Thursday, 2 August 2007

Alberta, Laurentian Add Assistants; Calgary News

Long-time Alberta Head Coach Don Horwood is pleased to announce the addition of two new coaches to his staff, both of who come from solid coaching pedigree having both played major roles in the tremendous success the Golden Bears program has enjoyed over the past 15 or so years. Joining Horwood on the Bears bench for this coming season is Ryan Dunkley, who was Captain of the Bears CIS finalist squad in 1999. In that memorable championship game, St. Mary's defeated Alberta 83-79 in overtime in front of over 8,300 fans. Dunkley started that game, playing 41 minutes while scoring 7 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing out 3 assists. Another key member of the Bears program from the early 1993, Clayton Pottinger, who was captain of Alberta's first championship team in 1994 will also join the staff. If I recall correctly, Pottinger stretched defenses with his long-range perimeter shooting. The Bears have traditionally run their high/low offense with bigs who are fundamentally sound and outside shooters who will make teams pay for the double downs and with two members of the staff who played in that system, Horwood has improved his coaching staff.
Newly-appointed Laurentian Voyageurs Head Coach Shawn Swords recently announced his coaching staff with one returning coach from Virgil Hill's staff plus three others including a former CIAU All-Canadian. The Vees assistant coaches for the coming season are Mark Bennett, Cory Bailey, Aaron Sidenberg and Ken Wallenius as the teams assistant coaches for 2007-08. "We have gathered a knowledgeable group of assistant coaches for the upcoming year" said head coach Shawn Swords. "Each of them brings different views and ideas to the court which will help our young student-athletes improve steadily throughout the year." Bailey, a teammate of Swords during their playing days, enters his first season as an assistant coach with Voyageurs basketball program after a stellar career at Laurentian that ended upon his graduation in 1998. Bailey was a three-time OUA first-team all-star (1995-96, 1996-97 & 1997-98) and in 1995-96, Bailey was also named a CIAU second-team all-Canadian. Bailey played his high school basketball at Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute in Scarborough before being recruited to Laurentian by current Laurier Golden Hawk Head Coach Peter Campbell. Bennett is another Voyageur basketball alumnus, playing for the blue and gold from 1974 to 1979. He was part of two #1 ranked Voyageurs teams and made the trip to the CIAU national championships three times. In his senior season was named the Voyageurs basketball MVP and the winner of the Voyageur award at the year end athletic banquet. Most recently he has been the coach of Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School senior boys team in Sudbury for the past seven seasons. Sidenberg will be returning for his third full season as an assistant coach with the Voyageurs having worked with the team for the previous two seasons under former coach Virgil Hill. Sidenberg was a coach at Olympia Sports camp for seven years and a team building facilitator for elementary and high school athlete's for the past three years and coached at Sports Zone Training where the focus is developing the athlete's mental awareness of the game and themselves. He has also worked with the Ontario under-17 basketball team and has run basketball clinics for high school students as well as one-on-one skills development with both boys and girls. Wallenius enters his first full season as an assistant coach with the Voyageurs men's basketball program having worked with the team for part of the season in 2006-07. He is no stranger to post-secondary basketball having served as an assistant coach with Cambrian College in 1990-91 and again from 1997 to 2001. He has also been very successful at the secondary school level having coached teams to city finals and NOSSA championships as well as being involved with Basketball Ontario's Elite Development program as the north region coach. "I'm looking forward to both working with and learning from Corey, Mark, Aaron and Ken. They bring expertise in different aspects of the game, which is the reason they have been called on to be part of the 2007-08 Voyageurs coaching staff" added Swords. More information on the new men's basketball assistant coaches can be found at
With thanks to Greg Hoddinott, Athletic Marketing & Media Relations Officer Sports Information Laurentian Athletics

Laurentian also officially announced a recruit:

SUDBURY, Ont. - Laurentian Athletics and men's basketball coach Shawn Swords are excited to announce Brampton, Ontario's Mark Ramalho has committed to the Voyageurs basketball program starting in the fall. He will be enrolling in the Concurrent Education program with his undergraduate program being Sport and Physical Education.

Ramalho is a six-foot-two-inch 160-pound guard that can play both the point and shooting guard spots. While attending St. Augustine Secondary School, he was a multi-sport athlete having played on both the volleyball and basketball teams while being named captain of the senior boy's basketball for the past two seasons and volleyball team this past season. Academically, Ramalho has been an honour roll student in all five years of high school and was named an Ontario Scholar and the winner of the Ashon Reid Memorial Award which is given to a two sport athlete with at least an average of 75%.

Ramalho is known for his competitive attitude, high basketball intelligence and willingness to learn.

"Mark is a young player that works hard and has a high basketball IQ. He reads the game well and will be a great addition to the program" said head coach Shawn Swords.

"He comes from the same high school as Kevin "Flash" Gordon, a men's basketball alumnus. It's good to see that former Voyageurs are encouraging young student-athletes to follow in their footsteps and in this case at their alma-mater" added Swords.

Ramalho's decision to attend Laurentian was driven by academics, but was made even stronger by the opportunity to play basketball as well. "I was most attracted to the Concurrent Education program and being able to play for a school with a great basketball tradition was also important to me" said Ramalho.

"I am really excited about playing under the guidance of a former national team player" added Ramalho.

Ramalho will join other Voyageur rookies and veterans when training camp opens on September 5 at the Ben Avery Gym. He will get his first taste of OUA competition when the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks visit the Ben Avery Gym for exhibition action on October 12.

Thanks to Greg Hoddinott, Athletic Marketing & Media Relations Officer Sports Information Laurentian Athletics

Finally, thanks again to Dave "Wellsie" Wells for this note updating the summer happenings around the University of Calgary program

DINOS HOOPS NEWS .... by Wayne Thomas Dinos Stronger Through Hard Work
Directed by team Strength Coach Anton Joseph, and through a team-wide concerted effort, the 2007-08 Dinos squad is noticeably stronger than in past seasons. Individual players have made significant gains in testing this weekend, as the team got together for their annual summer camp. The camp is all about bringing the new team together for fitness and strength testing, and to introduce systems to be employed once the season gets underway. Setting the tone and establishing a team attitude is at the top of the agenda for Head Coach Dan Vanhooren and Assistant Matt Skinn. In two observed workouts this weekend, there was a good team energy, and an obvious desire to compete on the part of each player. Two returnees were absent from the camp; Ross Bekkering is in Vancouver for Team Canada workouts, and Joe Schow was being married on the weekend. Despite these absences, the post play was impressive as a chiseled Henry Bekkering, and a much stronger Robbie Sihota were pounding away on each other. 2nd year lefty Chris Unsworth looked stronger and more confident, and newcomer Josh Lovestone, 2nd yr. from SAIT, appears to be a good fit with his strong rebounding and sharp passing. The elder Bekkering has already established himself as a team leader, and will carve out some extra space for the other big men as he draws the extra attention from other teams. Ross, the younger Taber grad, has been impressive in spring and summer workouts, and this may be his break-out year. Big Joe Schow, at 6'9", the tallest of the forwards, will be more comfortable with a year's experience in Dinos colors. Key recruits in the back-court were guards Jeff Price, Andrew Champagnie, and Brennan Fule along with swing-man Tyler Fidler . Price, an All-Canadian in the College ranks with Mount Royal, has two years experience at that level after having led Lord Beaverbrook of Calgary to a Provincial 4A crown in 2005. Champagnie, a super quick penetrator and defender was playing for Edmonton's Ross Shepperd in that same game. These two newcomers will push Tony Dhaliwal at the point guard spot. 'TD', entering his 3rd year from Abbotsford, B.C. looked stronger, shot well, and looked sharp at the defensive end. Fule, who also has played the point for Strathmore in high school, looks physically ready to challenge for some court time, and he is one 1st year who has the confidence to hit from long range. Fidler, who was the consensus player of the year in Calgary High Schools last year at Western Canada HS, will get every chance to show his skills, and could be a huge weapon if the front-court stars create space for his shooting. As good a passer as we have seen come out of high school recently, Fidler, at 6'8" with the skills to shine in a guard spot can be an impact performer in his 1st season with the Dinos. Joining the squad as a walk-on is 6'2" Jordan Flagel, a 2005 grad of Calgary's Bishop O'Byrne HS, who will practice with the hoops team while playing this fall with Coach Blake Nill's Football Dinos. A welcome comeback player is Logan Armstrong, a 6'5" wing man from Big Stone, AB, who sat out last season with a back injury, but looks to be knocking off the rust and ready to go at practices 100% come the last week of August. Logan played point in high school, but is really a 2 or 3 guard who can shoot and rebound. Joel Bancroft, another Dino who tied the marital knot this spring, is a 3rd year who started some games last season, and who has excellent defensive skills and an improving offensive game featuring quick drives to the hoop. Dustin Redding, 2nd yr. Bowness HS, who showed some good play last season before knee trouble put him on the sideline, hopes to put the injuries behind him. Two 5th year guards round out the roster. Cody Darrah, a starting 2 man last year, will be one of the key shooters for Coach Vanhooren. Calgary's leading 3 pt. shooter last season, Cody has worked as hard as anyone on the weights this summer, and looks to have added some muscle, which will help his endurance in the long season. Jeremy Odland, a 6'4" wing will provide gritty play, vocal leadership, and energy whenever he hits the floor. Sidelined with a bad jaw injury prior to last year's play-offs, Odland has worked hard to get in shape for his final campaign with the Dinos. The first impressions are of a deep team with a sense of urgency to challenge the top teams in Canada West. There is no doubt that competition will be intense when the team starts preparation August 27th for their Labour Day Weekend 'Battle of the Border' games with Creighton University of Nebraska, and Weber State University of Utah. There is no shortage of talent and there appears to be an abundance of motivation to make progress towards a championship CIS team.

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