In an effort to give all our readers on the northern side of the border the best look at all things Canadian basketball, the Can Ball Report has what we anticipate will be the first of many CIS basketball previews. To give you a deeper look at the CIS and the teams for the coming season, we had enlisted the help of one of our esteemed colleagues Mark Wacyk from www.cishoops.ca. He has been writing about CIS basketball on his site for several years and is considered an authority on the scene by many CIS insiders. Mark updates is site daily with the latest news on all things CIS basketball from Vancouver to St. John's and is always on top of anything that goes down, up or in between. We thank Mark for not only his time on this preview but his determined effort to help promote the game. So without further adieu, here is the first Can Ball Report's CIS Preview.
Who is the top team in the CIS?
Carleton until proven otherwise; despite losing two All-Canadians and the Defensive Player of the Year, it is the system that sustains this program as everyone understands that you must defend and you must rebound to play. Virtually everyone on the floor is a threat to shoot the 3 and they may have the best overall pure post player in the nation in 6’8" Kevin McCleery.
Which other teams should be making some noise during the season?
In the Canada West Conference, keep an eye on UBC with POY candidate Josh Whyte and a roster full of blue chip talent as well as Trinity WesternTrinity Western with defending Moser Award winner Jacob Doerksen plus two key transfers 6’6" Tyrell Mara (Portland St.) and 6’5" Calvin Westbrook (Cal State-Stanislaus). The Calgary Dinos also have a imposing, veteran front line which features 6’6" fifth-year seniors Robbie Sihota and Ross Bekkering plus 6’9" three-man Tyler Fidler. In Manitoba, Brandon University with Moser candidate 6’3" Dany Charlery and several newcomers including a pair of Americans should be heard from by year end.
In the OUA, the McMaster Marauders received a key transfer in 6’6" Keenan Jeppesen who has the skills to propel the Marauders back to the Nationals. The University of Toronto Varsity Blues also has a veteran laden lineup and is coached by one of Canada’s finest mentors in Mike Katz. Also keep an eye on Ottawa which has Moser candidate 6’4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe returning.
Out east in the AUS, Dalhousie has a formidable starting five led by another POY candidate in 6’1" Simon Farine while St. Francis Xavier, Cape Breton and Saint Mary's all are talented enough to contend for the conference title.
Who are your Top Ten team’s going into the coming season?
Current Pre-Season Top 10 are as follows:
6. Cape Breton
7. Trinity Western
10. St. FX
* Note that the first CIS Top Ten was published Tuesday by the CIS on www.cis-sic.ca*
Who is the top player in the CIS this season?
The best player in the CIS this year is the defending 2009 Moser Award winner Jacob Doerksen. (Last year’s winner averaged 20.5 points, 10.75 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.8 steals)
Who else should we be looking for to give Doerkson a run for the Moser Award this year?
In no particular order, these are names that should be heard of throughout the season: Josh Whyte (UBC), Ross Bekkering (Calgary), Keenan Jeppesen (McMaster), Josh Gibson-Bascombe (Ottawa), Boris Bakovic (Ryerson University), Simon Farine (Dalhousie), Christian Upshaw (St. Francis Xavier), J.F. Beaulieu-Mahieux (Laval), Dany Charlery (Brandon), Showron Glover (Saskatchewan),
Who is the top rookie in the CIS?
When it comes to the top rookie there are several candidates. I wasn’t able to pinpoint just one so here are ten players, in no particular order, to keep on your radar for the early part of the season: Chad Posthumus (UBC), Jordan Baker (Calgary), Lien Philip (Windsor), Enrico DiLoreto (Windsor), Clinton Springer-Williams (Brock), Owen Klassen (Acadia), Onnex Blackwood (Bishop's), Dejan Kravic (York), Ryan Christie (McMaster) and Tyson Hinz (Carleton). There may be others that come up as the season continues but these names should be right up there.
Who are your First Team All CIS selections for the year?
Again, another tough prediction since the talent across the country is so even in the CIS. Here are who I would expect to see on the First and Second Team All CIS:
(In no particular order)
Josh Whyte, Guard - UBC
Jacob Doerksen, Forward - Trinity Western
Dany Charlery, Guard - Brandon
Keenan Jeppesen, Forward - McMaster
Josh Gibson-Bascombe, Guard - Ottawa
Kevin McCleery, Forward - Carleton
J.F. Beaulieu-Mahieux, Forward - Laval
Mark McLaughlin, Guard - St. Mary's
Christian Upshaw, Guard - St. Francis Xavier
Simon Farine, Guard - Dalhousie
Who is the top coach in the CIS?
There are several excellent coaches across the country but only one with teams having won six of the last seven National Championships and that is Dave Smart.
Which teams are on the rise?
The programs that are on the rise for me are McMaster, Trinity Western and the University of New Brunswick. All have a great mix of veteran and new players to make a move up the standings in their conferences and maybe even make it to the National Championships.
Which school has the best recruiting class for 2009-10?
The best recruiting class has got to go to Windsor who got four top flight guys in Enrico Di Loreto 6’1" G (London, ON/HB Beal), Josh Collins 6’0" PG (Thornhill, ON/Vaughan), Justin Wiltshire 6’6" F (transfer/Lincoln Trail Junior College; 2.3 ppg in 2008-09) and Lien Phillip 6’7" C (Toronto, ON/IMG Academy). They were highly recruiting talents that could play for virtually every team in the CIS and make a significant contribution.
Are there any others schools who had great recruiting classes of note this year?
Trinity Western has a great one with two NCAA transfers in Tyrell Mara and Calvin Westbrook, both of whom will likely start for the Spartans, plus 6’8" forward Clint Wickham who was last season’s BCCAA Player of the Year at Langara College.
UBC brings in 6’11" Chad Posthumus and NCAA transfer Denny Dumas plus 6’5" Kamar Burke who came by way of Thompson Rivers. UBC now has at least 3 rotation-ready players who can provide immediate help at three spots.
The University of Alberta likely added five rotation guys in Todd Bergen-Henengouwen 6’5" F (Picture Butte, AB/Picture Butte), Jordan Baker 6’7" F (Edmonton, AB/Harry Ainlay), Jamaal Bucknor 6’7" F (transfer/Concordia College; 12.9 ppg in 2008-09), Rob Dewar 6’11" C (Guelph, ON/NEDA), Khas Tokar 6’1" G (transfer/Grand Prairie College; 21.5 ppg in 2008-09). All could be starters from day one and minute sharing will be a problem for Coach Francis, but in this case it’s always good to have more talent.
Brock has two top flight starters in 6’4" athlete Clinton Springer-Williams and 6’8" big man Brian Nahimana (London, ON/Montcalm). Mac adds grad student Keenan Jeppesen, and rookies Ryan Christie and Victor Raso while Acadia welcomes Owen Klassen, Anthony Sears, Jonathan Kamba all of whom should provide a large role in their respective teams’ turnarounds this year.
What was the best news in the CIS this past summer?
The best news was talk of sixteen team national tournament by the CIS to replace the current eight team format. A move to larger field of teams gives more fans the opportunity to experience tournament atmosphere (similar to the NCAA Tournament I imagine) and hopefully market CIS basketball more effectively to a bigger national audience.
* For more daily CIS hoops news please check out www.cishoops.ca *