Heat Working for the Future

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Heat Assistant Boosts Youth Program

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

Landry Ndayitwayeko leads the Junior Heat program.

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

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

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

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Overtime –

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

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   

Busy Summer for CIS Hoops Players

 

 

‘Off-season’ is a Big Misnomer for Canada West Athletes

There was a day (in the previous century) when ‘CIAU’ players used to work summer jobs, or, if they were lucky, play golf, drop by the gym, or out-door court, and do some shooting or get in a pick-up game.  Today’s CIS athletes, for the most part, are more intensely engaged in training, teaching camps, playing summer games, and involved in full-on practice sessions.

David Kapinga , UC Dinos 3rd year point man.

David Kapinga , UC Dinos 3rd year point man.  photo- David Moll UC Athletics

In a conversation with Calgary Dinos point guard David Kapinga, we get a sense of the schedule many of today’s student athletes face in the ‘off-season’. “ It’s intense”, says the former Calgary high school star. “We’re here to start UC summer camps for junior high kids at around 8 am, and we go through 4:00 pm.  We’ll shoot at noon, and then shoot and scrimmage after 4.  We will do a physical training / weights session after that, and we’re not done until after 8 pm.  I’m bagged after a week of camps, and we have 3 weeks”,  says Kapinga.

The Dinos have chosen not to host NCAA teams in August, as they had done for many recent summers, however, several B.C schools will be geared up to play U.S. teams again this August.

Other teams will meet for a summer team camp, and, like UBC, may make an overseas trip for returning players.  The whole T-Birds squad will be facing NCAA  competition some time in August, and that means getting enough practice hours to be game-ready. No longer the standard 2nd week of September start;  it’s an 11 month team exercise for most very competitive programs.  These guys (and gals) earn their scholarships !


Mid-summer news briefs from Canada West –

  • Former Bears star, Jordan Baker, has signed a contract to play in Japan next season.  He moves from the Portuguese League, where he was the team’s leading scorer for Galitos -Tiey.  Details in this Edmonton Journal article.
  • The Winnipeg Wesmen add Winnipeg school stand-out , 6-4 guard, Josh Gandier of John Taylor Collegiate.  Coach Mike Raimbault also lands  a pair of  Junior College stars ; 6-5 wing, Sean Tarver (Baltimore, MD) UW news release     Home-grown forward,  6-7 Billy Yaworski,  returns home after 1 year in U.S.  Wesmen News
  • Thompson Rivers adds 6-9 import, Malik Hazziez, from Sacramento, CA.  A 12 point / 10 rebound performer at  American River College  (Sacramento) will be going into his 3rd year of eligibility this Fall.  More in this Kamloops This Week article.
  • Manitoba’s Coach Kirby Schepp coached the Team Canada  U-18s,
    Bison's Kirby Schepp with Canada Basketball Manager and NBA legend , Steve Nash - photo from The Winnipeg Sun

    Bison’s Kirby Schepp with Canada Basketball Manager and NBA legend , Steve Nash – photo from The Winnipeg Sun

    and a key Bisons’ recruit, James Wagner, was a member of that team, as they made it to the finals of the FIBA America’s tourney in Chile, but lost a 99-84 decision to the U.S.

 

  • Fraser Valley lands Anthony Gilchrist, a 6-4 guard from College of the Desert, CA
  • The Saskatchewan Huskies sign 6-4 wing, Jaylan Morgan, Brampton, ON, Unknownwho comes to the Huskies from Williston St College, ND
  • Okanagan Heat have added Tristan Matthews, a 6-4 guard from Sentinal Sr Sec., West Vancouver
  • UBC adds  Harry Liu, a 6-3 guard from Sir Winston Churchill, Vancouver
  • UNBC gets a local star in Tyrell Laing, a 5-10 guard from Prince George.
  • Victoria continues to sign members of the Charles family !  This summer, it’s Noah Charles, a 6-5 forward from Duncan’s Cowichan Sec. A more circuitous route brings 6-6 Jake Newman back to B.C. to play for the Vikes.  The White Rock Christian grad played 2 years at Lafayette College, PA, then red-shirting last year at Carleton.