Wednesday 21 October 2009

Thoughts from around the country

UVic Vikes kick off their 2009-10 pre-season by hosting the annual Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament, a tribute to the former Laurentian all-star and Victoria and Saskatchewan Head Coach who passed away suddenly in 2003 at the age of 51. The tournament features the defending national champion Carleton Ravens (3-0) plus two other Canada West teams: Fraser Valley Cascades (1-1) and Alberta Golden Bears (1-2) (all records include games against CIS teams only). The Vikes are trying to replace two key pieces of their front line in 6'6" Tyler Hass and 6'7" Mitch Gudgeon plus 6'1" Brandon Dunlap. The tournament should also see the debut of 5'10" Zac Andrus, a third-year transfer from Whatcom C.C. in Vashon, WA., who is slated to run the point for UVic this year... Speaking of the Ravens, some observers viewed this season as somewhat of a retooling year given the loss of 2 All-Canadians (Turnbull, Doornekamp) and CIS Defensive Player-of-the-Year (Saunders). While some may say the Ravens may not be as tough or senior-laden as in the past, Carleton quickly dispelled any notion of coming back to the pack to any large degree, shooting 70% from the floor in the first half against Bishop's this past Friday which set the stage for a blistering 50%+ effort from downtown over their three weekend games which were all won by 20 or more. All this without one of Canada's top three point shooters in Mike Kenny. Ravens' staples of stopping people and rebounding are still there, albeit not as consistent as some, including Carleton Head Coach Dave Smart, might like and the offense, orchestrated this weekend by 6'0" transfer Willy Manigat from the point and 6'8" senior Kevin McCleery from the post, usually has at least four guys who can knock down open 3's and virtually everyone making good decisions. It continues to be a team that will not beat themselves. If teams can guard the ball against Carleton, it can make life more difficult for them however McCleery, who is virtually unstoppable one-on-one in the post at this level and at this stage of his career, will either score at will or find open shooters out of doubles and Manigat beating most off the dribble, they will again be very tough. As well, Kenny was expected to start practicing this week as a prelude to a possible return on the weekend... Laurier Golden Hawks hosted their Hawk Challenge this past weekend without starting 5'10" point guard Travis Berry and 6'8" Andrew Pennycook, both out with concussions suffered at the Concordia Tournament the week before. Also, 6'6" freshman Max Allin had only one practice while nursing an ankle injury. Still, the Hawks were able to overcome a solid Winnipeg Wesmen side on Friday and then push undefeated Dal Tigers late into the game. Against Dal, Pennycook was able to suit up to face his high school teammate 6'1" Simon Farine - they played together at Toronto Northern S.S. During the game, Laurier lost another front court player as 6'5" Matthew Buckley sustained an ugly gash under his eye, which he tried to play with until the blood flow made it too difficult to see. Later, Buckley took 10 stitches inside and 5 outside after the game. Although Laurier took their first loss against CIS teams in the young season, freshman point guard Osman Omar did a credible job in Berry's absence and the Hawks pair of senior starters 6'5" Kale Harrison and 6'2" Jesse MacDonald led the way keeping the game close... The Tigers meanwhile look to have as solid a starting five as any team in the country with POY candidate Farine, 6'1" fifth-year shooting guard Andrew Sullivan, 6'3" JUCO transfer Marcus Wong, emerging 6'7" Sandy Viet and 6'9" Joe Schow. Assuming Dal stays healthy, the extent to which the Tigers can get top performances out of their bench should dictate how high in the Top 10 this team can remain... Got a chance to watch touted 5'10" guard Showron Glover from Saskatchewan Huskies this weekend and the talented guard did not disappoint, showing tremendous range on his jumper, an ability to slash to the rim and nice decision-making finding teammates. Defensively, Glover appears to have free reign to gamble on steals when guarding the ball and shooting the gap in an attempt to create turnovers off the ball. Glover's running mate in the Huskies backcourt, 5'11" Mike Linklater, also showed nice range on his jumper and creative looks in transition although Linklater was in foul trouble all afternoon in the championship game against the host Ravens on Sunday, being whistled for 4 fouls in the first half alone of that game. If the Huskies continue to get solid play up front from veteran 6'8" Troy Gottselig, 6'6" returning starter Nolan Brudehl, Saskatchewan's top freshman last season and 6'8" Micheal Lieffers among others, they could back in the hunt for a spot near the top of Canada West's eight-team Prairie Division. The Huskies host their Graham Construction Shootout tournament this weekend as Regina, Thompson Rivers and McGill visit .. Toronto Varsity Blues are likely to be without their top two starters up front as 6'7" Nick Snow suffered a severe ankle injury on Saturday against Manitoba at the Waterloo tournament and 6'6" Drazen Glizic continues to battle a leg injury for which he just had a bone scan. The Blues will likely look to go to a small-ball game + 6'7" Andrew Wasik this coming weekend at the Jack Donohue Memorial Tip-off tournament at the University of Ottawa. The Blues meet Bishop's in the first round at 6 PM on Friday... St. FX X-Men continue to nurse their injured back to health as they and Saint Mary's embark on their trip to Southern Ontario this weekend. X welcomed back 6'6" Terrence Taylor last weekend from a prolonged absence in what turned out to be sinus infection and also 6'0" Charlie Spurr, 5'9" Will Silver and 6'2" Will Donkoh as they recaptured their own tournament title by defeating their arch-rival Huskies. No word yet on the condition or likelihood of return this season of 6'3" Dwayne Johnson, who is entering his fifth and final serason. Huskies coach Ross Quackenbush lamented his team's carelessness with the ball and poor free throw shooting in last weekend's championship game against the hosts at the X tournament. "We turned it over way too much especially with the results usually being an immediate layup at the other end. And we also left way too many points on the free throw line, which was costly in a tight game against a good team. Quackenbush's Huskies play an ambitious four games in 4 days, beginning with a game at Laurier on Friday night followed by a Saturday afternoon matchup at Guelph. Saint Mary's then plays a pair of rare Sunday night (at McMaster) and Monday night (at Brock) games. The teams have also scheduled a Sunday afternoon pre-season rematch of their X tournament championship game at the Tower in Halifax on Sunday, November 1st... Maybe the best tournament of the pre-season is in Quebec City this weekend as Laval hosts Calgary, one of the top teams in Canada West and likely Top 10 side; Dalhousie, defending AUS champions; and Western. Laval welcomed back their Moser Award candidate 6'3" J.F. Beaulieu-Mahieux who was worked back into the lineup slowly, playing about 20 minutes per game as he battles a hamstring injury... Several observers gushed about the raw talent of Brock's 6'4" freshman Clinton Springer-Williams who has eye-opening athleticism and is a terror in transition. Springer-Williams gives the new-look Badgers the type of athleticism not seen in the St. Catharines school since possibly the pre-injury days of 6'9" Gord Wood back in the late 80's, early 90's and 6'3" Jamie Duncan in the mid 90's. The slick Badger swingman is part of one of the best incoming true freshmen classes in recent memory - quick tally shows almost 20 tremendous freshmen scattered across the country. We plan to do a piece on the top freshmen and we haven't forgotten our promise to highlight the Moser candidates given our on-going propensity to use that descriptor almost ad nauseum. More on Brock... Incumbent point guard Joel Whitty suffered a shoulder injury that kept him out of Saturday's loss to Winnipeg at the Laurier tournament and Coach Ken Murray is not certain when Whitty will return. In his absence, last season's CIS ROY Diki Mukendi is working the point and continues to learn a new position after starring on the wing last season as a freshman. Mukendi has proven that he can get to the rim in transition and create off the dribble. As he learns to consistently make midrange jumpers and stick the three ball with more consistency, expect Mukendi to annually push for all-conference honours.... Here is a link to the latest entry in the Acadia basketball blog summarizing their weekend at Waterloo Weekend Wrapup Axemen Turn Heads... Led by 2nd year reigning AUS rookie of the year Casey Fox and AUS All-Star 5th year center Alex Traikov, this past weekend in Waterloo showcased the very talented group of youngster from Acadia. Stud freshmen Anthony Sears and Owen Klassen turned heads as on lookers took notice of their obvious basketball talent. ... Continue Reading

Finally, it's always nice to get complements so I genuinely thank AlwaysOUA for this

Finally #2... Thompson Rivers update from Kamloops This Week... TRU briefs: Cagers clearing court cobwebs...Thompson Rivers University men’s basketball coach Thom Gillespie rallies his team during a timeout in Saturday’s game against the Langara Falcons. The Pack won both exhibition games and head to Saskatoon this weekend for a pre-season tournament. The squad opens its regular season on Oct. 30 when the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades come to town. The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack men’s basketball team had a successful weekend on the hardwood, winning two of three pre-season games. The Pack played host to the Langara Falcons on Friday and Saturday, winning by scores of 103-79 and 73-63. On Sunday, TRU lost 92-80 to the Laval Rouge et Or of Quebec. Head coach Thom Gillespie said the game against Laval — which competes in the Quebec Student Sport Federation — was a good learning experience heading into the Canada West regular season. “I thought we did some good things against a pretty good basketball team,” he said following the loss. “But certainly, to compete in Canada West, we will need to tidy some things up. “Overall, it was a positive result.” The Pack will be in Saskatoon this weekend, taking part in the University of Saskatchewan’s Huskies Tournament. Thompson Rivers opens its regular season on Oct. 30 when the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades visit the Tournament Capital Centre.

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