‘The Ball Goes Up ….’

 

 Fall Pre-Season Games on Tap This Week

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

Coach Peter Guarasci and the Heat are busy in September.

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

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

 

NCAA vs U-Sports : 45 – 25

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Overtime –

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

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

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

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

 

 

Easy Win for Canada Over Hong Kong

 

 

Canada Crushes Hong Kong in Team Effort

In an obvious mismatch on Tuesday in Taiwan, Canada, even without injured mainstays, Conor Morgan (UBC) and Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles (Ottawa), overwhelmed Hong Kong 125-55 in Pool B action.  Erik Nissen (Acadia) was the scoring and rebounding leader, with 20 pts/ 11 boards, as all 10 players helped the team hit on 55% of their field goal attempts.

Kevin Bercy (St. FX) amassed 17 points/ 5 rebounds in only 9 minutes, and 6 Canadians got to double digits in scoring.  The winners enjoyed a huge 63-29 edge over the smaller Hong Kong team on the boards.  Canada, now 2-1, have a rest day on Wednesday, then face a fairly weak (1-2) Japan on Thursday.  It certainly seems a must for Canada to then knock off the Germans in their final game on Friday, if they are to advance to the next round.  Box Score

Group B standings – Germany 3-0,  Finland 3-0,  Canada 2-1,  Japan 1-2,  Norway 0-3, and  Hong Kong 0-3

 

NCAA vs U-Sports Scores   –

Notre Dame  College (Div 2)  100  at York  83

Canisius (NY, Div 1) 82 at Concordia 69

also in Montreal – Ottawa  71 New Hampshire  (Div 1) 65

in US Virgin Islands – Brock 76 James Madison (Pittsburgh, Div 1) 73

(Late score from Sunday)  In Costa Rica –  Nevada-Reno  (Div 1)  107  UBC 57

Canada Win Over Norway

 

 

4th Quarter Blitz Buries Norwegians

Carleton point man, Kaza Kajami-Keane leads Canada to game 1 win over Norway.

Canada opened their ‘University Games’ competition with a solid 85 – 54 trouncing of Norway on Sunday in Taipei City. Led by guard, Kaza Kajami-Keane (Carleton), who tallied 22 pts/ 6 rebs/ 8 assists, as Canada never trailed. Their 26-9 blitz in the final 10 minutes confirmed their domination in this tip-off match.

Big Erik Nissen (Acadia) was a force on the boards, with 10 rebounds, while the UBC pair of Conor Morgan (16 pts/6 rebs/4 assts) and Jordan Jensen -Whyte (13 pts/5 rebs) played major roles in the Canadian attack.

Coach Kevin Hanson distributed minutes through his whole 11 man line-up, with Jean Emmanuel Pierre-Charles (Ottawa) not playing, due to injury.  Canada’s next test will be Monday vs Finland.  The Finns were 93-45 winners over Japan in their 1st game today.  Box Score

 

U-Sports vs NCAA scores –

Notre Dame College (Div 2-Ohio)  97  at  Toronto 70

Canisius Coll. (Div 1 -NY)  87    at  Queens  71

Nevada-Reno (Div 1)   77   UBC  58   in Costa Rica

 

Overtime – 

 

  • Other Canada news from  @usportsIntl  on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,   u-tube.com/ university sports    #GoCanada

 

 

FISU Games Team Tips Off Sunday

 

Team Canada Poised For FISU Tip-off

Coach Kevin Hanson, FISU volunteer, Tina Wu, and T’Birds star, Conor Morgan. (Dinos in the background …)

Coach Kevin Hanson (UBC)  and his U-Sports Team Canada will tip-off their FISU Games on Sunday vs Norway.  This is the first of 5 Group games in the 24 team event, with Canada vying for one of 2 spots in the quarter-finals out of their 6 team group.  Here is the game schedule for 1st round play –

Sunday, August 20th  vs. Norway 2:30 AM Pacific

Monday, August 21st vs. Finland  7:00 PM Sunday  Pacific

Tuesday, August 22nd vs. Hong Kong 5:00 AM Pacific

Thursday, August 24th vs. Japan  5:00 AM Pacific

Friday, August 25th vs. Germany 12:00 Midnight Pacific

(The 9 – 13 hour time difference  to Taiwan makes live viewing a challenge for Canadian fans.   For media coverage –   CBCsports.ca  has a daily highlight package at 8 am Pacific each day.   We do not seem to have any luck with the FISU Games TV site ….)

Calgary Dinos David Kapinga and Mambi Diawara; proud Canadians at the opening ceremonies.

 

Team news … The National Player of the Year from last season, Carleton’s Connor Wood, should be set for at least limited duty vs Norway, as he recovers from an ankle sprain. Wood played about 10 minutes in Canada’s 99-63 exhibition win over Mexico.  The USA team, represented by Purdue University, blitzed Norway 81-49 in another prep game in Taipei.  The USA had a couple of much tighter wins over Canada down in Indiana last week.

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Overtime –

Canada’s Senior National Team has 2 U-Sports coaches directing the FIBA America’s entry, which will compete in the tournament in Argentina. Head Coach, Roy Rana (Ryerson U.) has UVIc Coach, Craig Beaucamp, as his top Assistant.   Training camp starts Saturday in Toronto.

 

  • UBC-O  Coach Peter Guarasci adds 3 new recruits, including ex- MRU guard Aloysius Callaghan (Calgary), 6-6 Kyrin Cybenko (Saskatoon), who was a top rebounder for Lakeland College in the ACAC, and 6-7 Gurman Bhangu (Surrey, Panorama Ridge) who is a very promising high school star.   Details in this Kelowna Capital News story.

 

  •  UBC T-Birds, without Coach Kevin Hanson and 5th year star, Conor Morgan, are in Costa Rica.   UBC drops a close one to Texas – El Paso 78-73 Friday. They meet Nevada-Reno  on Saturday and Sunday.     On Wednesday, The Trinity Western Spartans were beaten 101-64 by St. Martin’s University (WA) in a game played in Langley, BC.
  • More U-Sports – NCAA scores …   James Madison 67  Carleton 59, Carleton 81  Vanderbilt 74, Carleton 89  N. Colorado 79  …  McGill 86 UTEP 82 OT, McGill 56  UTEP 54 … N. Colorado 81  Brock 74, Vanderbilt 104  Brock 90.

 

New RPI Formula for Canada West

 

 

What Impact From RPI, Schedule Changes ?

Canada West recently announced the 2017-18 playing schedule, which still has 17 schools each playing a different slate of games.  This unequal 20 game set-up has schools playing a pair of contests with 4 ‘traditional rivals’ each year, but  they change 6 teams on alternate years.

So, for example,  Saskatchewan, who have Alberta, Calgary Regina, and Brandon as ‘rivals’  will reverse home and way with those schools this coming season;  the Huskies played Fraser Valley, Winnipeg, UBC, Lethbridge, Mt. Royal, and UNBC in 2016-17, but will meet the other 6 ‘non-rival’ schools … Manitoba, Thompson Rivers, Victoria, MacEwan, UBC-O, and Trinity Western in the 2017-18 schedule.

Conor Morgan and his T-Birds ‘mates will be gunning for another big winning year, and hoping for a higher seeding this time around.                    photo – UBC Athletics

Each school has different rivals, and a different slate of 6 ‘non-rivals’, and, in another twist of scheduling, each school determines if they will play any ‘home and home series’.  Example – Calgary has all three of Alberta, Mt. Royal, and Lethbridge home and away.  Saskatchewan,  Regina, TRU, UBC-O, and UNBC have none.  Other schools have 1 or 2 ‘home and homes’ with geographically close rivals.  All this leads to some differences in number of home and away games for some teams.

With all that, the League governors chose to continue using an adjusted RPI index to ‘even -up’ the standings between ‘unequally scheduled’ teams.  Last year, as fans might remember, this led to the juggling of final seeding spots for play-offs, putting 19-1 UBC in the 4th seed behind 16-4 Calgary #1, 14-6 Saskatchewan #2, and 14-6 Alberta #3.

The effect of these RPI results prompted schools to ask for a modification in those statistical manouvres.  Canada West now has a new RPI formula  –

The formula used in 2016-17 was as follows:

RPI = 25% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.2 away win + 0.8 home win, 50% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The new formula for 2017-18, with changes in bold, is as follows:

RPI = 35% team winning percentage (WP) x 1.1 away win + 0.9 home win, 40% opponents’ average winning percentage (OWP), and 25% opponents’ opponent’s average winning percentage (OOWP).

The League is hoping that this will bend the final standings a little less, and keep teams with a higher winning percentage in higher seeding spots.  We still, however, have the unequal schedule.  How unequal is it?

Alberta, defending Canada West champs, have Mamadou Gueye leading a solid corps of returnees. photo –                  Bears Athletics

Well, we have done a somewhat subjective analysis of each team’s schedule, and we’ve assigned points based on a) Last year’s finish, b) team losses from graduation or other (as announced) c) recruiting news as we’ve followed it.  We give UBC a 16, Calgary and Alberta both at 14, Lethbridge and Saskatchewan are 12, Manitoba, UVic, Winnipeg are 10, with Brandon, Regina and UFV 9. TRU is 7, MRU 6, MacEwan 6, UNBC 5, and TWU and UBC-O  are both at 4 in this ranking scale. Certainly subjective, but it can generate some ‘informed guesses’ for what lies ahead in the coming year.

Who has the ‘toughest’ schedule?  Who might have the ‘easiest’ … we add up the teams’ opponents’ ranking scores, and here’s what we have, with toughest at the top, and ‘easier’ at the bottom –

The Okanagan Heat, who were 2-18 last season, hardly need this rugged path … at UVic, UFV, UNBC (the only non-playoff squad from 2016-17), Calgary, Winnipeg.  Home to TRU, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and UBC !  Ouch!

Trinity Western were 3-17, but it’s all uphill with the likes of the Bears, UVic, UBC, Calgary, and Saskatchewan on their schedule as well.  They play just 2 non-play-off teams from last year.

Interestingly, UBC has what looks like one of the ‘lighter’ schedules once again.

If we look at Thompson Rivers, by contrast, we see the ‘Pack facing only Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, and Victoria from last year’s top seeds. The Orange play all 5 of last season’s non-playoff teams.  Fraser Valley gets 4 of those 5 who missed the 2016-17 playoffs.

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Overtime – 

  •  The play-off schedule has changed for this coming season, with CW deciding to scrap the Final 4 Tournament in favour of a single game for the championship. The first round has the top four seeds with  byes, and the next eight playing single-elimination games (12 @ 5, 11 @ 6, 10 @ 7, and 9 @ 8) . Feb 8 -11.  Best of 3 quarter-finals  are   February 15-18, and the Semis (best-of-three) February 22-25.  The Canada West Final is March 2 or 3.  ( CW may play a 3rd place game, if it is necessary for wildcard chances at U-Sport Nationals (Halifax, March 8-11).

 

  • Alberta Golden Bears have reportedly added Montreal native, Nolan Woodward, a 6-4, 220 lb wing man, who will enter his 4th year after stops at NCAA Div 2 schools, Gannon University  (Pennsylvania), and American International U. (Massachusetts) .

 

  • Josh Wolfram, former TRU Wolf Pack Canada West all-star, moves from Sweden to the Czech Republic in signing a contract with Sluneta – Usti Nad Labem (USTI)  for his 2nd pro experience in Europe.  More details in this story from TRU Athletics.

 

 

 

 

4 Schools Announce Big Recruiting Classes

 

 

UBC Leads 4 Schools Announcing Big Recruiting Success

UBC Coach Kevin Hanson greets ‘feature’ signee, Grant Shephard            Photo – UBC Athletics

When a U-Sports school signs a bonafide NCAA Div. 1 prospect, it is certainly a banner day for that program and Canadian University basketball as a whole.  Coach Kevin Hanson of UBC announced in April that 6-10 post man, Grant Shephard from Kelowna will join the T’Birds roster for the 2017-18 season.  Shephard, who was a big factor as a grade 11 in the Kelowna Owls winning the B.C. High Schools 4A championship in 2016, spent grade 12 at Monteverde Prep in Florida.

Reportedly, he had solid offers from some NCAA powers, but the young man suggested that he felt more ‘excited’ about UBC, and being closer to friends and family.  Coach Hanson said, “Despite Grant having several offers from NCAA Division 1 schools, he decided playing and studying at UBC was the right fit for him. He is a special player, a special person, which makes this a special day for UBC basketball.” Shephard, who scored 31 points and added 22 rebounds in that 2016 Provincial Final win over Tamanawis HS of Surrey, will also welcome the chance to play with Parker Simson, an Owls teammate.  Simson will be in his 2nd year at UBC after working through an injury, which kept him from both the Football and Basketball Thunderbirds.  Another Kelowna Owls star who has signed with the Thunderbirds is Mason Bourcier, a 6-4 guard with great credentials and high expectations.  He too had interest from NCAA schools, but will now join one of the best recruiting classes in UBC basketball history.

The T’Birds already announced the addition of 6-6 wing, Cam Morris, Burnaby (St. Thomas More HS) along with ‘ imports’  Grant Audu, a 6-4 guard from Thornhill, ON , who played at  Marist HS, New Jersey,  and 6-3 guard, Anthony McNish, Toronto, who was at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona.   (From UBC Athletics)

Dinos add power and finesse in their recruiting class

Rys Larry is a top rebounder, transferring to UC from Acadia.                    Photo –   Axemen Athletics

The Calgary Dinos are boasting a most productive recruiting year to date as they land 6-9 rebounding ace, Rhys Larry, a transfer from Acadia who will be entering his 4th year of eligibility.  Another key transfer is 3rd year 6-1 combo guard, Lucas Mannes,  from Chilliwack, BC, who averaged 18 ppg in his last year at Trinity Western.

A pair of high school stand-outs are also expected to make an immmediate impact at UC, with 6-2 point man, Andrew Milner (Antigonish, NS) a winner with his provincial U-17s at Summer Nationals, and 6-7 Mason Foreman (Winnipeg), who played last year for Orangeville Prep in the Toronto area, and is the son of former National Team forward, Jeff Foreman.

Calgary Coach, Dan Vanhooren says, ’We feel we’ve added top quality guys, with Rhys Larry bringing us leadership at the forward spot, and a proven scorer in Lucas Mannes.  We’re excited to have the young talent we see in both Andrew, a real floor leader, and Mason, who has size and a nice shooting touch.’

 Lethbridge Bolsters Their Lineup

Kyle Peterson, in CIS Nationals play vs Ottawa.

The Lethbridge Pronghorns recently announced 3 signees expected to give them a big boost in years to come. Lead guard, Kyle Peterson, was a 2 year starter at UVic, and had a red-shirt year in Lethbridge; he returns after a 2 year Mormon mission.  Saren Westrop, a 6-7 local high school star ( LCI ), played at Iona College, then transferred to Harcum JC (Pennsylvania).  Jeff Rodehutskors, a strong and promising 6-6 forward (Chestermere HS) , transfers fron Calgary, where he played last season.  Jeff will red-shirt in ’17-’18, but will join his younger brother Mark with the ‘Horns the following season.

U of L also announced the addition of Tanner McLachlan, 6-6 forward, from LCI,  Canyon Lewis, a 6-6 forward from Henderson, NV (* he is a Canadian citizen), and Nick Myndio, a 5-10 guard from Lethbridge, who starred with Chinook HS.  Boomer Heggie, a 6-0 guard at Raymond HS, will go on a church mission for 2 years, but plans to return to play for UL in 2019-20.

Griffins Coach, Eric Magdanz                            Photo – MacEwan Athletics

MacEwan Makes Moves to Strengthen Their Roster

After seeing the graduation and departure of 5 veteran roster players including stalwarts Denzel James, Thadius Galvez, and Keith Gerdes, Griffins Head Coach, Eric Magdanz, knew he had a big recruiting task ahead this past Spring.  The 4th year mentor has been successful in adding 7 new faces including, most recently, his 2nd British star in 2 years. 18 year old, Jay Carter, a 6-6 wing with the UK Jr Nationals, comes from Reading Rockets with exceptional 3 point shooting stats.

In April the Griffs signed 6 other young prospects … Lincoln Anderson, a 6-3 all-star with Cardston HS (AB), comes off a 2 year Mormon mission and a year’s knee re-hab … 6-8 Ben Niles (Kamloops – Valleyview) has the size, but also a good out-side touch … also 6-4 Moreau Amadou, Calgary -Sir Winston Churchill, Luke Harold, a 6-5 wing from Regina’s Campbell Collegiate, Marco Beasley, 6-7 forward, Edmonton – Ross Sheppard HS, and Dustin Gatzki (Westlock, AB) a 6-4 wing who had a year at Staples HS, Wyoming.

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Overtime –

  • News this week on  NCAA games to be  hosted at U. Calgary this summer ...  on August 10 and 12 the Calgary Dinos will play the NCAA Div 1, Montana State Bobcats .  Also at UC, on August 11 and 13, it will be the Alberta Golden Bears taking on the Bobcats.

 

  • Great fun to be had this coming Saturday, May 27, as the UVic Vikes host a Ken Shields Roast !  Who better to skewer our old buddy Shields than former coaching rivals Don Horwood (U. Alberta), Jerry Hemmings (Brandon), and Ken Olynyk (Lethbridge) ?  The Vikes Hall of Fame Coach will also get ‘greetings’ from from former Vikes players including Robbie Parris, Gerald Kazanowski, and fiery mascot Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard.  More details in this Times-Colonist story from Cleve Dheensaw.

 

 

 

Who Goes, Who Stays for Next Fall?

 

 

 

 An Early Look at Canada West Rosters

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

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

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

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

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

Shane Osayande returns for the Huskies with his power game.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More team reports up-coming  _________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime – 

 

Final 4 ‘Wide Open’ – Friday Semi-Finals

 

 

Berths in U-Sports Nationals Up for Grabs

One win away.  For the 4 teams in this week’s Final 4, their clearest focus may well be the one major step they have to take to get to the National Championship tournament in Halifax on March 9-12.   Win Friday, and you’re in.

This makes for as intense a game as they will have played all year.  The host Calgary Dinos won last year’s Canada West Final, and went on to reach the championship game vs Carleton last March in Vancouver.  The largely veteran Dinos are aiming for a repeat appearance, but will have a real tussle with the Manitoba Bisons. The Herd have not played in a National Final 8 Championship since 1985, and they are aching to seize this opportunity.

Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have had fairly recent runs to a Nationals Tournament, with Alberta in 2014 and Saskatchewan in both 2014 and 2015.  The Bears and Huskies split their regular season series in Saskatoon in early February, and their Friday tip-off at 3 pm will continue a fierce rivalry .

5th year Huskies forward, Trevor Severinski, hopes to find some magic against the Golden Bears                  Photo – Huskies Athletics

# 9 Saskatchewan Huskies  vs #8  Alberta Golden Bears –  Saskatchewan are worried about the Bears’ ability to put up points, and Alberta’s staff will be devising strategies to defend the post combo of Shayne Osayande and Matt Forbes.  The 3 point shot could obviously be a difference maker, as it has been for Canada West’s best long-range shooting team, U of A,  much of the regular season.

The Bears’ Mamadou Gueye shoots 41.5% from 3 point range, and he’s the 5th best of the GB’s shooters from outside the arc ! (Gueye is 12th in CW, and, of course, he has a few other skills to bring to the party.)  Austin Waddoups 46.8%, Andre Kelly 44.7%, Geoff Pippus 42.6%, and Ivan Ikomey 42.2%.  Hot.  And the Bears still have the inside threat of all-star post man, Brody Clarke.

The Huskies Osayande can take over a game.  He’s a walking, leaping, shot-blocking, double-double.  And his muscular ‘mate,  Forbes, has that 5th year zeal as he steps on the stage for one of his last performances. The ‘Dogs may live and die with the 2 -way games of their guard corps, Lawrence Moore, Jaylan Morgan, and Alex Unruh.  Getting Morgan back is vital to their cause, as is the rejuvenation of the offensive threat posed by ‘small forward’, Trevor Severinski.  This 5th year shooter has found his shooting eye at just the right time.

This is a ‘street fight’ kind of game, which we see as a toss-up.  Shake hands and go to a neutral corner.   It’s a matinee game time of 3 pm .   Canada West TV

Calgary’s Mitch Ligertwood should be a key figure vs the Bisons.                   Photo- David Moll – UC Athletics

#5 Calgary Dinos  vs  Manitoba Bisons –  The Bisons come off a 2 game road sweep of the previously 25-1 UBC Thunderbirds.  They should be on a ‘Wanted Poster’ !  Armed and dangerous !  The 4 pillars of this team, Ilarion Bonhomme, A.J. Basi, Keith Omoerah, and Justus Alleyn averaged 33.5 minutes apiece, and tallied 88% of the Herd’s points in Vancouver.

Bonhomme is most dangerous as a penetrator, and Alleyn has been their ‘drop dead’ scorer for most of the season.  Omoerah is a multi-faceted weapon, with his rebounding, scoring, and leadership.  Basi has been a streaky shooter, but has a knack at crunch time.  The Dinos will know that they can’t give him too much free room.  Off the bench Coach Kirby Schepp utilizes veterans Malik Irwin and Joey Nitychoruk along with all-rookie forward  James Wagner.

Calgary will be playing a variety of ‘small ball’, very likely.  Mitch Ligertwood had a strong series in the post against TRU, and he has the experience from last year’s Final 4 to inspire his efforts.  The ‘overall team effort’ is the key factor, according to Coach Dan Vanhooren, and he looks to the defensive skills of perimeter  players led by ultra-quick David Kapinga,  shooting guard Thomas Cooper, and his side-kicks, the gritty Jhony Verrone, the spidery, energetic, Mambi Diawara, and skilled rookie, Max Eisle.

Veterans Dallas Karch and Jasdeep Gill are 5th year players who are wanting to go out as winners, and they have both shown an ability to make an impact.  This match-up produced a split on the season’s opening weekend at UC;  we should expect a rousing affair, and quite possibly a ‘down-to-the-wire’ finish.           8 pm on Canada West TV

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In the East –    

Carleton’s Connor Wood, OUA Player of the Year.
photo – Ottawa Citizen

The Ontario Wilson Cup Final 4 has  #1 Carleton vs  #4 Brock at 4:50 Eastern time , and #3 Ottawa vs #2 Ryerson  7:50  from Carleton U. in Ottawa   Both on  OUA TV   The OUA Final and 3rd place game are the next afternoon.   For more detail, check in with Mark Wacyk’s comprehensive  CANhoops.ca  blog, with great OUA coverage.

Atlantic  –   The festive annual tradition of the Atlantic Tournament at the Halifax Scotia Bank Centre will tip-off on Friday with the two Quarter-Finals –  Acadia vs  Memorial  at 6:30  Atlantic time , and  St. Mary’s vs  St. FX  at 8:30.  Both of these games are available live on AUS TV    .   Friday’s winners will play the 2 top seeds , UNB and Dalhousie on Saturday (6:30 and 8:30)  with the championship final going Sunday at 4:30.   Dalhousie will be the host team for the U-Sports Nationals.

Quebec –   Top seeded McGill will host the RSEQ Tournament in Montreal starting Friday as well  – The Redmen meet  4 seed, Laval, in one game, and Concordia plays UQAM in an all-Montreal affair in the other semi.  The Quebec Final goes Saturday.

 

Overtime –

  • There is some heated discussion surrounding the one ‘At-Large or ‘Wild-card’ spot in the March 9-12,  U-Sports Final 8 Nationals  to be awarded by a Coaches Committee after play this Sunday.  We wrongly suggested that Canada West has a rule that only Final 4 teams can be considered.  Apparently not, so UBC is able to receive consideration, despite having lost 2 straight to Manitoba in CW Quarter-Finals.  Who knows how this will go?  The results this weekend will be a big factor, of course.  It seems to suggest in the U-Sports Final 8 Selection Criteria  that teams advancing further down the play-off trail be placed in a category 1 ‘cluster’ of teams for consideration.  This is one of the sections which lends more subjectivity to the exercise.
  •  Calgary Coach Dan Vanhooren, on his feelings about 4th year guard, David Kapinga’s absence from the CW all-star list.   “Vanhooren was pleased with Kapinga’s performance, calling him an “unrecognized all-star.”  “It’s a shame that a player with that level of talent doesn’t get recognized by our league in that fashion,” he said. “I think that he’s clearly one of the better players in the league and he showed that in the fourth quarter (in last Friday’s win over TRU) . He’s an all-star in my mind.”   From a story in UC’s student newspaper, The Gauntlet. 
  • Forward Lars Schleuter is side-lined for the Dinos

  • Two significant absences last week as their teams qualified for the  Final 4  were  Jaylan Morgan of Saskatchewan  and Lars Schleuter of Calgary.   Huskies Coach Barry Rawlyk suggests, “ He’s worked hard to recover, and made significant progress, so  we are expecting Morgan to be back in the line-up for the Semi-Final Friday vs Alberta.”  Schleuter, however, doesn’t expect to be in action this week for the Dinos, and he said “It’s tough to watch from the sidelines, but I have confidence in my teammates this week”.

 

 

 

Canada West Major Awards and All-stars

 

UBC Dominates Canada West Major Awards

The UBC Thunderbirds claimed 4 of the 5 major awards voted on by Canada West coaches for the 2016-17 season.

Conor Morgan is Canada West Player of the Year – photo  UBC Athletics Rich Lam

Most Outstanding Player – Conor Morgan, UBC, 4th year forward – “Not only did Conor have a great season statistically by leading Canada West in scoring, he also took on a more advanced leadership role on our team. Conor’s hard work in the off-season made him a more complete player this season, and the results showed.” – UBC head coach Kevin Hanson.

Top Defensive Player – Jordan Jensen-Whyte, UBC, 5th year wing –  “Jordan is the consummate team player. He will do anything asked and it all starts at the defensive end of the floor with him. His effort level is contagious and influences the younger players on our team. He has had a remarkable five years at UBC and will go down as one of the top defensive players in school history.” – Coach Kevin Hanson.

 Rookie of the Year – Scott Kellum, Victoria, guard – “Scott was one of our most consistent players all season. By the end of the season he was our starting point guard. It is rare to have a first-year player make such significant contributions to the team in their first season. His future is very bright if he continues to work hard.” – Victoria head coach Craig Beauchamp.
Ken Shields Award  (Academics and Service to the Community) –  Phil Jalalpoor, UBC, 4th year guard – “Phil’s work ethic on the court is matched by his dedication to his academics. He is the prototypical student-athlete and a role model to his teammates. Through his hard work, Phil was able to attain Academic All-Canadian status. He is leader within the greater UBC community and has a bright future both on and off the basketball court.” – UBC Coach, Kevin Hanson.
Coach of the Year – Kevin Hanson, UBC – In his 17th season as the UBC Head Coach, Hanson wins this award for the 6th time.  He was also chosen as the CIS (U-Sports) National Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2010.  His T’Birds had a Canada West League best record of 19-1 in the regular season.
15 All-stars chosen by Canada West coaches

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos   –  Photo – David Moll, Dinos Athletics

 First Team All-Stars

Brody Clarke / F / Alberta / 2 / Toronto, Ont.

Conor Morgan / G, F / UBC / 4 / Victoria, B.C.

Thomas Cooper / G / Calgary / 5 / Chattanooga, Tennessee

Shane Osayande / F / Saskatchewan / 4 / Toronto, Ont.

Volodymyr Iegorov / F / TRU / 5 / Donetsk, Ukraine

 

Manny Dulay , Fraser Valley photo- UFV Athletics

Second Team All-Stars

Austin Waddoups / G / Alberta / 3 / American Fork, Utah

Jordan Jensen-Whyte / G / UBC / 5 / Calgary, Alta.

Manny Dulay / G / Fraser Valley / 5 / Surrey, B.C.

Dejon Burdeaux / G / Lethbridge / 4 / Oakland, California

Justus Alleyn / G / Manitoba / 4 / Winnipeg, Man.

 

Matt Forbes, Saskatchewan Huskies

Third Team All-Stars

Tyvon Cooper / G / Brandon / 2 / Middleton, New York

Brett Layton / F / Mount Royal / 2 / Calgary, Alta.

Matthew Forbes / F / Saskatchewan / 5 / Regina Beach, Sask.

Grant Sitton / G, F / Victoria / 5 / Brush Prairie, Washington

Denzel Lynch-Blair / G / Winnipeg / 3 / Toronto, Ont.

Scott Kellum, UVic Vikes

 All-Rookie Team

Andre Kelly / G / Alberta / Mississauga, Ont.

James Wagner / F / Manitoba / Winnipeg, Man.

Johneil Johnson / G / Regina / Lake Echo, N.S.

Scott Kellum / G / Victoria / Issaquah, Washington

Narcisse Ambanza / G / Winnipeg / Toronto, Ont

Bisons, Dinos, Huskies – All on to Final 4

The Herd are full value for a sweep of #2 UBC

Ilarion Bonhomme’s big night propels the Bisons past the ‘Birds.   photo – Rich Lam, UBC

Manitoba  98   #2  UBC  96   OT –  Kudos to Coach Kirby Schepp and his Bisons , as they go into War Memorial and out-play the #2 ranked team in the country on consecutive nights.  The Herd have the Thunderbirds barely hanging on again Friday, and UBC are fortunate to tie it up and send it to extra time. A. J. Basi’s 3 point shot off an offensive  rebound gave UM the lead with 6 seconds left, and the ‘Birds try at the buzzer bounced off the iron.

5th year transfer point man, Ilarion Bonhomme had a defining effort for the Bisons tonight, with his 28 points/ 10 rebounds/ 9 assists.  Justus Alleyn scores 18, with 4 treys before he fouled out, while Keith Omoerah had a double of 14 pts/ 11 boards.  UBC were led by team captain , Jordan Jensen-Whyte’s 33 point / 10 rebound effort in his final outing for the T’Birds. Patrick Simon scored 21 coming off the bench, and added 5 rebounds.

This was a shocking result to many, but a tribute to the depth of talent on Manitoba, and in all of Canada West, where we saw several visiting squads equit themselves very impressively.   Box Score  

#6  Calgary   76  Thompson Rivers 68 –  For the 2nd night running, the Wolf Pack hold the Dinos feet to the fire, with timely shooting and a stifling zone defense.  It’s tied at the half, then TRU get a lead midway through the 3rd quarter, which they don’t relinquish until the 3 minute mark of the 4th frame.

Dinos full court pressure finally wore down the ‘Pack. 6 points by Calgary’s 4th year post man, Mitch Ligertwood, in the last 1:40 were the crucial ones in this series winner.  The UC defense limited Thompson Rivers to just 12 points in the last 10 minutes.  Calgary won the rebounding 47-34, and hit 12/18 free throws to just 2 of 5 for the visitors.   UC’s Thomas Cooper had another sparkling effort, with 26 points and 9 rebounds, and Jhony Verrone was solid with his 13 points/ 11 rebounds, and superb defensive effort. Mambi Diawara was sharp, especially late in the game, with defensive pressure, and he tallies 15 pts/ 7 rebs/ 5 steals.

Volodymyr Iegorov plays his final game for the Wolf Pack, hitting 20 points and claiming 11 rebounds. Derek Rhodes scored 11 and Mike Rouault 10 for TRU, who gave a very brave effort on both nights.    Box Score  

#9  Saskatchewan  88  Winnipeg 77  –  The Huskies storm out of the gates early, and grab a huge 31-8 lead after 10 minutes. But the Wesmen win the middle frames 46-29, to get to within 6.  Saskatchewan’s offense clicks for 28 points in the 4th, and they sweep the series.

Shane Osayande is strong again with a 21 point/ 19 rebound  crusher, while Alex Unruh has a nice game for U of S, with 20 points on 8/10 FG shooting. Trevor Severinski cashes 4/8 from outside for the Dogs for 16 points and he doubles with 10 boards. Narcisse Ambanza scores 18 pts / 5 asst for the Ws, and Denzel Lynch-Blair returns for 14 pts/ 4 rebs/ 3 steals.  Box Score

31 pts from their captain, paces the U of L past Alberta in game 2

 Lethbridge 112    #8  Alberta   111  OT –  As much as the ‘Horns were limited by U of Adefense on Thursday, the U of L shooters responded with confidence on this night. The visitors shoot 49% from the floor, hit 15 treys, and convert 25/29 free throws. Alberta betters the Pronghorns with 51% shooting, the same 15 treys, but get fewer free throws (20/22) in a most efficient offensive display by both clubs .

Before fouling out with 10 seconds left in regulation, Dejon Burdeaux scored a team-high 31 points/ 8 rebs/ 5 assists for Lethbridge, who force a game 3, to be played at 7 pm Saturday night.  Zac Overwater is big for the ‘Horns with 26 points/ 12 rebounds, and Elliott Sentance contribute’s 16 pts to the winning cause.   Box Score  

 

 

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In the Atlantic –  Friday Night –   UNB 85 at St. FX 74, at #10 Dalhousie  90 UPEI 75, Saint Mary’s 94  at  Cape Breton 78, at Acadia 97 Memorial  82

 

Sat. OUA Quarter Finals –  at #1 Carleton  McMaster , at #3 Ryerson  Nipissing, at #4 Ottawa Laurentian,  at #5 Brock  Toronto   (On OUA TV)

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Overtime –

  • CW Women’s 1/4 Finals –  at  #3 Regina 57  Trinity W 41 (Win series 2-0) ,  at #6  Victoria 74 Winnipeg  69  (series tied 1-1),   Fraser V. 74  at # 8 Saskatchewan  62  (series tied 1-1),  at Alberta 60   UBC 52   (wins series 2-0) … 3rd games on Saturday for Vikes – Wesmen, and Cascades – Huskies.
  • TRU’s Luke Morris

    TRU forward, Luke Morris, is providing scoring and leadership to his young Wolf Pack team.  Coach Scott Clark comments in this article from Morris’ hometown Mission City Record.  “He’s a bigger guy [6-5] and can score in a variety of ways,” said Clark. “He can step out and hit a three, score in the post, score in the cut and offensive rebound.”   “There has been increased expectations from our coaching staff and he’s shown more leadership and a lot of growth this season,” Clark said.

 

  •   We learn that Denzel Lynch-Blair of Winnipeg misses last night’s game at Saskatchewan due to accumulating 5 technical fouls over the course of the season.  League Directors review reports on technical fouls, and may suspend players, depending on the details of the offense (s).