Perennial contenders for the AUS crown, the Huskies got much more athletic and explosive at the guards spots with their newest recruits but must replace a pair of veteran stalwards 6'2" Mark McLaughlin, one of the more successful and decorated players in recent Saint Mary's history, and underrated and consistently hard working 6'5" Ike Uchegbu.
Head Coach Ross Quackenbush welcomes back one of the most exciting players in the CIS in 6'1" Joey "King Handles" Haywood, now in his fourth season and a veteran of AUS play. Haywood is a highlight waiting to happen in transition with his slick looks and finishes and expect him to again lead the Huskies from the backcourt. His new partner at guard replacing McLaughlin will be 6'1" Mohawk College transfer Jerome Smith, a likely starter who can play either the one or two and has a smooth presence on the floor. Quackenbush likens Smith to a former AUS star at UPEI, Darrell Glenn, in his ability to control the game in a quiet manner without much flash.
Another newcomer should also step directly into the starting lineup as the Huskies welcome 6'5" Torey Fassett, a Maryland native who played the past two seasons at Howard Community College, averaging 20 ppg last season. Fassett is another skilled wing who is at his best in transition and loves to attack the rim with his athleticism. Expect 6'5" Demitri Harris, entering his second season at Saint Mary's after one B.C. college season, to complement Fassett with his ability to shoot 3's and play off the point guards. Another nice athlete 6'0" Miguel Pink will also be in the mix at the wing spot and Saint Mary's also has a steady three point specialist in 6'0" Jack Gallinaugh, who gets a twinkle in his eye each time opponents try to slow the Huskies down with a zone.
Replacing Uchegbu's consistent presence inside may be Quackenbush's chief challenge this season and a pair of maturing returnees: 6'8" Iain Robertson (3rd Year) and 6'8" Simon Marr (3rd Year) offer the Huskies some versatility as both can face up well with Robertson seemingly coming into his own as a true paint area presence, especially offensively. Saint Mary's was able to lure a physical presence in the Uchegbu mould with the arrival, also from Howard C.C., of 6'7" Korey Cobb, a big, strong, 240 pound post who will be in the mix up front. Cobb will likely be asked to defend, rebound and bang and is known to be a solid passer out of the post.
6'4" Ronald Vanel, an athletic wing/forward entering his fifth season from Dawson College can be plugged into several different rotations given the unique talents he brings to the table. Saint Mary's also welcomes former McMaster Marauder Ryan Christie who Quackenbush confirms will sit out this season as a redshirt and will have 4 seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2011-12 season.
As part of their pre-season schedule, Saint Mary's travels to Laval for the Rouge et Or tournament in mid-October where at least a pair of Top 10 teams await including the hosts and six-time National champions Carleton Ravens. Expect Saint Mary's to play their usual brand of exciting, up tempo basketball that is always entertaining and ultimately be in the mix at a minimum until semi-final night at the AUS tournament in March.