Thursday, 29 March 2007

OUA East: Needs for Next Season

The beginning of the off-season provides an opportunity to think about next season's CIS rosters including key losses to graduation and recruiting needs for next season. We plan to go around the country with comprehensive reports on a conference-by-conference basis. Today we begin with the OUA East.

Carleton: Key Losses - Osvaldo Jeanty, Shawn McCleery. Key Players scheduled to return: 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp (4th), 6'4" Ryan Bell (5th), 6'4" Jean-Emmanuel Jean-Marie (5th), 6'3" Stu Turnbull (4th), 6'3" Rob Saunders (4th), 6'7" Kevin McCleery (3rd), 5'10" Mike Kenny (2nd). Comments: Losing Os after 5 championships is obvious a big loss not only for games but maybe more importantly for the example he set each day in practice and preparing for the season. McCleery was an underrated shooter who filled in well when injuries forced regulars to the sidelines. Look for Doornekamp, entering his fourth year, to assume the mantle as team leader with support from veterans Jean-Marie, Turnbull and Bell. As a result, it is hardly a rebuilding year for the experienced Ravens, who should again be the favorites for a sixth consecutive CIS championship. With McCleery quickly emerging into a top offensive threat in the post, Coach Dave Smart may look to start his offense in the post more often and play more inside/out in the coming years. But make no mistake about it, the Ravens will bring in players who can make shots, rebound and defend in their system. Recruiting Focus: Although 7 top players return, another guard who can bring the ball up, a versatile forward with an array of offensive skills in the Doornekamp mould and another big kid who can spell McCleery would round out this roster even nicer.

Ottawa: Key Losses Alex McLeod, Curtis Shakespeare, Jermaine Campbell. Key Players scheduled to return: 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe (3rd), 6'3" Sean Peter (4th), 6'9" Dax Dessureault (4th), 5'11" Willy Manigat (3rd), 6'3" Donnie Gibson (3rd), 6'5" David Labentowicz (4th). Comments: Losing 3 fifth-year seniors representing about 90 minutes per game will be impactful however the cupboard is not bare as First Team OUA East point guard Gibson-Bascombe returns along with at least 4 others who were in the rotation this season. This is now officially Gibson-Bascombe's team and the focus of the recruiting effort is to round out the parts around him for his final 3 seasons. Veteran wing Peter is tough getting to the rim and on the offensive glass and has steadily moved his offensive game out further onto the perimeter. Gibson will look to fill a role shooting the ball from downtown while Dessureault needs to take that next step as a steady, consistent offensive threat worthy of consistently drawing double teams. Manigat should get stronger and able to push up to a 28 minute a game type player while Labentowicz, entering his fourth year, has improved each and every season. Recruiting Focus: To continue their trapping ways defensively, Ottawa will need to add quick-footed forwards who can step out onto the perimeter and as well as another athletic wing who can create off the dribble. Also, this team can never have enough shooters especially after losing McLeod, the Gee-Gees all-time leader in 3 pointers.

Toronto: Key Losses Mike Williams, 6'9" center; Ben Katz, 6'3" forward. Key Players scheduled to return: 6'3" Mike DeGiorgio (5th), 6'2" Dwayne Grant (4th), 6'6" Nick Snow (3rd), 6'2" Nick Magalas (3rd), 6'4" Mo Safarzadeh (4th), 6'3" Paul Sergautis (4th), 6'3" Rob Paris (3rd) Comments: The Blues lost two critical pieces to a team that was as good as any in Canada coming down the stretch with the graduation of Katz, a leader on and off the floor, and Williams, with his tremendous interior defense allowing perimeter defenders more liberties pushing up on the ball. Katz was one of Canada's top 3 point shooters and Williams scored, blocked shots and rebounded inside. Steady point guard DeGiorgio is scheduled to return for a fifth and final year while quick footed Grant will assume more leadership offensively. The continuing development of a pair of third-year players, Magalas and Snow, is key as both will be thrust into higher profile roles and expectations are high based on solid play in big spots this past season. Snow may be a more well-rounded offensive player than Williams but the Blues sacrifice shot blocking, rebounding and physicality (the newest buzz word challenging Webster around basketball circles) when compared to Williams contribution. Safarzadeh and Sergautis, now both upper classmen are main threats from downtown. Recruiting Focus: Obvious needs begin in the middle defensively with the requirement to replace the defensive player-of-the-year in Williams. Although Magalas is likely to assume DeGiorgio's role once he graduates, another point guard groomed under the veterans would be helpful. A talented wing player who can create and make 3's is also likely to be a high priority item on the shopping list.

York Key Losses Dan Eves, 6'7" forward; Jordan Foebel, 6'10" forward, Rohan Steen, 6'3" wing. Key Players scheduled to return: 6'3" Tut Ruach (4th), 6'2" Amde Evans (5th), 6'1" Eylon Zemer (4th), 6'7" Matt Terejko (5th), 6'2" Jason Hoult (2nd), 6'9" Stefan Haynes (2nd), 6'9" Wes Anderson (3rd). Comments: Losing a two-time All-Canadian, one of Canada's top big men and one of the top wings in the conference usually would conjuour up the word "rebuilding" however a solid stable of talent remains, beginning with All-Canadian candidate Ruach who can carry this team for long stretches and should benefit from a full season of play in '07-'08 and the exciting Evans, who flashed some solid offensive skills late in the year especially in the Carleton playoff game. PG Zemer should be thrust into a higher profile role at the point and Hoult, who gained confidence as an offensive player toward the end of his freshman season, will be in the mix on the wing. Up front, Anderson, a prized recruit from two seasons ago, needs to work into major minutes while Haynes, as he adds bulk and experience, is turning into a solid OUA players. Expect Terejko to see major minutes in his final season. Recruiting Focus: The Lions need an infusion of big men up front both to protect the paint defensively and play inside/out on the offensive end. Although Ruach can stroke it and Hoult showed flashes of becoming a solid perimeter threat, a pure shooter would round out the roster. A top player at the 3/4 who can score and rebound is also a likely top target.

Queen's Key Losses Glen Smith, 6'8" post; others possibly not returning: Kyle McCleery 6'4", Simon Mitchell 6'3", Jordan Balaban 6'3", Cam Eby 6'6" Key Players scheduled to return: Mitch Leger, 6'6" (2nd), Baris Ondul 5'11" (3rd), Ryan Hairsine 6'0" (4th), Robert Shaw 6'6" (4th). Comments: Assuming the stable of fourth-year players plus Mitchell do not return, the Gaels still have a strong core of talent with Leger and Ondul, two of the top newcomers in the OUA East this past season plus Hairsine, who was maybe the most improved player in the league last season, extending his game from a pure spot-up shooter to being able to get to the rim and create his own shot more effectively. Recruiting Focus: Likely to be among the top priorities on the recruiting trail is another ball handler who can start the offense plus another quality forward/post with size and strength who can complement Leger. No doubt Queen's will also look to bring in a couple of steady, spot-up shooters to fit into their read-and-react offense that set the table for so many open looks from downtown this past season. The Gaels hit a bit of a wall toward the end of the season but have built the foundation of a solid program and hope that momentum is on their side for a second consecutive solid recruiting class for this coming season.

Laurentian Key Losses Brody Bishop, 6'0" guard; Key Players scheduled to return: Darrel Drake (5th), 5'11" guard; Lucas Wiebenga (4th), 6'5" wing; Ryan Vetrie (4th), 5'11" guard; Matas Tirillis, 6'6" (3rd); Alex Whiteman (4th), 6'7" forward; Brady Bolan (4th), 6'6", forward; Craig Bauslaugh (3rd), 6'0" guard; Paul Kovacs (3rd), 6'3" wing; Jason Brown (4th), 6'4", forward; Shane Bertolacci (2nd), 6'8" forward. Comments: The Voyageurs were forced to play small ball much of the season but will welcome back the injured Bertolacci for a full season. Brown is an undersized power forward with the skills and athleticism to cause matchup issues. Losing Bishop opens the door for another perimeter threat to get minutes. Drake has shown signs of being a solid pg and Kovacs needs to grow into the potential he had coming out of high school. Bauslaugh has been an excellent scorer at other levels. Recruiting Focus: Regardless of who returns, Laurentian, who missed the solid inside work of Ben Palmer this past season, could use another post player who can score inside and keep perimeter defenses honest. As well, a take charge point guard who can score to set the table and an athletic wing who can score and rebound are also key targets.

Ryerson Key Losses none; Key Players scheduled to return: Boris Bakovic 6'7" (2nd), Igor Bakovic 6'10" (5th), Brandon Krupa 6'1" (4th), Peeter Veltman 6'4" (5th), Joey Imbrogno 6'10" (3rd), Ryan McNeilly 6'2" (2nd), Khris Montague 6'6" (2nd), Scott Neil 6'1" (2nd). Comments: With all key players returning, the still-young Rams have plenty of upside. Boris Bakovic is a potential first-team conference all-star in the making while young point guard McNeilly continued his improvement after being thrust into the starting lineup toward the end of the season. Imbrogno, a solid finisher around the rim, again showed flashes of brilliance while oft-injured Montague has a chance to be a solid player. Igor Bakovic, Krupa and Veltman represent the experience for what is basically a very young team after that. Recruiting Focus: Adding a scorer or two at the small forward slot plus at least one more pure three point shooter would help the roster. A lesser need is another point guard to push McNeilly each day in practice.

RMC Key Losses Paul Hungler 6'5" forward. Other possibly not returning: Adam Asquini 6'5"; Bryan Matthews 6'2", Matt McLeod 5'10", Doug Priestley 6'4". Key Players scheduled to return: Andrew Macintosh 6'3" (2nd), Richard Whitfield 6'6" (2nd), Josh Whiteside 6'5" (3rd), David Duizer 5'10" (4th). Comments: The possible loss of their top two scorers would thrust sophomore Macintosh, last season's top rookie, into the primary offensive threat. Whitfield provides size up front while Whiteside had the makings of a solid player before sucumming to a bad knee injury early in his freshman season in '05-'06. Duizer is a three point shooting threat. Recruiting Focus: The Paladins needs begin at the point with a lead guard who can take care of the ball and create. A scorer on the wing who can beat defenders off the dribble is also key as is an effective big man who can score, defend and rebound.

Next we plan to review the needs of OUA West teams for next season.


Anonymous said...

Queen's has four players who possibly won't return, even though they still have eligibility?
Specifically, why would Mccleery, Mitchell, Eby and Balaban possibly not return?

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Mark Wacyk said...

It is all speculation this early in the off-season and we hope to get more clarification as the summer progresses however Mitchell has been out of high school for at least 5 years now while the others are finishing their degrees from what we know. Some players finish their schooling within the 4 years, do not wish to go to graduate school and have bright futures ahead of them with degree in hand and thus choose not to play in their fifth season of eligibility. With the 4 guys you mentioned, we have no concrete info either way - it is simply conjecture on our part. As soon as we have clarification either way, we will publish.

Anonymous said...

Carleton cutting back on varsity programs . Drew Love leaving for McGill. Will any of this affect their basketball program in any way?