures.  The Gee-Gees subbed more frequently, and may have played with less urgency.

UBC gets 25 points from 6-9 Conor Morgan plus 8 rebounds; guard Phil Jalapoor , with 19 points / 6 assists, and wing man, Will Ondrik, with 16 on 6/7 plus 6 boards, were big factors in the win. The Gee-Gees have Caleb Agada and Matt Plunkett with 18 apiece, with Agada contributing 4 assists. Plunkett  cashed 6/10 from beyond the arc for all of his scoring.    Box Score


Overtime –

  •  Graduating 5th year all-star, Josh Wolfram on his feelings towards his TRU teammates ,    “ They have put in their best every single day. We go at it every day and every guy comes out of the dressing room with their head held high. It is a really great team. I will remember everything from going to the Final 8 to the little things that the guys who don’t play much to Reese, Vlad and myself who play 37 minutes a game. There is something special about each and every guy.” (Ed. Note – Well put, young man !) From Larry Read , TRU Athletics.
  • School Spirit !  5 members of the Dinos Women’s Basketball team leave school Friday, jump in a car, and make the 14 hour trip to Vancouver to support the Men in the Saturday semi-final  !  IMG_0250 (back) L-R  Anmol Mattu, Kristie Sheils, Emma Nieuwenhuizen ..                front – Freya Szmidt, Brianna Ghali, with UC Athletic Director Christine Stapleton.   

‘Old’ Pioneer Powers Scrambling

 

 

 

Changing of the Guard in Canada West ?

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 7.38.26 AM
After watching all 3 of Victoria, Alberta, and Saskatchewan absorb two losses each this past weekend, we find ourselves in the ‘New Order’ of Canada West Basketball.  These three teams  have figured prominently in Canada West and CIS hoops for years past;  the last 5 Canada West championship games were won by –  2015 – Victoria over Saskatchewan, 2014 – Alberta over Victoria, 2013 – UBC over Victoria, 2012 – Alberta over Fraser Valley, 2011 – UBC over Saskatchewan.

 The T-Birds are still good bets to be in the Final 4, and, of course, host the CIS Nationals, but what of the Bears, Vikes, and Huskies?  It would seem unlikely, or even shockingly improbable for all 3 strong programs to have such a difficult year.  We certainly think U of A and UVic still have playoff shots, but U of S has faded too far South;  graduation of key players, injuries, and defections have conspired to reduce these teams to chasers rather than the leaders they had been for so long.

We suspect they will all be back next season with their usual competitive squads, but, for now, they have given way to ‘upstart teams’, like Calgary, Lethbridge, Manitoba, and Thompson Rivers.  We have 3 weeks of play remaining in both Divisions, and it’s highly likely that we may have a very different slate of teams competing in the Final 4 come March 11-12.

Four Series Sweeps Change the Standings

Manitoba copyWe had 5 series in the Pioneer last weekend, as the 6 Explorer teams and the UC Dinos had the weekend off. We saw movement away from the middle of the standings by several teams, as 4 of these series’ ended with 2-game sweeps.
> Manitoba has officially exorcised their 2nd half of the season ghosts of past years; they pounce all-over the Regina Cougars, 89-82 and 77-63, and sit at 11-5.
> Across town, the Winnipeg Wesmen prepared themselves for the ‘Red River Rivalry’ series by dispatching a scrappy U of S Huskies squad 81-77 and 81-72 to win their 6th in a row for a 9-5 mark.
> At Lethbridge, the short-benched Bears were trounced by a running, pressing Pronghorns team, who used 2nd half onslaughts to dispatch their Northern rivals 93-61 and 88-62.
> In their brand-spanking -new Carsa Centre, the ‘rebuilding‘ Victoria Vikes were sorely pressed to stay anywhere near the visiting UBC Thunderbirds.  UBC took both games with unusual ease … 79-51 and then 86-67.
> It was fitting that both Brandon (Friday) and Trinity Western (Saturday) got their first wins of the season in their series in Langley.  No playoff chances, but the shut-out is averted!

Top Performers last weekend –

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.

Keith Omoerah is a difference-maker for the Herd this season.  photo- Bisons Athletics

  • Keith Omoerah may not have a big ’S’ on his chest, but he should have !  Keith’s return to the Bison Herd has put this team on a path for championship contention, with his rebounding, scoring, and defensive effort.  16 points / 14 rebounds/ 6 assists on Friday, then 18 boards plus 12 points, 3 asst, 4 steals in the Saturday win. Oh, and we might mention A.J. Basi’s  significant sharp-shooting role … 27 points Friday, and Jonathan Alexander chipping in both nights for totals of 26 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Winnipeg’s  Denzel Lynch-Blair has to be in the  all-star discussion, with yet another week of multiple contributions for UW, with 49 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists, and 12 steals.  Nicely done, young man !  Ryan Oirbans with his rebounding and a 29 point night on Saturday from Jelane Pryce pace the Ws to a sweep.
  • Brandon Brine hits 37 points, with a scoring frenzy at home for the ‘Horns on Friday, then Jared Baker takes over on Saturday, hitting 3s everywhere, and scoring 17 points / 5 assists.  Lethbridge has a ‘not-so-secret-weapon’, however;  Dejon Burdeaux, back to ‘match-fitness’ is a dominant force at both ends of the floor … 31 points over 2 nights, to go along with 16 assists and 12 steals off the very effective UL press.
  • UBC has a varied attack, as they get 8 players contributing in both definitive victories at UVic … their depth is apparent, when their scoring leader Conor Morgan has a quieter weekend, but rookie Taylor Browne steps up with 15 points/ 4 reb, 3 asst on Saturday, while the night before David Wagner returned to the ‘Birds line-up with 12 points/ 6 rebounds.
Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday.

Lucas Mannes sparks TWU win on Saturday. photo – TWU Athletics

A round of applause for the TWU Spartans’ Lucas Mannes with his tour de force of 56 points/12 reb/14 asst/6 steals; his teammate Kelvin Smith chimes in  with 49 points/ 14 rebounds/ 5 steals.   Brandon’s Earl Thompson pots 37 points / 19 rebounds in the split series, and the Bobcats’ rookie, Pookie Saunders, gets our attention with a combined 39 points /12 boards / 10 asst/ 5 steals.

 

 


 

 CIS Scores  on Sunday –  
Atlantic –   UPEI  97  at Cape Breton   80  … a split of their weekend pair, leaving the Panthers (10-4) in a 1st place tie with Dalhousie, and the Capers (7-6) scratching for a playoff spot, back in 5th spot .


 

Overtime –   

  • UBC are wanting to try and duplicate the feat of the 1982 UVic Vikes under Coach Ken Shields, who won the CIS Championship at Memorial Arena in Victoria that season, the 3rd of 7 straight for the Vikes.  The Birds don’t yet have that kind of roll going, but UBC Coach Kevin Hanson wants to start this March !
  • As for the 7-9 Vikes, Coach Craig Beaucamp says , “We’re trying to stay up in a down time.  There is so much left to play for. We’ve got a good nucleus and can’t lose sight of the big picture. We can still make some noise.” From the Victoria Times-Colonist, Cleve Dheensaw
  • Speaking of the U of A Golden Bears , who his UL team beat twice last weekend in Lethbridge, “They’re a banged up group,” said Horns coach Mike Hansen. “It’s a reversal of fortune. We limped up there last season and lost and this time it was their turn to have a bunch of injured guys. Our guys played great D all weekend,” said Hansen. “Jared Baker and Dejon Burdeaux at the top of our press were great both games.”  From Dylan Purcell in the Lethbridge Herald.

Winnipeg Teams Defend Home Courts

 

Jelane Pryce is big in the Wesmen win, as both Winnipeg schools finish of home sweeps on Saturday.

Jelane Pryce is big in the Wesmen win, as both Winnipeg schools finish off home sweeps on Saturday.

 

at Manitoba 77  Regina  63 –   The Herd rumble to a most convincing shut-down of the visiting Cougars, and get the sweep to improve to 11-5 for the season. Up by 15 at the half, the Bisons widen the gap in the 3rd, then waltz home with the W.  Regina just not in this one, as they hit only 28% from the floor, and are unable to take advantage of a generous 26 Manitoba turnovers. All 5 UM starters score in double digits, led by Keith Omoerah, who also claims 18 rebounds, 3 asst, 4 steals . Jonathan Alexander has a double of 12 points and 11 boards. Aaron McGowan is off the bench with 11 points / 5 asst  for the Cougars, who also have Jonathan Tull with 12, and Travis Sylvestre adding 10. Regina slips to 8-6, with UVic, Calgary, and Saskatchewan left.    Box Score

at Winnipeg  81 Saskatchewan  72 –  With foul trouble hanging over several players in the 4th quarter, the Huskies lost the lead they had for most of the game, as Winnipeg hit 11 points in the final minute from the foul line.  The foul shots really did determine the outcome as the home team shot  27/35, while the visiting Huskies had just 6/10.  Jelane Pryce, with 29 pts / 10 rebounds, and Denzel Lynch-Blair’s 27, with 5 reb/ 6 asst/ and 5 steals  filled the scoresheet for the Ws.  William Sesay added 11 boards, 3 assists, and 2 steals to help Winnipeg to the sweep. Shawn Lathan was good for U of S, with his 19 points/ 5 rebounds, and Mack Burns  grabbed all of 15 rebounds. The Wesmen move up to 9-5, in the thick of the playoff race, with 4 more home games coming up, while Saskatchewan are 4-10, with prospects fading rapidly.  Box Score

at Lethbridge  88  Alberta 62  –   Deja vu for the Bears and Pronghorns, as the home side takes a 5 point lead into the half, then steps up the pace to pull away quickly in the 3rd, with a 25-9 pasting. The U of A cannot match the 52% shooting of the ‘Horns, and the Bears relatively inexperienced back-court cough it up 29 times to add to the agony. Four U of L starters in double figures, with 21 points, 8 assists, 4 steals by import guard, Dejon Burdeaux, and 17 points/ 5 asst by senior guard Jared Baker, who is 5/7 from outside.  Alberta shoots only 33% from the floor, but go to the line for 25/32, as Mamadou Gueye counts 19 points/ 7 rebounds. Lethbridge get to 9-5 with the weekend double over Alberta (7-8), and the ‘Horns travel to Calgary next week to play the 12-3, first place Dinos.   Box Score

# 9  UBC  86 at Victoria 67  –   The UBC offensive power puts the Vikes away for a 2nd straight night, as the home team finds it tough to get inside hoops against the ‘Birds size.  Vic works hard at the defensive end, but the relentless attack by the Thunderbirds (12-4) proves decisive.  53-34 at half-time leaves little doubt as to the result, with UBC hitting 55% from the floor to only 36% for the Vikes. A team effort from the ‘Birds, with 3 players – Jordan Jensen-Whyte (7rebs), Philip Jalalpoor (5 boards), and 1st year guard, Taylor Browne (4 reb, 3 asst, 6/6 shooting) scoring 15 points apiece, then 2 others  with 12.  Victoria (7-9) never threatens, but get Mack Roth with a good shooting night (7/13) at 16 points, and Reiner Theil working hard for 6 rebounds and 13 points.    Box Score

A 36 point effort from Lucas Mannes leads Trinity to their 1st win on Saturday.

A 36 point effort from Lucas Mannes leads Trinity to their 1st win on Saturday.

 at Trinity Western 87 Brandon  78 –  Trinity uses home court on Saturday, and finally land their elusive 1st win of the season, after having come close at least a couple of previous times. A 52 point feast in the 2nd half allows the Spartans to overcome a 3 point half-time deficit, as they shoot 49% on the night to Brandon’s 40%.  Lucas Mannes had a terrific game for TWU, as he scores 36 points/ 6 reb/ 5 asst/ 5 steals, and Kelvin Smith adds 18 points / 9 boards.  Brandon’s rookie guard, ’Pookie’ Saunders, leads the ‘Cats with 21 points/ 7 asst/ 6 rebounds.  Box Score

 

 


 

 

CIS Scores  on Saturday –
Atlantic –   at Cape Breton  77  UPEI   63, at #10 Dalhousie 87 Acadia 68,  at UNB 108  Memorial 90,  Saint Marys 82  St. FX 69
Quebec – #7 McGill  at Bishop’s ,  at UQAM 98 Laval 97,
Ontario –  #1 Ryerson 97 at Nipissing 68, at #2 Ottawa 91 York 61,  at #3 Carleton 99 Queen’s 81, Guelph 80 at Algoma 60, at Laurentian 75 Toronto 74, at Lakehead 74        #4 McMaster  72 , Western 81 Laurier 60,  Windsor 86  Waterloo 58

Loads of Rookie Talent

Top 10 Rookies to Watch –

player_Torrez_McKoy

Torrez McKoy, Dinos

We have these players listed in no particular order, but, their ability to stand out in the crowd of top 1st year talent this season is dependent on how much floor time they get. If you’re on a veteran-laden team, and have a coach who uses a ‘short bench’, then patience is the key. (Apologies to the rest of the rookie crop … there are others who could well be among the Top 10 … you have lots of time to show- off your game)

The top rookie class for one team is a pushover … the Mt. Royal Cougars have 5 good-looking young players, all of whom appear to be in Coach Dobell’s  playing rotation.

Top 10

  • Brody Clark, 6-8 fwd, Toronto, Oakwood Coll., Alberta Golden Bears
  • Torrez McKoy, 5-11 guard, Winnipeg, Mennonite BCI –  Calgary Dinos
Jauquin Bennett-Boire, Huskies

Jauquin Bennett-Boire, Huskies

  • Jauquin Bennet-Boire, 6-2 guard, Abbotsford, BC, Yale HS – Sask. Huskies
  • Taylor Browne, 6-2 guard, Holy Cross HS, Surrey, BC – UBC Thunderbirds
  • Joshua Charles, 6-6 guard, Brentwood (BC) College – Victoria Vikes
  • William Sesay, 6-3 guard, Oak Park HS, Winnipeg – Winnipeg Wesmen
  • Mike Rouault, 6-5 guard, Vernon, BC, Fulton HS, TRU Wolf Pack
  • Brett Layton, 6-8 fwd, Calgary, W. Churchill HS – Mt. Royal Cougars
  • Tyis Yellowhorn, 6-4 guard, Piikini Nation, Chestermere (AB) HS- MRU Cougars
  • Anthony Hokanson, 6-5 guard, Vancouver, Kitsilano HS, UNBC Timberwolves

 

Other Rookies 2015-16 –

Taylor Browne, T-Birds

Taylor Browne, T-Birds

Pioneer Division –

Victoria Vikes – Taylor Montgomery -Stinson, 6-3 guard, Claremont HS, Victoria

UBC T-Birds – Dominic Gilbert, 6-6 fwd, Copiah Academy, Sydney, Aus.

Trinity Western Spartans – Matt Hayashi, 7-1 post, Langley, BC, Churchill HS

Saskatchewan Huskies –  Chan DeCiman, 6-2 guard, Regina, LeBoldus HS

Regina Cougars – Gurkirat Kular, 6-4 wing, Surrey, BC

Manitoba Bisons – Joseph Medrano, 6-0 guard, Winnipeg, Sisler HS, Dharmjit Dhillon, 6-4 fwd, Winnipeg, Kildonan East HS

Lethbridge Pronghorns – no rookies on their roster

Brandon Bobcats – Aidan (Pookie) Saunders, 6-1 guard, Calgary, E. Manning HS

Alberta Golden Bears –  Colby Jackson, 5-8 guard, Las Vegas, Clark HS, D’Wan Williams, 6-2 guard, Toronto, Oakwood Coll

Anthony Hokanson, T'Wolves

Anthony Hokanson, T’Wolves

Explorer Division –

Fraser Valley Cascades – Marcus Morgan, 6-2 guard, Winnipeg, J. Taylor,  Antonio Jhuty, 6-2 guard, Richmond, Palmer

MacEwan Griffins –  no rookies on their roster

Mt. Royal Cougars – Tethloach Thokbuom, 6-9 fwd, Calgary, Western Canada HS, Matthew Gray, 6-0 guard, Victoria, Oak Bay HS, Neil Phillip, 6-5 guard, Calgary, Forest Lawn HS

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack-  Jeff Tubbs, 6-2 guard, Kelowna, Mt. Boucherie HS, Evan

Mike Rouault, Wolf Pack

Mike Rouault, Wolf Pack

Helgason, 6-4 guard, Kamloops, Norkam HS

UBC-Okanagan Heat –  Spencer Thomas, 6-2 guard, Pickering, ON, Pine Ridge HS, Patrick Dujmovic, 6-5 guard, White Rock, BC, Semiahmoo HS

UNBC Timberwolves – Saje Gosal, 6-4 guard, Golden (BC) HS , Neal Rhandawa, 6-3 guard, Golden HS

 

 

 

 Tuesday  … T-Birds Dive-Bomb the Clan

at UBC 101  Simon Fraser 71 – The T-Birds toyed with the younger Clan team in this re-visit of the fabled Buchanan Cup, played at venerable War Memorial Gym. Details   in The Province by Howard Tsumura.

 

Games up coming –

Friday – at  Alberta   MacEwan , Evergreen St. (WA)  at Trinity W.,

Montana Western at Lethbridge, Mt. Royal at UBC, Victoria at College of Idaho

Saturday – Mt. Royal  at  Trinity W., Thompson R. at Northwest U. (WA), Montana W. at Lethbridge, Evergreen St. at UBC, Victoria at E. Oregon,

 

Overtime – 

images

  •   OK, Simon Fraser, if you pay a hefty bond …  guaranteeing your fealty to Canada West for decades to come, and have your President, Board of Governors, and Athletic Director sing Oh Canada on the shores of English Bay in Stanley Park, we’ll let you back into the CIS.  You’re not raising your profile by playing in small-town Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, or Alaska, and you don’t appear to be headed for Div. 1.  Let sanity prevail ….
  •   From the Brandon Sun – Chris Jaster … “The biggest recruit of the off-season for the Brandon University Bobcats men’s basketball team has finally arrived in the Wheat City. John Paul, a six-foot-11, 265-pound forward, was delayed entry into Canada due to visa issues. He came to Brandon two weeks ago and now is busy playing catch up both academically and athletically. He’s not as far behind as he could have been with his studies, as he was able to work on his courses online (at his home) in the Caribbean nation of Saint Lucia before coming here.”

Thunderbirds and Vikes -Previews

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Conor Morgan gives the 'Birds a versatile scoring threat.

Conor Morgan gives the ‘Birds a versatile scoring threat.

 

UBC Thunderbirds – Coach Kevin Hanson, 16th year

This is a big year for T-Birds Basketball, as they prepare to host the CIS Final 8 Nationals next March.  The ‘Birds, led by 5-time CW Coach of the Year, Kevin Hanson, have 7 new faces in their 12-man roster, and Hanson suggests, “ … it’s going to depend on how we jell;  how we work together as we build for March.” 

Of his 5 returnees, 4 have played big roles in previous seasons;  5th year forward , David Wagner, should be a very reliable scorer and rebounder as will Conor Morgan, who can play an ‘all-court’ offensive game.  Veteran guard, Jordan Jensen-Whyte has  experience, and exceptional quickness for a big guard. Coach Hanson recruited several players who are ready to step in immediately – wing man, Will Ondrik, red-shirted last season for UBC after 3 years at TRU, and guards Taylor Browne and Phil Jalalpoor will be in the rotation. Patrick Simon (ex-Simon Fraser) is a big body forward who will add depth up front.

The T-Birds won 2 of 3 in their own October Invitational, and Coach Hanson allowed that, “We liked the players’ effort and performance in our Tournament.”   The veteran coach would like nothing better than to have his Thunderbirds playing well enough to be a bonafide contender for that CIS title in the Spring.

UBC has more pre-season games vs the Seattle Mountaineers, Simon Fraser, Mt. Royal Cougars, and the ‘Fighting Geoducks’ of Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA.  UBC plays their entire pre-season schedule in the ‘friendly confines’ of War Memorial Gym.

Returnees –

Elijah Campbell-Axson   G      6-0,  2nd Year,    Vancouver

Jordan Jensen-Whyte   G     6-6,   4,  Calgary

David Wagner          F   6-9,      5,     Kamloops

Conor Morgan      W    6-9,      3,       Victoria

Luka Zaharijevic     F    6-7,     3,      Vancouver

Will Ondrik             F    6-7,      4,     Vernon, tsf Thompson Rivers

New Thunderbirds –

A.J. Holloway        G      6-2,    4,         Tacoma, WA, tsf Bellevue Comm. Coll.

Taylor Browne        G      6-2,    1,         Surrey, Holy Cross  HS

Phil Jalalpoor          G      6-2     3         Shifferstadt, Germany, tsf Olds Coll.

Dominic Gilbert        F      6-6     1          Sydney, Australia, Reno International Prep

Patrick Simon          F      6-8      2       Port Coquitlam,  tsf Simon Fraser

Roger Milne             F      6-8      1        Winnipeg, Oak Park HS


 

 

Mack Roth is set to shine for UVic

Mack Roth is set to shine for Victoria                – photo Ali Lee, UVic

Victoria Vikes – Coach Craig Beaucamp – 13th year

UVic Coach Craig Beaucamp, another 5-time CW Coach of the Year winner, contends that “ Our best recruits are our returning players; they’ve worked hard, and developed their skills, strength, and knowledge of our game.”  He puts great stock in his players doing things, ‘the Vikes way”, and the defending Canada West champs will be determined to  compete at that level again this season.

The latest ‘reincarnation’ of feisty guard Brandon Dunlop give the Vs a great leader at the point, and  Mack Roth has become somewhat of a go-to scorer, with his range and strength to get inside, while Reiner Theill will be the defensive stopper, who can hit timely shots. Grant Sitton is extremely skilled offensively, and has the size to out-match perimeter defenders.

Frankly, the one man who will be ‘impossible to replace’ is  Chris McLaughlin, now a pro in Austria, after earning the League MVP last year;  UVic ‘lived large’ off his scoring and rebounding dominance. Early results show that there is much work to be done as the season wears on, but “ … our best local recruiting class in many years gives us great confidence for the future”, says Beaucamp. Indeed, the addition of 1st year players such as Josh Charles, Tyus Barfoot, and 2nd year transfer Billy Yaworsky give instant depth to the team.

The Vikes are on the road for the next 2 weekends, in S. Ontario , then at Eastern Oregon for 2 games on the 30/31st.  Their opening League weekend (Nov. 6/7) has them at home against the Saskatchewan Huskies.

Returnees-

Grant Sitton             F     6-8, 4th year, Brush Prairie, WA

Reiner Theil              W   6-5,   5, West Vancouver

Kai Greene            G   5-10, 2, Seattle

Mack Roth             F     6-6,   5,  Saskatoon

Brandon Dunlop    G     6-1,  5,   Victoria

Jordan Charles       G    6-5, 3, Duncan, BC

Justin Kinnear           F    6-6, 3, Montreal

Hassan Abdullahi    G   6-3, 3, Scarborough, ON

Hayden Lejeune F    6-7, 2, Chilliwack

New Vikes – 

Jason Scully           F 6-4, 1, Victoria /St. Michael’s

Josh Charles          F 6-5, 1, Duncan, BC/Cowichan

Tyus Barfoot          F 6-5, 1, Nanaimo /Nanaimo District

Graeme Hyde-Lay   G 6-1, 1,  Victoria /St. Michael’s

Billy Yaworsky        F 6-7 Winnipeg – tsf/Skagit Valley Jr Coll

Taylor  Montgomery-Stinson     G    6-3, 1 , Victoria / Claremont


 

Overtime – 

  •   Here’s the Regina / Calgary schedule for the Cape Breton Tournament, starting Thursday.

Thursday                                    Friday                                  Saturday

1-Regina – UPEI                        Winner 1 vs  W2                    Championship

2-Nipissing-Acadia                    Loser 1 vs L 2                          3rd place

3-Calgary-St. FX                        Winners game                             5th

4-Cape Breton-Western                 Losers                                    7-8

  • Other Thursday games-  Victoria at Brock  , Bishop’s at Guelph ; the Vikes continue with games at McMaster on Friday, and Guelph Saturday.
  • Our condolences to the family of Lon Doty, who passed away earlier this week. A great Dad to his children, he was a big Calgary Dinos supporter during and after his son Steve played for Gary Howard back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.  Lon made a big commitment to his community, both in business and in his generous work for charities.  He was a tremendous friend to so many, and he will be fondly remembered by those who knew him.
  • Recruiting news – Here’s a nice story by Howard Tsumura on a star 2-sport athlete, Parker Stimson, from Kelowna HS.   He’s likely to be pursued by schools like UBC, Calgary, Alberta  et al … those who have football and basketball.  Truly, it’s a very tough assignment to be successful at both sports while studying at a university, but it’s hard for some athletes to give up on one or the other game.