Thursday, 13 August 2009

Cascades add international flavour to roster

Cascades add international flavour.... Courtesy: Dale Cory, Sports Information and Marketing Coordinator, University of the Fraser Valley Cascades

ABBOTSFORD, BC – Since finishing the 2008-2009 Canada West season, University of the Fraser Valley men’s basketball head coach Barnaby Craddock has left no stone unturned in his attempts to find the best-possible student-athletes to complete the 2009-2010 men’s basketball roster.

That search included the Australian Outback, and the American Pacific Northwest, and has provided Craddock’s roster with two impressive prospects.

American Zeon Gray, who spent two seasons with Whatcom Community College, and James Elliott, an Australian who spent last season playing with Lakeland College in the Alberta Colleges’ Athletic Association, will suit up in Cascade green for the 2009-2010 basketball season.

Gray, a 5’10” point guard, played two seasons at Whatcom Community College (Northwest Athletic Association of Community College’s) in Bellingham, averaging 10 points, four assists and two steals per game during his final year in 2007.

“I am excited to come to Canada and play for UFV,” stated Gray. “I like all the guys on the team, and the style of play seems to suit my game. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I can't wait to get started.”

“Zeon is a pass-first point guard that makes players around him better,” stated Craddock, returning for his third season with the Cascades. “We think he will fit in perfectly with our returning core group, and we are looking forward to welcoming him into our Cascade family.”

At 6’8”, 230-pounds, it will be tough to miss post player James Elliott on the court this season. The Australian played in 27 games last season and was named a Second-Team All-Star in the ACAC. Elliott averaged 53 per cent shooting from the floor and 14 points per game, and led his Rustler team with 36 successful three-point shots in 72 attempts. Elliott also led Lakeland with 17 blocks last season, and averaged just over seven rebounds per game. “Athletically, I like to bang, and to be a physical presence,” stated Elliott, who is from Perth, and will study in the Business program at UFV. “My lifelong dream was to play college basketball. But not having a student/athlete system in Australia made that goal unrealistic. The prospect of travelling, developing myself academically, and playing the game I love is a remarkable opportunity. UFV was a fantastic choice, with its strong athletics, great location, and impressive academic support services.”

“Our roster is loaded with local Fraser Valley kids, and that will always be the strength and foundation of our program,” stated Craddock. “If we can then compliment our local talent pool with a couple of select additions, it gives us that right mix to be as competitive as any university in the country.”

The Cascade men’s basketball team will begin workouts in early September, and will host its annual Alumni game Saturday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. at Envision Athletic Centre.

University of the Fraser Valley’s first Canada West regular season action takes place Oct. 30 at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

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