Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Irving Oil Hoops Classic in Moncton; Calgary Preview; Casey Archibald Update

We hope to have a more detailed preview of this weekend's CIS action, the first weekend of games solely between CIS teams, but for fans on the East Coast we wanted to highlight an exciting event happening in Moncton: Irving Oil "Hoop Classic" which goes Friday, October 5th at the Moncton Coliseum, a building which seats 7,000. The evening features a triple-header of action beginning with a game involving two teams from the Moncton Minor Basketball Association followed by a ACAA/CCAA match between Moncton's Atlantic Baptist University (ABU) and Mount Allison Mounties from nearby Sackville. The evening culminates with a rematch of last season's AUS tournament final between Atlantic champions Acadia Axemen and CIS Final Four participant St. Mary's Huskies. The event highlights alumni of Moncton Minor Basketball which this season includes Scott Black and Jeff Vass (both of ABU) as well as Clint Bateman of St. Mary's. Acadia is scheduled to return their entire starting lineup including AUS MVP 6'1" Paolo Santana and fans should see the Axemen debut of 6'5" Leonil Santil, a transfer from Memorial who led the CIS in rebounding two seasons ago. Not much else is known about Acadia and we hope to get a better sense of their roster after Friday. St. Mary's, which lost only 6'3" Cordell Wright from last year's Final Four team, has added a number of probable impact players including 6'1" Shane Morrison and a pair of Americans in 6'8" Derrick Coleman and 6'4" Brandon Mullins. As well, 6'4" Aaron Duncan has returned along with steady 6'1" point guard Mark Ross, 6'2" Mark McLaughlin, 6'5" Ike Uchegbu and 6'5" smooth-shooting Bateman, who makes his Moncton homecoming. This is a great opportunity for Atlantic Canada fans to get an early look at two AUS probable-favorites.

The Calgary Dinos are an optimistic bunch after a stellar recruiting class and a solid set of results against two NCAA Division 1 opponents including a victory over Weber State 81-74 over the Labour Day weekend. We got a nice note from Matt Skinn, Dinos Head Asst. Coach who we first of all thank for correcting us about the Dinos point guard situation where 6'1" Jeff Price has taken the reigns from last season's stellar point Josh Feist. We had originally stated that Price was more of a two guard. Here are excerpts from a Dinos season preview. The Dinos return 3 of their top 4 scorers from a season ago including 6'4" slick-shooting fifth-year guard Cody Darrah (12.9 ppg/3.6 rpg/2.3 apg/42% 3's/87% ft), who enters his third year with the Dinos after playing two seasons at the University of Alberta. Up front the Dinos bring back 6'8" FISU games National Team member Ross Bekkering (13.2 ppg/7.4 rpg - 4th in Canada West), who improved his athleticism and strength off season. The other returning starter is 6'6" Robbie Sihota (12.0 ppg/6.9 rpg), one of the more underrated players in Canada West who is a potent scorer from the inside and out. Sihota flashed his potential with a 29 point/16 rebound effort last season against Winnipeg. Other probably returnees likely to see action in the rotation are 6'9" center Joe Schow (7.0 ppg/3.3 rpg) who missed most of the second half of last season with a high ankle sprain, 6'4" work horse wing Jeremy Odland (8.2 ppg/3.7 rpg), and 6'8" "meat hook" Chris Unsworth (2.5 ppg/1.7 rpg) who showed great promise down the stretch and in the playoffs last season. Also returning are 6'1" guard Joel Bancroft, a consistent defender, 6'4" guard Logan Armstrong, a medical redshirt last year and 6'7" Dustin Reding who will red shirt this season. The Dinos newcomers are athletic, eager and all come from a winning pedigree. 6'6" G/F Henry Bekkering joins the team after playing 2 years at Eastern Washington University which competes in the Big Sky Conference. Henry, a local product who led his high school team to the 4A Provincial championship, is a super athletic wing player who can get to the rim, post up, and consistently knock down the open jump shot and will be counted on for his leadership, rebounding and scoring. The other newcomer who will find his way into the starting line-up is the 6'1" PG Jeff Price, who has led the last 3 teams he has played on to Alberta provincial championships (1 4A Provincial High School, 2 ACAC Titles). Price, who brings a winning attitude and commitment to the Dinos, is solid outside shooter, great ball handler and pesky defender who will run the show for the Dinos this year. Price averaged 17 points and 6 assists per game en route to being named ACAC Player of the Year, ACAC Male Athlete of the Year, and CCAA All Canadian. The Dinos have also added 6'9" freshman standout guard Tyler Fidler from Western Canada High School in Calgary. Fidler, a former member of Canada’s Junior National Team, averaged a triple double in high school last season and is a tremendous outside shooter, ball handler and passer. His ability to stretch the defense and cause mismatches will be a huge asset to the Dinos. Tyler won the city championships with Western last season but was ousted in the Provincial quarter finals despite a 52 point effort. The Dinos line-up will also feature 6'1" PG Andrew Champagnie (Edmonton Ross Shepherd), who led his team to the provincial title in his grade 11 year and to the final in his senior season. Andrew has not played the past two seasons out of high school and with his added experience and quickness should provide depth at the guard spots. 6'2" combo guard Brennen Fule will also provide depth at the 1 and 2 spots for the Dinos this season. Brennen won a provincial title in his grade 10 year at Strathmore High School and as a shooting guard his team ran up a 57-0 record with the Jr. Dinos. Another newcomer is 6'4" F Josh Lovestone, a transfer from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) where he averaged 13 points and 7 rebounds per game. Lovestone also played on the 2005 CCAA National champion University College of the Caribou team. Josh adds toughness, rebounding and a great outside shooting touch to the Dino line-up. Calgary is gearing up for their pre-season schedule which includes a trip to Montana to play Montana Tech and Carroll College of the NAIA plus a match-up with Whitworth College of Washington. The Dinos open their Canada West regular season on November 2 and 3 at home versus the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia.

DINOS WEEKEND RESULTS: The Dinos played in the Sandman Invitational in Red Deer this past weekend. Playing without Henry Bekkering and Andrew Champagnie, the Dinos were still able to win all 3 match-ups against ACAC competition.

Game 1: Dinos 79 Concordia College 56 Ross Bekkering (18 pts/11 rbs), Tyler Fidler (13 pts./8 rbs.), Joe Schow (10 pts./9 rbs.)
Game 2: Dinos 75 Red Deer College 43 Ross Bekkering (17 pts/10 rbs), Cody Darrah (14), Robbie Sihota (12)
Game 3: Dinos 93 Grant MacEwan 51 Tyler Fidler (18 pts./8 rbs.), Robbie Sihota (11), Josh Lovestone (11 pts./8 rbs); Ross Bekkering (10 rbs.)

UPDATE FROM AUSTRIA: Great to hear from UBC All-Canadian Casey Archibald, who signed a professional contract with Wels of the Austrian A Bundesliga, the top league in Austria. Wels began their season with a 34 point victory last weekend over one of the weaker teams in the league. Archibald played 30 minutes and finished with 21 points on 8-10 shooting and 4 rebounds. This weekend, Wels travels to Austrian captal Vienna where Archibald is likely to get matched up against former UBC teammate Mattias Dockner. Vienna is 0-1 thus far.

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