Monday, 15 November 2010

Thoughts from the Weekend

AUS:  Much was made of the poor pre-season that Cape Breton Capers experienced including a loss to a college team at a tournament in New Brunswick, an 0-3 showing at the Eric Garland tournament and then multiple losses in Ontario.  Capers appear to have their full lineup back after injuries to 6'2" point guard Jimmy Dorsey and 6'4" Phil Nkrumah limited their availability in the pre-season and, four games into the AUS regular season, the Capers sit atop the standings at 4-0 with a pair of victories this weekend at home against perennial title contenders Saint Mary's Huskies.  CBU held off SMU in the first game on Friday night when a game-tying 3 attempt by the Huskies to tie came off before dominating immediately from the beginning of Saturday's game.  Capers have 8 players who average at least 15 mpg and go with 6'3" Paris Carter, Dorsey, 6'0" Tremaine Fraser and freshman Julien Smith as their 4 guard/wings with Nkrumah, 6'8" Scott Jaspers-Fayer, 6'6" Al Aliovic and 6'5" Tavon Nelson up front.  The explosive Capers average 97.5 ppg thus far in league play including an average of 11 threes made per game.  If anything has kept opponents in the game, it is CBU's propensity to foul (average of 23 fouls per game) which have allowed opponents to shoot an average of 25 free throws per game against them.  While not in a position to be regarded as a Top 10 team as of yet, this is still the same group that captured the AUS championship last season and will definitely be heard from when all is said and done.  Capers visit Wolfville next weekend for a pair of games against Acadia Axemen this coming Friday and Saturday nights... Dalhousie Tigers showed that down the stretch of games they have their "d" to fall back on as in both games this week, Tigers were able to pull away from tight, early fourth-quarter games by defending and rebounding when it counted.  6'9" Joe Schow had a huge 25 point, 15 rebound effort yesterday against UPEI while newcomer guards 6'4" Alex Arthur and 6'3" Juleous Grant provide an added dimension offensively, lessening the load for 6'1" Simon Farine, who make no mistake about it is still the leader of this group.  Dal goes nine deep with plenty of depth up front and on the wings however Grant had to leave yesterday's game due to an injury early in the game and did not return, playing only 5 minutes.

QUBL  Laval Rouge et Or established themselves as the early-season favorites for the league crown with a comfortable win at home against previously-undefeated (vs. CIS teams) Concordia.  Playing without starting wing 6'2" Christian Trottier and losing 6'6" Etienne Labrecque early in the game, Rouge et Or were undetered, getting a tremendous performance from 5'9" Xavier Baribeau who went 8 for 11 beyond the arc and a strong showing from the more consistently-consistent 6'4" Jerome Turcotte.  Laval led by double digits late in the game and the Stingers got it closer with 3 3's in the final minute.  Labrecque was injured on a drive to the rim when he came smashing down on his tail bone very early in the game and did not return.  His status for the weekend, when Laval visits UQAM and then hosts Bishop's, is uncertain... On Saturday, the Stingers trailed for much of the game at UQAM but came back late to win behind a solid effort from 6'2" Kyle Desmarais.  The Citadins are playing with much more energy than they showed in the pre-season during their series of games in Ontario and have a very strong pair of freshman forwards in 6'5" Alex Bernard and broad-shouldered 6'7" Vincent Lanctot-Fortier.  Bernard has been overshadowing his teammate, especially offensively, but these two have complementary games and if they remain together could dominate the Q as they mature and get more focus in the offense... Bishop's Gaiters remain winless but did do a solid job in the first half of Saturday's game at McGill, making life difficult for Redmen star freshman Simon Bibeau, who later did get off, scoring the final 5 points of the first half and then leading an 11-0 run off the start of the second half that for all intents and purposes decided the game.  Bishop's has gone through some roster churn in the early season but expect to have two of their top defenders in 6'1" Sean Monplaisir (injured) and Jeremy Leonard-Smith (league suspension suffered in Gaiters' playoff game last season) back for this weekend.  As well, forward Pat Shier should return to practice after his first term stint with Bishop's rugby team although Shier is battling an ankle injury.  The Gaiters host McGill on Friday night and then travel to Laval on Saturday.

OUA  For very good reason, 6'5" Cole Hobin is the defending Defensive POY in the OUA East as Hobin ordinarily shuts down opponent's top scorers regardless of whether they are point guards, wings or forwards with his blend of athleticism, drive and strong positioning.  While Hobin remains one of the top shut-down defenders in the entire CIS, this weekend may have taken some of the mystique out of his "d" as a pair of scoring stars lit up the Ravens.  Friday night, Laurier's fine 6'5" wing forward Kale Harrison had 39 points including several big 3's that got the game back to even with 5 minutes remaining after Carleton led by 18 points early.  The following night 6'3" Cam McIntyre kept the Warriors in the game with 27 points.  Expect Hobin to come back strong this weekend as the Ravens travel back down to Southwestern Ontario for games with Western (my guess is that he will likely guard Ryan Barbeau) and Windsor (Isaac Kuon if he is healthy enough to play; Kuon missed this weekend with a high ankle sprain).  No need to discount Hobin's special ability as a lock-down defender as of yet but this past weekend's effort tarnished his reputation somewhat.  Oh yeah - still, the Ravens also won both games this weekend... Ottawa coach James Derouin found out the hard way how much his prized 6'6" wing Warren Ward means to the fortunes of the Gee-Gees.  Ward was injured in the shootaround prior to Ottawa's game at Waterloo on Friday night, then tried to go but lasted only 1 minute with a hamstring injury and did not play at all on Saturday afternoon in a 20 point loss at Waterloo.  Without Ward, the Gee-Gees appear offensively challenged without a legitimate go-to decision maker off the dribble.  Although 6'2" freshman Johnny Berhame has shown his deep range and athleticism getting his shots off, Gee-Gees lack that breakdown table setter who can also score and need more consistent play from their point guard duo of 6'2" Jacob Gibson-Bascombe and 6'3" Luke Minani if they are going to contend for one of two first round playoff byes in the OUA East this season... The Varsity Blues continue to defy the odds, coming up with a tremendous road victory at Western in which they defended, rebounded and made shots.  Toronto did a fine job confusing Western defensively and took the ball out of the hands of Western's All-Canadian Andy Wedemire with double teams whenever possible, forcing 5 turnovers out of the slick forward.  The young Blues, with first-year starter 6'1" Anthony DeGiorgio running the show, have taken care of the ball for the most part except for early in the Windsor game when the Lancers zone press created some turnovers and an early deficit.  6'5" Alex Hill had a breakthrough 25 point game in the win at Western.  Blues host Brock and Guelph this weekend... Laurier's 6'5" Kale Harrison was tremendous all weekend scoring the ball, averaging 34 ppg and after an off-year for him last season, appears to have regained his confidence shooting the ball... Windsor's 6'3" wing Isaac Kuon, off to such a tremendous start in his fifth and final season, missed both Lancer games this weekend with what is suspected to be a high ankle sprain.  The Lancers, led by their three super sophomores Lian Philip, Enrico DeLoretto and Josh Collins were able to pull out a pair of victories at home against Toronto and Ryerson but will need their All-Canadian candidate going forward, especially as they welcome #1 Carleton this Saturday night.

Canada West  Not sure what the injury was but Lethbridge's Julian Spear Chief-Morris was carried out of the gym by some teammates in apparent serious discomfort early in Saturday night's loss to Saskatchewan.  No word on how long he will be out however if Spear Chief-Morris misses significant time, it will be the third guard/wing that the Horns have lost to injury now that 5'11" Zach Humphrey is out indefinitely with severe knee problems.  Recall that 6'1" Quinn Van Gaalen has been in and out of the lineup with a recurring ankle injury.  Observers were gushing at how terrific Huskies 5'11" Rejean Chabot was all weekend, adapting well to being a pure 2 (previously he often played 1).  Chabot has a versatile array of moves in the post in addition to a solid 3-ball and very nice pull-up jumper.  The weekend also reinforced how important Jamelle Barrett is to his team and one long-time NCAA D1 and CIS observer rated Barrett's talent to a solid guard in the Big Sky conference... Many times addition by subtraction can be an equation that propels a team from the depths into a competitive unit.  This may very well be the case for Scott Clark and Thompson Rivers WolfPack, entering this past weekend as an 0-6 team that had been touted as a possible pre-season playoff contender in Canada West with 6'3" Justin Riggins, a US import as one of the catalysts.  The WolfPack arrived in Manitoba without Riggins, who has apparently been let go by the team, and the results, at least for the first weekend with the revised group, were tremendous.  TRU had every opportunity to win Friday's game against a solid Bisons squad (4-1 entering the weekend) except for a pair of clutch 3's by Eric Garcia in the waning moments and then won Saturday's game handily.  Consider Manitoba Head Coach Kirby Schepp very impressed with the way the 'Pack shot the ball (20 for 45 = 44% from beyond the arc over the two games including 2nd year guard Kevin Pribilsky's incredible 11 for 14 effort from 3 over the 2 games - Pribilsky had 31 in Saturday's win), adding that TRU was as good as any team the Bisons have seen this season.  The Pack hosts Lethbridge in Kamloops next weekend while Manitoba gets a bye and then hosts cross-provincial rival Brandon the following weekend at home.


Anonymous said...

No love for the Thunderwolves with 3 consecutive 30 pt. blow outs...? I feel HR atleast... but maybe next week when they pick 2 more up against the kingston teams.

Anonymous said...

The Thunderwolves had (for them) a lousy pre season and they are still paying for it. 7-5 overall CIS does NOT get you top 10 billing.
Those three blowouts were against York, Laurentian and Ryerson.
None of these teams are top 10 material.
And beating the "Kingston teams" don't mean much, either...almost everybody does that.
The one "quality" opponent Lakehead faced so far was Toronto and the Blues handed them their heads.
What matters comes January when they go head to head with Laurier (looking strong), Windsor and Western. How they fare against those teams will determine rankings.

Anonymous said...

Lakehead benefited from at least one 30 point blow out due to a certain team being unable to make it to Thunder Bay until a few hours before tip-off...i'd like to see how Lakehead would fair after being stuck in an airport for half a day

Anonymous said...

I know this is 11 days late, but Julian came down sideways on his ankle and against a UofS player. Unknown how long he'll be out, but from the stands it looked like a season-ender for him, which is awful 'cause the 'Horns have been falling apart without his leadership and Quinn hasn't quite stepped up into that role (yet, anyway).