Men’s Basketball – vs. the No. 2 Alberta Golden Bears, Friday (8p.m.)*
Men’s Basketball – vs. the No. 7 Saskatchewan Huskies, Saturday (8p.m.)*
*To be played at UBC’s Okanagan campus gymnasium
Men’s Basketball – The 2013-2014 Canada West basketball season is upon the men from UBC Okanagan, as the Heat will play host to the No.2 Alberta Golden Bears and No.7 Saskatchewan Huskies on November 1st and 2nd.
The Golden Bears will have had quite a break since their last exhibition action, having completed the preseason on October 20th after a weekend tournament in Montreal. Over three games, Alberta was able to secure three victories against Guelph, McGill, and Quebec. Meanwhile, the Huskies concluded their preseason with a win versus the Calgary Dinos on October 26th, winning 89-64.
The Heat, meanwhile, finished off the preseason with two losses versus NAIA opponents on October 25th and 26th, losing to Evergreen State in a close one 92-87, and Northwest University 68-56.
This is the first time in conference play either Alberta or Saskatchewan have played in Kelowna.
The Heat will first host the Alberta Golden Bears on Friday, November 1st, and then the Huskies on Saturday, November 2nd. Both games are scheduled for 8 p.m. and will be held at UBC’ Okanagan campus Gymnasium.
If you haven't read the Canada West preview here they are for this weekend's 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.
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.
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.