MEN’S BASKETBALL TIPS OFF AGAINST DINOS, PRONGHORNS

Anthony Ottley

MEN’S BASKETBALL
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2013
SEASON PREVIEW

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEN’S BASKETBALL TIPS OFF AGAINST DINOS, PRONGHORNS

LANGLEY, British Columbia – A new look and fresh-faced Trinity Western men’s basketball team will open its Canada West campaign this weekend with home games against Calgary Friday at 8 p.m. and Lethbridge Saturday at 7 p.m.

Both games can be seen live at twu.canadawest.tv.

The Spartans, who are coming off a 12-10 regular season and a first-round playoff exit, enter this season with much higher expectations. With a number of talented recruits set to complement a solid core, the Spartans will open the season with a fresh slate and lofty goals.

Last year during the regular season, TWU, playing on the road, beat Lethbridge 96-72, but lost to Calgary 93-92.

TRINITY WESTERN SPARTANS
2012-13 conference record: 12-10 (3rd Pacific)
2013 playoffs: 1-2
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #7
 
Key additions: W Anthony Ottley, PG Robert Rodriguez, W Kelvin Smith, PG Tyus Allen, F Jesse Jeffers
 
Key returnees: G Mark Perrin, F Denny McDonald, W Taylor Heinrichs
 
Key departures: PG Tristan Smith, G Tonner Jackson
 
LANGLEY, BC – This year, Trinity will no doubt be a work in progress. But, if all the pieces fit together in time, the Spartans high-end potential is scary good.
 
There are two things one should know about this team. They are athletic and they’re fast. And the Spartans are going to be one exciting, thrill-a-minute team to watch. No matter who they play this year, there’s a good chance they’ll win the battle of sheer athleticism. The question is: how many wins will that translate into? And can coach Scott Allen harness the team’s raw talent to create structured success?
 
Compared to last year, the Spartans certainly look like an improved group. The losses of both Tristan Smith (Los Angeles) and Tonner Jackson (Surrey, B.C.) will be felt in at least a leadership capacity, but on the court, Allen has done well to replace the departed talent.
 
After finishing fifth in Canada West scoring last year with 18.2 points per game, Mark Perrin (Toronto) is back and set to take his game to another level. Look for more of the same from Perrin in his second year in the CIS, but with a stronger supporting cast.
 
The player to watch this year and the one who has already impressed TWU fans with his high-octane abilities is Anthony Ottley (Toronto). Transferring from Durham College, Ottley is a difference-maker who could quickly turn into one of the conference’s most dynamic players. With fellow transfer Kelvin Smith (Los Angeles) pushing him for minutes, the two will create fits for the opposition.
 
At point guard, the battle for minutes will be waged between fourth-year transfer Robert Rodriguez (Sacramento, Cali.) and first-year Tyus Allen (White Rock, B.C.). Expect the two players to split duties early on as they compete for starting minutes.
 
Up front, Denny McDonald (Mississauga, Ont.) has returned this fall looking like a much improved player and was arguably TWU’s best player in the preseason. Anything less than an improvement on last year’s 11.2 points per game and 5.7 rebounds per game would be a disappointment. McDonald will be joined at the forward position by Taylor Heinrichs (Coquitlam, B.C.), who will take on a much bigger role this year after averaging 13.9 minutes per game last season. Heinrichs and transfer Jesse Jeffers (North Vancouver, B.C.), the latter of which is back for his second go-round at TWU after spending last year at Langara College, will push each other for minutes in the post.

After a 12-10 season last year and a first round playoff exit, the Spartans enter this year aiming a whole lot higher. And with the talent on this team, there’s reason to believe the potential could be realized sooner than later.

CALGARY DINOS
2012-13 conference record: 13-9 (5th Prairie, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: 2009
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #6
 
Key additions: Josh Turner, Philip Barndt, Jhony Verrone
 
Key returnees: Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, Matt Letkeman, Josh Owen-Thomas
 
Key departures: Thijin Moses, Mitch Ligertwood
 
CALGARY – The youth movement continues for the University of Calgary Dinos men’s basketball team as head coach Dan Vanhooren enters his 14th season at the helm.
 
Though there’s a core of veteran faces, there are seven new players on the 14-man roster. With that youth has come inconsistency throughout non-conference play, but Vanhooren knows he has a talented roster that has the potential to challenge the top teams in the conference once they come together.
 
The Dinos went 2-4 over two weekends of non-conference play, defeating McMaster and Westminster College (Utah) while falling by just two to Cape Breton in their home tournament at the Calgary Cup.
 
Unquestionably, the team’s go-go guy will be fourth-year point guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson. The Winnipeg native averaged nearly 21 points per game for the Dinos last year and earned first-team all-star status in Canada West, and his veteran savvy, leadership, and solid play on both ends of the court will be the foundation of anything the Dinos are able to accomplish this season.
 
Ogungbemi-Jackson is joined in the backcourt by talented newcomer Josh Turner, who has the potential to crack the top-five in conference scoring. Veterans Josh Owen-Thomas and Matt Letkeman are back and will provide additional leadership to the squad, while Vanhooren brought in transfer Philip Barndt from Rocky Mountain College in Montana to help shore up the forward group. Clay Mulumba Mbayi is also back up front, and he’ll look to overcome the injuries that have plagued his career and limited his playing time over the last two seasons.
 
The Dinos open conference play this weekend when they head on the road to face Trinity Western and Fraser Valley. Calgary begins its home schedule the following week when the Winnipeg Wesmen visit the Jack Simpson Gym Nov. 8-9.

LETHBRIDGE PRONGHORNS
2012-13 conference record: 12-10 (6th Prairie, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: 1986
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #12
 
Key additions: Brandon Brine (F), Brent Watkins (C), Rob Olsen (G), Jared Baker (F)
 
Key returnees: Morgan Duce (G), Logan Reiter (G), Alex Fletcher (G)
 
Key departures: Derek Waldner, Julian Spear Chief-Morris
 
LETHBRIDGE, AB – While the Lethbridge Pronghorn finished the 2012-13 season two games above 500 and increased their win total to 12, the season ended with disappointment by missing the playoff by two wins.
 
For the 2013-14 season, the ‘Horns have seen major changes to the program. The most notable change being the school naming alumnus Mike Hansen the 10th head coach in the programs history after Dave Adams resigned from his position following last season to pursue other opportunities outside of coaching.
 
In addition to the leadership change, the roster received a complete overhaul with only five players from last season’s roster returning. A quartet of guards and reserve post remain with the program and will be led by seniors Morgan Duce, Logan Reiter and Alex Fletcher.
 
Reiter and Duce both averaged double digit points per game last season and will be counted on heavily to increase their scoring totals after the departure of the top two scorers from last season in Derek Waldner and Julian Spear Chief-Morris.
 
The biggest shoes to fill will be Canada West second team all-star post Waldner. After five years with the program, Waldner leaves the program with his name mentioned among the all-time best to wear a ‘Horns jersey. In his final season, he led the nation in rebounding and finished his career setting a new all-time rebounding record with 872 and moved in to fifth on the ‘Horns all-time scoring list with 1139 points.
 
Among the nine newcomers to the program, Australian Brandon Brine, as well as ACAC all-stars Rob Olsen and Jared Baker are expected to make significant impacts in their first season with the program. 6’10” post Brent Watkins could be a wildcard with the ’Horns, after transferring from Citrus College in California. Watkins, who did not play High School basketball, comes to the ‘Horns with raw talent and will be relied on to be a presence in the paint for the Pronghorns. In his second season with Citrus last year, Watkins averaged 9.2 points and 7 rebounds per game while hitting nearly 75% from the field.

Here is a look at the other Canada West men’s basketball teams.

ALBERTA GOLDEN BEARS
2012-13 conference record: 14-8 (4th, Prairie)
2013 playoffs: 1-2
Last CW title: 2012
Last CIS title: 2002
 
CIS ranking: #2
CW ranking: #1
 
Key additions: Joel Friesen (G), Mamadou Gueye (F), Czar Robotham (G), Ethan Dixon (G)
 
Key returnees: Jordan Baker (G), Todd Bergen-Henengouwen (F), Robert Dewar (F), Sahr Saffa (G), Kenny Otieno (G), Youssef Ouarhig (G)
 
Key departures: none
 
EDMONTON – Ranked #1 in Canada West and #2 in CIS, the Alberta Golden Bears are loaded and poised to compete for a championship.
 
Sophomore Golden Bears coach Barnaby Craddock, a CIS coach of the year (2007) who guided a team to a CIS silver medal performance (2007), boasts a roster with as many as six returning starters, as well as two of the last five Canada West Rookie of the Year winners, three former Canada West all-stars and three former CIS honourees. Fifth-year guard Jordan Baker is back after an injury plagued 2012-13 season, and is on the cusp of Golden Bears greatness. The Edmonton product, who is on the national program’s radar, is already Alberta’s all-time rebounding leader, and is second in all-time scoring. A solid 2013-14 campaign will enshrine his name as, perhaps, the best basketball player in U of A history. Joining Baker for their final years of eligibility are forward Todd Bergen-Henengouwen, the 2012-13 Canada West Ken Shields nominee, 6’10 forward Rob Dewar and guard Sahr Saffa, who was named to the 2011 CIS championship all-star list after he helped Alberta to a national silver medal showing. Guards Kenny Otieno and Youssef Ouarhig, Canada West first team all-star and rookie of the year respectively, also return to bolster Alberta’s deep line-up.
 
Joining the roster are former two-time Canada West all-star Joel Friesen, two-time CEGEP MVP Mamadou Gueye from Quebec City, and guard Czar Robotham, who hails from Las Vegas. Friesen, like Craddock, comes to the Bears after time with the Fraser Valley Cascades, while Gueye comes the Quebec league that produced Ouahrig. Robotham, a transfer from the Canadian Colleges Athletics Association, will be eligible to hit the hard court in December.
 
The Bears managed a 9-2 preseason record, and will open the conference season on the road against the UBC-Okanagan and the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack on November 1st and 2nd.
 
After a 14-8, and early playoff exit, last year, the Bears know that the time is now for a run at the conference and national titles. With a veteran, experienced, talented and proven line-up, augmented with the additions of Friesen, Guyeye and Robotham, Alberta appears poised for redemption in 2013-14. But, as always, getting out of the Canada West conference will prove difficult. Victoria (No.5), Saskatchewan (No.7) and UBC (No.8) are all ranked in the CIS Top 10, and perennial conference powers, while Calgary will also be a tough opponent.
 
Alberta’s home opener will be on the November 8-9 weekend when they take on the Regina Cougars.
 
BRANDON BOBCATS
2012-13 conference record: 6-16 (8th Prairie, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: 2002
Last CIS title: 1996
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #9
 
Key additions: Mikee Dosado, Ryan Hawley
 
Key returnees: Ilarion Bonhomme, Isaiah James, Jordan Reaves, James Elias, Ali-Mounir Benadbelhak
 
Key departures: Pacome Matulu, Peterson Suffrard, Michael Smith
 
BRANDON, MB – The Bobcats will hit the floor this season with their most experienced roster in years as they return all five starters from last year, and add some key pieces that they hope will take them back to the Canada West playoffs.
 
Fifth-year players Jordan Reaves, Emerick Ravier and James Elias are all expected to play big roles this season. Reaves, who led the Bobcats in scoring and rebounding last season, will shoulder a lot of the load on both the offensive and defensive ends. The 6-foot-4 forward has yet to play on a Bobcat team with a winning record, and will be looking to change that this season.
 
Ravier is returning from a knee-injury that forced him to miss all of last season. The Ottawa product sustained a complete tear of his ACL in January of 2012 in a league game against Regina, and has been sidelined since. Now the 6-foot-3 guard is healthy he’s shown flashes of his old self in the pre-season, most recently putting up 20 points in just over two quarters of play on October 19 against the Dakota College Jacks.
 
Elias adds size (6-foot-11) as well as the ability to spread the floor with range from beyond the arc.
 
The Bobcats also return 2011-12 Canada West rookie of the year Ilarion Bonhomme, who leads a talented group of guards that includes returner Kenonte Ramsey, Vanier College transfer Mikee Dosado, and Garden City Collegiate product Ryan Hawley. Bonhomme was recently named the University of Winnpeg Lea Marc Tournament Most Valuable Player.
 
Rounding out the projected starters for the ‘Cats are Ali-Mounir Benabdelhak, who missed most of the second-half of the season last year with a broken collarbone, and Isaiah James, who also missed time last year with a broken foot. Both are healthy this year, and are expected to have an impact. Benabdelhak comes back to the Bobcats after a busy summer of playing for Algeria’s men’s national team.
 
UBC THUNDERBIRDS
2012-13 conference record: 18-4 (1st, Pacific)
2013 CW playoffs: 4-1 (CW gold)
2013 CIS tournament: 0-2
Last CW title: 2013
Last CIS title: 1972
 
CIS ranking: #8
CW ranking: #3
 
Key additions: Andrew McGuinness, Tonner Jackson, Luka Zaharijevic
 
Key returnees: Brylle Kamen, David Wagner, Isaiah Solomon, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, Conor Morgan, Tommy Nixon
 
Key departure: Doug Plumb
 
VANCOUVER – Head coach Kevin Hanson, who became just the third person to win 200 regular season games in Canada West history last year, brings back most of the squad that captured the conference title on home court in 2013.
 
The returnees include the dynamic and versatile forward trio of Brylle Kamen, David Wagner and Tommy Nixon, who were third, fourth and fifth on the team in scoring, respectively. Kamen also led UBC in rebounding, highlighted by back-to-back 21-rebound performances last season. Second-year forward Conor Morgan, a former Junior National Team member, was an excellent option off the bench and will challenge for more playing this year.
 
Joining the forward group are highly-regarded recruit Luka 'The Bazooka' Zaharijevic and Douglas College transfer Harpreet Randhawa.
 
Jordan Jensen-Whyte and Isaiah Solomon shared the point guard duties as rookies last season. They will be complimented by shooting guard Andrew McGuinness, a former University of Calgary player, and rookie Kedar Wright, a combo guard out of Ontario.
 
The other big addition to the team is guard/forward Tonner Jackson, formerly of Trinity Western University. He's now a Masters student and has been impressive in pre-season action. The team's lone fifth-year senior is another guard/forward, Michael Steele, who was second on the team in field goal percentage last season.
 
UBC OKANAGAN HEAT
2012-13 conference record: 5-17 (8th Pacific, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #13
 
Key additions: Ryan Linttell, James Lum, David Manshreck, Mike Zayonc, Stuart Wallensteen
 
Key returnees: Mitch Goodwin, Yassine Ghomari, Greet Gill, Ed Danhe Medi, Landry Ndayitwayeko
 
Key departures: Dave Mackay, Azi Fahandeg-Sadi, Anwar Faza
 
KELOWNA, BC – This will be a transition year for Heat head coach Pete Guarasci, as he heads into the Canada West season with five fifth year players on the roster, and eight players in their first or second year of eligibility.
 
Given the mix of inexperience and age the second year head coach will hope his veteran players are able to pick up where they left off at the end of last season, winning three of their final five games to close out the 2012-13 schedule, and the large group of young players will pick up on the offensive and defensive system early to have a strong start to the 2013-14 campaign.
 
The backcourt could be a position of strength for the Kelowna team as team captain Yassine Ghomari (Vancouver, BC) and his team leading 123.5 ppg. returns for his final year of eligibility, he will once again be paired with the talented Kelowna product, sophomore Mitch Goodwin. In Goodwin’s rookie season he led the nation in freshman scoring with a points-per-game average of 13.4. These two each averaged close to 30 minutes a game last season but will find relief this year with a mix of returning players and key additions.
 
Simon Fraser transfer James Lum, a talented point guard out of Vancouver will be the only player on the roster in neither his fifth year nor his first or second, he will see plenty of court time and will be key it keeping the offense from cooling off. Lum averaged 15.3 ppg. and 5.32 assist per game in his last season in the PACWEST and has led the team in scoring this preseason. Other notables that will help in the backcourt will be a pair of fifth years in Landry Ndayitwayeko (Windsor, ON), who can really shoot the ball and Brad Quevillon, a hard-nosed defender from BC basketball factory Kitsilano Secondary.
 
Another transfer from Simon Fraser that will see plenty of playing time is freshman David Manshreck. Another wing is fifth-year, Ed Dane Medi. Sophomore 6-3 Greet Gill led the team in rebounding last season as a freshman and will gobble up any ball he can get his hands near.
 
FRASER VALLEY CASCADES
2012-13 conference record: 12-10 (4th Pacific)
2013 playoffs: 2-3
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #11
 
Key additions: Amrit Gill (P), Gurminder Kang (G), Kadeem Willis (F)
 
Key departures: Kyle Grewal (F), James York (G), Sam Freeman (G)
 
ABBOTSFORD, BC – The UFV Cascades have a new look for 2013-14, gone are the leaders of the team that won a berth in the 2012 CIS championship tournament in Halifax. Coach Adam Friesen, entering his second year at UFV, has assembled a strong unit around second year guard Kevon Parchment, Toronto, Ontario who finished second in scoring last year with a 21.6 points per game average. Kevon started 21 of the 27 games last year and was named Canada West Male Athlete of the Week, for December 1st.
 
Parchment is joined in the backcourt by fifth year guard Klaus Figueredo, Calgary, Alberta who stepped up in the Saskatchewan post season three games quarterfinal series to average 20 ppg during the playoff, Figueredo recorded 20 steals and 15 assists 12 regular season games.  Coach Friesen will also be counting on second year guard Aaron McGowan, Toronto, Ontario to quarterback the offense, McGowan played in 11 games last year but looks to be healthy and ready to step in and take on the workload of starting 22 regular season games.
 
Kadeem Willis, Toronto, Ontario comes over from Lakeland College Rustlers (ASAS, CCAA) where he was an all-star for the Alberta school.
 
MANITOBA BISONS
2012-13 conference record: 14-8 (3rd Prairie)
2013 playoffs: 0-2
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: 1976
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #10
 
Key additions: Andre Arruda, Justus Alleyn, Dan Penner, Mike Holloway
 
Key returnees: Stephan Walton, Yigit Ozsayiner, Wyatt Anders, Amir Ali
 
Key departures: Jonar Huertas, Kevin Oliver, Braedon Speer, Xavier Smith, Davidson Joseph, Caleb Noel
 
WINNIPEG – After a great battle to make the playoffs in 2012-13 season, the Bison men’s basketball team lost six players who played starter minutes as they head into the 2013-14 Canada West conference.
 
Manitoba still has a solid core of veterans and new rookies that have provided a spark already in the pre-season and the team expects to be a playoff team again this season despite a very tight division and conference.
 
This team starts with 2012-13 Canada West Second Team All-Star, captain and fifth year guard Stephan Walton. His presence on the court (ninth in Canada West scoring with 17.3 points per game last season) as the ‘quarterback’ at the point guard position helps the offence run and, when he returns after missing the pre-season, will give the Herd a boost with one of the premier players back playing in Canada West.
 
Along with Walton, third year forward Yigit Ozsayiner, fourth year forward Wyatt Anders and fourth year guard Amir Ali provide leadership, skill and experience with this young squad.
 
Manitoba looks to continue to run in transition yet also be more physical inside and seek to control the glass with their big men.
 
There are four rookies that have already played significant minutes in the preseason - Andre Arruda is a 6’4”, 180 lbs. forward, Justus Alleyn is a 6’2”, 180 lbs. guard, Mike Holloway is a 6’1”, 175 lbs. guard and Dan Penner is a 6’7”, 225 lbs. fifth-year forward and comes from perennial CIS powerhouse Carleton University program.
 
MOUNT ROYAL COUGARS
2012-13 conference record: 5-17 (7th Pacific, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #14
 
Key additions: Jared Cornish, Derek Wolf
 
Key returnees: Awet Abraha, Jalen Gardener, Deng Awak
 
Key departure: Nick Loewen
 
CALGARY – The Mount Royal Cougars had a less than stellar debut in Canada West last season finishing in a tie for last place in the Pacific division. Their sophomore year is looking much brighter as they now how a better understanding of what it takes to succeed at the next level. Their core group of starters returns from last season as well as some new talents mixed into the bunch.
 
Back at it this season will be Awet Abraha, Jalen Gardener and Deng Awak all of whom played a big role for Head Coach Marc Dobell last season. Abraha the team’s leading scorer with 14.5 PPG will be given every opportunity to reclaim his scoring crown as the ball will be in his hands in most situations. Jalen Gardiner (6.5 PPG) and Deng Awak (6.1 PPG) will supplement the scoring and help out on defense. They will however be without Nick Loewen who was second on the team in points last year averaging 13.7 PPG.
 
Second year guard Jared Cornish returns to the team after two seasons away from the game. The Bowness high school product will look to help Abraha with some of the ball handling. The Cougars will also introduce another new guard, Derek Wolf. The Penticton native will look to make an immediate impact on the floor this season after red-shirting last year.
 
The Cougars have a very realistic shot at making the playoffs this season. Last year the fourth place team in the Pacific made the playoffs with a sub-500 record. The Cougars can obtain a winning record if they stick to their game plan and make certain that they win against the beatable teams and perhaps steal a game or two from the league’s giants.
 
UNBC TIMBERWOLVES
2012-13 conference record: 6-16 (6th Pacific, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #16
 
Key additions: F Franck Olivier Kouagnia, G Jibreel Stevens, G Jeff Chu, F Devin McMurtry
 
Key returnees: F Daniel Stark, F Charles Barton, G Billy Cheng, F Gagan Sahota
 
Key departures: F Sam Raphael, G Francis Rowe, G Joel Rybachuk, F Jose Araujo
 
PRINCE GEORGE, BC – The 2013-14 season will mark the UNBC Timberwolves second year participating in the Canada West conference. With the core of last seasons team not retuning the Timberwolves will be trying to build on last season with a whole new look.
 
The Timberwolves will be lead by head coach Todd Jordan, who is entering his fourth year as the men's head coach.
 
The men’s team started out strong in their first season but the increase in the level of competition quickly became evident. At the Christmas break the Timberwolves sat comfortably with a 5-5 record, one of those wins an upset against the visiting Saskatchewan Huskies. After the break the team faced a few bumps in the road and did not win again until their final game of the season against the Mount Royal Cougars.
 
Notable returnees from last year’s roster include Daniel Stark (Prince George, BC), Charles Barton (Vernon, BC), and Billy Cheng (Richmond, BC). Both Stark and Barton play power forward while Cheng takes care of the backcourt.
 
Missing from the Timberwolves line up this season will be Sam Raphael (Prince George, BC), Jose Araujo (Toronto, BC), Joel Rybachuk (Vernon, BC), and Francis Rowe (Victoria, BC).
 
To fill the spots of the four graduated players coach Jordan has brought in four transfer players, two of which are international transfers. Originally from Yaoundé, Cameroon Franck Olivier Kouagnia spent the last three years in the UK playing for Coventry University. Kouagnia is a 6’7 forward. Jibreel Stevens (Tacoma, WA) played two years of junior college basketball in Washington. Transfers from Langara College are Jeff Chu and Devin McMurtry.
 
The Timberwolves open their second Canada West season on the road in Winnipeg, MB on November 1 and 2. UNBC will take on the Manitoba Bisons November 1 followed by the Winnipeg Wesmen on November 2.
 
REGINA COUGARS
2012-13 conference record: 7-15 (7th Prairie, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #15
 
Key additions: Wesley Jones, Will Tallman, Brandon Tull
 
Key returnees: Matthew Augustine, Addison Docherty, Brendan Hebert, Darius Mole, Travis Sylvestre, Jeremy Zver
 
Key departures: Frank Brown, Connor Burns, Paul Gareau, Sterling Nostedt
 
REGINA –Regina will have a completely new look this season, and that starts right at the top. The Cougars have a new bench boss as Steve Burrows takes over as the team's head coach following a long tenure at the U of R as an assistant.
 
The team loses three starters from last year's squad that went 7-15 in Canada West play, but return experienced guards Brendan Hebert and Darius Mole. Hebert started all 22 games for the Cougars and averaged over six assists per game, while Mole has long been a fan favourite at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health & Sport and will be counted on to help stabilize a youthful U of R squad.
 
Making his way back onto the Cougar roster is Will Tallman, who last played with Mount Royal and also suited up for the U of R back in 2008-09 as a first-year player. Tallman averaged 5.8 minutes per game that year, but he'll be counted on to play a much bigger role for the Cougars this season. Joining Tallman in the front court will be Lakeland College transfer Wesley Jones, who has already been turning heads with his abilities on the defensive side of the ball.
 
Fifth-year guard Addison Docherty is the lone player in his final season of CIS eligibility, while the Cougars will also look for big contributions from third-year players Matthew Augustine and Jeremy Zver.
 
The lone second-year player on the roster is forward Travis Sylvestre, who will look to build on a fine rookie campaign which saw his role increase dramatically as the season went on. Out of the eight first-year players on the roster, Brandon Tull (Ajax, Ont. / Phelps HS) has had the biggest impact so far and Burrows also expects Ryan Delwo (Regina, Sask. / Sheldon-Willams Collegiate), Luke Girke (Melbourne, Australia / St. Michael's), and Kade Marra (Melbourne, Australia / Elisabeth Murdoch College) to make contributions as rookies.
 
The new-look Cougars will be tested in a big way this weekend in their home openers against UBC and Victoria on Friday and Saturday nights at the CKHS.
 
SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES
2012-13 conference record: 16-6 (1st Prairie)
2013 playoffs: 1-2
Last CW title: 2010
Last CIS title: 2010
 
CIS ranking: #8
CW ranking: #4
 
Key additions: Dadrain Collins, Mack Burns
 
Key returnees: Stephon Lamar, Ben Baker, Matt Forbes
 
Key departure: Patrick Burns
 
SASKATOON – Stopped before the real ride began, the University of Saskatchewan Huskies will look to experiences gained as a team last year to lead them back to the CIS championship.
 
Saskatchewan finished first in the Canada West Prairie Division in 2012-13 with a 16-6 record but were upset as hosts of a quarter-final series by the Fraser Valley Cascades. It was the second straight year the Huskies finished first in the division and second straight year, the Huskies failed to return to the Final 8 stage after strong regular seasons.
 
The 2013-14 squad returns an experienced group including Canada West MVP Stephon Lamar and Canada West Defensive Player of the Year Ben Baker. In addition, the Huskies add import-transfer Dadrian Collins and highly-touted Saskatchewan high school recruit Mack Burns.
 
In Lamar’s first season in the Canada West, the point guard from San Diego, CA, led the conference in scoring averaging 22.9 points per game and added 116 assists. Baker finished fifth in the conference with 47 steals and 13th in rebounds with 7.4 per game, while averaging 13.4 points in his 33 minutes per game. Starting forward Matt Forbes will continue to play a big role for the team in the front court after finishing 2012-13 averaging 17.4 points per game and seven rebounds per game as a sophomore.
 
Replacing fifth-year forward Patrick Burns 32 minutes a game is Collins. Collins played three seasons with Howard University in the NCAA where he was named to the MEAC All-Rookie team after leading the Bisons in three-point shots and free throws in 2009-10. High school recruit Mack Burns has the potential to contribute immediately up front for the Huskies. The 6-6 freshman won city championships with the Campbell Collegiate Tartans in Regina and will look to grow as a tough player in the Canada West.
 
The Huskies open the season on a B.C. swing trip November 1-2 playing the Thompson Rivers WolfPack and UBC Okanagan Heat. Saskatchewan returns home November 8-9 to host the Brandon Bobcats.
 
THOMPSON RIVERS WOLFPACK
2012-13 conference record: 8-14 (5th Pacific, missed playoffs)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #8
 
Key additions: Tallon Milne (F), Josh Wolfram (F), Reese Pribilsky (G), Gerard Gore (F)
 
Key returnees: Troy Grant (G), Will Ondrik (F) Zach Usherwood (G)
 
Key departure: Kevin Pribilsky
 
KAMLOOPS, BC – Scott Clark’s fourth season at the helm of the WolfPack will likely be an improvement over 2012-13.  That is a safe assumption.  Since Clark came to Thompson Rivers, the basketball program has improved every year.
 
The 2013-14 edition of the basketball team has some key recruits with varied experience along with a core of players who have learned over the past few years what Clark’s expectations are.
 
Clark recruited three players who are returning to CIS basketball after a year or so away.  Tallon Milne ( 4th year, forward, Vanderhoof, BC) has experience with Simon Fraser University, Josh Wolfram ( 3rd year, forward, Kamloops, BC) spent two seasons at the University of Calgary while Reese Pribilsky (3rd year, guard, Victoria, BC) has two years of CIS experience under his belt with the University of Victoria.
 
The shrewd recruiter he is, Clark has dipped into the international market to grab two players who played Community College basketball in the U.S. last year in Ta’Quan Zimmerman (guard, Waterbury, CT) and Gerard Gore (forward, St. John’s, Antiqua).  
 
He also added Anton Dixon (3rd year, guard, Ipswich, UK) who has played university basketball in the U.K. along with Concordia University/College in Edmonton, Alberta last year. Returning veterans who will be expected to provide more offensive input are Will Ondrik (3rd year, forward, Vernon, BC),  Zach Usherwood (3rd year guard, Coquitlam, BC),  Brett Parker (4th year, guard, Langley, BC) and Brett Rouault (4th year, guard, Vernon, BC).
 
Troy Grant (2nd year, guard, Brampton, ON) surprised a lot of people with the amount of court time he got as a rookie.  He has all the tools to be a dominant guard in the Canada West for years to come.
 
After waiting a year, highly touted local player Spencer Jaroszuk (1st year, forward, Kamloops, BC) is set to make his debut in the CIS in 2013-14.  
VICTORIA VIKES
2012-13 conference record: 16-6 (2nd Pacific)
2013 CW playoffs: 3-1 (CW silver)
2013 CIS tournament: 1-2 (6th)
Last CW title: 2006
Last CIS title: 1997
 
CIS ranking: #5
CW ranking: #2
 
Key additions:  G Marucs Tibbs, G Mack Roth, G Patrick Pilato, G Junior Sesay, G Jordan Charles
 
Key returnees: F Terrell Evans, F Chris McLaughlin, G Kyle Peterson, G Reiner Theil
 
Key departures: G Michael Acheampong, F Pierce Anderson, G Brandon Dunlop
 
VICTORIA, BC – The Victoria Vikes graduated three veterans from last year’s team that went 16-6 in the regular season and finished sixth overall at the CIS Final 8.
 
Head coach Craig Beaucamp returns for his 11th season with the Vikes and will be looking to repeat his national championship appearance with the help of returning senior forward and Canada West All-Star Terrell Evans. Six-foot-ten forward Chris McLaughlin is expected to pull a lot of the weight under the hoop, while 2012-13 point guard Kyle Peterson returns for his second season but this time as a shooting guard.  
 
The Vikes boast an impressive freshman class highlighted by newly-appointed point guard Marcus Tibbs, who has already logged critical minutes in pre-season. In addition the Vikes gain the talents of freshmen guards Patrick Pilato, Junior Sesay, Jordan Charles, as well as forward Mack Roth.
 
Throughout the pre-season the Vikes had their taste of competition, finding wins over the Concordia Stingers, Concordia Cavaliers, Wlifrid Laurier, Bishop’s and 2013 CIS finalists Lakehead. At the annual Hugh-Laughton tournament, the Vikes fell to the defending national champions, the Carleton Ravens, despite putting on a good effort that held the Ravens to a six-man performance. Overall the Vikes have been 5-2 in their pre-season.
 
Reigning two-time Canada West Coach of the year will also return to the mix third-year guard Reiner Theil, senior Ryan Erikson, as well as fifth year John Woldu, who was out last year for a knee injury.
 
WINNIPEG WESMEN
2012-13 conference record: 14-8 (2nd Prairie)
2013 CW playoffs: 3-1 (CW bronze)
Last CW title: N/A
Last CIS title: N/A
 
CIS ranking: N/A
CW ranking: #5
 
Key additions: Jelane Pryce, Ryan Oirbans, Tynan Reyes, Christopher Baxter, Kurtis Sansregret
 
Key returnees: Andrew Cunningham, Steven Wesley, Travis Krahn, Jordan Clennon, Jamar Farley, Sam Hattin
 
Key departures: Benny Iko, Nolan Gooding, Dominique Brown
 
WINNIPEG – Head coach Mike Raimbault entering his fourth season with the Wesmen will have the luxury of having several returning players from last year’s squad back in the fold for the 2013-2014 season.
 
A pair of fifth year players and co team captains, Andrew Cunningham and Steven Wesley will be back looking to make more noise than last year. Wesley led the team in scoring averaging 16 points per game during the regular season. Cunningham led the conference in assists last season will once again run the offense for the Wesmen. Fourth year guard Travis Krahn, drained a Canada West high 64 three-pointers last season will once again be looked upon for outside scoring. Guards Jordan Clennon and Sam Hattin both return and will each see more of the court especially with the departure of Nolan Gooding. Jamar Farley and Kristjan Lamont both were on the court for limited minutes last season are back looking for more playing time in their second seasons with the team. Guard Kurtis Sansregret who previously played for Manitoba will provide added depth at the guard position,
 
Coach Raimbault was successful in recruiting four athletic and highly skilled players to the program. Jelane Pryce a third year forward from Innisfill, Ontario has shown in pre-season action that he is ready for the CIS level. Christopher Baxter from Inglewood, California will add speed and depth at the guard position. Ryan Oirbans a 6-9 forward from Melbourne, Australia will provide size and inside scoring and rebounding. Two time Provincial high school champion Tynan Reyes joins the team and has shown promise during the pre-season.

About Canada West Universities Athletic Association
Canada West is consistently the most decorated of the four conferences in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, winning 100 CIS national over the last 10 seasons. Comprised of 17 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. canadawest.org / canadawest.tv / @cwuaa on Twitter
 
A proud member of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

-TW-
-Canada West-

Last Updated: 2013-10-30
Author: Mark Janzen