SPARTANS FACE EARLY TEST AGAINST NO. 2 UBC

MEN’S BASKETBALL (CANADA WEST)
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2012
SEASON/WEEKEND PREVIEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SPARTANS FACE EARLY TEST AGAINST NO. 2 UBC



LANGLEY, British Columbia – The Trinity Western men’s basketball will be in tough in its opening weekend as it hosts No. 2 UBC Friday and Saturday at the Langley Events Centre. Tip-offs are Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 p.m. Both games will be streamed live at www.canadawest.tv.

When the Spartans hit the floor Friday night they will be looking for their first ever win in a home-opener at the Langley Events Centre. Trinity Western will also be seeking its first regular season win against UBC since an 87-78 victory Jan. 8, 2009. The Spartans have never beat UBC at the LEC but the last time they beat the T-Birds in any competition was in the 2011 CIS national championship semifinal when TWU won 74-72.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS
2011-12 Pacific Division record: 10-8 (4th)
2012 playoffs: 0-2 (5th - tied)
2012 CIS: N/A
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
CIS ranking: NR
CW ranking: No. 7

Key additions: Mark Perrin, Denny McDonald, Tonner Jackson (returning after a year off)
Key returnees: Tristan Smith, Eli Mara, Justin Bakuteka, Kurtis Osborne
Key departures: Calvin Westbrook, Kyle Coston, Sean Peter

This year’s Trinity Western men’s basketball team will have vastly different look than that of last year’s edition and especially so within the starting lineup. With three of the Spartans key starters from last year, in Calvin Westbrook, Kyle Coston and Sean Peter, gone, this year’s TWU unit will be a bit of a wild card early on as it’s still a bit of an unknown how the new pieces and the returning pieces will fit together in coach Scott Allen’s guard-orientated offence.

Fortunately for the Spartans, that offence will run through their lone fifth-year in guard Tristan Smith, who will be the only returning starter who will be on the floor for this year’s opening tip-off. Smith will likely be joined in the starting five by Eli Mara, who missed all of last season with an injury, Tonner Jackson, who was at the Laurentian Leadership Centre in Ottawa last year, and third-year college transfers Denny McDonald and Mark Perrin.

While TWU’s starting five indeed has high potential, with the fast-paced speed the team plans to play, the Spartans depth will be tested. While both Kurtis Osborne and Justin Bakuteka should take steps forward and be helpful contributors this year after another year of development, after that, TWU is rather inexperienced. The Spartans have six players entering their first seasons playing at the CIS level and, with very little veteran depth, if TWU is to improve on last year’s first round playoff exit, the youngsters had better be prepared to step onto the floor.
 
Last year, TWU was the third best scoring team in Canada West, averaging 85.4 points per game, but at the defensive end of the court, it was the third worst team in the conference, giving up an average of 85.1 points per game. The Spartans also hit 48.2 per cent of their field goals, which was second best in the Canada West, but at the same time, allowed the opposition to hit 47.2 per cent of its field goals, which was third worst. They were especially leaky from long range as they allowed opposing teams to hit 35.9 per cent of their 3-point attempts, which was second worst in Canada West. However, the team did earn the second best turnover margin in the conference, at +1.78 per game, and will need to keep that up if they hope to move up the standings.

Individually, Smith is the lone returning Spartan who was amongst the conference statistical leaders in more than one category last year. He averaged 12.2 points per game (29th in CW), 5.7 assists per game (3rd in CW), 85.4 per cent from the free throw line (4th in CW) and 2.1 steals per game (6th in CW). Osborne was the other Spartan amongst the league leaders as his 65.1 field goal percentage was tops in the conference.

BRITISH COLUMBIA THUNDERBIRDS
2011-12 Pacific Division record: 13-5 (3rd)
2012 playoffs: 0-2 (5th – tied)
2012 CIS: N/A
Last CW title: 2011
Last CIS title: 1972
CIS ranking: No. 2
CW ranking: No. 1

Key additions: Brylle Kamen, Jared Casey, Conor Morgan, Isaiah Solomon, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, O'Brian Wallace
Key returnees: Doug Plumb, Tommy Nixon
Key departures: Nathan Yu, Kamar Burke, Balraj Bains, Graham Bath, Malcolm Williams

Just five players return from last year's UBC Thunderbirds roster but head coach Kevin Hanson has ably re-tooled the team with key recruits and transfers.

Brylle Kamen, a former NCAA Division I player and O'Brian Wallace, the former leading scorer at Brandon, will suit up for UBC after sitting out last year.

Jared Casey, a 6-11 centre, is the other transfer, having previously played at the University of San Francisco.

The trio of transfers will join guard Doug Plumb and forward Tommy Nixon to make up the veteran core of the squad.

UBC also has the improving David Wagner in the front court, sharpshooting guard Geoff Pippus and combo guard/forward Michael Steele.

Three new high school recruits will play an influential role in the team’s success. Both Isaiah Solomon and Jordan Jensen-Whyte, the brother of former CIS MVP Josh Whyte, are likely to get starts at the point guard position. The last of the freshman group is 6-8 wing player Conor Morgan, who wrapped up a stint with Canada's Junior National Team in the summer.

Last year, the T-Birds were second in the conference in points per game allowed as the opposition scored just 70.3 points per game. Offensively, UBC averaged 83.5 points per game, which was the fifth most in the conference. The T-Birds also led the league in blocks per game, at 3.8, assists per game, at 16.3, and steals per game, at 10.9.

Individually, Doug Plumb is UBC’s highest scoring player returning from last year as he averaged 13.8 points per game (21st in CW) and had a 55.6 shooting percentage (5th in CW).

ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS
2011-12 conference record: 14-6 (2nd, Prairie)
2012 playoffs: 3-1 (CW gold)
2012 CIS tournament: 2-1 (silver)
Last CW title: 2012
Last CIS title: 2002
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #2
 
Key additions: Youssef Ouhrig (G), Kenny Otieno (G), Barnaby Craddock (Coach)
 
Key returnees: Jordan Baker (G), Todd Bergen-Henengouwen (F), Robert Dewar (F), Sahr Saffa (G)
 
Key departures: Daniel Ferguson (G), Matthew Cardoza (G), Lydon Taylor (F), Andrew Bates (F)
 
EDMONTON – Despite a new coach, and some new additions to the roster, the Alberta Golden Bears should be in contention to defend their Canada West title.
 
Last year the Golden Bears finished with a 14-6 record, including 10-0 at home, but caught fire in the playoffs to win the Canada West title and a silver medal at the CIS championship. This year, with a brand new coach in Barnaby Craddock, as well as a solid nucleus of returning players Alberta looks to be a contender once again.
 
Craddock, 2006 CIS Coach of the Year, joined the Golden Bears in the off-season, along with Montreal-born guard Youssef Ouhrig. The 6-0 point guard led the CEGEP league in assists last season, was second in steals and 10th in scoring. In his three years with Champlain College in Quebec, he averaged 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game.
 
Returning to program are starters Jordan Baker (G), who attended a national team ID camp this summer, forwards Todd Bergen-Henengouwen and 6-11 Rob Dewar, and guard Sahr Saffa who was named to the CIS Final 8 tournament all-star team last March. Baker, a former Canada West all-star and CIS all-Canadian, is averaging a near double-double every time he steps on the floor in his career, and will lead the team, while Saffa, who was red-hot to close out last year, will be a key offensive force as well. Bergen-Henengouwen and Baker will control the game inside the paint, giving the Golden Bears great options for scoring all over the floor.
 
Rejoining the team this year is sophomore guard Kenny Otieno. The Lethbridge-born 6-2 guard averaged 6.0 points per game in his rookie season, as well as three rebounds per contest.
 
BRANDON BOBCATS
2011-12 conference record: 7-13 (6th, Prairie)
2012 playoffs:
Last CW title: 2002
Last CIS title: 1996
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #11
 
Key additions: Kenonte Ramsey, Jude Molin, Peterson Suffrard
 
Key returnees: Ilarion Bonhomme, Isaiah James, Jordan Reaves, James Elias, Ali-Mounir Benadbelhak, Emerick Ravier
 
Key departures: Kyle Vince, Donovan Gayle
 
BRANDON, MB – Entering his third-year as head coach of the Bobcats, Gil Cheung will be taking to the court with his deepest roster yet. The team returns a handful of experienced seniors, a pair of sophomores that saw success last season, and welcomes back a familiar face that made quite a name for himself in his first and only season in the Canada West conference thus far.
 
Bobcats 2010-11 team MVP Isaiah James is back after missing the 2011-12 season. The 6’7 forward from San Jose, California quickly made a name for himself as one of the premier defenders in the conference in 2010, as well as logging numerous highlight-reel dunks. James helps shore up a front-court that features fourth-year players in James Elias (6’-11) and Jordan Reaves (6’4), as well as rookie Peterson Suffrard (6’7) from Montreal, Quebec.
 
Other recruits include 6’4 forward Jude Molin from Montreal, and 6’1 guard Kenonte Ramsey from Richmond, California. Ramsey has impressed in the pre-season, averaging nearly a double-double in every exhibition game he’s played in thus far.
 
It’s no secret that the Bobcats will rely heavily on sophomores Ilarion Bonhomme and Ali-Mounir Benabdelhak. Bonhomme was outstanding in his rookie campaign last year, earning Canada West rookie of the year honours while quarterbacking the Bobcats offence. The Washington. D.C. put up stellar numbers (12.2 ppg, 6.0 apg) while logging big minutes (32.2 mpg). Benabdelhak proved to be a threat on both ends as well, averaging 13.6 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game.
 
The Bobcats will also welcome back Emerick Ravier, who proved to be a huge scoring threat before going down with a knee-injury last year. The Ottawa product was leading the team in scoring (16.3 ppg) when he was injured in just the first game back after the holiday break, forcing him to miss the second-half of the season.
 
UBC OKANAGAN HEAT
2011-12 conference record: 3-15 (6th, Pacific)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #15
 
Key additions: Azi Fahandeg-Sadi, Anwar Faza, Mitch Goodwin, Greet Gill, Dave Mackay, Landry Ndayitwayeko
 
Key returnees: Julian Asselstine, Yassine Ghomari, Bret Macdonald, Ed Dane Medi
 
Key departures: Iain Con, Steve Morrison, Simon Pelland, Mack Roth
 
KELOWNA, BC – UBC Okanagan’s new coach, Pete Guarasci has turned over much of the roster from last season’s three win squad. Gone are veteran post players like Simon Pelland and Steve Morrison and in are a gaggle of new players for Guarasci’s first season, a good mix of transfers and highly regarded high school recruits.
 
Bret Macdonald and Yassine Ghomari return for 2012-13. Macdonald was a freshman last season and logged over 30 minutes a game, averaging just under double-digits in points (8.8 ppg.). Ghomari averaged 17.2 ppg., is the team’s perimeter defender, and has the ability to score a number of ways including slashing to the rim and drawing a foul, or shooting the ball from distance.
 
To help with the scoring load a Kelowna native and former member of UBC Okanagan, Azi Fahyandeg-Sadi, has transferred back from UFV. In his one year for the Cascades in a part-time roll Fahanedeg-Sadi (Formerly Ryan Fahandeg) averaged 8.8ppg. and shot 43.8% from beyond the arc.
 
Kelowna Secondary phenom Mitch Goodwin, one of the top high school recruits, has stayed in Canada and is a great athlete with an extra gear and good court vision.
 
Guards Anwar Faza and Landry Ndayitwayeko have joined the Heat from the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC). Ndayitwayeko played last season at Lakeland College where he averaged 10.95 ppg., and 5.0 rpg. for one of the top ranked college teams in the nation. Guarasci coached Anwar at Grant MacEwan and the 6-4 guard averaged 12.92 ppg., and 7.23 rpg.
 
Ed Dane Medi and his high energy game will be back. At 6-4 and a very quick jumper off the floor he will rarely get out-rebounded. To assist Medi in the post will be emerging forward 6-8 Julian Asselstine, a second year player still learning the game defensively but who has a soft touch on his shot, also in the mix is a holdover for the Heat’s days in the college league in 6-5 Dave Mackay (4th year, Vancouver, BC).
 
Greet Gill has quickly adapted to the speed of the game as has shown and advanced ability to rebound as well as hit open jumpers.
 
CALGARY DINOS
2011-12 conference record: 10-10 (4th, Prairie)
2012 playoffs: 1-2
Last CW title: 2009
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #6
 
Key returnees: Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, Matt Letkeman, Josh Owen-Thomas
 
Key additions: Mitch Ligertwood, Dallas Karch, Jasdeep Gill, Clay Mulumba, Thijin Moses
 
Key departures: Tyler Fidler, Boris Bakovic, Dustin Reding, Keenan Milburn
 
CALGARY – Entering his 13th season as head coach of the Calgary Dinos, Dan Vanhooren is getting set to field one of the youngest teams of his career.
 
After graduating four seniors last season, including five-year standout Tyler Fidler along with transfer Boris Bakovic, who ended his career as the leading scorer in Canadian university history, Vanhooren’s crew for 2012-13 is all about youth. On the 15-man roster, just two players are above their third year of eligibility, and the core group should have several years together.
 
Point guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is set for a breakout season after battling injuries through his first three seasons. In just his third season of eligibility after a medical red-shirt year, Ogungbemi-Jackson had a unique experience reaching the semifinal of an international 3-on-3 basketball tournament that took him from Edmonton to New York and Miami over the summer.
 
The experience in the lineup is bolstered by a pair of veteran transfers in forwards Thijin Moses and Clay Mulumba Mbayi. Both had stints in the NCAA and are big bodies that will provide match-up problems for visiting teams. Moses, a Calgary native who played at DePaul University, stands 6-7 and can be a game-changer on offence with his massive wingspan.
 
The Dinos have also brought in a significant group of freshman that Vanhooren expects will see significant playing time this fall. Calgary-area grads Jasdeep Gill and Dallas Karch join Matt Letkeman out of Port Moody, B.C. as the new faces that have already contributed significant minutes during non-conference play.
 
FRASER VALLEY CASCADES
2011-12 conference record: 13-5 (2nd, Pacific)
2012 playoffs: 3-2 (CW silver)
2012 CIS tournament: 1-2 (4th)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #5
 
Key additions: Manjodh Dulay (G), Hudson Simon(F), Kevon Parchment (G)
 
Key returnees: Sam Freeman, Kyle Grewal
 
Key departures: Sheldon Bjorgaard (G), Mike James (F)
 
ABBOTSFORD, BC – The Fraser Valley Cascades finished second in Canada West and made it to the Final Four at CIS Nationals last season. The team went through several changes over the summer and emerged with a new head coach Adam Friesen, the former star basketball player at Trinity Western University, looks forward the challenges of his first head coaching assignment.
 
The Cascades are led by their 2011-12 Male Athlete of the Year Kyle Grewal, who averaged 14.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Grewal had a monster CIS championship tournament breaking UFV’s single game scoring mark with 35 points against St. Francis Xavier University in the bronze medal game. Sam Freeman and James York will also be team leaders, as both average 30 minutes per.
 
Top recruits Kevon Parchment and Hudson Simon will be looked upon to fill the void of the graduated and transferred players from last year’s squad. Manjodth Dulay and Luke Morris are two of the local high school all-stars from last winter who will make an immediate impact on the team’s attempt to go back to the CIS national championship tournament in Ottawa next March.
 
LETHBRIDGE PRONGHORNS
2011-12 conference record: 11-9 (3rd, Prairie)
2012 playoffs: 1-2
Last CW title: 1986
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #8
 
Key addition: Chaz Johnson (G)
 
Key returnees: Derek Waldner (P), Morgan Duce (G), Niko Kovacs (P), Logan Reiter (G), Julian Spear Chief-Morris (G)
 
Key departures: Dom Coward (P), Daryl Cooper (G)
 
LETHBRIDGE, AB – After qualifying for the playoffs and putting together their best conference record in 12 seasons, the Horns were expecting to continue their ascent in Canada West, but if they are to build off last season they will need to do so without Dom Coward and Daryl Cooper.
 
Derek Waldner and Julian Spear Chief-Morris will be counted on heavily in their final season with the program.
 
Morgan Duce, who is the leading scorer among the returnees, Logan Reiter, Nikola Kovac, and Alex Fletcher will have expanded roles in the program. Duce averaged more than 10 points a game and will be counted on to be more than just a deep threat this season.
 
The Horns will also be counting on Kovac’s to be more of a consistent producer in the paint and pick up the slack left behind with departure of Coward.  
 
Junior college transfer Chaz Johnson will also need to contribute strong leadership and smart play at the point guard position to help counteract the loss of Cooper. Johnson transferred from Spokane Community College and did not play last season but the previous season, the 6-0 Spokane native averaged 14.4 points and 4.5 assists per game and was named a second team All East region NWAACC All-Star.
 
MANITOBA BISONS
2011-12 conference record: 8-12 (5th, Prairie)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: 1976
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #10
 
Key additions: Davidson Joseph, Caleb Noel, Wyatt Anders
 
Key returnees: Stephan Walton, Jonar Huertas, Kevin Oliver, Braedon Speer, Xavier Smith
 
Key departures: Richard Reimer, Kurtis Sansregret, Keith Omoerah
 
WINNIPEG – The Manitoba Bisons’ first goal is to make in back to the post-season.
 
Manitoba has upgraded with depth across the board but especially at the inside position. Newcomers in forward Caleb Noel (6-6), forward Wyatt Anders (6-7), forward Brett Jewell (6-6) and guard Davidson Joseph (6-3). The flexibility in depth will allow Manitoba to be much-improved in rebounding.
 
The new roster will be able to still play fast paced, up-tempo like in the past when needed and now can adapt while being more physical and grind out in the half-court when necessary.
 
Manitoba will still have the ‘Big Three’ back for another year and should be top scorers again. Fourth-year guard Stephan Walton (last season: 14.1 points per game), fifth-year forward Kevin Oliver (12.6 ppg) and fifth-year guard Jonar Huertas (11.5 ppg) will be lean upon to score all year long and continue to grow as leaders on and off the court this season.
 
In addition, veterans returning are fourth-year forward Braedon Speer (last season: 8.7 ppg), second-year forward Yigit Ozsayiner (6.3 ppg) and fifth-year guard Xavier Smith (6.0 ppg).
 
MOUNT ROYAL COUGARS
2011-12 conference record: 15-3 (ACAC)
2012 playoffs: 4-0 (ACAC gold)
2012 CCAA tournament: silver medal
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #16
 
Key additions: Aloysius Callaghan, Deng Awak, Matt Matear, Ray Goff
 
Key returnees: Nick Loewen, Awet Abraha, Manok Akwl
 
Key departures: Steve Trinidad, Trent Offreins, Keville Ollivierre
 
CALGARY – The Mount Royal Cougars are  excited about the present, but possibly looking a bit to the future as they take a relatively inexperienced lineup in their first season in the Canada West conference, making the jump from the ACAC.
 
The Cougars return five players from the team that rolled through the ACAC playoffs and went on to finish second in the country at the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championships in Truro, N.S. They have seven new bodies.
 
Among those returnees is Dobell’s lone fifth-year player, 6-5 forward Nick Loewen and a pair of third-year guards, Awet Abraha and Manok Akwl.
 
Among the recruits is shooting guard Aloysius Callaghan, a third-year transfer from Lakeland College.
 
Deng Awak joins the Cougars from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Normally a shooting guard, he is moving into the point guard spot and has impressed Dobell during the non-conference schedule with his ability to make the transition.
 
Jalen Gardener is the incoming other point guard. Originally from Bowness High School, he play prep ball in Maryland last season.
 
Matt Matear, a 6-5 forward from Calgary’s Bishop O’Byrne High School, and Ray Goff, a 6-7 forward from Okotoks Foothills Composite High School, will see plenty of action as first-year players.
 
UNBC TIMBERWOLVES
2011-12 conference record: 13-3 (PacWest)
2012 playoffs: 2-0 (PacWest gold)
2012 CCAA tournament 5th
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #14
 
Key additions: F Navjot Bains, F Gagan Sahota
 
Key returnees: F Sam Raphael, G Francis Rowe, G Joel Rybachuk, F Jose Araujo, F Charles Barton, F Gabe Aubertin, F Daniel Stark
 
Key departures: F Dennis Stark, F Kevan Madsen
 
PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The UNBC Timberwolves are new to Canada West from the B.C.-based PacWest conference.
 
The Timberwolves will be led by head coach Todd Jordan, entering his third year.
 
They return the bulk of their starters who will help the team with their transition from the college to university league. Francis Rowe, Joel Rybachuk, and Jose Araujo will be controlling the ball for the Timberwolves. All three guards have the ball handling skills to compete in the CIS and will be dangerous from the outside. Sam Raphael, Charles Barton and Gabe Aubertin will play inside for the Timberwolves. Both Raphael and Aubertin have the ability to score inside while Barton's play above the rim will benefit UNBC's ball possession. Rybachuk, Araujo, Barton, and Raphael all averaged double digits last season and have shown no signs of slowing during the preseason.
 
The Timberwolves opened the preseason with the Naismith Classic hosted by Waterloo. They went 2-1 and were able to finish first thanks to a favourable points for and against record. Rybachuk was named to the all-star team while Araujo brought home tournament MVP honours.
 
Navjot Bains and Gagan Sahota will be looking to fill the spots of graduated players Stark and Madsen. Bains is a 6-6 forward who has transferred to UNBC from Douglas College, while Sahota is a 6-5 small forward. Sahota spent the last year at Impact Basketball Academy in Las Vegas and will help the Timberwolves by controlling the top of the key. The small forward has shown his ability to play both inside, as well as create scoring opportunities from the outside.
 
REGINA COUGARS
2011-12 conference record: 5-15 (7th, Prairie)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #13
 
Key addition: G Frank Brown
 
Key returnees: P Connor Burns, F Paul Gareau, G Brendan Hebert, G Sterling Nostedt
 
Key departure: F Gradyn Childerhose
 
REGINA – Returning four of five starters from 2011-12 and adding a promising transfer, the Regina Cougars hope to take a step forward this season after missing last year’s playoffs.
 
Leading the group of returners is forward Paul Gareau, who already has a 35-point game to his credit this season in a win over Concordia two weekends ago. Entering his final season in a Cougar uniform, Gareau will almost certainly finish among the school’s all-time top 10 scorers.
 
Fourth-year post Connor Burns transitioned into a starting role last year as and averaged 11.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for the Cougars. He averaged just under 30 minutes per game during the conference schedule and will likely be heavily used again at post this season.
 
The Cougars have mostly gone with a starting lineup through the non-conference schedule that features three guards, including returning players Brendan Hebert and Antonio Tate and junior college transfer Frank Brown.
 
Hebert started for the Cougars last year and had a team-leading 78 assists, while Tate joined the team for the second semester and averaged 13.6 minutes played per game off the bench. Brown was an all-conference selection for Phoenix College last season and will make an immediate impact in the backcourt for the Cougars.
 
Also returning for the Cougars are guards Sterling Nostedt and Darius Mole. Nostedt enters his final season of CIS eligibility ranked seventh in school history with 113 three-pointers made, while Mole served as the team’s starting point guard in 2010-11, but missed all of last season while rehabbing an injury suffered during the non-conference schedule.
 
Medicine Hat College transfer Matthew Augustine, second-year post Vule Grujic, and first-year forward Travis Sylvestre (Michael A. Riffel HS) will also see roles off the bench for the Cougars this season. Also on the roster is second-year guard Ryan Schmidt, first-year guard Jeff Propp (Michael A. Riffel HS), second-year forward Jeremy Zver, second-year post Daniel Osiowy, and first-year guard Kyle Dudley (Balfour Collegiate).
 
SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES
2011-12 conference record: 16-4 (1st, Prairie)
2012 playoffs: 3-1 (CW bronze)
Last CW title: 2010
Last CIS title: 2010
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #3
 
Key additions: Stephon Lamar, Trevor Severinski
 
Key returnees: Ben Baker, Matt Forbes, Patrick Burns
 
Key departures: Jamelle Barrett, Michael Lieffers, Peter Lomuro, Duncan Jones
 
SASKATOON – After being left on the outside looking in, the Saskatchewan Huskies look to a host of new players to lead them back to the CIS championship.
 
The Huskies have picked up where they left off a season ago with a 5-1 preseason record. They return no starters, but are still poised to be a top contender in Canada West. Replacing Canada West MVP and First Team All-Canadian Jamelle Barrett and orward Michael Lieffers will be challenging.
 
Matt Forbes, who saw valuable minutes last season as a freshman, will replace the Canada West Defensive Player of the Year from a season ago in the Huskies frontcourt. Forbes will play a bigger role on the team this year after averaging a respectable 7.5 points and 4 rebounds per game as a freshman.  
 
Saskatchewan will look to last season’s role players to make major contributions this year. Patrick Burns, the only fifth year player on the roster, will be looked to for leadership by a relatively young squad. Burns’ Canada West and CIS Championship experience will be relied on for the Huskies to make another deep run in the playoffs. Third year guard Ben Baker who averaged 22.2 minutes per game last season, will be stepping into a bigger role this season in running the Huskies back court.
 
The Huskies will look to replace lost offence with Stephon Lamar, a San Diego City College transfer. Saskatchewan also added Pitt Meadows, B.C. standout Trevor Severinski. The Huskies continued to add local talent to their roster this off-season, signing Daniel Ostertag, Graham Black, and Matt Harbidge.
 
THOMPSON RIVERS WOLFPACK
2011-12 conference record: 6-12 (4th, Pacific)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #12
 
Key additions: Troy Grant (guard), Tre Haslom (guard),Vince Watson (guard)
 
Key returnees: Kevin Pribilsky (guard), Will Ondrik (forward), Brett Rouault (guard)
 
Key departures: Chas Kok, Justin King
 
KAMLOOPS, BC – The Thompson Rivers WolfPack could be the surprise team of the Pacific Division this season after head coach Scott Clark added several top recruits.
 
New are  guards Troy Grant, Tre Haslom, Vince Watson and forward DJ Oates.
 
With the graduation of Chas Kok and Justin King’s return to his hometown of Las Vegas, it will be ‘scoring by committee’ for Thompson Rivers.  Players who will be looked upon to provide more of an offensive performance will be BrettRouault and Will Ondrik and Brett Parker.
 
The twin towers-identical twins Blaze and Ivan Bozinovic are both 6-10 and should see more court time this season.
 
VICTORIA VIKES
2011-12 conference record: 14-4 (1st, Pacific)
2012 playoffs: 2-3 (4th, CW)
Last CW title: 2006
Last CIS title: 1997
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #4
 
Key additions: G Kyle Peterson, G Brin Taylor, G Dominic Ohl, F Ted Neilson
 
Key returnees: G Michael Acheampong, F Terrell Evans, F Chris McLaughlin, F Pierce Anderson, G Brandon Dunlop, F Reiner Theil
 
Key departures: G Ryan MacKinnon, G Zac Andrus, F-Mike Berg, G Reese Pribilski
 
VICTORIA, BC – The Victoria Vikes graduated three starters from the veteran team was 14-4 last season and are led by head coach Craig Beaucamp, who returns for his 10th season at UVic.
 
The Vikes will need to recover their loss in big shooters from the perimeter by leaning on fifth-year guard Michael Acheampong and fourth-year forward Terrell Evans. The two seniors will need to be the consistent double-digit scorers for the Vikes, who boast six players in their first or second year.
 
First-year Kyle Peterson, of Edmonton, Alta., has already shown to be the most promising of the freshmen class, as he has earned starting minutes in several of the pre-season games as point guard. Peterson along with returning Vike Brandon Dunlop will be key distributers for the UVic side.
 
Dunlop, who previously played two seasons for the Vikes in 2007-08 and 2008-09, returns to the Vikes after taking three years off from playing basketball.  Dunlop played valuable minutes with the likes of CIS stars and former Vikes Tyler Hass and Mitch Gudgeon and is now back on the floor to compete for his third season.
 
Beaucamp will look to six-foot-ten Chris McLaughlin and 6-7 Pierce Anderson in the center role to provide some gritty rebounding in the paint and to be regular contributors on the scoreboard.  
 
Guard John Woldu is out with an injury that occurred during the summer.
 
In the preseason, the Vikes went 3-3 against CIS competition including the Carleton Ravens, Lakehead University and UBC Okanagan. Recently, the Vikes defeated defending Canada West champion Alberta at the Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament in Victoria.

WINNIPEG WESMEN
2011-12 conference record: 4-16 (8th, Prairie)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking:
CW ranking: #9
 
Key additions: Jordan Clennon, Sam Hattin, Seaton George, Jordan Kelly, Steven Wesley, Kristjan Lamont
 
Key returnees: Nolan Gooding, Mark McNee, Andrew Cunningham, Dominique Brown, Benny Iko, Travis Krahn
 
Key departures: Brayden Duff, Eric Zimmerman, Kelvin Smith
 
WINNIPEG – Entering his third season at the helm of the Wesmen, head coach Mike Raimbault is looking to improve on last season’s record.
 
Returning veterans Travis Krahn, Benny Iko, Dominique Brown, Andrew Cunningham and Mark McNee all return from last year’s roster. The team will get an added boost from the return of guard Nolan Gooding, who sat out last season due to a serious knee injury that required surgery. McNee, Brown and Cunningham finished the 2011-2012 as the top three scorers, with McNee leading the team averaging 13.2 points per game. Forward Benny Iko returns for his fifth season. Iko led the team in rebounds (6.1 rebounds per game) and will be a force in the paint this season. Guard Andrew Cunningham, who missed eight games last season due to injury, is capable of both scoring and setting up baskets. Guard Travis Krahn drained 42 three-pointers last season and proved to be dangerous from outside.
 
Coach Raimbault was successful in recruiting six players, with five having previous playing experience at Junior Colleges/Universities. Jordan Clennon last played at Missouri State University-West. Sam Hattin joins the team from Erie College. Seaton George, a 6-6 forward previously played at Algonquin College. Hometown product Jordan Kelly will look to provide depth off the bench. Steven Wesley, from Spokane, Washington had experience at Hardin Simmons University. Rounding out the list of recruits is Kelvin product Kristjan Lamont, who will be looking to make an impression in his first season of university level basketball.

About Canada West
Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), winning at least 10 CIS national titles every year, 1997 to 2010. Comprised of 16 schools from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada West produces numerous major award winners and Academic All-Canadian student-athletes each year, with many going on to athletic success around the globe in pro leagues or events such as the Olympics, Paralympics or Universiade Games. "cwuaa" on Twitter.

A proud member of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)

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Last Updated: 2012-11-01
Author: Mark Janzen