MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON PREVIEW

MEN’S BASKETBALL (CANADA WEST)
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2011
SEASON PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEN’S BASKETBALL SEASON PREVIEW



LANGLEY, British Columbia –
After a CIS silver medal winning season last year, the No. 8 Trinity Western men’s basketball embark upon the 2011-12 season with lofty goals: get back to the national championship and win it all.

For the Spartans that march to Halifax begins this weekend when they host the Victoria Vikes Friday at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Both games can be seen live on www.canadawest.tv.

SEASON PREVIEW

CIS ranking: 8th
CW ranking: 6th
2010 CW Tournament Placing: 3rd
2010-11 CIS Tournament Placing: 2nd
2010-11 Conference Record: 21-3
Last CW Title: none
Last CIS Titile: none
Key returnees: 6-5 guard Calvin Westbrook, 6-8 forward Kyle Coston and 5-11 guard Tristan Smith.
Key departures: Jacob Doerksen, Tyrell Mara, Daniel Horner
Key additions: 6-3 wing Sean Peter, 6-0 guard Justin Bakuteka, 6-7 forward Taylor Heinrichs

The Trinity Western Spartans enter the 2011-12 season after having the most successful year in the program’s history. But in order for the team to repeat or improve on last year’s CIS silver medal the Spartans will need to look to a rebuilt squad to do so.

Trinity Western has seen the departure of seven players from last year’s squad, including the entire front line, which featured 6-6 former CIS Player of the Year Jacob Doerksen and the team leading rebounder in 6-5 Tyrell Mara.

The new look Spartans have ten players returning from last year’s squad, but only four of which saw significant minutes at last year’s national championship, and will look to five new faces to blend quickly in order to have success in what will be a wide open Canada West season.

Returning to lead the way for the Spartans will be 6-8 fifth year forward and 2011 CIS tournament all-star Kyle Coston (11 points and 5.3 rebounds per game), 6-5 fifth year shooting guard Calvin Westbrook (13.8 points per game), 5-11 point fourth year point guard Tristan Smith (10.3 points per game) and 6-5 second year guard Eli Mara (3.4 points per game).

The new additions to the squad, who will hope to have an immediate impact, are 6-6 fifth year wing and University of Ottawa transfer Sean Peter, 6-0 second year guard and Lakeland College transfer Justin Bakuteka, 6-7 first year wing Taylor Heinrichs and returning from injury 6-6 third year forward Niko Monachini.

The Spartans spent the preseason, Oct. 8-15, bonding as a team through a University cultural tour of China, where they went 3-0-1 against four top level universities.

With the change in personal TWU has literally turned their game inside out. Last season’s big rebounding and dominating inside game appears to have been replaced with a quick athletic up-tempo squad that will rely on full court pressure, team speed and the long ball to battle for a post season spot in this year’s Canada West season.

WEEKEND PREVIEW

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS
Preseason Record: 4-1-1

During their six-game preseason tour, the Spartans have had impressive showings from the whole lineup. After an early 114-71 loss to Ball State in August, the Spartans are unbeaten in their last five games, which includes a 108-100 overtime win over NCAA Div. 1 Santa Clara and three wins and a tie against university clubs from China.

VICTORIA VIKES
Preseason Record: 1-5
2011 CIS Rank: NA
2011 CW Rank: 5th
2010-2011 CW Record: 16-8
2010-2011 CW Tournament: 1-2
2010-2011 CIS Tournament: NA
Key Returnees: Ryan MacKinnon (G), Zac Andrus (G), Mike Berg (F)
Key Departures: Jeff Cullen, Jeff Spoor, Marco Dolcetti, Wendall Thomas
Key Additions: Michael Acheampong (G), Vijay Dhillon (G), Reiner Theil (G), John Woldu (G)

The Victoria Vikes hope a strong contingent of returning players and a great group of transfers and recruits will translate into a trip to Halifax for the CIS Final 8 National Championships in March.

Key returnees to the Vikes are guards Ryan MacKinnon, Zac Andrus and Reese Pribilsky, and forwards Mike Berg and Pierce Anderson. MacKinnon averaged 16.6 points per game in 2010-11and led the team with 60 steals and 64 assists and has the ingredients to be a conference all-star and CIS All-Canadian with a strong two-way game.

Recruits Vijay Dhillon and Reiner Theil add great depth, with both players leading their respective high school squads to the B.C. Provincial championship final last spring and impressing in preseason. Dominic Ohl and Sean Patrick will also compete for playing time in their rookie season.

Humber College transfer guard Michael Acheampong was the OCAA tournament MVP guiding his Hawks to the Ontario provincial college championship and he adds great outside shooting and speed, while former Windsor Lancers guard John Woldu adds depth at both ends of the floor along with valuable CIS experience.

Forward-guard combo Terrell Evans could be the X-Factor and is expected to start for UVic. Ameet (Andy) Kaila and Ryan Erikson are transfers who provide excellent additional forward options for coach Craig Beaucamp. Returning forward Chris McLaughlin will also see more playing time this season at the No. 5 spot.

The Vikes faced a challenging preseason schedule and posted a 1-5 record. The Vikes won their first game of the preseason but since then have been unable to come out on top. The Vikes preseason has consisted of a variety of CIS, Div. I, and Div. II teams. The last game the Vikes played was a 81-68 loss to NCAA Div. II Western Washington.

-TW-
-source UVIC-

Last Updated: 2011-11-03
Author: Mark Janzen