Monday, 16 April 2007

CIS Labour Day NCAA Games, More Off-Season News

Leading off today we are pleased to announce that former Western Mustangs Head Coach Dr. Craig Boydell has been named the latest recipient of the prestigous Kitch MacPherson Hall of Fame Award. OUA West officials have been presenting this award since 1973 to a deserving person who has made extraordinary contributions to the game of basketball. Boydell wins MacPherson Award

As has been the case for the past several seasons, CIS teams are finalizing plans to host NCAA Division 1 teams during the Labour Day weekend. NCAA programs are eligible to make one off-season trip outside of the United States every 4 years and many programs have found it appealing to visit Canada because of its close proximity and, recently as Carleton, Ottawa, Toronto, UBC, Concordia, Guelph and other teams showed, because the calibre of play is strong enough to test their teams. Recall that last season, both Carleton and Ottawa knocked off LaSalle while the Ravens took Louisville Cardinals, the Big East semi-finalists and NCAA tournament participants to the wire before Juan Tello Palacios dropped in a put-back at the buzzer to give the Cards a one-point win. As well, U of T has defeated Winthrop and Central Michigan while UBC, Concordia and others have won or played other teams extremely tough. Another reason many NCAA programs choose to make their foreign trip to Canada is that they can squeeze in 2 or 3 games on a weekend after the beginning of the fall academic session, allowing their incoming freshman class to participate in the games. As well, the NCAA schools are allowed 10 days of practice (which usually amounts to 2-a-days or a total of 40 hours of practice time), preparation time that teams would not ordinarily get.

Thus far, here are the confirmed games in the Labour Day CIS vs. NCAA battles: Alabama Crimson Tide and Villanova Wildcats will visit Ottawa to face defending national champions Carleton Ravens and CIS semi-finalists Ottawa Gee-Gees... LSU Tigers (SEC), Dusquesne Dukes (Atlantic 10) and Morehead State Eagles (Ohio Valley Conference) will visit Southern Ontario to face Toronto Varsity Blues, York Lions and Guelph Gryphons... University of California Santa Barbara Gauchos (Big West conference) will visit Vancouver to play some CIS teams (opponents to be announced).

Other Possibilities: Brock Badgers are looking to host another NCAA D1 team after they sold out Bob Davis Gymnasium in a matter of minutes to host #1 Florida Gators last Labour Day weekend... Dalhousie, St. Mary's and Acadia are working on hosting probably 2 teams, one of which could be Charleston-Southern Buccaneers (Big South - same conference as Winthrop). The hope is that some or all of these games could be played at the Halifax Metro Center.

Stay tuned for further information about other potential NCAA vs. CIS matchups in the late summer.

The Laurentian Voyageurs, who came on late in the season to squeeze into the sixth and final playoff spot in the OUA East, will welcome one of the biggest players ever in their program when 6'10" Tyler Hind, a transfer from UVic, joins the program in the fall. The last 2 players 6'10" or taller at Laurentian over the past years were impact players: 6'10" Ted Donglemans from the late 90's was an All-Canadian and OUA East Player-of-the-Year leading the Vees to the Nationals and 6'10" Brian Skeoch was a perennial OUA East First Team all-star in the early 80's. The Vees also will welcome back Alex Whiteman from his very serious knee injury - with a successful rehab, Whiteman should be back on the court in October or November. Laurentian will also need to replace 6'6" Brady Bolan, who transfered to Brad Hahn's Cambrian Golden Shield program in the OCAA while Lucas Wiebenga and Craig Bauslaugh will not return to school; Bauslaugh is likely to return home to Central Ontario, possibly with the Waterloo Warriors. Coach Virgil Hill also let us in on a pair of recruits 6'2" Mark Ramalo from Brampton St. Augustine, a coach's son point guard and 6'5" Greg Lakanen from Sudbury. Also, the Vees will welcome 6'7" Richard Whitfield, a hard-working transfer from RMC.

Other Recruiting News: Carleton has landed two of the better players available in 6’8” forward Aaron Chapman (Belleville, ON/Nicholson), who again led his team to the OFSAA "AA" championships in Perth, ON last month, and 6'5" Cole Hobin (originally from Ottawa but spent last season at Eastern Commerce Prep in Toronto). As well, 6’11” centre Neal Dawson, who transfered from Queen's last season to do graduate work at Carleton, will be eligible in the fall. Chapman, brother of current Raven Luke Chapman, has a chance to be a legitimate CIS star with his blend of offensive skills in the mould of current Raven Aaron Doornekamp. Hobin is a very talented wing player who should push for significant minutes immediately and Dawson practiced with the Ravens all season and will be very familiar with the system, adding size, finesse and defensive presence in the paint for the five-time defending National champions. Carleton may look to add another athletic guard and swingman to their already-loaded recruiting class... The Varsity Blues have added the first piece of their recruiting class as 6'1" Sebastien Magalas, brother of current Blues guard Nick Magalas, will join U of T this fall... St. Mary's of the AUS announced that 6'7" Luke Reynolds from C.T. Allen H.S. in Bedford, NS, one of the top bigs in Atlantic Canada high schools, will enroll at the Halifax university in the fall. The Huskies also may have locked in their long-term replacement for current pg Mark Ross with a commitment from 6'1" Jack Gallinaugh, son of former Huskies star point guard John Gallinaugh (70's)... Guelph Gryphons have announced that Jimmy Seymour, a 6'1" combo guard from Nepean HS in Ottawa and a member of the Ottawa Guardsmen club program has joined their program.

Look for our AUS pre-summer update scheduled to be published within the week. While AUS teams lose some top players, many programs have already had commitments from solid recruits and the conference should continue to be one of Canada's finest. We are also compiling information on the recruiting needs of Canada West teams to be published soon as well.

Please keep the comments and suggestions coming.

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