Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Wayne Thomas highlighting supporting cast players at CW Final Four

More Than Star Power Needed to Succeed Every week we read about the leading scorers, the big rebounders, the stars who shine brightly. We are dazzled by the exploits of Henry Bekkering for the Dinos, Alex Steele of the Golden Bears and the lead men for UBC like Chris Dyck, and Brandon with Dany Charlery. But as they and their coaches are well aware, it takes many more teammates playing various vital roles to allow the team to reach their goals. Many times these 'foot soldiers' operate below the radar of media and fan attention,, but their contributions are critical, and their performance often tips the scales of win or lose to one team or another. For these teams facing off in Calgary this weekend in the Canada West Final Four, we can identify several players who deserve credit for their abilities to help their teams advance to the championship level. In this week when the Canada West Awards were announced, we take time to acknowledge the contributions of those less worshipped.

CG Morrison, 6'3" pt. guard, who can shoot the 3 ball, defend, and direct traffic in the Bears disciplined offense. Good defender. Tarik Tokar, a 6'4" guard who makes the game easier for his teammates. He averages 4 assists with very few turnovers... Neb Aleksic, 6'6" wing man with a deadly 3 pt. shot, who can get on a roll and kill you from outside. Yuri Whyms, this 6'8" post is hard to miss, but is often over-looked. A great touch with his back to the basket, and a big body on the boards. Harvey Bradford, a 6'5" post, this Cranbrook, B.C., 3rd year is a fierce competitor, who gives away size, but who has a good touch from the line and competes tirelessly. Quick jumper Stevens Marcelin, a 6'7" rebounding force, who can score inside and defend a big post. Alex Murphy, a 6'2" point in his 2nd year, leads UBC in assists, and has the ability to direct the offense. Cody Darrah, the 5th year , 6'4" guard, who is among the league leaders in 3 pt %, and can jump in at the point, if needed. Matt Racher, a 6'7" wing man who can shoot, run the floor, and play D. A good rebounder, who gives the 'Birds leadership. Josh Lovestone, a 6'5" whirling dervish in the post, he will work hard every minute he is on the floor. A strong rebounder with a useful mid-range J. Brent Malish, a 6'6" wing , who was 2nd in 3 pt.% in Canada West. He's also a solid rebounder. Jeremy Odland, a 5th year, 6'4" wing, who brings energy off the bench, rebounds, and drives the hoop with no fear.

Notes... The Dinos Office reports tickets sales are brisk, and fans need to reserve before Friday. Extra seats are planned for the North End behind the hoop at floor level... The Major Awards were announced Tuesday in Canada West ... always discussion around who, why, why not. The comments are already flooding in ... perhaps we should toast Coach Dan Vanhooren for his feat of beating the Coach of the Year (Don Horwood of U of A) 5 out of 6 times they played ! CIS Rankings also out Tuesday, and the Dinos stay in 4th spot despite two convincing wins over a good U of A squad. It gets tense at this point as wildcard spots and seedings are at stake. If Acadia is so tough, the teams in 3rd, 4th, 5th ( Brandon, Calgary, UBC) are hoping the Axemen follow through by winning their AUS Championship, leaving a wildcard hope for a Canada West squad. Of course, the best way to get to the CIS Nationals is to win on Friday ! The Atlantic Tournament, which is not played until March 7-9 has record tickets sales. They have a traditional 'Final 6' tournament in Halifax with no preliminaries. Single knockout with only 1 team going to Nationals, now that Halifax lost the CIS Tournament to Ottawa. Ontario also has a single knockout system with West Semi-Finals going tonight ... Guelph at Brock and Western at Windsor. The East Final is set with Ottawa at Carleton, with the Gee-Gees having had a couple of close games with the unbeaten Ravens already this season. Both East and West Finals will be on Saturday, and the East winner will host the OUA Final on March 8... Quebec playoffs have Montreal at Concordia and McGill at Laval this weekend, then the Final scheduled for next weekend. Laval Rouge et Or have been the top team in Quebec, but Concordia looks like they may give them a run for the lone spot in the Nationals.

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