Thursday, September 30, 2010

Brock defeats Niagara in first meeting ever; Penninsula Hoops Classic for charity

Men's Basketball wins Peninsula Hoops Classic over Niagara 91-59


The Brock men's basketball team made history Wednesday night as they defeated the Niagara College Knights in the First Annual Peninsula Hoops Classic winning by the score of 91-59 in front of a capacity crowd of 1,022. All proceeds from the game went to the United Way of South Niagara.   Brock led 30-29 at halftime before scoring 61 points in the second half to roll to the easy win.  Box Score

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Also, Welland Tribune article on the game.  As well, Bernd Franke of the Welland Tribune talks about the close relationship between Brock Head Coach Brad Rootes and Niagara coach Steve Atkin, a former Brock assistant under Ken Murray who coached Rootes when he played for the Badgers, touching on the interesting partnership opportunities between the two coaches.

Rejean Chabot back to Saskatchewan; Huskies romp over Lakeland College

Saskatchewan 93, Lakeland 73 in a game played Tuesday night at St. Joseph's H.S. which saw the Huskie debuts of what could be a lethal backcourt as 6'0" Rejean Chabot, re-joining the Huskies after a stint with Brandon in 2008-09 and U.S. import newcomer Jamelle Barrett each had 19 points (Barrett added 8 assists) in the comfortable pre-season victory.  In all, Sask had five players in double-figures, including newcomer Tim Hollman 15 pts, 6'6" third-year forward Nolan Brudehl 14 pts, 5 rebs. and 6'2" guard Trevor Nerdahl 10 pts. Veteran 6'8" big man Chris Unsworth 6 pts, 8 rebs, and two huge dunks in 3rd Q.  Chabot is an aggressive scoring guard who plays with an edge and his scoring ability and experience instantly gives the Huskies a very strong back court.
 
Darren Zary of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix provides a pre-season look at the defending National champion Huskies

Alberta Golden Bears Preview

The Bears continue their transformation into a team in the mould of second-year Head Coach Greg Francis with the core of their team very group supported by a recruiting class high on experience in the backcourt.  Francis, who started three freshmen last season, continues to build a blend of athleticism and physical presence and his Bears feature a top young wing in future All-Canadian candidate 6'7" Jordan Baker, last season's CW Rookie-of-the-Year who as a freshman averaged 13.7 ppg/9.1 rpg in 31.5 mpg.  Baker has tremendous perimeter skills for a big, shoots it and makes others better and should be the cornerstone of the Golden Bears for the next 4 seasons.  Fellow second year starter 6'2" guard Ken Otieno is one of several tremendous athletes on the Bears roster and he had solid numbers of 8.6 ppg/22 mpg as a freshman.  The third freshman starter 6'10" Rob Dewar another blue-chip talent looks to build on his 5 ppg production.

Francis was able to wisely bring in some veteran experience in the back court and wing to help accelerate his young core's abilities to mature rapidly.  The most noteable newcomer is 6'4" Daniel Ferguson, a fourth-year transfer from NCAA Division II Berry College where he was a conference all-star and who should start from Day One.  Ferguson is originally from Mississauga where he played at Lincoln H.S. which incidentally was previously Westwood H.S., a perennial top Ontario program that produced the likes of former Canadian National team member Sherman Hamilton.  Expect Ferguson to give the Bears a top scoring threat from the wing with his slick combination of slashing to the rim and a great medium range game.  The other vet who has overcome injuries that contributed to him sitting out last season after a pair of solid seasons under Don Horwood is 6'1" C.G. Morrison, who played big minutes the last time the Bears made the CIS Final 8 under Horwood.  Morrison can play both guard spots with the ability to stick 3's.  These two vets help make up for the losses from last season's roster of Khas Tokar, Jamaal Bucknor, Sahr Saffa (redshirting this season), Scott Leigh and the graduated Harvey Bradford

Another pair of sophomore bigs 6'5"Todd Bergen-Henengouwen and 6'10" Nik Manojlovic provide depth up front and their maturation helps offset the loss due to graduation of big Jeff Stork.   6'2" Matt Cardozza, an undersized but extremely athletic 3/4 with big ups in his fourth year who can defend and has already fashioned an elite track career will be looked upon to guard top wings, also returns.  5'9" Graeme Mitchell, who transfers over from Manitoba Bisons, should be in the mix competing for supporting time in the back court. 

Expect this group, especially the front line, to rapidly grow into one of the better units in the CIS in the coming years.  Alberta's pre-season schedule is highlighted by the Golden Bear Invitiational in Edmonton in early October with RMC Paladins and Saskatchewan Huskies visiting.  ACAA programs Grant MacEwan and Concordia College will also participate with the Huskies playing twice and Bears and Paladins three times including games against the college teams on Sunday (see CIS schedule).  Alberta will also play in the Saskatchewan tournament.

The Bears should make a move toward the top 4-6 teams in Canada West and could be in the mix for a home playoff round depending upon how the youngsters develop.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

St. FX X-Men Preview

With the core of his AUS finalist team back plus at least two impact newcomers, and five fifth-year rotation players including the return from injury of an All-Star calibre four man, it's no wonder that long-time St.FX mentor Steve Konchalski is as excited about his present group as any X team in recent memory.  It all starts with lightning quick reigning AUS POY Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw (19.6 ppg/30 mpg) who is lethal in transition and as a water-bug press defender.  Upshaw shares the guard spots with maybe the most underrated and underappreciated players in X history, 5'9" fifth-year Will Silver, a mentally-tough, high IQ guard who last season consistently threatened to put up triple/doubles and in many eyes is X's true leader.  Interchangeable at the point and off guard spots, Upshaw and Silver can both lead the break, start the offense and make shots. 

X also brings in off the bench 5'11" Charlie Spurr, a former CCAA All-Canadian with lights-out range from beyond the three point line, as a complement to the starters.  Biding his time and getting more and more important minutes in the rotation is 6'2" sophomore Jordan Clarke, an athletic guard with a huge upside who should mature into the next great guard at X.  Also likely to be in the mix on the wing and eventually take major minutes in the rotation is 6'4" Terry Thomas, a true freshman from Auburn Drive H.S. in East Preston, NS, described as a sparkling athlete who can defend and get on the glass.  Thomas, originally from Nova Scotia before spending two years in Brampton, ON before moving back out east to finish high school, flew under the recruiting radar somewhat but the coaching staff expects him to get good time immediately and inject athleticism into the lineup.  Thomas is likely to bring the same type of athleticism to the lineup that departed 6'5" Terrence Taylor brought when healthy.

Up front, X has tremendous depth, experience and size - Konchalski claims this is the "biggest team I've ever had" - starting with 6'9" fifth-year post Alberto Rodriquez (9.5 ppg/6.3 rpg).  Rodriquez is happy working to get his own offense with put backs and plays with fire.  7'2" Rinny Ngot (8 mpg) provides a defensive presence and when potentially matched with 6'10" 260 pound freshman Rodrigo Madera, X could have one of the largest front lines in CIS/CIAU history.  Madera, originally from the Dominican Republic, played one season of high school in Oklahoma, where he averaged 14 rpg (2nd in the state), also flew under the radar, not playing last season while waiting for clearance from the U.S. clearinghouse.  A member of the Dominican Republic National team, Konchalski met Madera's father several years ago while scouting for Canada's National team; it was Madera's father who called the coach and helped arrange for his son to attend X.  Madera is a horse who is strong with nice hands and a nice touch around the rim.

Three hard-working forwards who have inside/out skills round out X-Men front line, led by 6'5" Dwayne Johnson, who sat out last season due to injury and is back healthy for his fifth and final season.  When right, Johnson must be accounted for on the offensive glass and finishes in the paint and in transition.  6'5" fourth-year forward Chad Warren (7.0 ppg/19 mpg) is another blue collar forward who defends, rebounds and works for his offense.  6'5" Jeremy Dunn (10.7 ppg/5 rpg/25 mpg) continues to mature as an athletic wing who could be an AUS all-star before all is said and done.

A pair of newcomers also look to push for time including 5'11" Ellis Ffrench, a transfer from Windsor who returns back to Atlantic Canada and 6'5" Australian import Shane Coupland, currently nursing a shoulder injury but a big wing with lots of range on his jumper.

X has put together a very strong pre-season schedule including arguably the strongest tournament field of the pre-season with Cape Breton and Lakehead during the third weekend in October at the Eric Garland UNB tournament which again will be played at the Aitken Center usually reserved for the V-Reds hockey team.  X also makes a trip in to Ottawa to the Jack Donohue Memorial tournament which has CIS Final 8 participants UQAM Citadins and U of T Varsity Blues.

X-Men and arch rival Cape Breton Capers renew their fierce rivalry very early this season on the opening night of the Garland Classic at UNB in a rematch of last season's AUS championship game with both teams returning basically the same key players.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Windsor Lancers Preview

Winners of two of the past four OUA West championships, the Lancers program can now be comfortably referred to as a perennial Top 10 team under Head Coach Chris Oliver, who recommitted to Windsor over the summer after getting strong overtures to take over the reigns at his alma mater McMaster.  Oliver remained loyal to the university that has provided him the resources to succeed and looks for his Lancers to improve on last season's Final Eight quarter-final appearance in whch Windsor almost came all the way back from a large deficit to lose to eventual national champions Saskatchewan by 3. 

With three veteran fifth-year seniors returning supported by no other key players with more than one season of Lancer experience, consistency could be a challenge but there is as much raw talent with this group as any in the nation so expect another Top 10 ranking all season and a spot as the favorites for repeating in the OUA West.

The Lancers are again 6'3" Isaac Kuon's team and his blend of speed, ability to get to the rim and shoot 3's make him one of the pre-season favorites for OUA West Player-of-the-Year.  With Corey Boswell and Matt Handsor both graduated and John Woldu not returning, Kuon and fifth-year three-point shooter Monty Hardware are the veterans in a comparatively young backcourt.  Hardware has enjoyed a solid CIS career and should see more time in the rotation.  6'1" sophomore Josh Collins continued throughout his first season to mature as a young CIS point guard and as he gets stronger and improves his ability to consistently look for his offense, expect him to become a 30+ minute per game guy who makes the majority of important floor decisions for the Lancers.  Looking to backup Collins is 5'10" Tyrone Bramble who began a long hoops journey leaving Toronto early in his high school career and eight ? years later returns to Canada after dealing with some injuries to try to resuscitate his career with the Lancers.  Bramble was rated highly in high school by multiple U.S. recruiting services but a D1 scholarship never materialized and he has spent of one his season's of eligibility at a U.S. Junior College.

Windsor's underrated leader heads up the front court as 6'6" fifth-year lefty Andre Smyth, an excellent rebounder especially on the offensive glass, provides the veteran paint-area presence top teams require.  Smyth can step out and shoot 3's and also score inside.  He also is a strong defender inside and on the perimeter, quick enough to move his feet against more agile bigs.  Nagging injuries have somewhat affected 6'8" Lien Phillip but if the games against Kentucky are any indication, the slick forward has increased his strength and is much more confident with his offensive game.  Phillip, who played a good amount of five last season, should be able to slip over to his more-natural power forward/four spot with the arrival of 7'0" Mike Luby, another junior college transfer entering his second year.  Luby has the skill set to play significant minutes with Windsor immediately and provides a huge presence inside at both ends. 

The Lancers also have a pair of explosive wings who provide 20+ mpg-type depth in 6'1" Enrico Diloreto (2nd Year), who averaged 23 mpg last season and is a blend of strength and quickness who is fearless going to the rim.  6'5" Justin Wiltshire (10 mpg in his first Lancer season) continues to improve and will allow Oliver to play more aggressively on the defensive end.

Windsor also brings in local 6'8" Evan Matthews as a freshman as well as Diloreto's high school teammate from London Beal, 6'2" Troy Barnes, eligible in the second semester after transfering in from Lakeland Community College.

The Lancers have one tournament vs. CIS teams in the pre-season when they visit Ottawa to play in the House-Laughton tournament at Carleton where they will meet the hosts (in a rematch of last season's Wilson Cup), McGill Redmen and UVic Vikes.  Windsor also hosts UQAM at home in October as part of the CIS portion of their pre-season.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sad news out of London

The CIS basketball community is in mourning after the loss to illness of former Western Mustangs Head Coach Doug Hayes.  Hayes was one of the most popular figures in CIS circles and understandably there is an outpouring of emotion, especially at Western and in London.  Hayes had been suffering from an affliction after sustaining what appeared to be an innocent head injury a few years ago while working at his summer cottage.  His condition had deteriorated in recent months.

Hayes was hired in 1969 as a lecturer in the Department of Physical Education at Western and was Professor Emeritus in the School of Kinesiology.  Hayes coached football and men's and women's basketball during his time at Western. He coached six Ontario Championship teams, eight League Champions and assisted in one CIAU Championship team.  He was named OUAA Coach of the Year in 1976.

Hayes was also coach of the men's provincial basketball team that won a silver medal at the Canada Games in 1993.

As an administrator at Western, Hayes was Men's Athletic Coordinator (1988-1997) and Acting Chairman, Intercollegiate Athletics (1995-96).

He is survived by his loving wife Lauretta and their three children.  Funeral arrangements are being made today; for further details follow http://www.westernmustangs.ca/

More Significant Transfers; CIS flavour in Dutch league

Two corrections:  Regina's Jimmy Scoggins from Arizona, who we identified as a new incoming transfer to Regina, actually played in the second semester last season for the Cougars.  Also, we have corrected and updated a previous post that had mistakenly indicated that Keith Omoerah was headed to Winnipeg when in fact he has commited to the Manitoba Bisons.

Fraser Valley Cascades continued their pre-season preparation with a 102-75 victory over the UBC-Okanagan Heat at a high school venue.  Recall that Canada West has granted UBC-O probationary acceptance into that conference beginning in 2011-12 and the Heat have hired Darren Semeniuk as their first full-time head coach in preparation for Canada West play next season.

A pair of CIS All-Canadians from last season kicked off their professional careers last night in Holland in the Dutch Pro League.  In the league opener for both teams, Calgary Dino grad Ross Bekkering's ZZ Leiden defeated Magixx Nimegan 74-71 in OT.  Bekkering lead Leiden with 18 points while Carleton All-Canadian Kevin McCleery had 14 for Nijmegan.

As we catch up on weeks-old emails and get better organized for the start of the season, it is apparent that several more big name transfers were missed in my original commentary on incoming CIS transfers, most noteably Windsor's incoming class that includes 7'0" Mike Luby, originally from Kenora, ON who has made several stops south of the border (thanks to Greg Layson) before returning to Canada to play for Chris Oliver's perennial nationals contender.  But amid little comparative fanfare, the Lancers could receive a huge boost to their backcourt with the arrival of 5'9" Tyrone Bramble originally from Toronto who early on in high school moved to the U.S. to attend what turned out to be two prep schools (in Georgia and in Texas).  Almost immediately Bramble opened the eyes of numerous U.S. D1 recruiters with his play on the AAU circuit for Grassroots Canada; as far back as 2003, he was identified as one of North America's top high school guards by Rivals.com.  Bramble last appeared on the Heritage Christian Academy (Cleveland, Texas-based prep school) roster in 2006-07 when he was ranked by Clark Francis of the Hoop Scoop as the #188 best high school player in the Class of 2007.  Bramble, who turned 23 years old in July, was last seen at Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College, where he appeared in one game in 2008-09 and will begin his Lancers career with four CIS seasons of eligibility remaining.

Expect 5'11" Zack Humphrey, a 16.5 ppg producer at Spokane Junior College last season, to inject some perimeter scoring into Lethbridge's lineup where there are minutes available in the back court.  6'3" Will Caesar, originally from Toronto who last played at Rend Lake Junior College, should see immediately run in the Brandon Bobcats backcourt for new coach Gil Cheung.  6'7" Tristan Renaud-Tremblay, back from The Citadel, a military institution in the U.S. Division 1 system, will compete for time up front off the bench at McGill.  CIS recruiting in of the Baltimore, MD area, previously in the exclusive domain of Cape Breton Capers, has stretched to other programs even beyond the AUS with Winnipeg Wesmen becoming the latest program to attract a player:  6'6" Benny Iko, who spent his first two post-secondary seasons at Howard Community College where he averaged just over 6 ppg last season and 4.6 ppg in 2007-08 (sat out 2008-09).  Iko is the fifth transfer from Howard CC to enter the CIS in the past two seasons along with Lakehead's Joseph Jones and CBU's Jimmy Dorsey (last season) and 6'5" Torrey Fasset and 6'8" Korey Cobb (3.7 ppg last season at Howard) - both Saint Mary'sLakehead added some more talent via transfer route in early September, 6'7" Kemp McCrae yet another player from Baltimore who comes to the CIS directly ouf of Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore; he will have 5 seasons of eligibility.  The T-Wolves also add 6'1" combo guard Akeem Isaac originally from Scarborough Mother Theresa before making stops at US prep schools in Florida and Dallas.

We are planning to start publishing team previews in the coming weeks as next weekend, the CIS pre-season kicks off highlighted by Regina's two game trip into Thunder Bay to face Lakehead.  Laval Rouge et Or also make a trip into Eastern Ontario to face Algonquin College Friday night and then travel to Kingston to face Queen's Golden Gaels on Saturday night.

Full schedule for next weekend:

Friday, Oct. 1st
Regina at Lakehead

Guelph vs. Waterloo scrimmage at a high school
Laval at Algonquin (Ottawa/CCAA)

Saturday, Oct 2nd
Regina at Lakehead
Laval at Queen's 8 PM
St. Lawrence-Kingston (CCAA) at Carleton
UNBC (CCAA) at Fraser Valley

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Several Top Freshmen joining CIS directly out of Canadian High Schools

On the heels of a recent post which appeared to clearly show the alarmingly-rising quantity of U.S. imports and Canadians transfering in to CIS programs after spending time at U.S. colleges, JUCO's and Prep schools, it is contrastingly-clear that some CIS programs can keep top graduating high school talent in Canada.  Using Barry Hayes Hoopstars Canada list of top high school graduates from last season as our guide, no less than 20 of the 50 names on Barry's list will play at CIS schools this season (other 30 breakdown as follows:  NCAA Division 1: 24; U.S. Junior College: 2; CCAA: 2; NCAA Division 1 (with Simon Fraser) 1; NAIA: 1).  Note that 6'7" Devon Steadman, one of the Top 50 graduating high schoolers who unfortunately has suffered through numerous knee injuries/operations, was set to join the Carleton Ravens as a freshman.  However, Steadman reinjured his knee while the Ravens prepared for their three late summer games against NCAA Division 1 competition and has decided to not play basketball.  Steadman has instead enrolled in an academic program at Dalhousie University in Halifax but will not play basketball.  Best wishes to Devon, who showed alot of courage in trying get through his injuries and it likely was a very difficult decision to not play; the CIS will miss him... Also one U.S. import who we missed in our original story on newcomers is Thompson Rivers' 6'3" Justin Riggins, originally from Rockdale County High School in Decatur, GA where he averaged 26 ppg as a high school senior in 2006-07.  Riggins then played one season at Muscle Shoals C.C. in Alabama in 2007-08 before sitting out last season at Columbia College in California.  New Thompson Rivers coach Scott Clark was alerted to Riggins by new Simon Fraser Head Coach James Blake who was the associate coach at Columbia.

This list also projects as a pre-season top CIS true freshman list, as follows:

Canada West
6'10" Chris McLaughlin, Victoria (#3 center)
6'7" Matt Letkeman, Calgary (#4 Power Forward)
6'7" Mike Lewandowski, UBC (#6 Power Forward)
6'10" Lucas Nagteren, Trinity Western (#6 Center)
6'4" Eli Mara, Trinity Western (#6 Point Guard)
6'0" Reese Pribilsky, Victoria (#8 Point Guard)
6'4" Keith Omoerah, Manitoba (#9 Point Guard)
6'4" Phil Labongo, Calgary (#10 Shooting guard)

OUA West
6'7" Taylor Black, McMaster (#3 Power Forward)
6'6" Satar Wahidi, McMaster (#6 Small Forward)
6'0" Kyle Giedraitis, McMaster (#10 Point Guard)
6'5" Peter Scholtes, Western (#10 Small Forward)

OUA East
6'3" Phil Scrubb, Carleton (#2 Shooting Guard)
6'7" Bjorn Michelsen, Ryerson (#5 Power Forward)
5'11" Jahmal Jones, Ryerson (#7 Point Guard)
6'8" Shavaan Sheldon, Laurentian (#8 Center)

QSSF
6'3" Simon Bibeau, McGill (#6 Shooting Guard)
6'7" Vincent Lanctot-Fortier, UQAM (#8 Power Forward)
6'9" Mike Andrews, Bishop's ( #10 center)

AUS
5'11" Julian Smith, Cape Breton (#4 Point Guard)

Canada West teams attracted 8 top true freshman from Canada's high school ranks and 6'4" Eli Mara has a chance to make the biggest immediate impact, joining his brother Tyrell at Trinity Western on a roster that last season had no true quality point guard.  Spartans also bring in redshirt transfer Tristan Smith (Los Angeles, CA) so the lead guard position at TWU goes from a question mark to a position of likely strength for this very talented group.  6'4" Keith Omoerah who starred on the Manitoba provincial team and was all teed up to attend McMaster, decided to stay home closer to family in late summer and will be attending Manitoba, which made steady progress last season with a guard-oriented dribbel/drive offense under first-year Head Coach Kirby Schepp.  Schepp, who helped Canada to a Bronze medal at this summer's FIBA World U-17 basketball championships in Hamburg, Germany as an Assistant Coach on Roy Rana's staff, had his Bisons alot of 3's all season long (Bisons led CIS with more than 30 3's attempted per game).    6'7" Matt Letkeman should push for time up front with Calgary Dinos from Day One owing to the large losses due to graduation (Robbi Sihota, Ross Bekkering) up front at Calgary.  Letkeman should team with Tyler Fidler to help keep the Dinos near the top of Canada West.  UVic gets a pair of top freshman in 6'10" Chris McLaughlin from Oakville, ON and 6'0" Reese Pribilsky from B.C. both of whom should get worked into the rotation behind Vic's group of returnees as Zac Andrus and Jeff Cullen return as key lead decision makers while Mike Berg, Wendell Thomas and sophomore Pierce Anderson appear set in the rotation up front.  In Ontario, Carleton Ravens newest emerging star is 6'3" Phil Scrubb, a highly touted wing who can get to the rim and shoot 3's and according to Hayes is Canada's #2 rated shooting guard, the highest ranking for any player joining a CIS program. Both McMaster Marauders and Ryerson Rams secured multiple Top 50 players with the Marauders getting commitments from 6'7" Taylor Black (#3 Power Forward) and 6'6" Satar Wahidi reasonably early in the recruiting cycle and then in mid-summer secured the commitment of tough 6'0" point guard Kyle Giedraitis who was the target of several CIS schools before deciding to join Mac where his high school coach is on the coaching staff.  Second-year Ryerson boss man Roy Rana combed the recruiting trail hard and landed a point guard who he should be able to give the ball to from Day One in 5'11" Jahmal Jones.  Up front Rana landed 6'7" Bjorn Michelsen maybe the first-ever recruit to Ryerson hailing from Quebec.  Michelsen got away from QSSF programs but 6'3" Simon Bibeau (McGill), a likely Day One starter with the Redmen and impact 6'7" forward Vincent Lanctot-Fortier (UQAM) stayed in their native province.  The AUS was surprisingly almost completely shut out of any top Canadian high school graduates with only 5'11" Cole Harbour native Julian Smith, who stayed in Nova Scotia to play for Cape Breton Capers where he will likely get better each and every day practicing with and against a program with arguably the best overall talent in the nation and a probable Top 3 pre-season pick.

Given the high number of transfers taken in by many CIS programs this season, the purists should be conversely encouraged that a good number of our top high school players chose to stay home to play.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Stuff

Another long-time and successful mentor will receive a well-deserved honour as very good friend Peter Campbell will be inducted into the Laurentian Voyageurs Athletic Hall-of-Fame.  Coach Campbell built a mini-dynasty in Sudbury during his 15 season run beginning in the late 80's, compiling a 155-57 record and developing several All-Canadians highlighted by Canadian National team member Shawn Swords (current Laurentian coach), Norm Hann, Corey Bailey, Ted Donglemans and Brad Hann.  A six-time OUA East Coach-of-the-Year, Campbell was recognized as the CIAU Coach of the Year in 1996-97.  The Vees made 6 CIAU National Championship appearances and captured two Wilson Cup banners during Campbell's tenure.  Coach Campbell's Laurentian teams always seemed to have the proper blend of tough Northern Ontario kids and athletes who allowed the Vees to play an exciting, up tempo game.  Campbell built a recruiting pipeline from GTA area, starting with the unheralded 6'3" Bailey from Scarborough Cedarbrae and later brought in such stalwards as 6'1" Kevin "Flash" Gordon, 6'7" Roan Biggs and 6'3" Clifton Edwards among many others.  Ben Avery Gym was a virtually impossible place to win games when the Vees had it going with the loud crowd and transition-oriented team.  Congratulations to Coach Campbell who has had one of the better and longest tenured coaching careers in the history of the CIS/CIAU... Thanks to Barry Hayes from Hoopstars Canada for passing along a link to a Kingston Whig-Standard story announcing that Queen's Golden Gaels 6'7" star forward Mitch Leger has signed a professional contract with a German pro team in the Bundesliga B league.  Leger played the past four seasons with the Gaels and graduated as one of the greatest players ever to come through that program... Regina Cougars recently added to their recruiting class (as also reported by Barry), highlighted by return of 6'7" Paul Gareau, who sat out the last two seasons after being a definite rotation guy earlier in his career.  Expect Gareau to play solid minutes up front.  Coach James Hillis also got in on the transfer game with the addition of 6'2" Jesus Mora, originally from Phoenix, AZ where he finished his high school career at Pinnacle H.S. in 2004-05.  He averaged 12.3 ppg at Scottsdale C.C. in 2007-08 before playing University of Puerto Rico-Mayaquez, an NCAA Division II independent program where he averaged 8.2 ppg in 2008-09.  I hope to catch up with Coach Hillis soon to obtain more information on this season's Cougars... We also owe a call into Alberta's Greg Francis, who just finished a busy season with Canada's National team program and starts his second season at the helm of the Golden Bears.  This will be the final season for the Bears in their historic gym where numerous classic games have been played over the years as the U of A will move into a new gymnasium complex for next season  http://www.gocentre.com/  The new complex will have nine courts including a main court which will likely seat between 2,000 and 2,500.  The project is a massive community/university effort on the U of A's south campus (perhaps two miles from the main campus, but quickly accessable by Light Rail Transit)... One late addition to the CIS pre-season schedule sees Laurentian Voyageurs visit Timmins, ON this coming Saturday for a matchup against the Timmins High School Blues alumni team, featuring several ex-CIS stars including Jon Kreiner, Jeff Szita, Danny Graf and Josh Budd (see game preview story and Blues alumni roster).  Saturday also features a homecoming for Laurentian's freshman Eric Ducharme, who just graduated from Timmins H.S. earlier this year... UBC Thunderbirds received a very early recruiting commitment as 6'8" Mitch Jacobsen has decided to join Kevin Hanson's program, beginning in 2011.  Jacobsen is entering his Grade 12 season at Penticton H.S. after his family moved from Calgary, where last year he averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists at Calgary's Sir Winston Churchill.  Jacobsen's family moved to the Okanagan over the summer, right around the time Jacobsen learned that he was the final cut from Canada's young men's national team.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Newest Jim Thomas Report

Jim offers his opinions on Guelph's recruiting class, Clinton Springer-Williams, McMaster, Carleton and the newest point guard at Ryerson.

Thomas Report

Morin signs & Rouge et Or travel in Morrocco

Former Laval All-Canadian forward J.P. Morin, who led Laval to the CIS Final Eight in his final season in 2007-08, continues his professional career after recently signing with Sport Plazza in Morocco's first division. 

Head Coach Jacques Paiement Jr. also took his club to Morocco last week to participate in a tournament and Laval began the tourney with a 79-67 victory over Morin's new pro team Sport Plaza.  The following day Laval was defeated 95-62 by FOS Marseille (France pro B).  On the final day of the tournament, Laval dropped an 80-68 decision to Lille Metropole (France pro B) to finish 1-2.  6'3" J.F. Beaulieu, a QSSF POY candidate who comes off an injury-riddled season in '09-'10, led Laval in scoring in all three games averaging 23.3 ppg (20+ points each game).  Laval also got production from 6'4" Jérôme Turcotte, who had 22 pts. in the final game of the tournament.  Laval freshman Hugues Ryan got significant playing time and had an 11 point effort in the victory against the Moroccan team.  Earlier, Laval defeated Cégep de Sainte-Foy in Chicoutimi 95-64 as Turcotte had 21pts, Beaulieu 17pts, French import Kevin Crevant 16pts and freshman Ryan 15pts. 

Next up for Laval will be a matchup with CCAA's perennial power Algonquin Thunder on Friday, Oct. 1st in Ottawa and then one week later Laval hosts Cégep Limoilou Oct. 8th.  Laval also takes their annual tour of U.S. Division 1 schools in late October, this season travelling out west to the State of Utah to face Brigham Young Cougars in Provo, UT on Oct. 29th; at Utah State Aggies on Oct. 30 and at Weber State Wildcats on November 1st.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dawn of another season; CIS Top 10 first discussion

Before we present our pre-season kick-off edition, much congratulations to old friend Eddie Pomykala who on October 2nd will be honoured on the Bishop's University RBC Athletic Wall of Distinction.  Pomykala led the smallest school in the CIS to the National Championship in 1998, bringing instant recognition to the school.  Bishop's Wall rises in credibility by adding Eddie in particular but just as noteable is how important it is to have a great Pole grace your Wall.  Congratulations to Eddie on this very well deserved and well earned honour...  The month of October is within our sights and for CIS basketball fans the beginning of the pre-season.  Several games are scheduled between CIS and CCAA teams in late September, early October, a reasonable amount of games will be played in and around the Thanksgiving Day weekend before the pre-season tournament schedule swings into high gear on the first weekend after Turkey Day (see full pre-season schedule on this site and on Martin Timmerman's site - link to the right)... McGill Redmen will have to play this season without U.S. D1 transfer 6'3" Shawn Bowen, who played his junior season at Stetson with Hatters last season (final game was on Feb. 4th, 2010).  Bowen has returned home to Canada and was seeking an opportunity to be eligible immediately on compassionate grounds (Bowen returned home to be with his young family) however the appeal was rejected and Bowen must sit out this season as a redshirt transfer... Another noted transfer, former Hamilton, ON high schooler and Mac Marauder 6"7' Ryan Christie has resurfaced at Saint Mary's and will likely have to sit out the entire season to return to satisfactory academic standing.  Christie played his last game as a Marauder on November 28th, 2009 against Carleton, fouling out in 19 minutes in a battle against All-Canadian Kevin McCleery... This past off season has seen arguably the most churn ever, beginning with the NINE new Head Coaches (Gil Cheung - Brandon, Brad Rootes - Brock, Dave DeAveiro - McGill, Amos Connolly - McMaster, James Derouin - Ottawa, Barry Rawlyk - Saskatchewan, Scott Clark - Thompson Rivers, Mike Raimbault - Winnipeg, Tom Oliveri - York).  However, even more volumunous is the list of transfers from other programs onto CIS rosters, especially Americans and Canadians returning home from playing in the States.  This is a double edged sword in my opinion as the added influx of likely talent and athleticism should raise excitement levels of the games, even if most of these players have only one or two seasons of eligibility remaining.  The other side of the discussion is more of a purist's view that centers around the continuity of having true freshman enter the CIS directly from high school and stay with their programs through to graduation, thus allowing for alumni and fans of the program to identify with a core group of players over the course of several seasons and the lasting legacy that potentially leaves behind.  Regardless, taking a quick look at some of the potential immediate-impact transfers, one is left with the impression that, outside of a select group of teams, across the country, most CIS fans will need a program to reconnect with their respective programs.  Moving from west to east on your computer dial, here is a look at some of the more noteable transfers eligible to play this season in the CIS.   UBC's 6'4" Doug Plumb, who played a couple of seasons in NCAA Division 2 before averaging 8.0 ppg in limited action at Fraser Valley in '08-'09 - Plumb had a nice offensive game for the T-Birds vs. San Diego in August - Trinity Western's 6'8" Kyle Coston, an Amrican import who averaged 6.2 ppg in '08-'09 for NCAA Division 1 Portland State and 6'0" Tristan Smith, another U.S. point guard who should help alleviate the Spartans issues in the back court - Smith practiced all last season with TWU after averaging 14.3 ppg with Fraser Valley in '08-'09 - Thompson River U's 6'5" Chas Kos, another U.S. import who will be eligible immediately after transfering from Simon Fraser where he was a Canada West all-star last season; Alberta Golden Bears welcome 6'4" Daniel Ferguson, originally from the Greater Toronto Area who returns from Berry College in Georgia where he was a conference all-star and averaged 18.2 ppg in '08-'09; highly-touted 5'11" Californian Jamelle Barrett, who takes over the backcourt reigns for the Saskatchewan Huskies from All-Canadian Showron Glover - Barrett comes over from Consumnes River JUCO which plays in a tough conference after averaging 18.7 ppg last season; Brandon's 6'8" Isaish James (San Jose City JUCO; 15.0 ppg last season) who may be the most explosive athlete to enter the CIS this season, Toronto Varsity Blues' 6'5" swingman Alex Hill, originally from Toronto's Eastern Commerce who spent 2008-09 at Cornell with the Big Red;  a pair of transfers from Lake Region State (North Dakota) JUCO orginally from the GTA, 5'11" Manitoba Bisons point guard Josh Ogden (formerly Toronto Henry Carr) and Ryerson Rams 6'1" combo guard Ola Adegboruwa (formerly Toronto Emery) - both were all-stars in their junior college conference; 6'2" combo guard Venzal Russell (Detroit, MI) at Lakehead, who averaged 23.3 ppg at Vermilion (Minn.)  JUCO while being named a JUCO All-American, 6'11" Mike Luby (Kenora, ON) who has been on a basketball oddessy lately (great to have Greg Layson Big Man on Campus back)  Western's 6'8" Adam Jespersen, who returns to his native London, ON after sitting out last season after playing at NCAA D1 Hawaii with the Rainbows in 2008-09; 6'1' Andrew Kraus, playing his final season of eligibility at Brock as a graduate student after playing last season at Brandon and previously running the point at Acadia including during the Axemen's great run to the CIS championship game in 2007-08; 6'0" guard Kareem Malcolm who should get the majority of the minutes making decisions for the Guelph Gryphons after transfering from Sheridan College where he was an OCAA All-Star; a pair of new McMaster Marauders:  6'9" Scott Brittain who played 3 seasons at Boston University and has had extensive experience in Canada's national program as well as 6'0" Kenan Etale who transfers back home to Hamilton from Houghton College (NAIA);  Concordia's pair of slick guards 6'2" guard Kyle Desmarais (Central Connecticut State/transfering home) and 6'4" guard Demetrius Boards, an American who played high school basketball at New Jersey state power Marist H.S. before averaging 17.1 ppg last season at Sussex JUCO in New Jersey (Garden State Athletic conference); Cape Breton Capers latest U.S. import from Baltimore, MD:  6'6" Tavon Nelson who last played five seasons ago at South Plains (Tx.) JUCO where he averaged 9.1 ppg; St. FX pair of likely impact transfers 5'10" Ellis Ffrench who returns back home to Atlantic Canada after a season at Windsor and 6'10" import center Rodrigo Madera from Tulsa, OK.  For decades Saint Mary's Huskies have had U.S. talent on their roster and this season, three more Americans are ready to vie for playing time led by another Baltimore area product 6'5" Tony Fassett who averaged 20.0 ppg at Howard Community College last season.  John Campbell's Dalhousie Tigers look to make a push back toward the AUS title by welcoming three transfers including a pair with GTA ties:  6'3" Juleous Grant (North Oklahoma JUCO) and 6'4" Alex Arthur (Dakota State JUCO), originally from Scarborough West Hill.  Tigers also get 6'0" Peter Leighton from Acadia for his fifth and final year to stretch defenses.  Leighton put on one of the most outstanding shooting performances in the history of the CIS Final 8 three seasons ago with numerous clutch bombs for the Axemen in their thrilling upset victory over Carleton in the national semi-finals in maybe the greatest CIS game ever played.  (Anyone else care to chime in on this one ??).  Yet another transfer from the Baltimore area joins the AUS this time with UPEI as 5'10" point Anthony Baglin, who averaged 18.7 ppg in '08-'09 for Dundalk (MD) JUCO joins the Panthers.  There you have it.. numerous Americans will dot CIS rosters this season; by far the most in recent memory... Finally, it will likely be a few weeks before the coaches announce their first official Top 10 and this site will likely publish something around Thanksgiving weekend but covert discussions among CIS followers have started the process of loosely identifying CIS Top 10 pre-season candidates and some of those discussions yielded the following list of teams from West to East coast.  In Canada West, UBC Thunderbirds lost some of their veteran core, most noteably tough, veteran glue guy Kyle Watson but with defending Moser Award winner Josh Whyte and another top recruiting class added to Birds core group that seems to always have minimum turnover, expect last season's national finalists UBC to be a Top 3 team for most or all of the season.  Last season at this time, most observers had Trinity Western Spartans ranked as a Top 10 team given the strong recruiting class that included several NCAA D1 and D2 transfers but whispers that turned out to be accurate questioned where the key decision making would come from in the back court.  In the end, Spartans achilles heel did turn out to be guard play but with the Spartans debut of Tristan Smith, a transfer from Fraser Valley, TWU gets a proven athletic guard who should be a 30+ minute a game guy.  Another D1 transfer in Kyle Coston, who had several starts and was a rotation forward two seasons ago at Portland State, becomes eligible after sitting out last season as a transfer, joining a highly-touted group of front court stars including former Moser winner Jacob Doerksen and D1 transfer Tyrell Mara plus D2 transfer swingman Calvin WestbrookFraser Valley Cascades already have a pair of victories over NCAA D1 foes San Diego Toreros and Idaho State Vandals despite not having U.S. import point guard Zeon Gray available for those games.  Unfortunately, coach Barnaby Craddock's group lost 6'6" starter and front court stalward Kyle Grewal to what is likely a season-ending injury against Idaho State after losing 6'7" sophomore Jasper Moedt to an off-season injury from which he is unlikely to recover this season.  The two other Canada West Final Four participants from last season are likely to be in regrouping (not rebuilding mode) so expect both Saskatchewan Huskies and Calgary Dinos to be competitive but only rapid progress with mostly new feature rotation players will push either team to CW favorites.  Huskies have Jamelle Barrett who promises to bring the same type of excitement to Canada West as Showron Glover did and Calgary features a Canada West POY candidate in 6'9" Tyler Fidler and slick sophomore point guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson.  The OUA West may be the most improved conference in the country with at least 4 teams that arise in pre-season Top 10 discussions led by defending champions Windsor Lancers with POY candidate Isaac Kuon, plus emerging second year point guard Josh Collins and a young, maturing front court.  Authors of numerous come-from-behind wins built on dominating fourth quarter performances, Scott Morrison's Lakehead Thunderwolves did what many thought was beyond their grasp by qualifying for the CIS Final 8.  With much of their roster back and the addition of potential impact American Venzal Russell (Detroit, MI), the Wolves are likely to push Windsor once again.  New McMaster Marauder Head Coach Amos Connolly and staff did tremendous work adding to their maturing talent base with the addition of two late transfers including impact forward 6'8" Scott Brittain, who played three seasons at Boston University and prior to sustaining multiple concussions was a regular in Canada's National team program.  Mac also adds 6'7" Taylor Black who spurned several mid-Division 1 programs to stay home and play for the Marauders.  The re-ascent of the Western Mustangs to CIS Final 8 contenders could occur as early as this season as the Stangs retain veteran senior Ryan Barbeau, arguably the top overall returning point guard in the conference plus 6'8" Hawaii transfer Adam Jespersen.  Perennial Top 3 Carleton Ravens will be right back in the thick of things this season despite an 0-3 showing against NCAA D1 schools.  6'5" Cole Hobin, arguably the top overall defender in the country, looks to lead this group as a senior along with fifth-year guard Mike Kenny as the Ravens look to find a consistent offensive go-to guy when it matters.  New Ottawa Head Coach James Derouin has one of Canada's top pure scorers in 6'6" Warren Ward and also gets 6'2" Jacob Gibson-Bascombe back after a season's absence.  In Quebec, defending champion UQAM Citadins and perennial Q contenders Laval Rouge et Or should contend for the regular season crown.  In Atlantic Canada, Cape Breton Capers return all major components from their AUS championship team and add another potential front court star from Baltimore in 6'6" Tavon Nelson while AUS finalist St. FX X-Men also have their veteran-laden roster back including AUS POY Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw for his fifth and final season plus the return of veteran 6'4" forward Dwayne Johnson and U.S. import 6'10" Rodrigo Madera.  Both Saint Mary's Huskies and Dalhousie Tigers welcome a large stable of newcomers with the Tigers trying to surround their Moser candidate Simon Farine with a championship calibre group for his fifth and final season of eligibility.  Look for more on the Top 10 and other CIS basketball news in the coming days/ weeks.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More on Minnesota/UVic

From Victoria Times-Colonist

NCAA test a tough one for Vikes

By Cleve Dheensaw, Times Colonist September 7, 2010 •Story•Photos ( 1 )

Vikes guard Ryan MacKinnon drives around Rodney Williams of the Golden Gophers during their preseason tilt at UVic's McKinnon Gym on Sunday afternoon. McKinnon finished with 12 points on the day.Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist, Times Colonist

The University of Victoria Vikes knew they were not in for a usual basketball game Sunday afternoon before nearly 2,000 fans at McKinnon Gym.

That became abundantly clear when six-foot-seven swingman Rodney Williams, projected as a top-10 NBA draft pick for 2011, soared for a pair of Jordan-esque dunks in a 101-67 victory by the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers of the NCAA Big Ten Conference.
...Read more

Canada West Updates

Although Fraser Valley Cascades secured a pair of historic victories for their program in the NCAA/CIS Border wars by defeating both San Diego Toreros and Idaho State Vandals, the news was not all good for Head Coach Barnaby Craddock and his crew.  The Cascades incurred a serious injury to starting 6'6" forward Kyle Grewal, who tore an ACL in the Idaho State game after just 13 minutes of play and is out for the season.  Grewal, who will be a medical redshirt, was to enter his fourth year and started all 20 games last season for the Cascades, averaging 12.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg in 30 mpg.  He was an inside/out threat, knocking down 40% of his 3's and shooting 47% from the floor overall.  Grewal joins 6'7" sophomore forward Jasper Moedt on the injured list.  Moedt, who made 13 starts last season as a freshman, averaging 8.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg in 20.5 mpg while shooting 53% from the floor, tore an ACL in the spring, has already had surgery and may be healthy enough to try and play at Christmas, but it's more likely he'll sit out the year.  Coach Craddock will look to a combination of several players to replace the 20 points and 10 rebounds from the injured pair, starting with 6'8" fifth-year transfer James Elliot, a native of Australia who was an all-star at Lakeland College (ACAA) two seasons ago and joined the Cascades last season amid much anticipation.  Others who got time in the NCAA games were 6'5" freshman Ryan Fahendeg, 6'6" third-year forward Josh Kufske, who played 32 minutes against Idaho State and 6'5" Connor Oldman, an American who last played at Whatcom College, where he was a teammate of Cascades pg Zeon Gray.   Gray did not participate in the NCAA games in August as 5'10" pg Sheldon Bjorgaard logged 32 minutes in the win against Idaho State, contributing 10 points and 8 assists.  In Grewal's absence, expect 6'3" Sam Freeman, the hero in the Idaho State game, to look to pick up even more of the offensive load for the Cascades... Lethbridge Pronghorns appear to have filled several roster spots with quality talent, especially up front, as six new faces should compete for rotation time.  The Horns have added considerable size and bulk in the paint, led by 6'8" Abner Kamps, a 240 pound forward from Michigan, 6'9" Niko Kovac, a 260 pound center from Toronto and 6'8" Sean Thiedemann (290 lbs.).  6'5" Tim McKinnon from Medicine Hat also joins the Horns while 6'4" local product Julian Spear Chief-Morris becomes eligible after sitting out last season following his transfer from UVic.  But Coach Dave Adams biggest challenge is likely to be who runs the point and makes the key offensive decisions after 6'3" Jeff Price decided not to play this season, a role he hopes 5'11" Zack Humphrey (Spokane, Washington) can work into.  Humphrey impressed with his ability to shoot the long perimeter "j" during the Horns NCAA games in August... Wayne Thomas, who authors the informative and comprehensive blog on the Calgary Dinos usually with added bonus Canada West and CIS news, provides his detailed look at this season's Dinos who began practicing in earnest recently.   Dinos Hoop News:  Dinos begin practice

***With sincere thanks to our still-anonymous Canada West correspondent for much of this information

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Minnesota 101, Victoria 67 (Vic trailed by 2 at the half)

Rodney Williams capped a game-changing 14-3 run that bridged halftime with a long 3 from the right wing and the Gophers later pulled away using a 12-5 run culminated by a three from 6'3" Devoe Joseph that gave the Gophers their largest lead of the night at 18 after 3 quarters, allowing Minnesota to sweep their three-game series vs. top Canada West competition this weekend.  Minnesota trailed for much of the first half against the scrappy Vikes before a packed house of about 2,000 in Victoria but took over with a dominating second half - Vic scored only 27 second half points including only 11 in the fourth quarter - and coasted to the win.

Vikes got off to a terrific start, substituting freely and using their entire bench to grab leads as large as 10 early in the second quarter.  Victoria was able to keep it to a half court game for the most part,  shooting 64% midway through the first 15 minutes including 4-6 from downtown, allowing their trademark solid quarter-court "d"  to make it reasonably challenging for the Gophers to run their offense. 

However the Gophers flashed their superior athleticism as Rodney Williams had back-to-back vicious dunks including an ally-oop off a set capping a 12-0 run that gave Minnesota their first lead at 30-28.  But the Vikes hung tough as 6'8" Mike Berg worked free inside where Victoria had success despite the larger Minnesota front line and 6'4" guard Ryan MacKinnon (11 first-half points) hit perimeter jumpers allowing Vic to go to halftime within two even after a Colton Iverson slam at the buzzer on a Vic defensive breakdown.  6`2" veteran guard Jeff Cullen was impressive for Victoria, quarterbacking the offense and making shots (13 points).

Victoria came apart in the second half but looked very solid early.  The Vikes look to be able to put at least 10 quality players on the floor and certainly have improved up front and on the wings with their three point shooting.  Expect a typical Vikes team under Coach Craig Beaucamp, one that will defend hard and rebound in the quarter court, limit opponents transition opportunities and usually take good shots on offense.  The Vikes come east to participate in the House-Laughton Classic at Carleton as part of their pre-season, a tournament which includes the host Ravens, perennial Top 10 side Windsor Lancers and McGill Redmen under new Coach Dave DeAveiro.

Cincinnati 79, Ottawa 57

The young Gee-Gees, playing without 6'5" Warren Ward and with several first year players in the lineup, hung around for about a quarter and a half, leading 24-23 with about 7 minutes remaining in the second quarter.  But Cincinnati ended the half on a 17-7 run to lead 40-31 at halftime, using a dominating defensive effort that saw Ottawa score only 13 points in the 17 minutes leading up to the end of the third quarter to pull away for the easy win.   

Highlight for Ottawa was early on as they stayed close keyed by the tremendous three-point shooting of 6'1" Johnny Berhane, a true freshman out of Orleans Lester B. Pearson H.S. making his post-secondary debut, who had 14 of Ottawa's 19 first quarter points including four three-pointers.

The Bearcats held the Gee-Gees to only 5 third-quarter points in breaking the game open to lead by 22 at 58-36 after 3.  The lead was 15 at 48-33 midway through the third as Ottawa's athleticism helped them stay in the game defensively but after the initial thrust hard trouble scoring. 

Out of the three teams the Bearcats played during the weekend, the Gee-Gees matched up the best from a purely athletic perspective.  Expect the Gee-Gees to try to force the issue defensively with this group as the CIS season gets underway.

Ottawa played without the services of rising third-year forward Ward (Brampton, ON), who continues to rehab a thumb injury suffered in the summer but welcomed back into the starting lineup 6'2" Jacob Gibson-Bascombe (Toronto Jarvis) who sat out last season.  The Gee-Gees also started 6'1" Jimmy Seymour, originally from Ottawa, who spent one season at Guelph where he played sparingly.

Here are some clips including game highlights summarizing Cincinnati's visit to Ottawa:

Saturday's Video report vs. Carleton

Friday's Video report vs. McGill

Scott Brittain Article in Hamilton Spectator

Concussed star joins Mac cagers 

Despite his unfortunate history of head injuries, the newest member of the McMaster Marauders basketball team has no qualms about wearing unlucky jersey No. 13.
Scott Brittain, of Oakville, has suffered six concussions during his hoops career, the past four years having been spent in the NCAA at Boston University.

...Read More
 

Sunday Catch up

A pair of articles from last night's Carleton Ravens loss to Cincinnati at Scotiabank Place, played before just over 1,700 fans  Ottawa Sun (Bruce Garrioch) and Ottawa Citizen (Darren Desaulniers).  Team 1200 radio in Ottawa has been making an effort to help promote CIS basketball and recently had Carleton coach Dave Smart as a guest

Two more games this afternoon as the NCAA/CIS Border Wars continue with Minnesota Golden Gophers facing UVic Vikes Sharie Epp article in Victoria Times-Colonist and James Derouin makes his CIS coaching debut with the Ottawa Gee-Gees facing Cincinnati.

Trinity Western Spartans had it to within 2 with about 5 minutes left before bowing by 18 to Minnesota on Friday night in Langley as Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver Province reports

The transformation of the Ryerson Rams program led by coach Roy Rana continues as Rye packed the house earlier this week and defeated George Brown College 95-68.  Also making the rounds is a highlight-reel dunk by Rye's 6'7" freshman Jelane Pryce (Barrie, ON).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cincinnati 87, Carleton 70

The Ravens were able to stay with Cincinnati until late in the second quarter, leading by 2 after a 9-0 run before watching the Bearcats finish the half on 14-2 run to lead by 11 and then blasted out of the second half gate, knocking down 3's on their first four possessions within the first two minutes of the third quarter to blow the game wide open. 

Cincinnati's shooting during last night's game against McGill was inconsistent, especially early when the Redmen went underneath ball screens and Bearcats usually did not convert.  However it was much different tonight as 6'3" junior guard Dion Dixon knocked down several bombs including a transition 3 early in the second that took Cincy's lead to 17 with less than a minute gone by in the third.  6'11" senior forward Ibrahima Thomas put the icing on the cake with consecutive 3's of his own as the Cats had leads as large as 23.  Dixon and 6'0" Cashmere Wright were terrific off the dribble for Cincinnati as well and the Bearcats had simply too much size and length inside for the Ravens.

Still, Carleton was able to stay in the game early with several excellent defensive series that created turnovers and tough shots, allowing the Ravens to hold a 25-23 lead midway through the second.  Cincy then took off on a 7-0 run that came about more in transition and off turnovers then being able to get free in the quarter court.  But in the second half, the Ravens effort defensively was poor, gaving away too many open looks and Cincinnati usually capitalized.

Carleton got a solid effort from 6'6" third year wing Dan Penner who continues to display much confidence on the offensive end, both inside and out.  Penner can put the ball on the deck and create against bigger, slower guys - his penetrate and kick to 6'3" Elliott Thompson early in the second quarter ignited a nice Raven's run which allow the hosts to grab a lead.  6'6" Cole Hobin was in the middle of most solid defensive possessions for Carleton but continues to seek consistency with his offense.  6'3" freshman Phil Scrubb flashed some of his offensive potential with a couple of perimeter jumpers including a three and a couple of slick takes to the rim but did so when the result was pretty much decided.  Scrubb has offensive skills and will become very difficult to guard as he adds muscle to his frame.

All in all, with only 3 games in the books - all against superior athletic teams - the current version of the Ravens seems to lack that collective unrelenting edge on the defensive end and on the glass that characterized their best teams and does not yet have that go-to creator/scorer that consistently creates advantages off the dribble or double teams in the post to set up Carleton's perimeter game. 

Cincinnati finishes their Labour Day weekend tour of Ottawa with a match against the uOttawa Gee-Gees tomorrow afternoon at Montpetit Hall in the CIS coaching debut of James Derouin.

Catching Up

Finally back on line after several days of modem issues and being away from anything electronic.  UBC Thunderbirds hosted Minnesota on Thursday night and lost by 18 but were down by as many as 27 in the first half.  Howard Tsumura of the Vancouver Province helps paint a positive picture especially given the nice contributions of two of UBC's newcomers  Also a comprehensive piece from the UBC Web site

Minnesota defeated TWU 80-68 last night as Tristan Smith made his Spartans debut a nice one  Game Report and Box Score from TWU web site and better late than never  TWU-Minnesota Preview by Howard Tsumura

Old friend Matt Sekeres, writing for the Globe and Mail, provides an update on SFU in the NCAA

Jamelle Barrett article in Saskatchewan student newspaper

Former web cast partner Scott Morrison has announced additions to his recruiting class.  Hope to have a more comprehensive look at last season's CIS surprise team now poised to compete for another spot at the Nationals shortly as I hope to catch up with Coach Morrison shortly.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Cincinnati 89, McGill 58

The Redmen hung around for almost the entire first half before Cincinnati began pressuring all over the floor and creating turnovers to win by about 30 in a game played before a sparse gathering at the Raven's Nest at Carleton.  With the score tied at 34 with just under 4 minutes to play in the second quarter (FIBA rules except 35 second shot clock), the Bearcats went on a 17-0 run that bridged the two halves, including the final 8 points of the first half. 

McGill grabbed their largest lead of the night at 27-21 on a conventional three point play in transition by 6'3" freshman Simon Bibeau, who was the Redmen's most consistent and effective player on the night.  Bibeau knocked down several early j's, got to the rim off the dribble for some slick dump offs and rarely got out of control, even when playing at the high speeds the Bearcats play at.  For a CIS freshman, his decision-making and ability to get to eight feet under control was tremendous on this night.  Cincinnati's pressure made it very difficult for McGill to get any easy "o" in the decisive third quarter when the Bearcats went on a 23-9 run including the first 9 points of the quarter to lead 65-45 after three. 

on, McGill was able to run their quarter court sets to perfection, freeing up 6'8" Nic Langley for three consecutive open 3's and 6'5" Michael White, who knocked down a pair.  McGill also had a nice effort from Hamilton native freshman 6'5" Cody  Mazza-Anthony, who sealed off a much larger Bearcat defender for a pair of layins inside.  Mazza-Anthony is another in the long line of fundamentally-sound Hamilton post players who knows how to use his body around the rim and plays with an edge.  Last season's QSSF Rookie-of-the-Year 5'9" pg Olivier Bouchard was reasonably effective against the longer, larger Bearcat guards.  McGill played without 6'4" Karim Sy-Morissette (Dawson College) who is out with a back injury and 6'4"Kyle Bernard who has a charley horse.

Cincinnati continues their tour of Ottawa tomorrow night at Scotiabank Place against the Carleton Ravens in a 6 PM start.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Scott brittain to Mac

With thanks to dale Stevens. Modem at home is fried so updates will be sparse until tech issue resolved. Canada looked defeated after 3 emotional losses. The team played hard and together for the most part until later in todays game. Agree with jack Armstrong that overall talent level and depth wasn't what it needs to be to succeed at a tournament like this. Canada basketball however is definitely headed in the proper direction and we should continue to expect success going forward.
Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

UVic Minnesota Preview from Mike Tucker

This game will be available for viewing on the Internet (see below) and UVic has introduced YouTube-based game previews (see link below)

*******************************************************************************

On Labour Day weekend, the McKinnon Gym faithful will get an early look at the home team, and a preview of NBA hopefuls when the UVic Vikes men's basketball team hosts the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

GAME INFORMATION

Sun. Sept. 5 vs. Minnesota (McKinnon Gym) - 3pm

Game broadcast, presented by Best Buy: govikesgo.com/broadcast

VIDEO PREVIEW: www.youtube.com/uvicvikes

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

This is the sixth NCAA opponent that UVic has hosted since U.S. teams began making Labour Day pilgrimages north of the border in 2003. Minnesota plays in the Big Ten, is coming off two NCAA tournament appearances, and might just be the best team to play on the Island. However, the Vikes have knocked off two NCAA opponents and in 2008 held check with Marquette before slipping late in the second half.
SCOUTING THE VIKES

The Labour Day test is an early look for coach Craig Beaucamp, who welcomes a bevy of new faces to the fold for 2010-11. Incoming Oxnard (California) transfer Craig Lee is a relative unknown with plenty of athleticism, and the Vikes have eagerly awaited the opportunity for 6-foot-8 Adam Connolly to dress. True freshmen Reese Pribilisky of Oak Bay, Ted Neilson of Dover Bay and Chris McLaughlin of Oakville will also make their UVic debuts. Alberta transfer and Victoria native Eric Casey makes his homecoming with three years of eligibility in tact.
SCOUTING THE GOPHERS

Head coach Tubby Smith has led the Gophers to consecutive 20-plus win seasons, and comes to Victoria on the tail-end of a three-game Northwest tour. Minnesota's roster features a pair of former Canadian Junior members in Devoe Joseph and the 6-foot-10 Mo Walker, who is ranked as the ninth-best center in the class of 2010 by ESPN. But the player to watch is 6-foot-7 swingman Rodney Williams who is a projected NBA lottery pick in 2011.

MEDIA NOTE: Vikes men's basketball practices from 11am-1pm in McKinnon Gym every day this week through Saturday.