Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Around the Country: OUA Update

OUA WEST: After the disappointment of having their game against ACC power Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets abruptly cancelled by the visitors, Windsor Lancers will get things restarted this coming weekend with three games against Canada West opponents out west (Thursday at Fraser Valley, Friday at UBC and Saturday at Simon Fraser). The Lancers return 6 upperclassmen to their lineup and have added at least 4 other newcomers who have the potential to be impactful. At the all-important point guard spot, Head Coach Chris Oliver is hopeful for a smooth handoff will ensue from 6'1" standout defender Corey Boswell, entering his fifth and final season, to 6'1" Josh Collins, a heady, savvy freshman from Vaughan C.I. Several OUA West teams have younger point guards leading their teams (Western-Ryan Barbeau/Zac Angus, Laurier-Travis Berry, Guelph-Mike Patrella, Brock-Joel Whitty, Lakehead-Greg Carter) and if one believes the reasonably-well-proven adage that the foundation of championship teams is set in solid, experienced point guard play, Windsor, along with Waterloo, has the most experienced in Boswell, who is a proven defender with a handful of big shooting games during his career including the Wilson Cup against Carleton a few years ago. The Warriors have 6'1" fifth-year point David Burnett among a veteran group. Western is in a somewhat of a rebuilding phase after last season's Final Four appearance and has brought in several impact transfers including 6'5" David Harder (Canada College/Copenhagen, Denmark) and 6'1" Marcus Bennett (William and Mary). The Mustangs, who routed St. Clair College last week, will rely on their now-veteran core of Barbeau, 6'6" Garrett Olexiuk, 6'5" Andrew Wedemire and 6'1 Jason Milliquet. The 'Stangs host Ryerson Rams in a non-conference game this coming Wednesday night at Alumni Hall and then Eureka College Red Devils, an NCAA Division III team from Illinois at home on Saturday. There are a pair of tournament in Waterloo this weekend as the Warriors host the 42nd annual Naismith Classic, the longest running tournament in the CIS, which is a three-day affair with U of T Varsity Blues, Acadia (AUS) and Manitoba (Canada West) while down the street, Laurier hosts the Hawk Challenge with Brock and the host Hawks facing Dalhousie Tigers and Winnipeg Wesmen on Friday and Saturday. The Badgers come off a close loss to Findlay College in which their emerging 6'4" freshman Clinton Springer-Williams led all scorers with 30 points in his Badger debut. Potential big games include Dalhousie/Laurier (Hawks coach Peter Campbell is the father of Dal mentor John Campbell) and Toronto vs. Waterloo on Sunday at 4 PM in a matchup of veteran-laden teams both likely to be in the hunt for the OUA championship. Prior to going to Laurier, the Tigers make a stop in Guelph to face the Gryphons on Thursday night as honours candidates 6'1" Simon Farine of the Tigers and 6'3" Jonathan Moscatelli, both former Toronto-area high school stars, meet in the Royal City. Guelph also hosts Eureka on Friday night. McMaster Marauders look to build on their impressive start, led by another impact newcomer 6'7" Ryan Christie, as Mac participates in the Redmen Classic at McGill in Montreal, a three-team affair which includes Ottawa Gee-Gees and UQAM Citadins. 6'1" Jermaine DeCosta, always a top ball defender, showed signs of holding off stiff internal competition for the point guard spot at Mac with an excellent offensive performance against Alberta and Ryerson this past weekend. Lakehead Thunderwolves visit Brandon for the Super 8 tournament this weekend with 8 new faces on their projected 14 man roster. There are four solid guards in sophomore point guard Carter, combo guards 6'1" Jamie Searle and 6'0" Winnipeg transfer Cam Hornby, who is coming off ankle surgery in September and is working his way back to top shape plus 6'3" American wing Joe Jones, who should be first guard off the bench. Another U.S. import, 6'5" Matt Nagy, who has missed the past two weeks with a sprained ankle, will push to start on the wing and share time with 6'3" Andrew Hackner. The Wolves will be deeper up front with 6'6" Yoosrie Salhia and 6'7" Brendan King as the likely starters supported by 6'5" Anthony McIntosh (Ottawa St. Patrick's - also battling an injury), while 6'6" Guelph transfer Seb Kasiuk and 6'5" freshman Ryan Thomson should also be in the mix.

OUA EAST: It has been a two-horse race in the OUA East for the past several seasons but many are already predicting that the veteran Toronto Varsity Blues could easily up-end what has been recent Carleton/Ottawa domination. Concerns about depth after unexpectedly losing 6'6" Ahmed Nazmi has quickly disappaited in Toronto with the emergence of the Varsity bench led 6'8" Andrew Wasik, who has improved his offense in the low post enough such that teams may have to consider doubling at some point, 6'0" Justin Homes and 6'2" Ben Garvin both of who made several big shots over the weekend. The Blues are strong in the backcourt with 6'2" sharpshooter Rob Paris and 6'2" combo guard Nick Magalas. 6'3" Patrick Sewell appears much more comfortable beginning his second OUA season after a stellar career at Fanshawe College while up front 6'7" veteran Nick Snow and 6'5" Drazen Glizic defend, rebound and score when necessary. Last season, the bench was likely Toronto's biggest weakness but expect the Blues to play 9 or 10 guys each night helping their starters stay fresh and not have to play with fouls. Toronto looks to remain undefeated this weekend with 3 games at the Naismith. Still, the Carleton Ravens loom large, looking for their seventh CIS title in eight seasons but having to replace three of the greatest players in that program's history in 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp, 6'3" Stu Turnbull and 6'3" Rob Saunders. How the Ravens are able to replace the leadership these graduated mentally-tough veterans brought will dictate their success. The role falls to a pair of veterans in 6'8" Kevin McCleery and 5'11" Mike Kenny, high school teammates at Ottawa Borden and excellent support players in past seasons. Kenny has been fighting a foot injury but remains arguably the best pure shooter in the CIS while McCleery is a proven scorer and decision-maker in the low post. The need for Kenny to handle up top has been lessened with the arrival of 6'0" Willy Manigat, a transfer from Ottawa, who brings another dimension to the Ravens with his ability to go by people and create in transition. 6'4" Cole Hobin may be Carleton's best athlete and is a very difficult check one-on-one while the Ravens best freshman is likely to be 6'5" Tyson Hinz, who has a nose for the basket, is a great finisher and fundamentally-sound - in other words a player who eventually should take the leadership mantle with this program down the road. The Ravens host their House-Laughton tourney this weekend with Saskatchewan Huskies, UPEI Panthers and Bishop's Gaiters. Ottawa Gee-Gees have a Moser candidate of their own in 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe (Toronto) however expect 6'5" Warren Ward (Brampton) to assume more offensive responsibility - he is an emerging star who has led the Gee-Gees in scoring in their two games thus far this season against St. John's Red Storm and Laval last weekend. Ottawa's top freshman is likely 6'2" Ryan Malcolm-Campbell (Etobicoke), yet another top GTA talent recruited to uOttawa by Coach Dave DeAveiro. The Gee-Gees are in Montreal this weekend at McGill with Mac, UQAM and the hosts for three-games in three days. Laurentian Voyageurs, coming off a 1-2 weekend in Montreal, will host their Alumni weekend and the Pasquale brothers (Isiah and Manny) both had big weekends that helped coach Shawn Swords with his rotation. Ryerson Rams were winless in their first two games under Head Coach Roy Rana however his group showed a resiliancy in coming back hard from large deficits in both games. 6'7" Boris Bakovic remains Rye's top overall offensive threat however more and more observers are becoming familiar with the improving play of another future all-conference candidate in 6'1" point guard Josh Budd. The Rams visit London Wednesday night to face Western. Rob Smart's Queen's Golden Gaels are 2-0 vs. CIS competition after home wins against Concordia and Laval last weekend and are built like usual - a team that runs excellent read-and-react offense primarily out of the high post, one that won't beat themselves and, this season, several very good, experienced veterans in 6'2" Ryan Hairsine, 6'1" Baris Ondul and a POY candidate in 6'6" Mitch Leger. The other Kingston entry, RMC Paladins continues to rebuild and has a potentially top flight point guard in 6'1" Justin Hill plus an emerging veteran front line led by 6'9" Nick Cooke. The York Lions face their first season in six without 6'3" Tut Ruach but have 5'11" David Tyndale running the show who has a chance to be one of the all-time greats with the Lions. 6'10" Stefan Haynes should have a breakout year in the post and the Lions are deeper at all positions this season. Queen's, RMC, Laurentian and York all do not play against CIS competition this coming weekend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a bit of a stretch to say RMC is in a rebuilding phase.
Since their miraculous season of 03-04 in which the Paladins amazed everyone with their 14-8 second place finish, the clock has been continually striking midnight for that Cinderella team.
In the five seasons since then, RMC has managed only four wins, and are 1-87 over the last four years.
Still, the Paladins soldier on...pardon the pun...in the OUA East, in the vain hope of somehow replicating its brief moment of glory.
But unless there is a clone of Kevin Dulude out there somewhere, it is unlikely RMC can even become respectable, let alone a contender.
How many more 0-22 seasons must RMC endure before its administration comes to the conclusion that CIS basketball is just to tough a nut to crack.
The Paladins used to compete in the OCAA and while those in charge of the athletic program might be loathe to admit it, it is perhaps time to consider the college option once again.