Bakovic Debuts in Canada West Play
Task Is Clear in Trip to The Fraser
As they start the 2nd half of the Canada West regular season, the
3-5 Calgary Dinos are aware of the necessity to win games, if they are to
get into the mix as far as playoffs are concerned. But, as 5th year post
man, Dustin Reding , points out, "We're just focussed on playing well on
Friday against Fraser Valley ... get that one, then move along." Improving
the outlook for the Dinos, is the insertion of 5th year transfer, Boris
Bakovic, into the line-up.
Bakovic, who played 4 years at Ryerson, where
he was the OUA's most prolific scorer, will play his 1st Canada West game
for Calgary on Friday in Abbotsford, and he practiced Wednesday with a grim
determination. "I'm good", he responded tersely when asked about his knee,
injured in Team Canada practices back in September. "I'm ready to go ... I
want to play, and help this team." Help he certainly can, with his steady
play, rebounding, and scoring, even it takes a few more practices and games
to knock off the rust from the long lay-off.
Getting limited drill work
in practice were super-quick point guard, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, close to
a return from a broken hand, and Matt Letkeman, who is still on cautionary
watch as he tries to overcome a viral infection. Coach Dan Vanhooren is
hopeful these 2 starters can return in the near future, once the medicos
give the nod. "We play with the guys we have; our guys are ready to compete.
We'll be ready to go this weekend."
Friday's opponent, Fraser Valley, has
the look of a team poised to challenge for League honours. At 5-3, the
Cascades are # 9 ranked in the CIS. Coach Barnaby Craddock says "This is
the most talented UFV team we've had. We've been in the playoffs 3 of the
past 4 years, and won our 1st playoff game last season. Now is the test to
see if we can advance further, and how far." The duo of Joel Friesen and
Sam Freeman lead the Blue and Green with 16 and 15 ppg from the perimeter,
while they get help up front from 6-6 4th year, Kyle Grewal, who scores 13
ppg, grabs 8 boards, and 6-7, 3rd year, Jasper Moedt, 12 ppg, 55% FG, 8
6-6 rookie guard, Jordan Blackmon " ... is a fantastic athlete",
says Coach Craddock. "He plays behind Freeman and Friesen, so his minutes
are less than some other top rookies in the League ... but, he can't be left
out of the conversation for Rookie of the Year." Forward Mike James, a 6-6,
5th year transfer from Winnipeg has added useful minutes in the post (9
ppg/5 rebs.), and Sheldon Bjorgaard, a 4th year guard comes off the bench
effectively as well.
The Dinos will have 10 players available on this
trip ... Tyler Fidler, their 6-9, wing man, 16 ppg/6 rebs., who has
shouldered much of the load ... his 25 points sparked Calgary to their big
92-85 win over UBC in the last game before the break. Josh Wolfram, 2nd
year, 6-10 ... coming on strong with 13 ppg/8 boards ... Andrew McGuinness,
3rd year, 11 ppg, 42% from 3 ... Keenan Milburn, a scrappy, 5-10, 5th year
combo guard, with 10 ppg, also 42% from 3. Other forwards, Dustin Reding,
5th, 6-7, 8 ppg, 51% FG ...Nebojsa Kuljic, 6-5, 2nd ... Daan Wiersum, 6-7,
1st ... and, of course, Bakovic, at 6-8. Two other guards ... rookie
Australian import, Josh Owen-Thomas, and returning 4th year, Trevor Debolt,
who adds experience at the point.
The Cascades have to be favoured in
Friday's game ... at home, a deeper line-up, 85 ppg/75 pts. against vs UC's
81/79 ... UFV has a big rebounding edge - +9 to Calgary's -5. The Dinos
would need to fashion a major upset.
The Rest of the Schedule in Canada
Lethbridge Pronghorns (4-4) at Trinity Western Spartans (2-6)
... with Dom Coward duly registered for semester 2, the 'Horns are fired up
to chase a playoff spot. Their post game can hurt Trinity ... 6-6, Coward,
6-8, Derek Waldner, 6-10, Niko Kovacs, and recently added 6-9, Spenser
Wenzel vs. Kyle Coston, 6-7, and Lucas Nugteren, a 6-11, who has seen
limited duty. The Spartan's Sean Peter and Tristan Smith (will Calvin
Westbrook play? ... dunno) will have to out-duel U of L's Daryl Cooper, Alex
Fletcher, Logan Reiter, and Morgan Duce. Lethbridge in a close
Winnipeg Wesmen (2-6) at Thompson Rivers WolfPack (4-4) ... with
home court, and the deadly trio of Justin King, CW top scorer (27 ppg, 11
rebs.), Chas Kok at 21 ppg, and 8 rebs., and Kevin Pribilsky 15 ppg/4 asst.,
the 'Pack, despite a bit of defensive porousness, looks to have too much for
Wesmen. Andrew Cunningham will help Winnipeg at the point
... Travis Krahn makes 3s, but can Dominique Brown, Mark McNee, and Braydon
Duff win the inside battle? TRU should prevail with scoring
Manitoba Bisons (5-4) at UBC-Okanagan Heat (1-6) ... the Bisons
may be the best dark (brown) horse for a shot at the Final 4, with point
man, Stephen Walton, 14 ppg, 4 asst., 6 rebs., 47% from 3 , and Coach Kirby
Schepp adds Yigit Ozsayiner, a 6-6, skilled forward from Turkey, who showed
well in the Wesmen Classic. The Herd have scored by committee with 4
players in double figures... Walton , Jonar Huertas, , Kurtis Sansregret,
and Kevin Oliver, with Keith Omoerah, Braedon Speer not far behind. UBC-O
are challenged to match ...Yasine Ghomari leads with 19 ppg, and the Heat
have Bret Macdonald (58 % leads Canada West) and Mack Roth shooting treys.
Bisons in a stampede with their depth cooling the Heat.
Cougars (2-5) at Brandon Bobcats (3-5) ... Regina usually plays Brandon tough, and they may have helped themselves with additions of point man
Antonio Tate, and post Vule Grujic, but that still may not be enough help
for the Cougars' outstanding 4th year forward Paul Gareau, 18 ppg, 7 boards.
has Coach Gil Cheung back, they're at home, and their newcomers,
Emerick Ravier 17 ppg, Ilarion Bonhomme (red-shirt freshman) 12.5 ppg, 6
assists, and post man, Ali Mounir- Benadbelhak, a 6-6 rookie, with 14 ppg /7
rebounds are providing the spark. Brandon to sweep this border battle in
We previewed the 'Big Four' Showdown ...
Alberta, Saskatchewan at UVic, UBC on Wednesday ... for the record
...Friday ... Saskatchewan Huskies ( 5-2) at Victoria Vikes (8-0) ...
Vikes in a tight game. UVic defense wins out over Huskies
offense. Alberta Golden Bears (6-2) at UBC T-Birds (4-2)
... UBC tough
on home floor, and they can score, even on Alberta's #1 CW