CIS Off-season Update #1

Although we are still more than 4 months away from the start of the next school year in September, 2016, recruiting/transfer news continues to trickle in.  Hot off the presses over the last day or so was the commitment of 6’3″ Jaaden Lewis (Thornhill Thornlea) to the Nipissing Lakers.  North Pole Hoops has Lewis listed as their #75 ranked player in the class of 2016.  Head Coach Chris Cheng, a native of Scarborough and graduate of York University, continues to recruit the GTA hard – Lewis will be one of at least 5 (and probably counting) players who hail from the Toronto area.  Cheng begins his third season in North Bay with a career record of 7-45 (actually 8 if one includes last season’s loss to York which was forfeited by the Lions) including 3-35 (4-34 with the forfeit) in OUA league play.  However, Cheng has taken a patient route to building his program, for the most part eschewing a roster dominated by transfers instead trying to build a foundation of young talent that grows with the program.  To that end, along with Lewis, Nipissing announced earlier that 6’1″ Kasey Paul-Buzas, a native of Montreal who recently graduated from Thetford Mines, Quebec Prep, has also committed.  Cheng’s first recruiting class netted an OUA All-Freshman team choice in 6’7″ Kalil Langston (Brampton, ON).  Lakers did announce one notable transfer early last season 6’5″ Addy Ogunye (Brampton) a transfer from Lakehead however Ogunye does not appear on Lakers roster at this writing… Six-time CIS defending National champions Carleton Ravens are being rewarded with a team trip to Italy beginning in late May.  Ravens will take this past season’s group to Caorle, Italy for training and games which should provide another opportunity for 6’5″ Guillaume Boucard, who has completed his five years of CIS eligibility, to showcase his game to potential European pro teams.  Boucard looks to continue Carleton’s impressive list of graduates playing professionally in Europe in what has become an annual rite for top Ravens graduates.  Despite losing Boucard and top rotation guard Gavin Resch, the Ravens are once again loaded with their returning roster plus highly-touted 6’8″ Will Kohler (redshirt last season) plus 6’4″ Joe Rocca and 5’11” Sean Stoqua among the new faces expected to contribute… Expect 6’7″ Jake Newman, the Surrey, B.C. native who graduated from prestigious White Rock Christian Academy before spending one season with Lafayette (NCAA Division 1 Patriot League) and was on the Ravens roster last season, to transfer to UVic… McGill Redmen lost two key pieces to graduation in 6’5″ Vincent Dufort and 6’4″ Tychon Carter-Newman and are still looking to add some talent at the guard spots, especially now that 6’2″ Jawara Pedican has decided to transfer, likely back home with U of T Varsity Blues being the likely destination.  The Blues would likely welcome Pedican for 2017-18, especially given that 6’2″ Sharon, MA native Devon Williams, who just completed his freshman season, has decided to move back home, opening up a spot on the wing for Toronto… McGill received a commitment from Montreal native 6’0″ Kendrick Jolin (Salisbury Prep) who should help provide stability at the point guard position… Manitoba Bisons had a terrific break-through season culminating in a Canada West Final 4 appearance in Calgary that was ultimately marred by a series of fouls late in the third quarter that turned a tight game into a route.  Kirby Schepp‘s group is poised to make a longer post-season run next season with a roster that returns everyone except big man Wyatt Anders.  Bisons also were hampered by the injury-plagued season of Brandon transfer 6’1″ Illarion Bonhomme, who it was revealed recently played through a cracked ankle injury.  Expect a healthy Bonhomme to allow Manitoba to play even more up tempo both offensively and defensively.  Schepp added depth at the wing forward spot with the signing of 6’7″ James Wagner, a Manitoba provincial team star and the best player in Winnipeg this past season, out of John Taylor High. Schepp is preparing to join Roy Rana’s staff on Canada’s U-18 FIBA Americas qualifying tournament in Chile during the summer… Ottawa Gee-Gees welcome two new transfers next season:  6’2″ Adam Presutti (ex-McMaster) and 6’8″ Jean Pierre-Charles (ex-Carleton) in an effort to replace three graduating stalwards in 6’5″ Vikas Gill, 6’2″ Medhi Tihani and Moser Award winner Mike L’Africain, who is expected to sign a professional contract in Europe in the coming weeks.  uOttawa may also have some churn on the coaching staff as Associate Head Coach Justin Serresse is a strong candidate for the Laurier Golden Hawk head coaching position after legendary mentor Peter Campbell announced his retirement this past season.  Serresse and current Hawk assistant Jamie Campbell are familiar with each other from their time together at Laurentian… Ex-Gee-Gees reserve wing 6’4″ Mo Ismail, who sat out last season, has resurfaced at Brock and will join the Badgers with 2 seasons of eligibility remaining.  Brock, which loses 6’8″ Matt Marshall, 6’2″ Zac Angelini and 6’1″ Nate Gardner to graduation and therefore returns only 4-5 rotation players, should benefit from Ismail.  But coach Charles Kissi has not stopped improving the core of his roster, announcing the signing of 6’6″ lefty Cassidy Ryan (transfer Canisius NCAA Division 1 originally from Mississauga) and 6’6″ Daniel Cayer (Montreal John Abbott).  Expect Brock to go at least 8 or 9 deep next season with quality – recall depth was a key issue last season… Second-year Waterloo Head Coach Justin Gunter has wasted little time making a recruiting mark in his home city with the signing of three local Waterloo stars from OFSAA-level Sir John A. MacDonald in what is essentially Gunter’s first real recruiting class with the Warriors.  6’5″ Nedim Hodzic, a native of Bosnia and SJAM’s top players, headlines this class thus far, with the potential to be an impact workhorse from Day One for Waterloo.  Gunter also signed Hodzic’s teammates 6’3″ Simon Petrov and 6’4″ Justin Hardy to a team that has plenty of playing time available.  Gunter appears to be using patience in building his group with young, freshman talent rather than loading up early on transfers.


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