Tuesday, April 26, 2011

UBC to remain in CIS

Very good news that UBC will remain in the CIS and the T-Birds leadership appears to want to be at the forefront of growth and evolution of inter-university sport in Canada.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mike Koreen article on Steph Barrie's hiring

Mike Koreen of the Kingston Whig-Standard has an excellent piece on Steph Barrie's hiring including quotes from last season's interim Duncan Cowan and some clues as to how Barrie will approach his new position.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Official Release from Queen's on Steph Barrie hiring

Queen's announcement on Steph Barrie hiring

Stephan Barrie to be named new Gaels Head Coach

Queen's athletic department has scheduled a news conference for 4:30 ET today and multiple sources indicate that Western women's Head Coach Stephan Barrie will be announced as the Gaels newest Head Coach.  Sources also indicate that the Gaels will also staff a full-time Assistant Coach.  Barrie, who played in the OUA for Western Mustangs and also for Humber College, started his post-secondary coaching career as a U of T Varsity Blues Assistant coach and recently has led the Mustangs women back to National prominence.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

CIS rep for Canada Basketball this summer

Two-time CIS champion and former Brock Badgers Head Coach Ken Murray will be honoured with a pair of Hall of Fame inductions in the coming weeks.  On April 30, the OUA West Men's Basketball Officials Hall of Fame will make Murray their 2011 inductee.  On May 3rd Murray will be added to the City of St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame.  Congratulations to Coach Murray on these well deserved honours... Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton recently named former Alberta Golden Bears assistant Pete Guarasci as their new Head Coach.  MacEwan is one of several Western Canada colleges that are rumoured to be seeking CIS membership for basketball in the coming years.  Originally from Niagara Falls A.N. Myer, Guarasci is a long-time member of Canada's national team and played numerous professional seasons all over Europe as a 6'9" forward.  Guarasci played several years on the National team with current Alberta Head Coach Greg Francis, who will look to fill out his coaching staff.  By the way, Francis is the fourth CIS Head Coach to take on a Canada Basketball posting this coming summer (we missed this in our last post) as he will lead Canada's U19 team into the FIBA World U19 championships to be held between 31 June and 10 July in Latvia in the cities of Liepaja, Valmiera and Riga.  The 16 team draw has Canada in Group C with action kicking off 30 June vs. Korea, then 1 July (Canada Day) vs. Croatia followed by 2 July date with Lithuania.  The top 3 finishers in the first round classification move on to the next round.  No word as of yet whether or not this team will have any CIS representation however Carleton's Phil Scrubb has been with this program in the past and remains eligible for this championship... Two other Canada Basketball programs for this coming summer will have rosters filled with CIS talent as the FISU Games team, coached by UBC's Kevin Hanson and the Pan-Am Games team, coached by Carleton's Dave Smart will be stocked entirely with CIS players.  A selection committee, chaired by long-time St. FX Head Coach Steve Konchalski and including Smart, Hanson, Regina's James Hillis and the past 4 FISU games coaches (Mike Katz-Toronto, John Dore-Concordia, Peter Campbell-Laurier and Chris O'Rourke-Guelph), is in the midst of putting together rosters with players from CIS programs who will be eligible to play CIS basketball in the 2011-12 season.  Players who completed their fifth year this past season are not being considered.  Expect announcements on rosters and assistant coaches to be made shortly.  A quick look at returning players on CIS rosters provides one view of the candidates for these two teams including Juleous Grant, Dal; Tremaine Fraser, Cape Breton; Owen Klassen, Acadia; Jeremy Dunn, St. FX; Manock Lual, UPEI; Joey Haywood, Saint Mary's; Kyle Desmarais, Concordia; Jerome Turcotte, Laval; Phil Scrubb, Carleton; Tyson Hinz, Carleton; Cole Hobin, Carleton; Willy Manigat, Carleton; Warren Ward, Ottawa; Jahmal Jones, Ryerson; Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa; David Tyndale, York; Dejan Kravic, York; Scott Brittain, McMaster; Cam McIntyre, Waterloo; Lien Phillip, Windsor; Greg Carter, Lakehead; Max Allin, Laurier; Kale Harrison, Laurier; Tshing Kasamba, Brock; Jordan Baker, Alberta; Daniel Ferguson, Alberta; Nathan Yu, UBC; Tyler Fidler, Calgary; Joel Freisen, Fraser Valley; Sam Freeman, Fraser Valley; Michael Lieffers, Saskatchewan; Calvin Westbrook, Trinity Western; Ryan MacKinnon, Victoria.  My take at a Top 20 or so from this list includesPoint Guards:  Scrubb, Carter, Jones, Manigat, Desmarais; Off Guards/Wings:  Haywood, Ward, Allin, Harrison, Baker, Ferguson, Hobin (major oversight with initial post), Yu, MacKinnon;  Bigs: Klassen, Hinz, Kravic, Brittain, Fidler, Lieffers, Phillip.  This is a wonderful initiative by Canada Basketball to provide CIS athletes an opportunity to showcase their talents on the international stage... Calgary Dinos held a talent identification camp last weekend and one noteable attendee was former Ryerson Rams forward Boris Bakovic.  Bakovic, one of the better pure scorers in the CIS over the past decade or so, finished his fourth season at Ryerson in 2009-10 before trying to go pro last season.  Bakovic would be a strong veteran presence with the young, rebuilding Dinos, however no official announcement of his return to the CIS has been made.  Another potential Dino for next season highlighted as a top performer at the ID camp was 6'9" Jelani Floyd who last played at UC-Davis, a Division 1 program in the Big West in 2009-10, where he averaged 14.3 minutes per game in 30 games.  Floyd had transfered over from Brown in the Ivy League where he appeared in two games in 2007-08.  He is apparently a 4.0 gpa who is looking to go into Business school.  The Dinos are looking to bounce back from a season filled with injuries to their top players including 6'9" Tyler Fidler and 5'10" Jared Ogungbemi-Jackson, who missed the entire Canada West season with a serious ankle sprain... X coach Steve Konchalski likely has the most challenging roster makeover to accomplish this off season as his X-Men lost six top-of-the-rotation players to graduation after this past season.  With only two fourth-year (6'5" Jermey Dunn and 7'2" Rinny Ngot), two third-year (6'2" Jordan Clarke and 5'10" Ellis Ffrench) and two sophomores (6'4" Terry Thomas and 6'10" Rodrigo Madera) scheduled to return, Konchalski has already brought in a pair of impact guards in 6'2" McMaster transfer Tyrell Vernon (4th year), who is expected to run the point next season and 5'10" Marquis Clayton, originally from Halifax Citadel who played last season at Next Level Prep in Oakville.  As well, 6'7" PEI native Jacob Simmons joins X to provide some potential depth up front.  Expect X to bring in at least 1 or 2 more players with a view of adding some quality experience to their suddenly-younger lineup.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Recruiting Articles and other stuff

Roy Rana article in Globe and Mail

Thompson Rivers and Waterloo announce recruits from Surrey, BC

Nice story on Jacob Doerksen  Unique friendship forged over basketball

Would scholarships make T-Birds fly higher ?

Arshi Dhaliwal signs with UBC

Ex-Marauder Tyrell Vernon joins X-Men

Loyola's L'Africian headed to Gee-Gees

X's Chad Warren reflects on his season and future steps

Newfoundland's Aaron O'Brien chooses UNB over MUN and others

Catching Up

Much has happened since early March when the Carleton Ravens captured their seventh CIS crown in the past nine seasons in Halifax.  The on-court story has already been told in several different forums.  I wanted to share my once-again tremendous experience in Halifax and encourage those who haven't ever made the trip to consider doing so next season.  From the organizing committee to the local coaches to the restaurant owners and everyone else, the hospitality and warmth with which the locals host this tournament is unique.  AUS communications guru John Keefe did his usual thorough job with sharing information accurately and in a timely manner and reminded me again how relaxed life is on the East Coast with a great example of community honesty.  While having lunch with Laurier Coach Peter Campbell and All-Canadian Kale Harrison at one of Halifax's famous establishments on Championship Sunday, I noticed that I didn't have my Blackberry with me but knew I likely left it somewhere in the Metro Center.  In virtually any other city in the world, panic would have likely ensued followed by a mad rush cutting lunch early in order to track down the device.  But in Halifax, the immediate thought was that somehow things would pan out properly - certainly no reason to interrupt a fine meal.  About an hour later, I got to the press lounge where John had my device and was looking for it's owner - no worries.  A small thing but an experience that I think epitomizes how life works in Halifax.  Crowds were a bit disappointing after the first night but nonetheless given the entire experience Halifax remains a great place to have the Nationals and hopefully next season will not be the last Halifax-based Final 8 for very long.  Also, I was flattered to be able to contribute to the first-round games that were webcast on Streaming Sports Network with Bill McLean who was very accomodating and it was a pleasure to participate.  The Final 8 property has the potential to be a very strong property for the CIS... The OUA put together a nice initiative designed to bring more focus and profile to men's basketball with the revival of the Final Four concept, hosting semi-finals and a championship game at McMaster in Hamilton to crown the Wilson Cup champion and settle Ontario's two automatic berths to the Nationals.  Friday night saw a near-capacity crowd treated to a pair of high-energy affairs that cast a very favorable light on OUA men's basketball.  With games available live on the SCORE, crowds nonetheless were strong and in my opinion, this event laid the foundation for an event that if properly evolved can bring strong value to OUA sports.  Congratulations to the organizing committee for an excellent first year and for McMaster which continued their fine tradition of hosting top quality events... Last off-season saw an unprecedented number of coaching changes in the CIS but expect this off-season to be much less active with coaching churn.  Only two jobs are currently available, both in Ontario as Queen's Gaels and Brock Badgers are both in the middle of the process to select their Head Coaches going forward.  Queen's interim coach Duncan Cowan, who has been on the Gaels staff for the past several years after playing for the Gaels about a decade ago appears to be the front runner to shed his interim label.  According to sources, despite their being at least two former CIS coaches interested - including one with a long track record of championship pedigree - the three other final candidates besides Cowan included a CIS assistant with just 2 seasons of experience, a CIS women's coach and a Western Canada-based CIS assistant with a solid background.  Expect the announcement that Cowan will be retained to be released shortly.  In St. Catharines, the Brock athletic department is concurrently seeking to name a full-time Head Coach and bring on their newest Athletic Director.  The Brock coaching job position has been posted but expect the new AD to be named prior to the interview process for the men's job to go on in earnest.  Brock point guard legend Brad Rootes did a credible job in his interim season and one would expect several strong candidates to apply for the position also... We hope to have a more comprehensive Canada Basketball summer preview in the days ahead however CIS fans should be proud that three of our Head Coaches will lead Canada Basketball programs this summer and early autumn, beginning with Ryerson's Roy Rana, who returns to the organization for another summer this season as Head Coach of Canada's Cadet Team, one of eight teams that will compete in the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men, taking place June 21-25 at the Domo de La Feria in Leon, Mexico.  This tournament is the qualifier event for the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship for Men with the top 3 teams from the 8 team event moving on to next summer's U17 worlds.  According to FIBA Americas website current participating teams include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico and USA. Two more countries will come from the Central American and Caribbean Zone with the celebration of the Centrobasket U15 Championship this year. If the Centrobasket tournament is not played, FIBA Americas will announce the teams that will represent the zone.  Teams are looking to move on to the FIBA U17 Worlds in Kuanas, Lithuania 29 June through 8 July 2012.  Expect Rana to maintain his staff from last season's successful campaign with Manitoba Head Coach Kirby Schepp and Saskatchewan Huskies assistant coach Nathan Schellenberg as his assistants.  Also, UBC's Kevin Hanson will head up Canada's men's team at the 26th FISU Summer Universiade in Shenzhen, China.  The Games are scheduled for August 12 to 23, 2011 and it is likely that an all-CIS team will represent Canada with Hanson bringing on two other CIS coaches to his staff.  Finally, Carleton's seven-time CIS championship Head Coach Dave Smart returns to Canada Basketball after a short absence while welcoming his first child to lead Canada's Pan-Am games contingent.  The 2011 Pan American Games take place in Guadalajara, Mexico from October 14 to 30, 2011.  Noteably, Canada will be the host of the next games in 2015 in Toronto.  As well, expect Smart to have another pair of CIS coaches on his staff and Canada's Pan-Am roster also made up entirely of CIS players.  This tournament takes place during the early portion of the CIS pre-season schedule in early October.  Congratulations to all CIS coaches and officials who will work with Canada Basketball in the coming months.