CIS Alumni Bekkering, Hinz gain top Dutch league honors

With a hat-tip to our ever-informed Western Canada correspondent, we are pleased to report that a pair of former CIS All-Canadians playing in Holland continue to perform at a high level in professional international leagues as 6’7″ Ross Bekkering (Calgary) and 6’6″ Tyson Hinz (Carleton) both received high honors as the All-Dutch Eredivisie Awards 2016 were announced recently.  Bekkering, who plays from Groningen, which finished the regular season in third place at 21-7, garnered Player-of-the-Year honors in the league while Hinz was named First Team All-Star.  Hinz played for Zwolle, which finished first in the regular season before losing to Groningen in the fifth game of the Best-of-5 championship final.  Another Canadian, London, ON native 6’9″ Dejan Kravic, who left York Lions after two seasons, later finishing his collegiate career at NCAA D1 Texas A&M, was named to the Second Team.  Another tremendous testament to the talent level of our high-end players in the CIS and the ability for the CIS to be a proper training ground to a professional basketball career.  Congratulations to our CIS alumni and their continued success.<!– –>



Updating Canada’s projected roster for Manila

With the unfortunate loss due to injury of 7’0″ Kelly Olynyk (recent shoulder surgery/5 months of rehab) and the advance to the NBA Finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers putting the timing of 6’10” Tristan Thompson‘s participation in question, Canada’s projected roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament in Manila in early July – especially at the forward spots – remains in flux.  Going forward, the team is set to assemble in the next couple of weeks to prepare for their first 2 games of the tournament:  Tuesday, July 5th vs. Turkey (6:30 AM Eastern time start) and Wednesday, July 6th vs. Senegal (6:30 AM Eastern time start) – just 5 weeks from tomorrow.  No word yet on whether or not these games will be televised live.

Here is one view of the depth chart that Canada’s coaching staff could be looking at presently (* – denotes potential new addition to last summer’s roster):

Point Guards:  Cory Joseph, Tyler Ennis*,  Phil Scrubb, Kevin Pangos

Shooting Guards: Nik Stauskas, Brady Heslip

Wings:  Andrew Wiggins, Melvin Ejim, Aaron Doornekamp, Dyshawn Pierre*

Bigs:  Tristan Thompson, Trey Lyles*, Anthony Bennett (free agent), Robert Sacre

Among the Unknowns:  Andrew Nicholson (restricted free agent), Dwight Powell (restricted free agent who does have a qualifying offer on the table), Jamal Murray* (NBA Draft eligible on 23rd June 2016), Kyle Wiltjer* (NBA Draft eligible).

Cory Joseph remains as loyal to the Canadian program as any player in recent memory; the Toronto native confirmed his participation in the wake of the Raptors game six loss vs. Cleveland.  Joseph is in fact the only “name” player with meaningful senior team & NBA experience to thus far publicly state his commitment to Coach Jay Triano‘s side for this summer.  When queried last month regarding his participation, 6’7″ Andrew Wiggins came back with a “cross that bridge when we come to it” response; the same level of clarity on Wiggins status exists today.  Cleveland’s Thompson sits near the same loyalty scale as Joseph, his very reasonable sit-out last summer for contract reasons notwithstanding and most expect the rim-protecting rebounder to suit up, although maybe with some rest prior to the actual qualifying tournament.  Milwaukee’s 6’3″ Tyler Ennis, who missed last summer with a shoulder injury, is healthy and is expected to play for Canada this summer, supported by comments in mid-March by his father Tony McIntyre, when the Bucks were in town to play the Raptors.

6’10” Andrew Nicholson‘s contract status remains uncertain.  According to an April 7th article by Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins, beat writer for the Orlando Magic:  “It’s unclear whether (the Magic) will make a qualifying offer to Nicholson, a 26-year-old power forward.”  Nicholson, who also has been a loyal player with Canada, shares the same agent (Mark Bartelstein) as fellow Canadians 6’5″ Nik Stauskas – who has yet to confirm that he will play this summer – 6’10” Kyle Wiltjer and 6’3″ Kevin Pangos.  Wiltjer and 6’5″ Jamal Murray both are likely to wait for the NBA Draft on June 23rd before committing (note that the Draft is only about 16 days before the actual games in Manila).  Many expect Murray to not be available, at least for the early portion of the summer, given the timing of the Draft.

Dallas Mavericks 6’9″ reserve forward Dwight Powell, a restricted free agent but who does have the option to sign a $1.2 million qualifying offer for this upcoming season, has the potential to fill 25-30 minutes per game for Canada – he was plagued by nagging injuries last summer that restricted his time.  6’9″ Trey Lyles, the 12th pick in the first round of last season’s NBA draft by Utah, signed a multi-year contract with the Jazz but has also yet to publicly confirm his participation this summer.

To summarize, in just 5 weeks from tomorrow (Tuesday), Canada plays their first game of the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Manila and just one of our core NBA players who have played for Canada in the past (Cory Joseph) has officially committed to playing.  Other NBA notables (Andrew Wiggins, Nik Stauskas, Andrew Nicholson, Dwight Powell, Trey Lyles) have not confirmed participation, with Thompson clearly and legitimately first focusing on an NBA championship run with the Cavs.

With Canada set to assemble for camp in early June to start preparation for late June pre-tournament games and subsequent travel to the Philippines for their first game only 5 weeks for tomorrow, there remain more questions than answers regarding the 12-man roster for the Qualifier.  Coach Triano and staff can only hope that more clarity is achieved sooner than later as Canada tries to erase the terrible memories of Mexico last summer and qualify for Rio 2016.


To get ready for the OQT, Canada will gather for a week of training on 10 June in Toronto. The squad will then leave for Europe and take part in an exhibition tournament in Italy, arriving in the country on 17 June.

Their friendly games against Croatia will be on 20 June and 23 June. Two days later will be a clash with China, following by a game the next day against an opponent that is still to be confirmed. Canada’s last friendly will be against Puerto Rico. They will take on the Boricuas on 29 June before leaving for the Philippines.

Canada, meanwhile, have announced that Dave Smart, David Vanterpool and Bryan Gates will serve as assistant coaches to Triano.


Blue-chipper Nugent adds to Guelph’s recruiting class

Guelph Gryphons continue to add to what is becoming one of the deepest recruiting classes in the country with the commitment of 6’5″ wing Aaron Nugent, originally from Mississauga Lorne Park S.S. who spent last season at Stanstead Prep in Quebec City.  Nugent becomes the sixth recruit in Coach Chris O’Rourke‘s latest class as the Gryphons prepare for their move into their brand new Athletic Center.  Gryphs finished strong last season, knocking off CIS Bronze medal winners Ryerson Rams at home in a late season game and are scheduled to lose only 6’2″ Jack Beatty, a reserve in the rotation, from last season’s roster.  Originally set to graduate in 2017, Nugent decided to come out early – he only turns 18 years of age in July.  Nugent was rated as #31 prospect in Hoops Hype Canada’s Fab 40 2017 National Rankings released last summer.

Gaels on verge of conference contention


Steph Barrie‘s Gaels were one defensive stop away from the biggest road playoff win in maybe the history of the program before Moser Award winner Mike L’Africain‘s runner at the buzzer saved the hometown Gee-Gees in an OUA quarter-final playoff in early March.  But this program has come a long way since Barrie’s arrival five years ago this month, culminating this past season in an 11-8 OUA league record and a home playoff win against Toronto Varsity Blues.  The GTA has always been fertile recruiting ground for Barrie and lead Assistant Jermaine Small; Gaels have a history of attracting talent from strong academic schools and this season is no different as Queen’s brings in at least 6 new faces to augment their 8 returning rotation players.  Queen’s returns OUA All-Star 6’4″ Sukhpreet Singh for his 5th and final season – last season Singh established himself on the national scene as an upper-end offensive talent, scoring in double digits in every game all season highlighted by a 39 point effort at Carleton – Queen’s led that game late in the second half – 30 points vs. Windsor and 36 against Lakehead, among others.  Budding all-OUA forward 6’6″ Tanner Graham, who started to fulfill a large part of his oozing potential in his sophomore season with a blend of strength and athleticism that made him a match-up challenge and one of the top emerging rim protectors in the conference, should also be a 30+ minute per game guy going forward.  Expect 6’11” Mike Shoveller, already an asset beyond the 3 point line when left open, to make that next step to impact post presence, especially given that 6’8″ Ryall Stroud has graduated.  In the back court, Gaels lose lefty shooter Andrew Mavety and reserve pg Mark Paclibar but return 6’4″ Vincent Wood, another high potential multi-talented wing who had an injury-plagued freshman season after graduating from Toronto Brebeuf.  Mavety will be tough to replace, especially given the slick shooting southpaw made 21 of his final 36 three-pointers last season.  To ensure Queen’s has enough perimeter shooting, Barrie brought in one of the better recruits in Ontario in 6’4″ wing Harry Range, originally from Kanata All Saints before transferring to play his final two seasons at Kiski Prep in Pennsylvania, starting in his final season.  Expect Range to step in to meaningful minutes immediately.  Adding some experience and proven OUA talent, Queen’s has secured the commitment of 6’4″ Richard Iheadindu, who was a steady starter/rotation player for 4 seasons at York, most recently in 2014-15 (13.0 ppg), before enrolling in a Master’s program at Queen’s – he will be eligible immediately for the Gaels and expects to be an immediate contributor also.  Dipping further into the large GTA talent pool, the Gaels also have added 6’5″ Luka Sevaljevic, originally from Toronto French School who played this past season at Mercersburg Academy Prep near Philadephia and 6’7″ Henry Van Herk from Toronto Leaside.  Sevaljevic is a multi-skilled wing who should get rotation time, especially if – as advertised – he can knock down open shots – while Van Herk is a long, skilled “Euro 4″ type who continues to grow into his body.  Finally, Gaels went out of province to secure two high-end athletes – both with 40″ + verticals – in 6’4” Michael Ogoms and 6’4″ Landon Brickendon from B.C.  Ogoms, originally from Winnipeg St. Paul’s, spent last season at Brewester Academy in New Hampshire and is the son of former Manitoba Bisons and Canadian National team star Joe Ogoms.  The elder Ogoms was recently inducted into the Manitoba Basketball Hall-of-Fame.  While Barrie has addressed depth on the wing and up front, there remains a need to upgrade the talent and depth at the lead guard spot where incumbent 5’10” Sammy Ayisi has shown signs of growth but more is needed.  Expect Queen’s to continue to upgrade their talent and push toward that elusive OUA Wilson Cup Final 4 appearance.

Olynyk shoulder surgery lands big blow to Canada

The shoulder problems that plagued 7’0″ Kelly Olynyk for much of the latter part of this past NBA season were addressed recently as Olynyk underwent surgery.  According to Providence Journal’s Scott Souza, Olynyk has been told he will need about 5 months of rehab before he is cleared for contact.  This is a terrible blow to Canada’s hopes of qualifying for the Rio Olympics as Olynyk was by far our best all-round player at last summer’s qualifying tournament and thought to be a 30-35+ minutes per game guy in Manila.  With both 6’10” Andrew Nicholson and 6’9″ Dwight Powell entering free agency without the security of a signed deal, suddenly Canada’s projected front line for Manila OQT has thinned out considerably.  With both 6’10” Tristan Thompson and 6’2″ Cory Joseph going far into the NBA playoffs and recent non-committal comments from 6’7″ Andrew Wiggins, the coaching staff has some strong thinking to do with the Manila Olympic Qualifying tournament less than 6 weeks away (5th-10th July 2016).  We hope to have more on this unfortunate situation however reading Souza’s piece it is apparent that surgery and proper rehab are the proper steps for Olynyk to take for his long-term health and career.  We wish Kelly a speedy recovery.

CBU lands new coach; Recruiting updates

As was widely expected and alluded to here on this site a few days ago, 37 year old Quebec City native Dave Petroziello was introduced as the newest Head Coach at Cape Breton University, replacing Matt Skinn who resigned earlier this year.  Petroziello, who inked a four-year deal with the Capers, has travelled far and wide before landing his first CIS men’s head job, spending his last 5 seasons of coaching in the CCAA at 3 different schools, most recently completing a two-year stint at the end of the 2014-15 season at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, AL;  Petroziello also coached one at Olds College Broncos (Olds, AL between Red Deer and Calgary (2012-13)) and two seasons at Calgary’s Saint Mary’s University College with the Lightning (2010-11, 2011-12).  His coaching journey included gigs in B.C. and in Australia, where among his postings was Head Coach of a women’s professional program.  His only prior CIS experience was an Assistant at Simon Fraser in one of their final seasons prior to making the move to NCAA DII; Petrozeillo was on Coach Scott Clark’s staff with the Clan in 2008-09 when SFU went 14-9 in Canada West league play and had Greg Wallis as a conference all-star.  With Cape Breton losing 3 starters (6’4″ Kelson Devereaux, 6’8″AUS Defensive POY Meshack Lufile and 6’3″ Cedric Kasongo) plus reserve 6’6″ A.J. Geugjues, representing almost 100 minutes per game of floor time per game from last season’s AUS quarter-final participant, Petroziello already has his work cut out for him coming into this season getting the position so late in the recruiting process.  Add in the transfer of 6’3″ Kayon Mayers to Western and Capers returns only 5 main rotation players (6’5″ Kenny Jean-Louis 4th year, 6’1″ guard Seth Amoah, wings 6’4″ Kyle Hankins and 6’5″ Tevin Bartley plus 5’11” AUS All-rookie team selection Jack MacAulay).  With only 6’3″ Columbus, OH native Seth McCoy signed for next season, Petroziello can promise plenty of PT to any late signees he may be able to attract to Sydney.  Recall Capers blew a late fourth-quarter lead to Acadia in the first round of the AUS tournament this past season, watching as Axemen guard Ben Miller scorched CBU for 14 points including 4 3’s in the final 4 1/2 minutes of action to pull out a one-point win.  Then-freshman Bartley played a major role for CBU in that game, scoring 14 points, many after halftime in helping Capers push the Axemen…  Western signed an interesting prospect in 6’6″ Dylon Gregory, who spent last season at Tennessee Prep Academy after a star studded career at Brampton’s St. Edward Campion and Hoops Canada Elite club team.  Gregory, who is ranked #34 in the Class of 2016 by North Pole Hoops, joins what is rapidly becoming an impact Mustangs recruiting class that includes 5’10” Tyler Thomson, 6’7″ Chris Clegg (BTB Elite), 6’7″ Daniil Shesterinin (Bishop Reding Milton) and the aforementioned Meyers from CBU as Coach Brad Campbell rebuilds after suffering heavy graduation losses this past season… McGill added another potentially strong piece to what is a deep and talented class with the commitment of 6’9″ Petar Basta from famed Etobicoke program Martingrove Bears.  Basta is described as a long wing span Euro-type 4 with good perimeter skills.  Basta was ranked #39 in the Class of 2016 by North Pole Hoops.

Sask and CBU announce newest 2 U.S. import recruits

While generally always competitive in Canada West throughout the past 15-20 seasons, the Saskatchewan Huskies program arguably took on national prominence, culminating in a CIS National championship in 2010, when Huskies upgraded their back court to include a series of U.S. imports, usually at the lead guard spot.  Indeed, the likes of Stephon Lamar (2012-14), Jamelle Barrett (2010-12) and Showron Glover (08-10) were instrumental in guiding those great Huskie teams that culminated in the program’s first-ever National championship in Ottawa.  The past couple of seasons without a sterling point guard have witnessed a steady decline in the Huskies production, culminating the shocking playoff miss this past season.  While they did earn a spot at the CIS Nationals in 2015, the Huskies were embarrassed that season by eventual-champion Carleton Ravens in the first round – in two prior CIS Final 8 match-ups with the Ravens produced a Huskies win and then a classic semi-final game in Halifax – one of the best CIS games in recent memory – that Ravens outlasted Sask – and last season’s disappointing playoff miss for the first time in recent memory.  Not co-incidentally, the past two seasons, the Huskies have not have – with all due respect to U.S. import Mike Scott – that star-quality, go-to guard to make most big decisions.  Apparently the coaching staff has taken notice and with their most recent recruiting announcement, Saskatchewan looks to rekindle their dynamic back courts of prior years, again dipping into U.S. colleges with their latest apparent-gem in 6’1″ Jalen White, who spent his first two post-secondary seasons at South Carolina State, NCAA Division 1 program in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) before sitting out last season.  As a freshman in 2013-14, White averaged 7.2 ppg and 22 mpg for a 9-21 Bulldog team – White was 1 for 15 from downtown as a freshman.  His PT dropped as a sophomore in ’14-’15 as he averaged 5.7 ppg/18 mpg including 10-25 3’s for an 11-22 team that finished 7-9 in the MEAC.  White is a native of Chicago who spent his final season of high school at Kennedy Charter H.S. in Charlotte, NC.   White’s first three seasons in high school were at Butler H.S. in Chicago before transferring to Kennedy, where he averaged 14 points and seven assists a contest at one point. Coming out of Charlotte, White was also garnering interest from Division 1 program The Citadel, Appalachian State, the College of Charleston and Charlotte before settling on South Carolina State.  White is expected to carry on the tradition of top-end CIS guard imports in Saskatoon that Lamar, Barrett and Glover put in place… While the program has yet to officially announce a Head Coach to replace Matt Skinn who resigned to be closer to family in Calgary, Cape Breton Capers have received a commitment from an intriguing prospect, 6’3″ Seth McCoy, who spent his post secondary year at Hargraves Military Academy in Chatham, VA after a stellar high school career in Columbus, GA where he started at Canal Winchester H.S. before transferring to Northland High and then back to Canal for his senior season.  McCoy is touted as a long-range shooter and is likely to be a strong house-warming gift for whoever takes over the regins in Sydney for the Capers…  For those in the GTA this coming weekend, consider attending Canada Basketball’s NCCP Super Clinic which features former Cleveland Cavaliers Head Coach Dave Blatt and newly-minted Phoenix Suns Assistant Jay Triano among the key speakers.  CIS men’s coaches Dave DeAveiro (McGill) and Roy Rana (Ryerson) are also participating… Waterloo’s Justin Gunter got a commitment from what sources indicate is a very good perimeter shooter in 6’2″ Jesse Figueiredo from Nantyr Shores S.S. in Innisfil, ON just outside Barrie.  Figueiredo is a top end, high character student and figures to have a solid career as a combo guard as part of Gunter’s rebuilding of the program at Waterloo.


X adds size, CIS coaching & NCAA games

Adding to an already-large and quality recruiting class, St. FX Coach Steve Konchalski has rounded out his incoming group after confirming a commitment from 6’6″ wing Nick Russell from Hill Academy in Brantford.  Russell started his high school career at Mississauga’s Joan of Arc Catholic before joining Hill last season in the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association where he averaged 9.9 ppg for an 8-4 club with a game-high 21 point effort.  Russell is one of four X recruits from the OSBA including teammate 6’0″ Justin Andrew also from Hill.  Two others, a pair of 6’5″ wings in Gavin Pearce and Nick McKee are alums of Bill Crothers, which plays in the same conference.  Konchalski and staff have brought in a talented group to what promises to be a more competitive environment in Antigonish as X tries to quickly erase the memory of two non-playoff seasons… UNB has also announced the addition of 6’5″ Tyrel Edwards, originally from Hamilton, ON who has experienced his own basketball odyssey after leaving Brebeuf High School in 2009 to attend Huntington Prep, former home of Andrew Wiggins.  Edwards began his post-secondary career at famed Vincennes Junior College (12.3 ppg/3.5 rpg in ’10-’11) before sitting out ’11-’12 to upgrade academically.  Edwards then transferred to Division 1 Canisius College in Buffalo where he played sparingly in ’12-’13 before transferring:  first to Campbellsville (KY) of NAIA but did not play before surfacing later in the ’13-’14 season at Dalton State, another NAIA school.  Edwards played 6 pre-season games last season at St. FX, which would have been his 4th season of eligibility, last playing on 24th October against Nipissing.  Edwards, who will turn 25 years old on 15th June, is expected to help ease V-Reds loss of leader Matt Daley…  Expect the coaching situation at Cape Breton to be made clear shortly – as early as today.  Most sources indicate a high probability that Capers will announce an ex-CCAA coach with ties to Quebec and B.C…  It was announced earlier this week that Wichita State Shockers, a perennial Top 25 team from the Missouri Valley Conference, will visit Montreal and Ottawa for at least 4 games in early August including match-ups against defending CIS National champions Carleton Ravens and RSEQ champs McGill Redmen.  Shockers come off a 26-9 season and a second round NCAA tournament loss to Miami (Fla.) but lose 4 seniors including 3 starters from their roster.  Other teams that are rumored to be visiting Montreal and/or Ottawa in late summer including Fairleigh Dickinson Knights (NCAA tournament participant after capturing Northeast Conference tournament championship; 18-15 overall), Florida A&M Rattlers (MEAC) and Arkansas Pine-Bluff Golden Lions (8-25 overall last season in the SWAC) as the summer NCAA/CIS series 2016 starts to take shape.  Carleton will also likely schedule a pair of games against a Top 3 Division II team – note that numerous top D2 teams are very competitive with Division 1 teams.  More to come on these games.

After encouraging finish, improving Vees add more depth

Shawn Swords‘ young group began to show clear signs of maturation toward the end of last season, culminating in a strong effort at OUA Final 4 participant Windsor in the first round of the playoffs when Laurentian had it down to 5 with 3 1/2 minutes left before 6’5″ Alex Campbell (37 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists) closed the door for Lancers.  Prior to that, the Voyageurs did hang with both Carleton and Ottawa until late in the third quarter at home.  While the Vees did improve dramatically, especially on the defensive end, depth was an issue as well as athleticism on the wing.  With an upper-end point guard in emerging 4th year dynamo 6’0″ David Aromolaran, Swords has a strong scorer and decision maker who last year had to play virtually every minute in any close game.  To help provide quality depth and give Aromolaran a blow from time-to-time, Laurentian has brought in 5’10” NCAA Division II transfer Mitchell Mazzuca, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, ON, from Lake Superior State.  Expect Mazzuca, who played his high school basketball at Sault St. Mary’s, to step right in to major minutes, especially with the graduation of 6’2″ Sam Hirst, Laurentian’s only meaningful roster loss going into next season.  With Aromolaran, Mazzuca and 6’0″ Anthony Iacoe, entering his second season in Sudbury after transferring from Carleton, Laurentian has three quality guards to build around.  Campbell’s dominant effort in the playoffs showed that Vees need some athleticism on the wing and to that end most expect 6’4″ Josis Thomas from Toronto high school power Oakwood Barons to step in to the rotation and allow Swords to have more flexibility at the defensive end especially.  Thomas, who was on the final-ever roster of historic Eastern Commerce C.I., spent his final year of high school with the Barons, leading them to the #3 seed at this past season’s OFSAA “AAAA”.  Laurentian also struggled with consistency from their front line so welcoming back 6’6″ veteran Darcy Watt who missed much of last season with an injury is an added plus.  6’7″ Calgary native Joe Sykes continued to steadily improve as a finisher and rim protector also.  Expect 5’11” three-point specialist Nick Simon as well as 6’3″ J.D. West to benefit from Mazzuca’s presence also.  6’3″ Theo Thomas adds depth on the wing as an emerging sophomore.  Swords also added some depth with 6’2″ Sam Ivey from Sault Ste. Marie Korah and 5’11” Skylar Cornell  from OFSAA “AA” champions Timmins O’Gorman Knights.  With basically a six-man rotation in place for the playoff game at Windsor, there is plenty of opportunity to earn time on Laurentian:  to that end, Swords is apparently not done yet chasing down more quality talent in time for next season.  The foundation is in place to have Ben Avery Gym return to the days when teams feared the road trip to Sudbury.

Serresse takes the reigns at Laurier

By now most have heard that uOttawa Assistant Coach Justin Serresse is the new Head Coach at Laurier, replacing retired legend Peter Campbell.  Serresse was introduced at a news conference this past Thursday and thanked several mentors during his remarks to the press.  Serresse is a native of France who was first introduced to CIS basketball during a student exchange in 2006.  After a pro career in France between 2004-06, Serresse enrolled at Laurentian University, playing for Shawn Swords, himself a 15+ season veteran of international pro basketball.  Serresse completed his playing career after the 2009-10 season in which he averaged 4.4 ppg – that same season his teammate was Peter Campbell’s son Jamie, who will remain on Serresse’s staff after coaching with his father – and Swords helped kickoff Serresse’s coaching career, recommending his former player as a promising Assistant to uOttawa coach James Derouin with the Gee-Gees.  Six seasons later, the Gee-Gees have 4 OUA Wilson Cup and 3 CIS Final 8 medals and two Moser Award winners in Johnny Berhanemeskel and Mike L’Africain.  Justin’s first cousin Georges Serresse also graduated from Laurentian and plays professionally in France, citing Justin as his key basketball mentor.

Serresse inherits a program that lost in the first round of the OUA playoffs at Brock this past season and is led by one of the top young point guards in the conference in 6’3″ Simon Mikre, who had a wonderful freshman season, shouldering a 30+ minute per game load at the point.  While Mikre’s play did tail off toward the end of the season amid the heavy minutes and constant pounding, having a returning sophomore big point guard who will likely grow into his long, lanky body is a tremendous foundation for new coach Serresse.  Up front 6’8″ Matt Chesson, who can score in several ways, provides a veteran, fifth-year dump down big in the paint to run the offense through.  A pair of fourth-year forwards:  6’5″ Simon Polan-Couillard (Toronto St. Mike’s) and 6’8″ Vlad Matovic provided support, usually off the bench this past season.

Assuming Serresse, who also played in Europe and mentored under Derouin for a Gee-Gees team that annually was among the top 3 point shooting teams in the CIS, will want to use the three-ball as an offensive weapon, there are some pieces available to support that style.  6’0″ 4th year guard Owen Coulthard should inherit a meaningful portion of the shots that will be available now that his older brother Will took now that the 6’2″ guard and son of York Yeomen legend David Coulthard has graduated, leaving Laurier as the third leading scorer in program history.  With 6’3″ Garrison Thomas also graduating, there is plenty of PT available on the wing although the emergence of 6’2″ Chuder Teny (3rd) and 6’3″ Sydney Davis (2nd), who worked his way into more post-Christmas minutes as a freshman, allows Serresse some flexibility, especially defensively.

Although Campbell officially retired after the Brock game, he continued to recruit and the Golden Hawks, although not announcing any recruits as of yet, remain involved with several players.  Expect Serresse and his support staff to hit the ground running to augment his returning talent.  The Hawks and quite literally the entire CIS will miss Peter Campbell on the sidelines however expect Serresse to work the recruiting trail along with Jamie Campbell, who has deep ties into the Kitchener-Waterloo club scene, to add to the foundation that Peter Campbell left behind.