2007-08 Men's Basketball Year in Review
Click here for audio interview with head coach Scott Allen
It was a roller-coaster season for the Trinity Western University Spartans men’s basketball team in 2007-08, but one that ended with promise and laid the foundation for a very exciting season in 2008-09. The Spartans finished 4-19 in fifth place in the Canada West Pacific Division, with three of their victories coming at home in the cozy confines of the David E. Enarson Gymnasium against Manitoba, Victoria, and Thompson Rivers, and the fourth in the last game of the year on the road at Simon Fraser.
Fifth year senior guard Luke Robinson (Ahousat, B.C.) led the Spartans in scoring (16.7 points per game), assists (2.57), steals (1.74), three pointers made (47), and minutes (28.7 per game). Rookie point guard Jon Loewen (Abbotsford, B.C.) was second in scoring (9.6 points per game), assists (2.43), steals (1.52), and minutes (27.9). Third year post Joe Vroom (Abbotsford, B.C.) led the team in rebounding (5.9) and blocks (0.96), while fourth year post Michael Brouwer (Nanaimo, B.C.) gave us a taste of what’s to come, as he started the last 11 games of the season and averaged 8.7 points, 6.9 boards and 1.73 blocks.
Injuries were a definite factor for the Spartans, as they redshirted two of their top players from the 2006-07 season in fourth year guards Brian Banman (Kelowna, B.C.), who averaged 20.8 points per game, and Jon Schmidt (Rosedale, B.C.), who averaged a team-high 4.1 assists and 2.5 steals per game. Brouwer and fellow post Lance Verhoeff (Calgary) would play sparingly in the first semester as they worked their way back from injury.
This left Robinson and a talented, but young and inexperienced group, to carry the load for the Spartans as they began the Canada West slate with four games on the road. The first two were against divisional rivals UBC Thunderbirds and UVic Vikes, with the T-Birds winning 104-77 despite 25 points from Robinson, and the Vikes winning 71-56 as Loewen led with 20 points. The next weekend started in Regina, where the Spartans trailed the Cougars by 23 points after three quarters before exploding for 35 in the fourth, but fell just short 81-78. Rookie guard Matt Myers (Tumwater, Wash.) contributed off the bench with a school record with seven steals, and also chipped in with eight points. The next night they went east on Highway 1 to face the eighth ranked team in the country the Brandon Bobcats, and despite 19 points and 11 boards from Vroom, the Spartans lost 100-82.
TWU returned home and got their first victory 103-88 over the Lethbridge Pronghorns 103-88 as four Spartans scored in double figures, including another big night for Vroom who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. TWU was not so fortunate the next night as the huge and physical Calgary Dinos outmuscled the Spartans 99-77. No rest for the weary as the Spartans again hit the road, this time to Kamloops to play a weekend series with the Thompson Rivers Wolfpack. The Wolfpack snuck by the Spartans the first night 89-84 despite 25 points from Robinson, but could not hold him down the next night, as he exploded for 31 points, eighth best in school history, as the Spartans won 88-84.
Back home again, the Spartans had five players score in double-figures against the Winnipeg Wesmen but lost 89-82, but rebounded with an 83-80 win over the Manitoba Bisons as third year forward Jason Keegstra (Vernon, B.C.) led four Spartans in double figures with 18 points. TWU trailed until midway through the third when Vroom hammered home a two-handed dunk to make it 48-46, and the two teams battled down to the end, with the Spartans hitting their free throws to win it. Vroom had eight points and eight boards, and tied a school record with four blocks.
The last two games before the Christmas break were with arch rivals UCFV on the Cascades home floor. UCFV won the first 70-64, as Myers finished with a team-high 14 points while knocking down four of six three point attempts off the bench. The Spartans won the second night 81-76 as Robinson poured in 28 points, finishing a 4-8 record at the break.
The Christmas break brought major change, as head coach Stan Peters was fired after eight seasons, where he compiled a 107-168 record since taking over the program in 1999. Pat Lee, a TWU alum and former head coach of UCFV, was brought in as the interim head coach for the rest of the season.
In early January TWU discovered transfer Lucas Goltz (Comox, B.C.) was ineligible, and had been allowed to play in the first semester due to a clerical error. TWU immediately reported their finding to the Canada West, and voluntarily gave back the three wins against Lethbridge, Thompson Rivers and UCFV in which he participated.
The Spartans did get some good news to being the second semester, as both Brouwer and Verhoeff had recovered enough to get regular playing time again. They responded by leading the Spartans to an upset home victory over Victoria 66-64, as Verhoeff led all scorers with 14 points and nine boards off the bench, and Brouwer played 30 minutes as a starter and contributed nine points, five boards, and two blocks. The Vikes rebounded to win the next night 72-65 despite 21 points and seven rebounds from Robinson.
Robinson was nothing short of heroic the following game in an 89-76 loss to UCFV, as he scored 21 of his 31 points in the second half, including 15 in the fourth. He also made six three pointers, grabbed six boards, and had four steals. TWU got back on the winning track with a 102-96 shootout win at home over Thompson Rivers as Robinson led for the third straight game with 22 points, five assists and three steals. Verhoeff had 19 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, and Loewen and Keegstra netted 16 points apiece. Following that the Spartans had a rough road trip, losing 104-66 at Saskatchewan, and 79-62 the next night at Alberta despite 16 points and 11 boards from Brouwer.
TWU returned home for two games against the then sixth ranked team in the country, and the eventual Canada West champion, UBC Thunderbirds. The Spartans almost pulled off the upset of the year, losing 99-90 in overtime as Robinson was sensational again with 27 points. Brouwer was a beast in the paint with 14 points, 13 rebounds, a monster dunk, and set a school record with five blocked shots. The T-Birds made things much less interesting the next night with an 81-58 win.
The Spartans final two games would be a home-and-home series with SFU. The Clan won the first at the David E. 84-63, and TWU returned the favor with a 92-80 win, as Robinson finished his career in style with 25 points and eight assists. Robinson graduates from TWU as one of the best Spartans to ever wear the Blue and Gold. In 69 career games at TWU since transferring from Malaspina, Robinson finishes fifth in school history in scoring (930 points) and three pointers made (81), fourth in made free throws (263) assists (185), and total steals (121), and second in steals average at 1.8 per game.
With the season over, TWU announced Scott Allen would be the new head coach of men’s basketball. Allen won three “AAA’ B.C. high school Provincial titles in 1999, 2003, and 2005, and compiled a 503-117 record in his 15 seasons as the head coach of the White Rock Christian Academy Warriors.
He wasted little time making a splash as he announced the signing of three big-time recruits within two weeks of his hiring in forward Jacob Doerksen (Abbotsford, B.C.), guard Louis Hurd (Spokane, Wash.), and forward Tonner Jackson (White Rock, B.C.).
The 6’6” Doerksen, who will have three years of eligibility remaining, was a CIS Tournament all-star and the 2006 CIS Rookie of the Year with the Victoria Vikes. He also averaged 33.4 points and 13.6 rebounds as a high school senior in March 2005, where he led Rick Hansen high to a fifth place finish. Hurd, a 5’11” transfer from Columbia Bible College, will have two years of eligibility with the Spartans. Last season with CBC he led the BCCAA in scoring with 20.2 points-per-game and was third in assists with 4.5 per game, while adding three steals-per-game. Jackson, a 6’6” wing player who played for Allen at WRCA, averaged 15 points and eight boards a game for the Warriors as he helped them to a second place finish at the 2008 “AAA” B.C. Provincials.
The Spartans will also get Banman and Schmidt back for next season, along with high-flying 6’5” UCFV transfer Jamie Vaughn. All three players will be fifth year seniors for the 2008-09 season.
With these significant additions being added to a talented and experienced returning core, the Spartans will definitely be a team to watch in the Canada West in 2008-09.
Last Updated: 2009-06-20