Graduations Leave Manitoba With Young Roster
“We are really young,” exclaims Kirby Schepp, the lead Bison in the Herd. This is indeed a group of fresh new faces for Manitoba, after seeing the graduation of starters, Keith Omoerah, A.J. Basi, Ilarion Bonhomme, and Brett Jewell, along with strong forward Jonathan Alexander.
The Brown and Gold return Justus Alleyn, a 6-3 guard who led team scoring at 17.4 ppg, and hit 43% from beyond the arc. But a practice injury has taken veteran forward, Malik Irwin, out for the season, and other troubles have kept several players out of the early season roster. Can you say, ‘overhaul’?
New challenges for Coach Schepp to be sure, but he is nothing if not enthusiastic. “I’m excited about our freshmen, and couple of red-shirts who can step in now and get in the roatation,” says the 9 year head coach.
‘We certainly have a fast developing forward in James Wagner,” ( 6-7, 2nd year, Winnipeg), says Schepp, “ but 6-7 red-shirt forward, Cameron O’Hara, is also a big body inside, and he’s going to help us defensively.” He also mentions Wyatt Tait, a 6-6 rookie from Winnipeg, and 6-1 Rikki Zimbakov, another local product. These 2 were rated 1 and 2 in the group of graduating high school players in the province.
The Bisons added Rashawn Browne (Toronto), a point man entering his 3rd year, after playing at both New Mexico State and California U. (Pittsburgh). Browne is expected to be the floor leader on the U of M offense.
Bisons – last season 12-8 … Finalists in Canada West … Prognosis – Tough to match that with so many new recruits – may have to scramble for a play-off spot.
Back to Canada for Bisons new lead guard
In high school, Rashawn Browne played at Eastern Commerce in Toronto, then in the GTA Prep League while at Bill Crothers Sr. Secondary in Markham. In a tournament in the U.S. with his club team, he played well against a strong AAU team which included future NBA star, Jamil Okafor, and Rashawn was approached by New Mexico State. ‘I red-shirted there, then with injuries and coaching changes I moved on to Pennsylvania, “ says Browne. Pointing out that he is not a ‘basketball gypsy’, the 3.5 GPA student says, “I was just not happy with the way things were run in the U.S. It was more like a business, with the coaches trying to protect their jobs. Here at Manitoba, the other players are very friendly; we support each other, and Coach Schepp and his staff are interested in our doing well in our classes as well as on the court. It’s just more fun here.”
The ‘pass-first’ point man suggests he is happy to have Justus Alleyn to pass to, and happy to have James Wagner as a skilled forward. ‘I’m excited to be part of this program, and to be playing with this group of guys”. Coach Schepp says, “Rashawn is a solid floor leader; he’s the real deal! He shows a very high basketball IQ, and he’s also got a calm demeanour when the action heats up. He’s a quality young man, and we think he will be a great addition to our team.”
Pursuing a Business degree and looking forward to wearing the Bisons colours in his first game next week in a home tournament, Rashawn starts a very new chapter in his young life. This may well be the classic case of opportunity meeting solid preparation, and the Herd looks to have a most capable new on-court leader.
Canada West Pre-season picks up this coming weekend
Teams are ‘breaking the huddle’ and taking to the court against someone other than their own teammates this week. We build towards the Annual Guy Vetrie Memorial Tournament at Victoria, where Coach Craig Beaucamp and the Vikes will host the defending champions of everything, the Carleton Ravens, along with the Guelph Gryphons, and the Concordia Stingers.
The Okanagan Heat make a trip East to play OUA teams, and Winnipeg have their annual ‘holiday trek’ to Thunder Bay to play a pair with the ‘Wolves. Coach Todd Jordan and his UNBC T’Wolves make a 3 game swing through S. Alberta.
the schedule –
Thursday, Sept. 28 – UBC-O at McMaster
Briercrest College at Saskatchewan, Winnipeg at Lakehead
Friday, 29th – at UVic … Carleton – Concordia, Vikes vs Guelph
Winnipeg at Lakehead, UBC-O at Toronto, UNBC at Mt. Royal
Saturday, 30th – Carleton – Victoria, Guelph-Concordia (at UVic)
UBC-O at Western Ontario, Seattle Mountaineers at Trinity Western
UNBC at Mt. Royal
Sunday Oct 1 – Victoria vs Concordia, Guelph vs Carleton (UVic)
UNBC at Lethbridge
Canada West weekend results – Seattle Mountaineers 77 Fraser Valley 74 UBC-O 94 Vancouver Island U. 88
OUA – York 107 Centennial Coll. 61, York 80 G. Brown Coll. 64, St. Clair Coll. 85 Western Ont. 73