Key Clashes in Saskatoon, Victoria

 

Saskatchewan Hosts Winnipeg, and Calgary in Victoria for Key Series’

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen and guard, Jamar Farley, invade Saskatoon this week.

The Winnipeg Wesmen are hoping to carry the 7-0 momentum they have built this past month as they travel West to Saskatoon to face the Saskatchewan Huskies.  The Ws, in the minds of many CIS coaches are be facing their biggest test to date, and Coach Mike Raimbault and his charges hope to repeat their sweep of the U of S from last year.

The 1-1 Dinos are in Victoria to face the 1-1 Vikes, as two other squads with ‘big plans’ match-up on Ken and Kathy Shields Court at the Blue and Gold hued CARSA Centre.  It’s a test of the #4 ranked Dinos’ and the un-ranked Vikes’ ability to pull tgether after key line-up changes for both teams.  The match-ups in our ‘key clashes’ …

Winnipeg at Saskatchewan –  Despite their 7-0 record  this Fall, the Wesmen get no mention in the CIS Top 10 poll.  Last January they got a pair of home wins over these Huskies in Winnipeg, but this road series may prove a bit more rugged. The Ws have skill and depth at guard, with Denzel Lynch-Blair, William Sesay,  Jamar Farley, and import transfer, Sean Tarver.  It remains to be seen if Billy Yaworsky and Ryan Oirbans have enough help up front to hold off a bigger U of S squad.  The Huskies feature Shane Osayande, Trevor Severinski, and Matt Forbes , 6-5 Jaylan Morgan adding another weapon. The U of S guards have to hold their own, then the ‘Dogs may howl.  Our Call –  A split is in order, especially if Winnipeg’s full court defense can be effective.

 

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week.

The Vikes and Dinos go at it out on The Island this week. photo – UVic Athletics

Calgary at Victoria – Two traditionally competitive teams, both in search of a sweep this weekend.  The Dinos and the Vikes had 1 impressive win last week,  and 1 ‘not-so-much’!   Thomas Cooper is a deadly offensive threat for UC, and he has Lars Schleuter, a long range bomber, alongside. The guards are explosively quick.  David Kapinga, Jhony Verrone, and newcomers Max Eisle and Mambi Diawara can be suffocating at the defensive end. Victoria are leaning heavily on 5th year forward, Grant Sitton, for scoring, and he now has Wayne Tucker Jr. (tsf Olds College) and Jake Newman (tsf Lafayette U) for assistance.  There is new depth at the guard spot where  Scott Kellum, JJ Hamel-Carey, and Hassan Abdullahi may prove an effective combo. Our Call –  The best guess might be a split, having seen just that result for the past 2 seasons in League play.


The Original ‘Mad Viking’  … screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-1-55-23-pm

The Calgary Dinos, when they play on The Island this week, should be thankful that they will not be ‘greeted’ by the original ‘Mad Viking’ mascot.  Jim ‘Mother’ Hubbard prowled the court perimeter for Coach Ken Shields and his championship UVic teams of the ’80s.  This was not a rubber axe, and ‘Hubb’ was not a subtle fan!  Opposition players of the day couldn’t help but look over their shoulders to keep an eye on his menacing presence.

Coach Shields remembers ‘only a couple of occasions ‘ when ‘Hubb’ actually did any notable damage with his weapon! One of the great characters in Canada West history.

 


And, the remainder of the Canada West slate for week 2 –

Thurs –      Lethbridge at Mt. Royal –  This is the Cougars’ home opener, and they face a Pronghorns team that has 2 wins from last week.  U of L has some building confidence in 2 import lynch-pins, guard, Dejon Burdeaux, and wing man, Elliott Sentance. The ‘Horns seem to have all their ‘antelopes’ match-fit, and they may have the local talent to compliment the skills of Bordeaux and Sentance.  Zac Overwater and Mike Pierzchala, an LCI and Winston Churchill HS grad,  can be impact players in their own right. MRU were up and down in the pre-season, and there may be some depth concerns, especially on the forward line.  The addition of the multi-talented Josh Ross (tsf Vancouver Island U.) will help, and he should combine nicely with 2nd year all-star forward, Brett Layton.  Guards Derek Wolfe and Glen Yang will have to be sharp if the Cougars are to come out on top.  Our Call –  Lethbridge could sweep, we feel.  MRU will be fighting for a split.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.

Coach Gil Cheung and his Brandon Bobcats are home to the UBC-O Heat.   photo – Brandon Athletics

Friday / Saturday –     UBC-O at Brandon  –  This is a true mystery.  Okanagan travels to Brandon so rarely ( well, actually just once … an 8 point loss in 2014).  The ‘Cats need these wins on home court.  The Heat have some chemistry building with Aldrich Berrios and Mitch Goodwin at guard, but they also need their big men, Ryan Morck and David Manshrek to battle the BU front line.  Those ‘Big ‘Cats’ are led by the strong efforts of Earl Thompson Jr., and the  improving  John Paul, a 6-11 ‘handful’.  Import guard Tyvon Cooper seems to be the scoring guard Brandon needs, as he averaged  17 ppg last week at Alberta.    Our Call –  Who feels comfortable down the stretch?  This is a toss-up on paper, but an edge to the home team.

Thompson Rivers at Manitoba –  The Wolf Pack have a tough task in facing the Herd out in ‘Ft. Garry’.  Manitoba has the fire-power that TRU lost to graduation.  The ‘Pack still have Volodymyr Iegorov, Micheal Rouault, and Jeff Tubbs, but they are a team in the -re-building process.  The Bisons are packed with talented veterans, like Keith Omoerah, AJ Basi, Justus Alleyn, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Jonathan Alexander.  At their best, the Herd will Stampede all over many Canada West teams.  Our Call – Two decisive Manitoba wins.

Regina at MacEwan –  This is a test for two teams with playoff potential. The Cougars have the ultimate ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ team so far.  They win by 20 vs UVic last Saturday, after dropping a 95-77 home opener to the Vikes on Friday. Brian Ofori has looked like a leader on their forward line, and they have 5th year vets Travis Sylvester and Stephen Shields in their top 9.  Guards Brandon Tull, Aaron McGowan, and Alex Igual get help from newcomer, import Johneil Johnson.  MacEwan, too, have a good core of vets, with Thadius Galvez and Denzel James, their backcourt strength.  Keith Gerdes and Harrison Lane head-up a ‘medium sized’ front court  in need of some scoring punch.   Our Call –  Regina wins at least one, but MacEwan is ‘sneakily competitive’, and may surprise us.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their 'Valley Series' with UFV.

Matt Hayashi and his TWU teammates will be up for their ‘Valley Series’ with UFV.   Spartans Athletics

Trinity Western at Fraser Valley –  Flush with their Saturday win at UBC-O, the Spartans are set to challenge for ‘Kings of the Valley’ !  UFV have won all 6 games in the past 3 seasons, and will be a tough out for TWU.  The Cascades guard corps look best in this match-up, with Manny Dulay, Vijay Dhillon, and 6-4 transfer (College of the Desert) Anthony Gilchrist off the bench.  The Green start 3 forwards … Nav Bains, Andrew Morris, and Mark Johnson, and they are part of a pretty effective defensive unit. Trinity have bigger, but less mobile forwards in Patrick Vandervelden and Matt Hayashi.  There is  some developing strength in import, Pogos Trunyan, along with scoring wing, Vartan Tanielian, and lead guard, Tyus Allen.   Our Call –  Has TWU turned a corner?  We don’t have the ‘faith’ of their followers yet, but they will give UFV a good challenge this week.

Alberta at UNBC –  The Bears go on the road with their 2 opening wins from last week, and the T’Wolves will hope the friendly environs of the Northern Sports Centre in Prince George will give them an edge.  Alberta comes with the ‘golden duo’ of Mamadou Gueye and Brody Clarke at forward; this a severe challenge for the ‘Wolves’ Vaggelis Loukas and Anthony Hokanson. Rhys Elliot and Marcus MacKay give UNBC a pair of able scoring guards, who will have to out-play U of A’s new arrivals Austin Waddoups and Andre Kelly.  Our Call –  The Golden Bears have an edge here, and will be aiming for the sweep.  A top effort from the T’Wolves will be necessary for a win.

Saturday –  Mt. Royal travels to Lethbridge for game 2.

UBC has the bye this week.


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UBC Climbs to 2nd in Week 2

The UBC Thunderbirds, looking strong in the early-going this season, were voted #2 in this week’s coaches’ poll for the CIS. Calgary, who dropped their opener to Manitoba, were demoted to the #4 slot.

There are 6 OUA teams in the 12 mentioned in the poll , including the ‘Mighty Ravens’ of Carleton at #1. The Alberta Golden Bears appear as an ‘honourable mention.

 


 

Overtime –

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Trevor Severinski (L) and Chan De Ciman model the ‘camo gear’ the Huskies will wear to observe Remembrance Day.

  •   The Saskatchewan Huskies will be wearing special ‘camo’ game jerseys when they host Winnipeg this weekend,  in tribute to those Canadians who served / serve in the military.  Coach Barry Rawlyk says, “Remembrance Day is reserved in Canada for us to honour and remember those who bravely served and scarified for our great country,” said head coach Barry Rawlyk. “We also believe it is a time to express our appreciation to all of the men and women in uniform that courageously and unselfishly serve our nation.”  From U of S Athletics
  •   TRU Coach, Scott Clark, on the new scheduling format for Canada West  , “ …  there are not two teams in the conference that play the same schedule,” Clark said. “To call it a schedule, I think, is a misnomer, in that I believe we just play some games and at the end they’re going to compare everybody.  It’s no fault of whoever makes the schedule. It’s a 17-team conference — it’s monumental.  Really, you can’t [have a schedule] with 17 teams. But my opinion was always that the conference needs to be divided.”   From Kamloops This Week.
  • We have the first of several home and home series which are part of that somewhat disjointed League schedule this season.  Mt. Royal hosts Lethbridge on Thursday, then travel South for the return bout on Saturday, while the ‘Valley Neighbours’, Trinity Western and Fraser Valley exchange home courts on Friday/Saturday. This would seem like a great way to build on regional rivalries.

 

 

So Impressive, So Overwhelming !

 

The Scrubb brothers (Phil, L, Thomas, R)  and their Carleton teammates celebrate their 2015 CIS Championship

The Scrubb brothers (Phil, L, Thomas, R) and their Carleton teammates celebrate their 2015 CIS Championship

 

Carleton Reign Supreme – 5th Straight Championship

 Carleton  93   Ottawa  46 –  As we all watch the Carleton Ravens systematically and emphatically dismantle the Ottawa Gee-Gees, we realize just how thoroughly this Ravens team dominates Canadian University basketball.  As a fan of the Gee-Gees, or any other team hoping to compete with and defeat Carleton, you are both dismayed and maybe even disgusted with ‘your boys’.

Your hopes are dashed, your team flailing away ineffectively, with that look in their eyes telling us they know they are not going to escape the avalanche. If you were the Nipissing Lakers, then maybe you’re happy just to be there in the OUA, and rub shoulders with the perennial champions in your League . But, on Sunday, in the National Final, we have the ambitious, ascendant Ottawa team, with the 2015 CIS Player of the Year, Johnny Berhanemeskel, and guided by James Derouin, the Coach of the Year.  Ottawa had one of the 2 wins by a CIS team over the Ravens this year, and, in a pre-tournament poll, were favoured by about 60% of respondents to win this Championship, and stop the Carleton string of 4 straight wins.

Phil Scrubb's 28 points led the Ravens  past a stunned Ottawa team.

Phil Scrubb’s 28 points led the Ravens past a stunned Ottawa team.

Well, not so fast, Ottawa !  The Ravens laid waste to Saskatchewan in round 1 –  then dispatched Victoria, who were actually within just 9 points in the Semi-final.  It was suggested by the announcing crew, among others, that Carleton may not have appreciated the ‘early coronation of the Pretenders’, with the laying – on of hardware to the rival coach and star at Wednesday’s CIS Awards.  5th year Ravens’ guard, Phil Scrubb, who was the POY in the 3 previous seasons, and Dave Smart, the many -time National Coach of the Year had, in concert with the rest of the Carleton team, prepared themselves for this much anticipated all-Ottawa match-up as only they can.

From the outset, it was Carleton on the front foot, first to the ball, making the right pass, hitting the shots, and making life generally unpleasant for Ottawa with their swarming, suffocating defense.  Berhanemeskel, who had played so well in similar circumstances last season and this, had no room to operate, and he was 1/7 from the floor late in the opening 20 minutes (1/10 at the end … 8 points). Meanwhile, Phil Scrubb were scoring inside and out, with 16 at the half. It looked bleak for the Ponies and their hopeful but relatively subdued fans.

The seminal moments of this deciding game came in the first 3-4 minutes of the 3rd quarter, with the analysts reaffirming the necessity for Ottawa to stand fast, to mount a come-back, and ‘chip away’ at the Ravens margin. Instead, it was Connor Wood, Victor Raso, and Guillaume Boucard, and then Thomas Scrubb who all poured in shot after shot as the lead swelled to 30 points (57-27) so swiftly that we were stunned by the onslaught.  The frustration for a crestfallen Ottawa team boils over as Coach Derouin makes an ignominious exit after a regrettable 2nd technical foul.  With his team shooting 25% from the floor, Moe Ismail, in 13 minutes off the bench, is the Gee-Gees high man with 10 points.  Box Score

Phil Scrubb scores 28/ 10 assists, Connor Wood, 21, and Thomas Scrubb,  20 pts/ 12 rebs/ 7 assists, with the team at 56% from the floor and 52% from 3 point range!  The Ravens celebration looks most familiar, as they raise the W.P. McGee Trophy for the 5th straight March, and the 12th time in the past 15 seasons.  They graduate star players again this year, as the Scrubb brothers join former Ravens pillars including Phil Larmand, Osvaldo Jeanty, and Tyson Hinz.  The constant, of course, is Dave Smart, surely now the widely acknowledged ‘Greatest Coach Ever’ in the history of Canadian University Basketball. Nobody matches his intensity, fervour, the depth of preparation, and the unabashed conviction of the way he wants his team to play the game.

For now, the Ravens rule the game like no team ever has.  Perhaps the question is not why can’t someone else build a program to compete, but maybe, when might Coach Smart be content with this dynasty, and move on to other challenges. (Not that we’re suggesting he should, or certainly that we might even prefer that he do that … the man is a beacon for excellence, and we are fortunate to have seen his genius in our generation.)

It’s not like James Derouin, Craig Beaucamp (UVic), Barry Rawlyk (Saskatchewan),  and all the other CIS coaches aren’t trying their utmost.  It’s just that Mount Carleton seems so high, and looks, at this point, so unassailable. Hail to the Ravens ! Champions that they are.

 

Rams Win 3rd Place Over Victoria 

Ryerson 82  Victoria 68 – Although the Ryerson Rams fell short in their quest to play for a National title on their home floor, they got some consolation from a solid win over the Victoria Vikes in the 3rd place game on Sunday.  Sparking a withering 2nd half assault by the home team,  Jahmal Jones comes back to hit the shots he was missing in the semi-final loss, as he scores 25 points/ 6 rebs/ 8 assists, and Adika Peter-McNeilly adds 21 points for the Rams.  In his last game for the Vikes, Chris McLaughlin, who is playing this tournament in his native S. Ontario, scores a 22 pt/ 14 rebound double.  Box Score.

 

Overtime – 

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  • We note that UBC is already pumping up the interest for their hosting of next year’s Final 8 Tournament at the new Mitchell Centre on their campus in Vancouver.  The T-Birds will get a host’s berth in that tournament, and, you can be sure that Coach Kevin Hanson will be busy ‘reassembling’ his roster for the 2015-16 season, after he loses Tommy Nixon, Brylle Kamen, and Andrew McGuinness to graduation.
  • Calgary Dinos recruit, Torrez McKoy of MBCI in Winnipeg.

    Calgary Dinos recruit, Torrez McKoy of MBCI in Winnipeg.

  • The Calgary Dinos have signed Winnipeg high school player,  Torrez McKoy, a 6-0, ‘lead guard’ , from the Mennonite Bretheren Collegiate Institute.  McKoy was a 1st team all-star as his Manitoba Provincial Team won the Canadian Juvenile Championship  (U17) last summer.  Dinos fans will only hope he has nearly the impact on the program than did outgoing All-Canadian, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, another Winnipeg product.