Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Mac Retools

After heavy losses to graduation including his entire starting lineup, McMaster Marauders Head Coach Joe Raso faces possibily the greatest challenge of his career at Mac this season. With 15 consecutive winning seasons during which time his Marauders have won 6 OUA West championships, 4 Wilson Cup (OUA Championship) trophies and made 11 appearances at the CIS Nationals including 9 consecutive between 1993 and 2001 (4 appearances in the championship game), the Marauders return only 7 players to their roster and are as young as they have ever been. However, the cupboard is far from dry as key players return from injury and several impact recruits have been brought in to position Mac to again push for a spot atop the OUA West standings. The Marauders previously announced committments from 6'2" Tyrell Vernon from Hamilton St. Thomas More, a possible starter and likely rotation guy who will stretch defenses with his perimeter shooting, 6'7" Matt Willis from Hamilton Cardinal Newmann, a combo forward who can also stroke it and 6'4" Brett Day from London St. Thomas Aquainas. In the late summer, the Marauders also were able to bring in 6'8" Mouchtar Diaby, a physical, wide-body post player with good hands and feet to shore up their post depth. Diaby, who played two seasons at Mohawk College for current Mac Assistant Coach Frank Lostracco, sat out the past two seasons. At about 270 lbs., Diaby, who will begin his third year of eligibility, is likely to be a space eater inside who can finish and be a deterrent defensively. Mac also adds some quickness and athleticism to their backcourt with 5'8" Ibrahim Bamba, a point guard who originally was at Laval last season but did not play and played in only 2 league games in 2005-06 for the Rouge et Or. The Marauders are also looking for a contribution from 6'6" Anthony Bishop, who redshirted last season after graduating from Scarborough West Hill C.I. The Marauders now have a solid front court with returning senior 6'6" Andrew Losier, who battled injuries last season, 6'10" sophomore Geoff McLaughlin, 6'5" veteran Joe Polizzi, Diaby and Bishop. With the expected return from serious injury of 6'3" Nathan Histed to the lineup, Mac will have a veteran presence on the wing along with sophomore Amino Bello and third-year guard Jason Scully. The Marauders were scheduled to have 6'4" Sharif Wanis (Burlington Nelson) in the lineup this season but Wanis is intent on getting into Mac's business school, which he fell just short of qualifying for on the first go round. He plans to return to high school to upgrade his marks and enter Mac's business program in the Fall of 2008 with the goal of achieving an entrance scholarship this time. Don't forget that 5'10" guard Jermaine DeCosta, currently playing for the Marauders football team, should be back in time for late November to run the point. While there has been plenty of turnover on the Mac roster from last season including six players who at the end of the season rode the majority of the minutes, Coach Raso is one of the top teachers in the game and expect Mac to be rolling again when it counts down the stretch of the season.

No comments: