PacWest Preview – Langara College Falcons

Brody Greig - perhaps the most entertaining player to watch in the PacWest - puts up his patented floater over Harp Randhawa during last season's provincial tournament. - Brian Jones Photo

Brody Greig – perhaps the most entertaining player to watch in the PacWest – puts up his patented floater over Harp Randhawa during last season’s provincial tournament. – Brian Jones Photo

Regular-season record: 20-1

Provincial tournament: Gold medallists

National tournament: Bronze medallists

Key returning players:

  • Brody Greig (4th year)
  • Jitt Lohcham (4th year)
  • Elliot Mason (4th year)
  • Glen Ruby (4rd year)
  • Garrett Ling-Lee (4th year)
  • Daniel Hobden (4th year)
  • Matt Madewan (4th year)
  • Martin Appiah (2nd year)
  • Manpreet Parmar (2nd year)

Transfers:

  • Max Neumann (1st year –University of Alberta red shirt in ’12-’13)
  • Daniel Kim (2nd year – Douglas College)

Key losses:

  • Jesse Jeffers (Trinity Western University)
  • Randjodh Hare
  • Devin McMurtry (University of Northern British Columbia)
  • Jeff Chu (University of Northern British Columbia)

Rookies:

  • Jamie Madewan (R.C. Palmer Secondary)
  • Jesse Mushiana (Winston Churchill Secondary)
  • Devante Williams (Northview Heights – Toronto)
  • Nick Jhauj (Red shirt – Enver Creek Secondary)

 

There’s been an emerging theme so far in the PacWest; forget the past, and this is a whole new season.

No such words of wisdom are more true for the Langara Falcons – who look to put their nearly-flawless season in the rearview as they gear up for another run at the provincial and national titles.

In 2012-13, the Falcons lost just one regular season matchup – a 102-100 loss to CBC that ended with Bearcats guard Kevin Ford banking in a three with just 1.8 seconds left in regulation. Before that CBC game, Langara began the season with 12-straight wins, and rattled off another 11 victories thereafter – a streak that stretched from January 25 to March 14, included a PacWest provincial title, as well as an opening-round win at nationals.

But then the wheels fell off an almost-perfect crafted vehicle, as PEI’s Holland College upset the surging Falcons in the national semifinals. Not quite ready to throw away everything they had worked towards, Langara battled back the next day, beating Red Deer and Sheridan to claim bronze.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

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CIS preview – UBC Thunderbirds

Tommy Nixon leads a talented mix of players for UBC in 2013-14. - Photo courtesy: UBC Athletics

Tommy Nixon leads a talented mix of players for UBC in 2013-14. – Photo courtesy: UBC Athletics

Canada West Playoffs: Gold medallists

CIS Final 8: 7th place

Key returning players: Tommy Nixon, Brylle Kamen, Jordan Jensen-Whyte, David Wagner, Isaiah Solomon, Conor Morgan, Michael Steele, Andrew McGuiness

Additions:

  • Tonner Jackson (5th year – Trinity Western University)
  • Harpreet Randhawa (4th year – Douglas College)
  • Kedar Wright (St. Edmund Campion – Brampton, ON)
  • Luka Zaharijevic (Kitsilano)

Departures: Doug Plumb, O’Brien Wallace, Jared Casey

Two years ago, UBC’s starting lineup looked like a B.C. all-star team. It consisted of four fifth-year players – Nathan Yu, Balraj Bains, Graham Bath and Kamar Burke, while fourth-year sharpshooter Doug Plumb rounded out the rotation.

But that squad went 13-4 in the regular season and drew a supremely talented Alberta Golden Bears team in the first round of the Canada West playoffs (Alberta went on to lose in the CIS championship game against Carleton), ultimately underperforming, given the talent they had on paper.

Last year, guided by an inspired Plumb and a slew of younger players chomping at the bit to prove their worth, the Birds turned in an impressive 18-4 regular season record, but fell short in the CIS Final 8 – succumbing to Acadia in the opening round, and then to their provincial rival UVic Vikes in consolation.

Plumb exhausted his five years and is currently making a splash on the European pro-circuit in Hungary, and now once again a talented young cast of T-Birds eagerly plans to prove what head coach Kevin Hanson had in mind while crafting his recruits over the past few years.

Continue reading at North Pole Hoops.

PacWest Preview – Quest University Kermodes

Cartiea French-Toney and the Quest Kermodes look to shift the balance of power in the PacWest. - Brian Jones Photo

Cartiea French-Toney and the Quest Kermodes look to shift the balance of power in the PacWest. – Brian Jones Photo

Regular-season record: 11-10

Provincial tournament: Bronze medallists

Key returning players:

  • Cartiea French-Toney (4th year)
  • Jose Colorado (4th year)
  • Connor Heinrichs (4th year)
  • Mike Zayas-Duran (3rd year)
  • Denzel Laguerta (2nd year)
  • Mike Powell (2nd year)
  • Justin Tryon (2nd year)
  • Daniel Hoffmann (2nd year)
  • Jeevan Bhogal (1st year – red shirt in 2012-13)
  • Mo Dadfar (2nd year)
  • Dylan Kular (4th year – injured, expected to miss season)

Transfers:

  • Shedrick Nelson (4th year – Western Washington)

Key losses:

  • Sunny Johal (University of New Brunswick)
  • Josh Beasley (University of New Brunswick)
  • Brodan Thiel (Graduation)
  • Jesse Norris (Graduation)

Rookies:

  • Paul Getz
  • Noah DeRappard-Yuswack

There’s a hierarchical structure of power in the PacWest.

It used to be VIU, UNBC, and then everyone else. Then UNBC made the jump to the CIS’s Canada West division last year, while VIU maintained their longstanding success and won the CCAA national championship. When Paul Eberhardt returned to the PacWest and took over the head-coaching reigns at Langara last year, he helped elevate the Falcons to an instant powerhouse – going 20-1 in the regular season, claiming the provincial championship, and is now poised to have another great season after returning the bulk of last year’s roster.

But Sean Shook and the Quest University Kermodes feel that there might be a little more room on the pedestal that VIU, UNBC, and now Langara have occupied for the latter half of the last decade.

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PacWest Preview: Vancouver Island University Mariners

Brandon Jones looks to lead VIU back to the national stage in 2014. - Brian Jones photo

Brandon Jones looks to lead VIU back to the national stage in 2014. – Brian Jones Photo

Regular-season record: 16-5

Provincial tournament: Silver medallists

National tournament: Gold medallists

Key returning players:

  • Brandon Jones (4th year)
  • Clayton Billett (5th year)
  • Evan Verdel (5th year)
  • Jason McKee (3rd year)
  • Harrison Stupich (4th year)

Key losses:

  • Adam Connolly
  • Ryan Davidson
  • Tyler Olsen
  • Jon Bethell (injury)

Rookies:

  • Jerod Dorby
  • Seth Goodman
  • Bryson Cox
  • Liam Horne

Last March, after the Vancouver Island University Mariners conquered the CCAA’s best and took home gold in Montreal, they were awarded a plethora of hardware: a banner, individual medals and trophies, and customary championship rings.

But if you search for distinguishing jewelery on head coach Matt Kuzminski’s hands, you’re only going to be able to tell that he’s married, and not a national champion.

He doesn’t want to flaunt it. He doesn’t want to show it off. In fact, he doesn’t even want to think about it.

“We got our ring and everything, but I put all of that stuff away,” said Kuzminski. “I don’t really look at it and I don’t really think too much about the championship. I’m conscious of taking the approach where you have stay hungry and keep trying to get better. Any time you get content, I think that’s where you have a chance to slip up and people are going to pass you by.”

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