The defending AUS champions return all 5 starters and much of their deep rotation from last season, plus add at least one rotation-ready guard, so expect the Capers to again compete for a spot at the Nationals, this past weekend's loss against Holland College (AUAA) notwithstanding.
Two very good Americans, one with U.S. Division 1 experience headline the starters with 6'2" third year guard Jimmy Dorsey leading the way from the backcourt. Dorsey, the Capers lone AUS First-team all-star last season, took the reigns early and expect him to again be one of the top players in the CIS. 6'4" Paris Carter, who played one season of Division 1 basketball, suffered through some injuries last season yet still earned 2nd Team All-AUS honours has the equal ability to slash to the rim and shoots 3's. Sculpted 6'4" forward Phil Nkrumah is a rebounding machine who provides a massive physical presence in the paint for the Capers, nicely complementing the tidy, workmanlike contribution of 6'7" Scott Jaspers-Fayer, now in his fifth season. Smooth 6'0" fourth-year combo guard Tremaine Fraser, a local Nova Scotia product, is talented and experienced enough to make most of the big offensive decisions again showing the quality Cape Breton has at the guard spots.
The Capers depth at guard took a hit with the graduation of 6'0" Chris Noddle and sharpshooting 6'2" Mark McGarrigle, who stretched "d's" with his ability to knock down 3's. Charters took solid steps to fortifying his bench beginning with the addition of 5'10" freshman Julian Smith, an excellent shooter from North Preston, Nova Scotia, who is earmarked to play rotation minutes at both guard spots. Smith was ranked in the Top 5 point guards in the country by a number of recruiting services.
Expect a potential breakout season from 6'6" Al Aliovic, a once-touted recruited out of Milton, Ontario who has a nice blend of perimeter and paint-area skills, another quality wing/forward ensuring the talent level does not drop off appreciably when Charters goes to his bench.
Another American, 6'6" post Tavon Nelson should begin to contribute at some point in the season as he gets acclimated to CIS basketball. A high school teammate of Paris Carter and former CAPERS guard Corey Hargrove, Nelson can face up and also work with his back to the basket, adding depth to an already talented front line.
This Friday night's game at UNB against St. FX at the Eric Garland tournament should quickly allow the Capers to put Sunday's upset loss behind them and later a meeting with another Top 10 team Lakehead T-Wolves will give them a second, big early test. Expect Cape Breton to again be a top four AUS team that competes for another shot at the Nationals.