Monday, 30 April 2007

Canada West Pacific Division Update

UBC Thunderbirds Key Losses: Casey Archibald 6'4", Adam Freisen 6'2", Jason Birring 6'3", Sean Stewart 6'5" (all graduated). Key Players Scheduled to Return: Chris Dyck 6'3" (4th), Bryson Kool 6'8" (4th), Matt Rachar 6'7" (4th), Alex Murphy 6'1" (2nd), Brent Malish 6'6" (2nd), Cody Berg 6'9" (5th), Brett Leversage 6'1" (3rd). Comments: Despite the loss of at least 3 key players in the rotation, the T-Birds return a top core of veterans beginning with Dyck, a pure scorer who can knock shots down and get to the rim. Kool is a solid inside player on the verge of all-conference-type status and Rachar adds an athletic dimension to UBC's front line. Murphy showed that he will be a top lead guard in the CIS as the season progressed and Malish is a solid, emerging wing player. Berg provides depth and size up front. Recruiting Focus: The back court is an area of focus that has been addressed with the commitment of 6’2” combo guard Nathan Yu (Vancouver, BC/Vancouver College also B.C. Provincial team). To complement the three returning forwards in the rotation, the Birds bring in another B.C. Provincial team player, 6’5” forward Graham Bath (Langley, BC/Brookswood) plus 6’8” centre Nick Adair (Courtenay, BC/GP Vanier). UBC does not appear to be done as of yet, looking to add another scoring guard and possibly one more player.

Victoria Key Losses: Graeme Bollinger, Steve Moore, Brandon Ellis (all graduated). Key Players scheduled to return: Jacob Doerksen 6'6" (3rd), Tyler Hass 6'5" (4th), Josh Whyte 6'3" (3rd), Mitch Gudgeon 6'7" (4th), Cyril Indome 6'0" (3rd), Isiah Pasquale 6'3" (3rd), Rob Kinnear 6'8" (5th). Comments: Despite the loss of 3 regulars from one of Canada's top teams, the Vikes return at least 3 players with All-Canadian potential in former CIS Rookie-of-the-year Doerksen, athletic forward Hass and last season's pleasant surprise in the back court, Whyte. Gudgeon provides size and perimeter skills as a big man off the bench and Indome provides depth in the back court at both slots. Recruiting Focus: The Vikes still need a pure point guard as they would like to have Whyte on the wing exclusively, making 6'1" Brandon Dunlop, a pure point guard who was a 1st Team BCAC choice at Camosun College in Victoria last season, a welcome addition. With returning talent up front, Vikes added athleticism at the wing spot with a pair of blue chippers: long, athletic 6'4" Ryan MacKinnon from Comox, BC, who has already has a mature game with his court sense and passing abilities and could be one of Canada West's top rookies plus 6'4" wing Julian Spearchief-Morris, who was generally regarded as the top player in Alberta high school this past season at Lethbridge LCI and should be one of the top athletic talents in the West. Coach Craig Beaucamp may also look to bring in another transfer with some experience to bolster what will be a very young team with no 5th year players only 2 regulars entering their fourth seasons.

Simon Fraser Clan Key Losses: Aaron Christensen, Alex MacIver Key Players Scheduled to return: Nolan Holmes 6'8" (5th), Greg Wallace 6'7" (4th), Shawn Burke 6'4" PG (3rd), Kevin Shaw 6'3" (3rd), Vladimir Rusic 6'8" (4th), Jeff Dolan 6'5" (2nd). Comments: Holmes is a nice big guy in the middle, while the athletic Wallace is tall and athletic. Starting point guard Burke is a big guard while Shaw is a dead-eye three point shooter. The athletic Dolan looks to build on his freshman season while Rusic provides depth in the post. Recruiting Focus: The Clan will need a big forward who can score to add depth to their front line. Another three-point shooter or two would also be helpful as would a back-up point guard who can spell Burke.

University College of Fraser Valley (UCFV) Key Losses: 6'3" Duane Wilson (reserve wing) Key Players scheduled to return: 6'8" Joel Haviland (5th), 6'6" Jamie Vaughan (5th), 6'4" Anthony Lao (5th), 6'8" Kyle Graves (5th), 5'11" Lee Jackson (5th), 6'1" Darren Johnson (4th), 6'5" Jesse Smith (3rd), 6'6" Nick Alderliesten (3rd). Comments: The Cascades will be arguably the most experienced team in all of the CIS with five 5th year starters returning and their three top bench players in their 3rd years or higher. Vaughan, an athletic swingman who rebounds and defends the paint, is one of the top returning scorers in Canada West. In Haviland, UCFV features a scoring 3 man with size. Graves is a classic post player who shoots a high percentage from the floor, rebounds and can be a presence defensively. Jackson, a U.S. import, runs the show from the point guard spot. Lao is a taller wing with all round shooting, passing and rebounding skills. Wilson and Johnson are solid all-round players with the ability to make "3's" when right and have started several games in their careers. Recruiting Focus: With six players graduating after this coming season, UCFV will recruit primarily for '08-'09 and have already began their foundation for the next generation by gaining the commitment of 5'9" Dylan Gatner, a solid point guard who started on B.C.'s Provincial team and is the heir apparent to Jackson. The Cascades also brought in 6'8" Jay Valeri, out of G.P. Vanier Secondary School in Courtnay, B.C., a high school teammate of UBC recruit Nick Adair to add front line depth. To ensure there is more quality experience this season and next, UCFV welcomes 6'4" Devon Krahn, a fourth-year transfer from Columbia Bible College and 2nd team BCCAA all-star this past season.

Trinity Western Spartans Players Lost: David Bron 6’5” (graduated). Key Players scheduled to return: Brian Banman 6’2” (5th), 5’11” Jon Schmidt (ACL surgery, status unknown) (5th), Luke Robinson 6’3” (5th), Michael Erickson 5’8” (4th), Joe Vroom 6’9” (3rd), Jason Keegstra 6’7” (3rd), Trevor Nerdahl 6’2” (2nd), Drew Slaght 5’8” (2nd), Daniel Demian 5’8” (2nd), James Powell 6’1” (3rd). Comments: With the majority of their regulars back, the Spartans return an experienced group but have a couple of question marks on the roster related to significant injuries. TWU employs an up tempo offense patterned around getting many shots up in short periods of time. Banman is one of Canada West’s top scorers but has battled through back injuries including late last season when he missed the playoffs as a result. Schmidt is a solid scorer but recently underwent knee surgery to replace his ACL. The diminutive Erickson is another top three point threat while Robinson is a strong wing player who can slash to the rim. The two bigs Vroom and Keegstra, shared time last season but as they enter their third years, both have a chance to be above average Canada West post players. To run as much as they do, the Spartans require a deep bench and Nerdahl is the most experienced of the supporting cast. A pair of sophomores-to-be Slaght and Demian look to continue the trend of smaller, quicker players who can shoot the ball. Recruiting Focus: In the face of injuries to 2 key guards, the Spartans could use some higher quality shooters and a point guard who can set the table for their array of shooters. Another athletic wing who can slash to the rim to be groomed when Robinson graduates would also be helpful. Finally, another big man to add depth to the front line would be helpful.

Thompson Rivers University Key Losses: None Key Players scheduled to return: 5'10" Charlie Spurr (3rd), 6'5" Kamar Burke (2nd), 6'5" Brian Smith (5th), 6'4" Braeden Jones (4th), 6'4" Connor Agnew (2nd), 6'1" Navanga Burke (3rd), 6'4" Chris Vandeweide (2nd), 5'11" Jesse Brown (2nd). Comments: The Wolf Pack was one of Canada's most inexperienced teams last season and usually turned to the offensively-skilled Spurr for scoring and playmaking. The multi-faceted Burke was considered by some to be the freshman who could make the most impact in Canada West throughout his career and last season pushed a triple-double on several occasions. Smith provides experience at the forward spot while Jones and Agnew other contributors to TRU. Recruiting Focus: The Wolf Pack needs more quality players to support Spurr and Burke. A point guard who can set the table for their scorers would be an ideal starting point while a big man in the middle who can assert himself offensively and protect the paint should be another priority. A tough, rebounding forward who can provide muscle up front would also help. The Wolf Pack has yet to announce any recruits.

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