Thursday, 31 January 2008

Peter Yannopoulos's QSSF Report

QSSF REPORT by Peter Yannopoulos.... It has been quite an eventful season in the QSSF so far, with many surprises from a team stanpoint to great individual performances. As the dog days of winter have hit coaches, players and the ever-neglected but vital team trainers, this is the key stretch to the end of the regular season. As it stands right now, the class of the QSSF has to be the Laval Rouge et Or. They sit alone in 1st place with a 9-2 record, and after a slugglish start to the season, they have found their groove and seem headed to capture the regular season title and home court advantage throughout the playoffs. It all starts with 5th year Foward JP Morin. The All-Canadian and Player of the year candidate is averaging 25.1 ppg and 10.1 rebs, and he has had a super season to date. Morin is almost unstopable in the post, but has also taken his game to the outside this year, hitting 3 pointers with consistency, making opposing coaches shake their heads wondering how will they stop him now. The supporting cast is impressive as well. JF Beaulieu-Maxieux hasn't missed a beat from his National Rookie of the year season, averaging 15.7ppg 4.1 rebs and 1.6apg. He can score from a variety of ways, but he's the main finisher of Laval's fast break. He has missed the last 2 games with a groin pull, and although Laval has won without him, they will need him down the stretch and especially in the playoffs. Two freshman have had solid 1st year season's so far, Jerome Turcotte( 10.8ppg and 5.8rebs 2.8apg) and PG Xavier Baribeau(9.8ppg 5.3apg). Both have proven that they can contribute right away and both have strong confidence in their abilities. Probably the most underated player in the "Q" is 6-7 Forward Marc Andre Cote. Cote is a player i love because he can play and more importantly defend all 5 positions on the court. He sits 2nd in league rebounding with an 8.6 avg, and along with Morin, form the toughest frontline duo in the conference. There is no doubt that this starting 5 can compete with any team in the country and they seem to be getting better with each game. They have a decent bench and Coach Jacques Paiment has them playing better defense this season and look for them to continue their streak of wins up until the playoffs.... The Concordia Stingers are currently in 2nd place with a 5-4 record but the Stingers have been hit with injuries all season long. The most devasting injury is to all star Dwayne Buckley. One of the toughest matchup's in the country, Buckley is gone for the year with a knee injury and that has really hurt Concordia. His brother has picked up the slack and Damian Buckley is having another All-Canadian season. He's averaging 17.8ppg 6.4rebs, 6.0 apg and 2 steals a game. Basically, he's doing it all for Coach John Dore this season. Levi Vann (11.1ppg), Jamal Gallier(8.0ppg 6.9rebs) and Andre Johnny(7.1ppg)have done their part in helping out Damian, but there is a serious lack of depth this season for Concordia. The role players must step up and the Stingers might have to rely on their defense instead of their usual high octane offense to win games down the stretch. It will be interesting to see what transpires for Concordia, who are not use to losing so many games in regular season play... The McGill Redmen are in third place with a 5-6 record, but have been the surprise team in the QSSF this season. Coach Craig Norman has really upgraded the talent level at McGill and he has implemented a tough and hard nosed basketball mentality. The Redmen who were sitting in 1st place just a month ago, have also battled injuries. They have lost their rookie PG Sam Goulet for the season with a knee injury and their back-up PG Victor Mansour is injured and out for the season as well. The Redmen have been led by defending QSSF Defensive Player of the year Sean Anthony (12.9 and 5.7rebs) whose carried the load for McGill on both ends of the floor. Moustafa El-Zanaty (17.7ppg) has shown that he can score at will, coming off the bench to become of one the best 6th men in the country. Matt Thornhill (8.9ppg) has had a solid 2nd season, and Yannick Chouinard continues to be one of the best 3point shooters in the "Q". The Redmen have beaten Laval and Concordia on the road, but have struggled somewhat at home. They have several solid role players and will look to finish strong heading into the playoffs... The UQAM Citadins are in 4th place with a 4-6 record. They started off 0-5 during the 1st semester, but now have won 4 of 5, and are finally healthy as well after battling through the injury bug. Uqam is led by Mario Joseph (12.3ppg 5.7 rebs and 2.9apg). The 6-3 245 lbs PG has changed positions this season after playing foward most of his career. He runs the show for Coach Olga Hrycak, and brings the intensity and winning attitude to this program. Sam Johnson (12.4ppg) is still the pure shooter for the Citadins and after being hobbled early in the season, he has come back strong and looks to lead Uqam to the playoffs. Kevin Boucher(11.5ppg 7.1rebs) is another underated PF, who plays hard and battles every minute he touches the floor. What makes UQAM dangerous is the return of the "African tandem" of Jules Diagne( 12.3ppg 4.4 rebs and 2apg) and Joseph Antagana( 5.7rebs 1.8 apg 2.2blocks per game). Both were members of the UQAM squad that won the QSSF two years ago, and their athleticism and all around game creates major problems for opponents. UQAM is playing inspired basketball right now, and are looking at improving their record and seeding heading into the playoffs... The Bishop Gaiters are in last place with a 2-7 record. The Gaiters started off the season at 2-0 but have lost 7 straight. Its been a tough season for coach Eddy Pomykala and his Gaiters. Although the Gaiters record does not look that good, they have been in almost every game this season, but have not been able to close out games. Bishop's Emmanuel Junior Nicolas(17.7ppg and 5apg) has had a monster season. The SG has carried the Gaiters on his back this season, with explosive scoring performances. Herman Tesfaghebriel(12.9ppg) has had a strong season as well and Doug McCooeye(8.2ppg) has shown heart and grit for the Gaiters. The bottom line for Bishop's is time is ticking, and they must start winning and fast. The playoffs are still within reach, but they are in a "must win situation" as of now. They can't afford any more losses if they have any hope of catching the teams ahead of them... It should be a very exciting finish to the QSSF regular season. Laval looks like they have 1st place locked up, but 2nd place is up for grabs. Concordia who just last year entered the CIS Nationals as the #1 seed, have struggled and got spanked by Uqam by 20 points last week. But they have one of the best players in the country in Damian Buckley, and he can carry them a long way. McGill has become a major player this season, they are always extremely well prepared for any opponent and they can really put up points with their 3point shooting. Uqam has talent, athleticism and toughness. Those are three key ingredients to any team aspiring for a championship. Bishop's is still in the hunt but it will be very difficult for them. The next coming weeks will give us a better indication of where teams will end up. It should be quite a ride, a cold winter one no doubt.

Peter Yannopoulos
Yanno Basketball Consulting


Anonymous said...

what a great report,.... I personnally think that McGill is gonna take it all!!!! I also think that Concordia should try and get Kyle Desmarais.!!! Thanx Peter. Keep up the good work.

Alex Tourigny said...

Great report!

Only one small mistake. Jules Diagne wasn't on the QSSF UQAM Championship team. Maybe you've mistaken him with Claude Delmas-Merisier (if only he was still playing for UQAM...).

I do think that Laval will go all the way this year. Too much talent on this team.