Tuesday, 9 October 2007

McMaster, Laurier Updates

A few weeks ago we took a first look at probably the youngest team in Coach Joe Raso's 15+ year tenure as Head Coach at McMaster. Since late August, the injury bug and an unexpected decision by a veteran to not play this season has made the Marauders even younger with no fifth-year players plus the possibility that as many as four newcomers will see significant time in the rotation. Currently, the only two fourth-year players on the roster: 6'6" Andrew Losier and 6'8" Joe Polizzi are battling injuries, with Losier, who finally appeared to be coming into his own in training camp, out until at least early November with a broken foot while Polizzi playing through a severely sprained ankle sustained late in the summer that is having trouble healing. As well, 6'2" Nathan Histed, who suffered through severe concussion injuries last season but appeared to be ready enough to have the Marauders count on him as their "go-to" veteran on the wing this season, decided not play. This leaves Mac's starting lineup and rotation wide open in the early season as the team prepares for this weekend's Naismith Invitational at Waterloo. 6'2" sharpshooter Tyrell Vernon has likely established himself as a starter from Day One with his ability to stretch defenses and his experience playing in high-level competition. 5'11" Amino Bello, who showed flashes of offensive skills last season, also should push for a starting spot in the backcourt while 6'8" Mohawk transfer Mouchtar Diaby, almost by default becomes Mac's most experienced post player. A pair of freshmen are also in the mix as sharpshooting 6'7" Matt Willis and 6'4" Brett Day should get an early chance to push for significant minutes. 6'10" Geoff McLaughlin, who has nice, soft hands for a big guy and can bang inside, must improve defensively to be able to push for a starting spot while 6'1" Jason Scully is best suited to come off the bench to ignite the offense. Mac should also have 6'2" two-sport athlete Jermaine DeCosta available for a game or two this weekend, as he works around his obligations on the Marauders football team. 6'6" Anthony Bishop from Scarborough, ON, who redshirted last season is also showing signs of being able to contribute at some point. At the Naismith this weekend, the Marauders will meet Toronto on Friday night at 6 PM, Calgary on Saturday night at 6 PM and the host Warriors on Sunday afternoon at 4 PM. Here is a link to a previous note on Mac that appeared about a month ago Mac Retools from Sept. 12/07

A strong showing this past weekend in Montreal at the Concordia NIKE tournament revealed that the Laurier Golden Hawks may have a underrated group of freshmen on the roster this season. With only 4 projected regulars in third year or older, it goes without saying that the Hawks are very young as 6'8" Trevor Csima (5th) and 6'5" Matt Walker (4th) are the only two upperclassmen. With 3rd year 6'1" guard Jesse MacDonald out with an ankle injury and 6'5" fellow 3rd year forward Dave Crowley more of a role player, the Hawks will rely on their stable of excellent young talent led by last season's pair of OUA West All-Rookie selections in 6'8" Andrew Pennycook and 6'5" Justin Golob. But as this past weekend may have proved, a trio of freshmen appear ready to contribute immediately, led by 6'2" point guard Austin Walsh, who did very well in the face of the type of pressure an experience, athletic group of guards like Concordia's can subject a young point to. As well, Head Coach Peter Campbell may have uncovered another overlooked gem similar to Golob last season in 6'5" Kale Harrison, who was named to the Concordia tournament all-star team. But the best of the newcomers could be 6'5" Dominique Brown who has significant experience playing in big games with Toronto Henry Carr and could be the most athletic player entering the OUA West this season. Another solid athlete, 6'4" Brandon Greenwood, has been battling injuries but looks to push for time as well. The Hawks will be without 6'3" Evan Eliason, who gave the team solid outside shooting in his freshman season last year but the 10.0 gpa, honours business student has decided to focus even harder on his academics this year. Laurier visits Laurentian this coming Friday night as part of the Voyageurs Alumni weekend and Coach Campbell will get a chance to celebrate the honouring of his 1999 Laurentian team that won the OUA championship and advanced to the CIS Final Four.

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