Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Gee-Gees Look to Reload

With the graduation of arguably the most successful recruiting class in the history of the program which stayed five years, last season's CIS semi-finalist Ottawa Gee-Gees look to replace some significant losses while remaining in contention for a spot near the top of the OUA East. The Gee-Gees hosted their Alumni over the weekend and came away with a 106-98 victory which saw the projected starters play only about 10 minutes as Head Coach Dave DeAveiro gave his younger players ample opportunity to work through the expected challenges that coming to a new program can bring. And make no mistake about it, this is now a young team with no fifth-year players, only five players with multiple years of CIS experience and at least six freshmen who should push for time and try to make up for the loss of 6'5" Curtis Shakespeare, 5'11" Alex McLeod and 6'5" Jermaine Campbell to graduation and 5'11" Willy Manigat, an energizer off the bench, who is sitting out this season. Ottawa is led by 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe, a First Team OUA East all-star last season and one of the keys to Canada's FISU games bronze medal winning team over the summer. Two fourth-year players, 6'3" Sean Peter, a consistent starter last season who returns to play the wing and will be looked upon to become more of a primary scorer, and 6'9" Dax Dessureault who provides a defensive presence inside and looks to become more consistent with his finishing inside. 6'3" Donnie Gibson, entering his third year, should also start on the wing. Gibson had an injury plagued freshman season and then came on last season, making open shots and playing with much more confidence. Scrappy 6'5" David Labentowicz enters the starting lineup after playing about 15 minutes per game last season and showing flashes of solid play at both ends. Josh's younger brother, 6'2" Jacob Gibson-Bascombe (Toronto Jarvis via Eastern Commerce Prep) highlights the newcomers and should be one of the first wings off the bench for Ottawa. One of the surprises of training camp has been unheralded 6'6" Aaron Redos from Gloucester, ON, who led the Gee-Gees with 19 points against the Alumni on Saturday. Redos is a tough, competitive big guard who can shoot it and who knows how to play. A pair of young posts, 6'5" Marvin Bazille from John Abbott CEGEP and 6'6" Justin Bell from Mississauga Rick Hansen are in the mould of Shakespeare and Campbell as forwards. Another pair of freshmen, 6'0" Vlad Pislaru (Scarborough Jean Vanier) and 6'1" Bojan Dodik (Ottawa Sir Robert Borden), both provide the ability to stretch defenses with their perimeter shooting. This young team will likely need time to grow but the Gee-Gees should continue to try to leverage their athleticism into up-tempo play both offensively and defensively. With all the churn and a lack of experienced depth, the veterans will likely have to play 30+ minutes each night to compete and hope that the freshmen mature quickly to give Ottawa any hope of returning to the National top 10 this season. Ottawa travels to St. Bruno, Quebec this coming Friday to meet CEGEP Champlain-St. Lambert in a pre-season exhibition game and is also likely to scrimmage against Dawson College in the next 2 weeks prior to opening their CIS pre-season at the Jack Donohue Memorial tournament in the third week of October.

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