Thursday, 12 April 2007

QSSF Team Needs for Next Season

The Quebec league did not have the depth and talent top to bottom that had been present in years prior as Laval, normally a Top 10 team, got very young in a hurry last season while UQAM lost players from their "Q" league championship team of '05-'06. Bishop's was down a little last season but promise to reload with the makings of a top recruiting class according to the coaching staff and McGill continued their improvement under coach Craig Norman. But, as has been the case for many years since coach John Dore's arrival in the late 1980's, Concordia was again at the top of the league. All programs have been very active working to reload for next season and while there still isn't a tremendous amount of quality players entering their fourth or fifth seasons, the amount of young talent continues to increase in the "Q", making the future bright in this conference.
Concordia Key Losses: 6'1" Patrick Perrotte, 6'3" Ben Sormonte (two starters); Key Players Scheduled to return: Dwayne Buckley 6'3" (4th), Damian Buckley 6'1" (3rd), Jamal Gallier 6'6" (4th), Levi Vann 5'9" (4th), Andre Johnny 6'1" (4th), Pierre Thompson 5'10" (3rd), Sebastien Martin 6'3" (2nd), Desmond Murphy 6'7" (2nd), Paget Berridge 6'2" (3rd). Comments: The Stingers return Dwayne Buckley, the "Q's" top defender and point guard Damian Buckley maybe the most talented all-round guard in the conference. Both are keys to Concordia's pressure "d" and transition game. Gallier has improved each year in the middle while Vann stretches defenses with his perimeter shooting. Johnny should push for a starting role after being a top bench contributor while Murphy and Martin should complement the returning bigs with their athleticism. Look for Thompson to make a move for more playing time at the point. Recruiting Focus: The roster is well stocked with guards and wings so the Stingers' top priority will be to add at least one and possibly two big guys to contribute up front. As well, Concordia will look to bring in another back-up point guard. Concordia has not made any official announcements of committments as of yet.

Laval: Key Losses: Jean-Michel LeBlanc 5’10” G Key Players scheduled to return: J.P. Morin 6’8” (5th), J.F. Beaulieu-Maheux 6’3” (2nd), Francois Gagnon-Hebert 6’5” (2nd), Dominic Savard 6’0” (2nd), Marc-Andre Cote 6’8” (4th), Maxime Cloutier 6’8” (2nd), Pierre Oliver Horth 6’5” (4th), Andre Bureau 5’10” (2nd), Etienne Wilsey 5’11” (3rd) Comments: The Rouge et Or made it to the “Q” championship game this past season with one of Canada’s most inexperienced teams: only 3 key players, two of whom were injured for parts of the season, were not freshmen. Outside of 5th year star Morin, solid post player Cote and reserve Horth, the roster will be young again, filled with second-year players. Beaulieu-Maheux is the next great Laval star in the making with his blend of skill and athleticism while Gagnon-Hebert and Savard both contributed significant minutes in their first year of eligibility. Cloutier adds depth to the front line. Recruiting Focus: The Rouge et Or welcome three new faces to their lineup for next season including versatile 6'4" CCAA All-Canadian Jerome Turcotte (Ste-Foy) who averaged 19.8 ppg and led CEGEP in rebounding at 9.5 rpg and will likely push for a starting spot from day one. To provide depth at the point, the Rouge et Or welcome 5'9" Xavier Baribeau (Ste-Foy) a fundamentally-sound, high-basketball IQ floor leader. Laval adds size and depth up front with 6'6" Pier-Luc Jacques (Montmorency) at 6'6", a big, strong post player who could complement Morin very well.

McGill Key Losses: Philippe Letourneau (transfering to UQAM - studying in French), Olivier Lamoureaux (returning to McGill to focus on academics but not playing), Matthew Ouellette (becoming a fireman) Key Players scheduled to return: Sean Anthony 6'4" (4th), Matthew Thornhill 6'4" (2nd), Yannick Chouinard 6'6" (3rd), Pawel Herra 6'4" (2nd), Nickolas Pronovost 6'1" (3rd), Louis Lagredelle 6'6" (3rd), Michael White 6'4" (2nd). Comments: Solid scorer and leader Anthony, who has matured into one of the top returning players in the "Q", returns to lead the maturing Redmen along with big guard Thornhill, one of the top young scorers in the conference who enjoyed a solid freshman season. Chouinard is a solid big guy and Herra showed rapid improvement throughout his freshman season and has a chance to be a star in the league. Pronovost is a solid combo guard who complements the array of scoring talent. Recruiting Focus: McGill addressed the need for more depth in the back court with the committment of 6'4" Kyle Bernard, a solid, athletic wing player who was captain of John Abbott CEGEP, bronze medal winners at the recent CCAA nationals. The Redmen get another pure scorer with the commitment of 6'3" Mustafa El Zanaty, who led "AAA" CEGEP in scoring in '03-'04 at 27 ppg while at Champlain-St.Lambert and has spent the last 3 seasons in the U.S., starting at North Dakota State and then at a D2 school and finally at an NAIA school. El Zanaty can play immediately and will enter his 4th year of eligibility. With the departure of Lamoureaux to focus on his academics, the Redmen will need another big guy who can score up front. Another pure point guard would allow Thornhill to focus his efforts strictly on scoring, rebounding and defending.

UQAM Key Losses: Marc-Olivier Beaucamp (graduated), Bruno Visotzky-Bernier (to play semi-pro in France - dual French citizen), McKenzie Debrosse 6'3", Pascal Lucky 6'6" (to play semi-pro in France - dual French citizen). Key Players scheduled to return: Mario Joseph 6'3" (5th), Kevin Boucher 6'4" (4th), Renaldo Maingnan 5'11" (3rd), Arthaud Plesius 6'2" (2nd), Yanick Daoust (3rd), Steve Black 6'0" (2nd), Robens Josephat 6'3". Comments: Joseph, a proven star in the CIS after transfering from Brandon, came on late in the season establishing himself as Citadins go-to guy while Boucher is a tough, hard-nosed inside player with plenty of experience. Maingnan can be an explosive guard. Plesius has a chance to be a top player in the league. Recruiting Focus: The Citadins lose 4 solid players to graduation and pro opportunities overseas so there are significant holes to fill beginning up front where size is required including a need for a solid rebounder. 6'1" Sam Johnson, who sat out last season with a herniated disc problem, has been rehabiliting and hopes to return but his status will not be certain until late summer. Adding another point guard is also at the top of coach Olga Hrycak's wish list. The Citadins have not announced any commitments as of yet.

Bishop's Key Losses: Cam McDonald 6'5", Jason Thorne 6'1", Scott MacDonald 6'5". Key Players scheduled to return: Junior Nicholas 6'1" (4th), Andrew Wright 5'11" (1st), Hermon Tesfaghebriel 6'7" (3rd), Doug McCooeye 6'6" (4th), Cam Mowat 6'6" (4th), Damon Anderson 6'1" (3rd). Comments: Nicholas is Gaiters most explosive scorer and athlete returning while Tesfaghebriel is a solid inside player with size. Wright was one of the more underrated point guards in the CIS as freshmen and should be a fixture for Bishop's for the next 3-4 years. McCooeye is solid and should continue to see valuable minutes while Mowat and Anderson could help off the bench. Recruiting Focus: There is plenty of room for significant playing time given who the Gaiters lost to graduation and how they finished last season. Needs include more outside shooting, a slashing wing who can create and defend & one or two more big guys who can score and add depth. Less pressing is the need for another point guard who can push Wright each day in practice. Bishop's has not officially announced any recruits however Head Coach Eddie Pomykala was encouraged by what he feels could be one of the better classes he's ever had at Bishop's if it all comes together for him. Stay tuned.

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