‘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

 

 

August – Game- On for U-Sports vs NCAA

 

 

Calgary, Alberta, Trinity, UBC  in Upcoming NCAA Games  

Starting on August the 10th to the 13th , the UC Dinos and Alberta Golden Bears have a pair of games apiece against the visiting Montana State Bobcats.  The ‘Cats meet Calgary on Thursday, the 10th and Saturday, the 12th, and are up gainst the Bears on the 1th and the 13th.  All games are at the UC’s Jack Simpson Gym.

The Bears won the Canada West Championship over Calgary last March, and have almost all their players returning, losing only Brett Roughead to graduation. Calgary graduated high scorer Thomas Cooper, along with regulars, Jasdeep Gill, and Dallas Karch.  Both teams added skilled recruits, and this will be an early chance for fans to preview 2 of Canada West’s perennial contenders.

On Wednesday, August 16, the Trinity Western Spartans welcome Div 2 Saint Martin’s University (Lacey, WA) to Langley.   The UBC Thunderbirds are one of 3 U-Sports sqads visiting Costa Rica this month. The ‘Birds will be without CW Player of the Year, Conor Morgan, who will be on Team Canada in Taiwan for the FISU Games along with Coach Kevin Hanson.   UBC has the U. Nevada Wolf Pack on Aug 18, then the U. Texas – El Paso Miners on the 19th, before finishing  vs Nevada again on the 21st.

 

Eastern Powers Busy With August NCAA Play

Carleton guard Emmanuel Owootoah and the powerhouse Ravens start an ambitious summer schedule.      Photo – Go Ravens.ca

Laval Rouge et Or tipped off Wednesday in a 73-68 home loss to U. California-Riverside, as NCAA teams invade Canada for most of this month.  There is more action  this coming August 5th weekend as Laurentian VG’s are the first team to play in a summer series in Costa Rica, tipping off against the U. of Montana on Saturday.  In Montreal and Ottawa, we have U-Sports teams (UQAM, McGill, and Carleton) hosting Towson State and Alabama starting Sunday.

The U-Sports Champion, Carleton Ravens, have 12 summer dates, with home games – Aug 7 – Towson State , Aug 9 – Alabama , Aug 22 – New Hampshire,  Aug 23 – Canisius College, Aug 25 – Northeastern U., Aug 27 – St. Francis (Brooklyn), Aug 28- Sienna College, Aug 30 – Hofstra U.  Away games are in the U.S. Virgin Islands … Aug 14 – 18  –  Vanderbilt U (2 games), Northern Colorado, James Madison U.

McGill Redmen, the Quebec champs, are up for 10 games including 4 in Costa Rica from August 14 – 17 vs Kent State, Lamar, and a pair vs Texas-El Paso .  The  Quebec power team is home for August 7 – Alabama, 8th – Southern Methodist, 10th – Towson before the Costa Rica junket.  Later in the summer slate … Aug 28th at home to St. Francis (Brooklyn) , 30th – Siena, and Sept. 2 vs Hofstra.

Brock Badgers, a team ‘on the rise’, are scheduling 6 games including Aug 16, 17, 20 and 21 in the U.S. Virgin Islands vs Vanderbilt, N. Colorado, James Madison (2 games)  The Badgers are home on Aug 9 – Binghamton, Aug 13 – Jacksonville

Concordia Stingers also have 6 games lined up with NCAA schools, starting August 20th vs Canisius, then 23rd , 24th against Northeastern and New Hampshire.  The Stingers catch St. Francis, Siena, and Hofstra on Aug 29, 31, and Sept 1. All are home games

The Laurentian Voyageurs have 4 games in Costa Rica during the week August 5th through 12th, as they play the Montana Grizzlies, a pair vs Western Kentucky, and finish against Kent State.

The Ottawa Gee-Gees get Alabama on Aug 10, then New Hampshire and Canisius on the 21st and 22nd. Ramapo College (Div 3) visits the capitol on Aug 28.

 

Overtime –

  • In recent years Carleton has notable victories over NCAA ‘power programs’ such as Syracuse, Indiana, Wichita State, and Wisconsin.  All these are on the Raven’s home court, and CU has an historical 26-23 record vs U.S. schools on this side of the border.  Not so much when they travel South, as they are 1-28 in all games played in the U.S.
  • The Canadian squad for the FISU Games – Universiade will leave Saturday for a training camp at Purdue University in Lafayette, Indiana.  This all-U-Sports aggregation will benefit from some generous hosting by the Boilermakers, whose Big Ten team will represent the U.S. at the Taiwan event from August 19-30.  Here’s a story on Thunderbirds teammates, Conor Morgan and Jordan Jensen-Whyte, who are reunited on this Canada team.   

 

 

Wolf Pack Survive Late Bobcats Rally

 

Morris and Iegorov  get Wolves to the next round

A happy ‘Pack of Wolves get the clinching win over Brandon

Thompson Rivers  94   Brandon  81  –  Both teams had moments of great momentum, with TRU blasting out of the gates in the 1st half to take a huge 20 point lead.  The Bobcats, however, refused to fold their tents, and hung up 36 points in the 3rd  quarter to get right back in touch.

The Wolf Pack worked against the current in the final 10 minutes, as Brandon came back to within 3 points on a couple of tense sequences.  The Bobcats full-court pressure  could have turned the game right around, but the young TRU squad stuck together, with the leadership of 5th year star Volodymyr Iegorov.  The big forward fouled out with about 2 minutes left, but not before he had been instrumental in steadying the troops, as he finishes with 21 pts/ 11 rebounds/ 4 assists.  Luke Morris picked a good night for scoring 25, with 5 of 10 from the outside, and Derek Rhodes was good again, helping the Wolves take their 2nd straight, and shoot 48% from the floor.

The ‘Cats had their big home crowd on their feet in the exciting 2nd half, and played  inspired ‘ball to climb that far back.  Tyvon Cooper had a game-high 28 points/ 10 boards, and Earl Thompson Jr added 17 pts/ 10 rebs.    Box Score  … The Wolf Pack move on to the Q-finals, where they will meet the #1 seeded Calgary Dinos starting on Thursday.

 _________________________________________________________________________

In the East –  Sunday    

Atlantic –   at UPEI 86  Cape Breton 82

_________________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime –

  • In Canada West Women’s play-offs –     Fraser Valley  69  Calgary 60  –     The Cascades move on to the Q-finals vs #1  Saskatchewan .
  • The Trinity Western women won the first playoff series in team history with their 67-60 win over Brandon in Game 3 on Saturday in Langley.
  • “Gravy Baby !  The call from the Brandon colour man for a Bobcats hoop vs TRU on Sunday.  Signature ….
  • Volodymyr Iegorov has to be one of the best passers out of the post, as he hits TRU shooters for open 3s on many chances.  He stays into the game until the last 2 minutes, with 4 fouls, then 5.

 

Dinos Dust Cascades in 2nd half Barrage

 

63 point blitz pushes Dinos to a dominant home win

Dallas Karch and the Calgary Dinos buried the UFV Cascades on Thursday.

Calgary  106  Fraser Valley  68 – A 43-37 game at the half turned into the rout for the Dinos, who tallied 63 points in the 2nd half, UC  out-shot the Cascades 49% to 336% from the floor, and hit 25/34 free throws to just 5/11for the visitors. The 24 UFV turnovers gave the potent Dinos offense more than enough chances .

Calgary goes 10 deep with 4 players in double figures.  Thomas Cooper scored 19 points, with 13 rebounds, and both Mambi Diawara and Dallas Karch hit 15 points. Point guards David Kapinga and Max Eisle paved the track with 5 and 4 assists respectively.  Fraser Valley cashed 13/32 shots from outside, with 15 points from Denver Sparks-Guest leading the way off the bench.   Box Score 

Calgary moves up to 9-2 for the season, and Fraser Valley drops to 5-6.  The teams play again on Friday at 8 pm.

____________________________________________________________________

Scores from the East – 

Ontario –  at #10 McMaster 85 Laurier 54, at Windsor 85  Western Ont. 78

___________________________________________________________________

 

Overtime –

TRU rookie point man, Madhu McConnell

  • The TRU Wolf Pack, over the Holiday period, lost the services of 2nd year and former all-rookie guard, Jeff Tubbs.  “It is not ideal that now you are trying to figure out player rotations,” Clark said about the situation.  Madhu McConnell (1st year, Victoria, BC) looks to be the player stepping up in the rotation.  Coach Scott Clark says, “ Madhu has seen an increase in playing time and he has responded.”   From Larry Read, TRU Athletics
  • The UC Women (8-3) came back strong in the 2nd half for a 69-59 win over UFV (7-4).  The home team trailed by 3 at the half, but scored 33 points in a hectic 3rd stanza to pull away.
  • You can tell it’s a big point spread in the game when Canada West TV broadcasters Lucas Meyer and John Tramble ‘drift off the dock’ with a thorough discussion of favourite movies and tastiest meals!  Focus boys, focus ….

Bears and Dinos Renew ‘Hostilities’ 

 

 

‘Most-improved’ Bears host rival Dinos in pivotal series

Alberta’s stand-out forward,  Mamadou Gueye     –  photo –  U of A Athletics

The League-leading Alberta Golden Bears are in their den on Thursday to tip-off the 2nd half of the Canada West season against the arch-rival Calgary Dinos.  This is truly a pivotal series, featuring  Top 10 teams for whom this as a ‘war of attrition’ (No prisoners, no niceties, no mutual – admiration).  Both teams have designs on a top rung play-off seed, but a sweep may be necessary here for either to accomplish that task. The Dinos, on their way to home court for last season’s Final 4, won both ends of this ‘traditional’  home and home last year.  UC also eliminated Alberta 2 straight in the playoff quarter-finals last March.

But the #8 ranked Bears, the most improved team in CW,  have everyone’s attention with their unblemished record. Their stingy defense combined with hot shooting stats (#2 in FG%, #1 in 3 pt%) now make them a formidable foe. The addition of 3rd year import guard, Austin Waddoups (15 ppg/4 rebs/ 3.5 asst) , has given them another dimension on offense, with his 55% outside shooting, and slashing moves to the hoop. U of A still has the duo of Brody Clarke and Mamadou Gueye up front, both scoring 15 ppg+ and claiming 7.5 and 7 rebs / game respectively.  4th year UBC transfer, Geoff Pippus, and 2nd year wing, Ivan Ikomey (Calgary-McNally) are 2 more 50% + shooters from 3 point range.  The Bears spread the scoring, rebound as a team, and feature a ‘hybrid defense’ which forces tough shots from opponents.

Calgary is the highest scoring team in Canada West, and want to play at a ‘break-neck pace’.  The Dinos lean heavily on the touch of League scoring leader, Thomas Cooper (25.6 ppg,  6 rebs), the 5th year wing from Chattanooga, TN.  Cooper has fellow 6-5 wing, Mambi Diawara (14 ppg, 6 rebs) creating more space, and two-way spark-plug , David Kapinga (10 ppg/4.9 asst/ 2 steals) making big plays.  Depth is Calgary’s calling card, with 6-8 Lars Schleuter a big 3 point threat along with 6-7 Dallas Karch, and Kapinga.  UC’s 4- man post rotation, led by 6-7 Connor Foreman and 6-7 Matt Ellis, will battle for inside control.  Much on the line, even at this mid-point in the schedule. Who gets hot, and who can slow down the opposition scorers?  Who can finish at ‘crunch time’ ?

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Canada West Schedule – Jan. 5-7

To refresh your memory –

 

 

 

 

There are several other intriguing match-ups in this opening weekend for 2017.  The 8-0 UBC Thunderbirds fly out to Saskatoon to play the 5-3 Saskatchewan Huskies … the UVic Vikes (2-6) are at Kamloops to play the 5-5 TRU Wolf Pack … UNBC (4-6), fresh off a solid Holiday tournament in Montreal are in Lethbridge to challenge the 6-4 Pronghorns.

Thursday, Jan 5  –

#3  Calgary Dinos at   #8 Alberta Golden Bears

Friday, Jan 6 –  

#2 UBC  at Saskatchewan , Trinity Western at Winnipeg, UNBC at Lethbridge Pronghorns,

Brandon at Mt. Royal, Victoria at Thompson Rivers, Regina at UBC-O,

MacEwan at Fraser Valley

Saturday, Jan 7 – 

Bears at Dinos, T’Birds at Huskies, Vikes at Wolf Pack, T’Wolves at’Horns

Bobcats at MRU,  Spartans at Wesmen, R. Cougars at Heat, Griffins at Cascades

 

Overtime – 

  •  This is a rivalry … from the days of taking the old ‘Day-Liner’ train from downtown Calgary  to downtown Edmonton.  The ‘60s saw Gary Smith vs Skip Morgan, and Bears vet Barry Mitchelson threatening a skinny Dinos rookie  to “stay out of the key”.  Calgary’s Tom Bishop and Alberta’s Doug Baker ‘firing at will’, and Ted Hellard banging with Dave Holland in the 70s!  U of A Coach, Don Horwood, matching wits with Dinos boss, Gary Howard, for so many seasons.  Play-off series drama in 2003 with Alberta coming back at home in game 3, then the next year, the Dinos do the same in Calgary on their way to a Canada West title.  More to come ….
  • Classes don’t get start again for these schools until Januray 9.  “There’s some pluses and minuses”, says Dinos Assistant, Matt Skinn. “The guys kind of feel a bit like a pro team, with the ‘Holiday schedule’.”
  • The Thursday game at the Saville Centre in S. Edmonton starts at 8 pm, with live coverage on Canada West TV The return bout is Saturday at 7 pm at the Jack Simpson Gym at UC.

 Bisons and Bears in Blow-outs

 

Bisons bury the Wesmen in game 1

Keith Omoerah leads a Bisons stampede over Winnipeg Thursday.

Keith Omoerah leads a Bisons stampede over Winnipeg Thursday.

at Manitoba 91  Winnipeg 60 –   There’s nothing like a cross-town showdown to get the juices flowing, and the Bisons responded to the challenge from the Wesmen on Thursday night at UM.  Keith Omoerah scored 21 pts and claimed 12 boards to lead the way, as the Herd ran rough-shod over the Ws, with a 56-29 pasting in the 2nd half. 51% FG shooting, 20 Winnipeg turnovers, and a cool shooting night for UW led to a Bisons runaway.  Rookie Narcisse Ambanza (Toronto) had 17 for the Wesmen, and Ryan Oirbans scored an 11 point/ 10 rebound double.  Going into Saturday’s return match at Winnipeg, the records are 3-6 for Manitoba and 6-3 for Winnipeg.  Box Score

at Alberta 90  MacEwan 68 –  The Bears are now 9-0 atop Canada West as they smacked the Griffins through 3/4s , establishing a 72-53 lead.  Alberta were hot from the floor at 52.5%, with a scorching 68% (15/22) from 3 pt range.  Geoff Pippus led the Bruins with 20 points on 6/8 from the outside, and Austin Waddoups tallied 17 points, including 4/5 from 3 pt range.  Denzel James and Thadius Galvez were high scores for Mac with 12 apiece.  MacEwan ( 3-6) has the return bout back at their North Edmonton Gym, but they will be hard-pressed to slow down this Bears team on their current run.   Box Score  

David Kapinga led a Dinos charge in the 4th for a UC win at MRU.

David Kapinga led a Dinos charge in the 4th for a UC win at MRU.

Calgary 87  at Mt. Royal 83 –  The Dinos got all they bargained for and more, as MRU struck with 12 treys to just 3 for the visiting UC.  The 51% FG average for Calgary included a bushel full of lay-ups and pull-ups, while it was the long bomb doing all the damage for the Cougs.  Mt. Royal led for much of the way … 43-38 at the half, and they had it tied late into the 4th quarter. 9 points by Calgary’s David Kapinga in that final frame, and 7 from Thomas Cooper led to a UC surge and the win.  The Cougars lost their all-star forward, Brett Layton to an ankle sprain in the 1st quarter, but that seemed to galvanize the squad, and they played an inspired game. Mt. Royal’s Josh Ross erupted for 34 points including 8/13 from outside, while Calgary got 27pts/ 6 rebs from Cooper, and 15 pts/ 6 rebs/ 4 asst by Kapinga.  The Cougars slide to 4-3, while Calgary is now 6-1, with the return game at UC on Saturday.    Box Score 

 

Overtime –

Wolf Pack Coach, Scott Clark

Wolf Pack Coach, Scott Clark

  • TRU Coach Scott Clark gives kudos to the atmosphere at UNBC for their games at the Northern Sport Centre, The Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre is the favorite visiting gym of most of the WolfPack players. They like the atmosphere there.  Clark praises UNBC for their ability to cultivate a basketball culture in Prince George. “ They draw quite well. There is a life to the crowd.  They have a captive audience there. They have done a good job in their community and my hat goes off to them.  That experience is what university athletics should be. Guys—whether it here at TRU or if they go on the road—they appreciate that.”

 

TWU's Tyus Allen will be out indefinitely with a knee injury.

TWU’s Tyus Allen will be out indefinitely with a knee injury.

  • We get an update on Tyus Allen, Trinity Western’s lead guard, who had played so well in recent outings.  Near the end of last Saturday’s close loss to Regina, Allen, who had put up 13 pts, 13 rebounds, and 8 assists, went down with a knee injury, which is a repeat of past troubles there. A TWU source suggests that, “It doesn’t look good at this point.  Tyus worked so hard to get back after sitting out last season.  This is very disappointing for the young man.”

 

 

  • Coach Clark also points out some of the stresses on student athletes as we approach semester exams, “ This last weekend is tough on the student athletes. Exams are coming up. They have been playing for a long time. I hope that we play good basketball. It usually winds up that it isn’t the prettiest basketball at this time of year. Mental and physical fatigue tend to catch up with them at this point.  From Larry Read, TRU Athletics.

 

 

Morgan Has a Huge Weekend

 

 

UBC’s Conor Morgan leads our ‘Stars of the Week’ list in Canada West

Player of the Week - UBC's Conor Morgan

Player of the Week – UBC’s Conor Morgan

Conor Morgan – UBC …  The Thunderbirds ‘Big Bird’ brings the pain to the Vikes in his home -town on Friday, then at War Memorial in Vancouver on Sunday.  60 Pts,  17 rebounds,  5 assists 4 steals is a big-time weekend!

Denzel Lynch-Blair – Winnipeg … The shooting guard helps the Ws to a pair of wins over Brandon with his 48 pts, 16 rebounds , 5 assts, and 5 steals.

Tyvon Cooper – Brandon … He came in with a rep as a big scorer, and he’s very consistent for the ‘Cats as a passer as well. Two game totals of 47 points, 9 rebounds, 13 assists, 5 steals.

Grant Sitton – Victoria … continues to be the mainstay for his Vikes.  They come close to knocking off the T’Birds in Vancouver on Sunday. 40 pts, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 steals in the 2 rivalry games.

Volodymyr Iegorov – Thompson Rivers … The big man scores 42 points, grabs 22 rebounds, and has 8 assists in the ‘Pack sweep of the Okanagan Heat.

Earl Thompson Jr. – Brandon … 43 points, 16 rebounds in the 2 game set with Winnipeg, with a big double-double on Thursday.

More outstanding players from Week 5 … Keith Omoerah – Manitoba … The wing man records a pair of double-doubles, as he totals 28 pts/ 20 rebounds in 2 tough home losses to the Bears.   Josh Ross – Mt. Royal  38 pts/ 22 rebs … Brody Clarke – Alberta  33 points 15 rebounds …  Thomas Cooper – Calgary  36 pts/ 11 rebounds/ 5 asst/ 7 steals …  Tyler Wise – MacEwan  27 pts/ 11 boards Saturday win over MRU … Aldrich Berrios with 27 points/ 9 rebs for UBC-O in the tight loss … Austin Waddoups – Alberta … The import guard shoots out the lights in Friday’s win at Manitoba, 31 pts/ 3 assists.


 

Who’s the best ‘6th Man’ in Canada West this season ?

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-8-12-01-pm

 

Calgary Dinos ace 6th Man, Jhony Verrone.

Calgary Dinos ace 6th Man, Jhony Verrone.               photo – Canada West Hoops

These players do not regularly start games.  They come in for energy, to change the pace, to defend a hot opponent, or to give relief to the lead guard, the post in early foul trouble, or a shooter who is cold on the night.  We look at the ability to score coming off the bench like Johneil Johnson, defend like Jhony Verrone,  rebound like Michael Rouault and Tyler Wise, and handle the ball as smartly as, well, Verrone.

The 6th man knows he’s getting in, but sometimes not exactly when that will be.  He knows his time off the bench may be limited, and that his efficiency on the court is very important if his team is to thrive.  Less than half-way through the schedule, we’ve picked our top 5 ‘relievers’, but all on our list are doing a great job for his team.

1. Jhony Verrone – Dinos,  2. Michael Rouault –  Wolf Pack,  3. Max Viitala – Spartans,  4. Narcisse Ambanza – Wesmen,  5. Johneil Johnson – Green Cougars.


 

Prairie City Rivals Tip-off Thursday

There are three cross-town rivalries in Canada West (we count Langley and Abbotsford as separate ‘kingdoms’).  In this final week of League play prior to the exam break and the Christmas Holidays, schools involved in all three of these ‘City Wars’ are poised for battle.

Mt. Royal vs Calgary in the Crowchild Classic are one of three Prairie 'City Wars' on tap for Thursday night.

Mt. Royal vs Calgary in the Crowchild Classic are one of three Prairie ‘City Wars’ on tap for Thursday night.

The longest -standing  of these is Winnipeg – Manitoba in the ‘Duckworth Challenge’, with Calgary – Mt. Royal (Crowchild Classic)  and MacEwan – Alberta  (‘ North – South Games’ ?)  relative late-comers.  All 3 games are at 8 pm local time on Thursday , with the Women’s games at 6 pm.

Thursday –  Wesmen at Bisons ,  Dinos at Cougars,  Griffins at Bears                      Saturday – Bisons at Wesmen, Cougars at Dinos , Bears at Griffins

 

 

Prairie Schools Host Tournaments

 

 

 Canada West Games This Coming Weekend –

The Alberta Golden Bears, Saskatchewan Huskies, and the 2 Winnipeg schools play host to tournaments this week on their prairie campuses.  In the East we have Regina at Brock, and UBC-Oknagan at McGill.

An intriguing Canada West early season match-ups for traditional rivals,  with Saskatchewan looking ahead to Saturday’s game vs Calgary.

Matt Forbes and his Saskatchewan Huskies host the Graham Construction Shootout this week.

Matt Forbes and his Saskatchewan Huskies host the Graham Construction Shootout this week.

Thurs  , Oct 20 –

 At the Graham Construction Shootout – U. Saskatchewan

   Calgary Dinos 89  Algoma T-Birds 70

   Saskatchewan Huskies 91  Red Deer Coll. Kings 70 – The Huskies had 4 players in double figures, led by Matt Forbes with 17 points.  Mack Burns counted 14 pts/ 6 rebs in 18 minutes off the bench. Box Score

 

Bishops Gaiters 89   Mt. Royal  Cougars   69 –  the Purple made short work of the Cougars, with a smothering defense, which stifled the MRU attack.  Bishops controlled the boards, and got the ball inside to their more physical post players.  The Gaiters, who were apparently missing a couple of their top players, look like they could be ‘in the mix’ in a much stronger Quebec League this season.  Lead guard, Jona Bermillo, stands out, as does wing man, Abdul Kamane, with his strong moves to the hoop.  Post man, David Belanger gave the Cougars trouble down low.

Nipissing Lakers 78  at MacEwan Griffins 71

In the East – McMaster  74   Concordia  65, UNB 75  Laval  71,  St. Mary’s 81  UPEI 65, Acadia 108  Holland Coll. 87, St. FX 82  Thetford Prep  77, Cape Breton 81 Maine- Ft. Kent 77

 

 

Friday , Oct. 21-

The Golden Bear Invitational is at U of A this weekend

The Golden Bear Invitational is at U of A this weekend

> Golden Bears Invitational – at U of A

    at Alberta Golden Bears  Nipissing Lakers

    UBC Thunderbirds vs Western Ontario Mustangs

> Graham Shootout – U. Saskatchewan

    Calgary Dinos  vs Red Deer Coll. Kings

at Saskatchewan Huskies  Algoma T-Birds

> Lea Marc Printing Tournament – Winnipeg

    at Manitoba Bisons   Brandon  Bobcats

    Winnipeg Wesmen vs  TBA

 > At the McGill Redbird Tournament-

McGill Redbirds vs UBC-Okanagan Heat

McMaster Maruaders vs Laurentian Voyageurs

> RBC Brock Classic – 

     Regina Cougars vs Guelph Gryphons

Ryerson Rams vs Brock Badgers

Windsor Lancers vs UQAM Citadins

Dalhousie Tigers vs York Yoemen

 

Trinity Western visit Thompson Rivers on Saturday

Trinity Western visit Thompson Rivers on Saturday

Saturday, Oct. 22 –  

     at Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack   Trinity Western Spartans

     at Lethbridge Pronghorns  Bishops Gaiters

Tournaments continue …

in Edmonton –    at Alberta   Western Ont.  , UBC  vs Nipissing

in Saskatoon –    Calgary at Saskatchewan , Algoma  vs Red Deer Coll.

in Winnipeg     at Winnipeg   Brandon,   at Manitoba  TBA

in Montreal –      McMaster vs  UBC-Okanagan,    McGill vs Laurentian

in St. Catherines, ON –    Regina vs UQAM,  Dalhousie  Brock, Ryerson  Niagara , Windsor  York

Bobcats Bring Fresh Hope

 

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

Brandon Bobcats

’15-‘16      No playoffs                  1 win  19 losses (Pioneer)

Returnees –   br-bobcats-copy-2

5th years – Denham Buchanan, 6-3 wing, Toronto.  Earl Thompson Jr., 6-5 fwd, Henderson, NV.  Chris Stanhope , 6-5 guard, Brampton, ON.   Esmat Atem, 6-9 fwd, Ottawa  … 4th year –  John Paul, 6-11 fwd, St. Lucia.  Baka Ngeleka, 6-1 guard, St. Hyacinthe, PQ … 2nd years –  Pookie Saunders, 6-1 guard, Calgary.  Mitch Marquis,  5-10 guard, Rockwood, ON.  Keneal James, 6-2 guard, Chateauguay, PQ.  Tyler Anderson, 6-7 fwd, Langley, BC.

New faces –

Josh Bell, 6-3 guard, 2nd year, Mississauga, ON (tsf Lakehead U.) .  Tyvon Cooper, 6-0 guard, 3rd year, Middletown, NY  (Orange County CC, NY).  Girece Kazumba, 6-3 guard, 3rd, Toronto (Vermillion College) . Kobyn Jopp, 6-8 fwd, 1st year, Calgary (Churchill HS).   Riley Schaus, 6-1 guard,  Red-shirt, Brandon (Crocus Plains)

jordan

Earl Thompson Jr. will be in the of the action for Brandon in his senior year.   photo – BU Athletics

 As a key player on Brandon championship teams, Gil Cheung would like nothing better than to return the Bobcats to a winning program.  But, in the last 5  seasons BU has a disheartening record of only 22 wins against 82 losses.  The roster loses veterans DJ Jordan (17 ppg) and Troy Grant (11 ppg), as new faces come in bringing fresh hope in the new season.

There are experienced returnees, including 6 players in their 4th or 5th years of eligibility. Earl  Thompson Jr. is a strong rebounder (8 rpg  ) and able scorer ( 16.5 ppg ), and big guard, Chris Stanhope,  is emerging as an offensivee threat  ( 9.2 ppg/ 4 rebounds)  .  2nd year guard, Pookie Saunders , has the quickness, and 6-11 post man, John Paul (5 ppg/ 6.2 rebs), the potential as an interior defender and rebounder.  Is there, however, the on-court leadership to give  the Blue and Gold the late – game confidence to win more close decisions?

Two Toronto – area guards, Josh Bell and Grieve Kazumba are recruits who may provide that catalyst.  Both have some success at the CIS and College level.   Multi-talented import , Tyvon Cooper, may be the lead guard so essential in coordinating an efficient attack.  Cooper was the 4th leading scorer (24 ppg) in the U.S. Jr. Colleges last year 1st year forward, Kobyn Jopp, has the size, but may have to be eased into the rotation as the year goes on.

“We are very optimistic for the upcoming season with a nice mix of new student athletes and returning some key parts as well, says Cheung. “ We have 7 pre-season games, and will use them to find rotations, build chemistry, and get some feedback.”

In the opening half of the season, Brandon faces 4 teams which have a recent history of  playoff success, and they face Okanagan, a squad which may be on it’s way up into competitive form.  Defense may be a big key for the ‘Cats in these first semester contests, at least until they get enough time to develop some offensive chemistry and flow.

Schedule –  

Nov-Dec … at Alberta, UBC-O, at Saskatchewan , h/h Winnipeg,  Fraser Valley

Jan-Feb … at Mt. Royal,  MacEwan,  Regina,  at UBC,  Manitoba

Prediction –  It looks lie an uphill climb for the ‘Cats


 

Overtime –

kelly-olynyk-heroes-among-us-celtics-hub

  •   The “Kelly Olynyk Basketball Academy”, a developmental basketball program for boys and girls from kindergarten to grade 7, started last week in Kamloops.  The South Kamloops Sr. Secondary grad and Boston Celtics star contributed financially to the new start-up, which is being run at the Tournament Capital Centre and the  old TRU Gym.  “It is an amazing feeling to be able to give back to the City of Kamloops and their youth,” says Olynyk.  TRU head coach Scott Clark said,   “ … house leagues and youth programs were a big part of my development as a basketball player and individual. I am excited for these kids to be able to grow; learn and develop their skills the same way I did, with a love for the game. ”          (From Larry Read, TRU Wolf Pack Athletics)
  • In a late result from The Ubyssey , last Friday, the T-Birds beat the Seattle Mountaineers 87-66. 5th year forward, Conor Morgan, was 10/17 from the floor plus 11 rebounds , while returnees, AJ Holloway, Phil Jalalapoor, and rookie Isaiah Familia  looked good in the back-court.  UBC hosts the Lethbridge Pronghorns in pre-season action  this Friday, the 14th, and Sunday, the 16th at War Memorial.
  • Scores from last Sunday in the CIS –   Laurier 101 at Brandon 76McMaster 76  Dalhousie 70,  Nipissing  87 Cape Breton 66, Brock 95  Concordia 78

 

 

UVic, TRU Revamp Lineups

 

2016-17 Canada West Basketball Previews –

 Vikes and Wolf Pack With Big Roster Changes

Volodymyr Iegorov (L) , TRU, and Grant Sitton (R) , UVic , are 5th year leaders for their B.C. schools.

Volodymyr Iegorov (L) , TRU, and Grant Sitton (R) , UVic , are 5th year leaders for their B.C. schools.

The Victoria Vikes and Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack each had 3 key players  graduate last Spring, and lost several other roster players through attrition of one type or another.  Coaches, Craig Beaucamp of UVic and Scott Clark, TRU, were hard at work in the off-season ‘re-filling the tank’.

There are  8 new ‘Wolves in Kamloops, and 7 newcomers for the Vikes on the Island. This brings the challenge of ‘major renovation’ and integration of many who are new to the staff, the systems, and their new teammates.  There’s also the anticipation and eagerness of every team member to work together to form a competitive team.

The ‘Pack come off a record-breaking, historical season, while Victoria, uncharacteristically, missed the post-season.  Both coaches relish the process of building a new team, and their returnees and recruits, in both cases, hold the promise of good things ahead.

 

 Wolf Pack Focus on the New Season 

Thompson Rivers Wolf Pack

2015-16 – Canada West finalists             16 wins   4 losses   (Explorer Division)

Returnees – TRU 'Pack5th year – Volodomyr Iegorov,  6-7 fwd, Donetsk, Ukraine … 4th year – Luke Morris , 6-4 fwd, Mission, BC.   2nd years – Michael Rouault, 6-5 wing, Vernon, BC. Jeff Tubbs,6-2 guard, Kelowna, Joe Davis, 6-5 fwd, Kamloops, Kyler Eckess, 5-9 guard, Prince Rupert

 New faces –   Derek Rhodes, 6-5 guard, 3rd year, Sacramento, CA (tsf Sacramento CC). Maalik Hazziez, 6-9 fwd, 3rd, Sacramento, CA (tsf American River Coll.).  Noah Kaefer, 6-4 fwd, 1st, Courtenay, BC (Mark Isfeld Sec.).  Jordan Komarniski, 6-0 guard, 1st,  South Kamloops Sec.  Madhu McConnell, 1st, Victoria  (Oak Bay Sec.) . Ryan Miller, 6-6 fwd, 1st, Kamloops (Valleyview Sec.).  Trent Monkman, 6-1 guard, 1st, Telwa, BC (Smithers Sec.) .  Jass Singh, 6-0 guard, 1st, Abbotsford, BC  (W J Mouat)

Coach Scott Clark says,  “This is a new team, and a new challenge.  It’s fun!  We start the journey, and work together as hard as we can to prepare to play in this League.  Who knows how things will turn out? “  The veteran coach, who is in his 7th year at TRU, was previously 15 years as the Head Coach at Simon Fraser.  His ’15-’16 ‘Pack won the Explorer Division, beat Regina in the 1/4 Finals, then beat UBC in game 1 at the Canada West Final 4.  TRU lost to Calgary in the Final, but represented Canada West at the CIS Nationals in Vancouver.

Wolf Pack forward, Luke Morris (L), and lead guard, Jeff Tubbs (R)

Wolf Pack forward, Luke Morris (L), and lead guard, Jeff Tubbs (R)

But as the coach insists, this is a new team, and they really are, with just 6 returnees, one of whom, Joe Davis, did not play last season.  So Clark and his staff do face a challenge with 8 newcomers to integrate into the squad. He does benefit from the power of 5th year import, Volodymyr Iegorov (18.5 ppg/ 7 rebs), a Canada West all-star in ’15-’16, and a leader all summer in team training these past months.   Promising to do his part as an aggressive scorer (12.5 ppg) / rebounder (6.3 rebs) on the forward line is Luke Morris, who had a terrific playoff last year. Coach Clark says, “Joe Davis has come back in great shape, and looks much improved; he trained hard, and should really contribute.”

Jeff Tubbs, a selection on the all-rookie team last year, will be the lead guard, and he should follow nicely in the footsteps of Reese Pribilsky, now graduated. Michael Rouault is another 2nd year player, who shot it at 47% from the floor and proved to be a solid rebounder in year 1 in orange.

Among the newcomers, it’s Derek Rhodes who’s turning heads with his ball-handling skills, and his ability to shoot the trey. Rhodes set school records at Sacramento City College with his long-range sniping.  Post/forward Maalik  Hazziez is a hard-working big man, who will give help to an already strong group.    Madhu McConnell comes in as a 1st year lead guard with skills and confidence, and Noah Kaefer is a promising looking wing man with good size.

“We will do the best job we can to prepare this team for the games we have coming up; every time out, we want to have each guy prepared to do his job, and to have our team compete for a win ”, declares Coach Clark. The Wolf Pack  have great skill and size at key spots, and they should be competitive again this year.

 Schedule –  Nov-Dec … UBC, at Manitoba,  at Alberta , UBC-O,  at UNBC                 Jan-Feb …  Victoria, Winnipeg, at Fraser Valley, Calgary,  at Regina

 Prediction –   Tough schedule, but TRU still in the running.

________________________________________________________

 

Victoria Vikes

’15-’16 –     no playoffs                9 wins – 11 losses  (Pioneer Division)

Returnees – 5th year –  Grant Sitton, 6-9 wing, Brush Prairie, WA … 4th year – Hassan Abdullahi, 6-3 guard, Montreal … 3rd years – Justin Kinnear – 6-6 fwd, Montreal, Hayden Lejeune – 6-8 fwd, Chilliwack … 2nd year – Taylor Montgomery Stinson – 6-3 guard, Victoria  … 1st (RS) – Jason Scully – 6-4 fwd, Victoria (St. Michael’s Sec). Graeme Hyde Lay – 6-0 guard, Victoria (St. Michael’s)

Newcomers –   Jake Newman – 6-6 fwd, 3rd, White Rock, BC (tsf Lafayette Coll., PA). Scott Kellum – 6-1 guard, 1st, Issaquah HS, WA. Noah Charles – 6-5 fwd, 1st, Duncan, BC (Cowichan Sec.) . Wayne Tucker -6-1 guard, 4th, Oakland, CA (tsf Olds Coll., Alberta).  JJ Hamel Carey – 6-0 guard, 1st,  Montreal, (Cegep Champlain- St. Lambert) . Vlad Zasmolin – 6-5 wing, 1st, Calgary (Sir W. Churchill). Ty Stewart Nelson – 6-1 guard, 1st,  Toronto (Shannon Forest Christian, SC)

Starting his 14th season as the Vikes head man, Craig Beaucamp will be intent on getting his new team back into the upper reaches of Canada West and CIS Basketball. After 3 straight UVic appearances at the CIS Nations from 2013-2015, the Vikes missed the playoffs last year.  But this 5-time Canada West Coach of the Year is certainly up to the task.

“Our guys are working hard, and did so with their summer program as well”, says Beaucamp.  “Our big men, Justin Kinnear and Hayden Lejeune, are stronger and ready to give us a strong play inside.”  The coach tells us that 5th year leader, Grant Sitton, has moved to the wing/small forward spot, taking advantage of his perimeter skills.

Rookie import guard, Scott Kellum, has impressed the coaches, and is penciled in as the starter at the point. “We’ve watched his progress since early in high school, and this true freshman can really play”, offered Beaucamp. Another import, Wayne Tucker Jr., has more experience, as a 4th year transfer from Olds College (Alberta), where he was the Alberta Colleges scoring leader last year. “Wayne is quick with the ball on offense, and quick on the ball defensively;  he’s a skilled shooting guard”, says his new coach. The guard play is further enhanced by the experience of JJ Hamel Carey, a 2 year CEGEP transfer, along with returnees Hassan Abdullahi,  and Taylor Montgomery-Stinson.

Two new additions to the Vikes roster, Wayne Tucker Jr. (L) and Scott Kellum (R)

Two new additions to the Vikes roster, Wayne Tucker Jr. (L) and Scott Kellum (R)

Noah Charles, the 3rd brother from ‘up-Island’ to play for UVic, is “ a tireless worker”, with a big, strong body  (6-5, 240) for a young guy.  Jake Newman, a 2013 White Rock Christian grad “come home” to UVic after 2 years at Lafayette (PA) and a red shirt year at Carleton.  His father, Jamie, was a member of national championship Vikes teams in the 1980’s and his sister, Jordyn, played with the women’s Vikes through the 2012-13 season. Newman is “ … ready to make a big contribution to our team”, says Coach Beaucamp.

The pieces are there, it would seem, and now we see how they will all fit together.

Schedule –  Nov-Dec –   at Regina, Calgary, at MacEwan, UBC home/home (4) Jan-Feb –  at Thompson R., at UBC-O, Lethbridge, Trinity W., at Fraser Valley, Winnipeg  (6)

Prediction –  Very different team.  We doubt they miss 2 years running.


 

CIS Scores from Thursday – 

  •  at the Guy Vetrie Memorial in Victoria …  McMaster 69 McGill 62 – A come from behind by McMaster.  Turnover and foul-filled, with  Mac shooting 44 free throws.  no box score
  • Victoria 76   Regina 67 – Grant Sitton and Wayne Tucker Jr., with 15 points each, as UVic survive a shaky start.  . Box Score
  • Saskatchewan  66  Medicine Hat College 65   ( OT)    Box Score

Games tonight – 

East – Concordia  Queen’s, Ottawa  UQAM, Toronto  Memorial,  Ryerson  Mohawk Coll., Bishops Maine – Ft Kent , UNB  St. Marys,  Acadia  St. FX ,  Carleton  Laval ,  Algoma  Laurentian,  Nipissing  Laurier

West –  Lakehead  Winnipeg  ,  Victoria  McGill  ,  McMaster  Regina