Despite dominating RSEQ for the past 4 seasons – three conference championships, 48-16 regular season record including 7-1 in the conference playoffs, McGill Redmen have not been able to break the Q’s 11 year CIS Final 8 championship-side drought – no Quebec league program has won a game in the winner’s bracket since 2004-05. Redmen came within 1 possession of breaking that dubious mark last month in Vancouver, leading by 3 with under a minute remaining vs eventual tournament runner-up Calgary but a defensive breakdown allowing an easy ball cut for a lay-up and then a pair of costly turnovers sealed Redmen’s fate in what was another disappointing loss for coach Dave DeAveiro‘s perennial nationally-ranked program.
Once again this past season’s edition of the Redmen got it done by defending and rebounding, the cornerstone of McGill’s consistent success under DeAveiro. Unlike recent past seasons however, an inability to consistently knock down open perimeter shots hampered the club. Combine that with a lack of a breakdown point guard who can consistently create and most Redmen affairs routinely turned into grind-it-out, defensive struggles that were usually decided by a possession or two. McGill also must replace stalward five-year starter 6’5″ Vincent Dufort, who graduated with three RSEQ championships and an All-Canadian honor in his third season.
DeAveiro looks to address those areas of need with another strong, four-man recruiting class led by his most recent signee, 6’8″ James Wells, a native of Vermont who played last season at Worcester Academy in Massachusetts. Wells has the skill set to eventually succeed Dufort as a point forward decision maker who can stretch the “d” from beyond the arc, run the floor and make good passes. Wells was #22 ranked player overall in his state and #86 overall in New England and is described by the New England Recruiting Report as a player who
has improved by leaps and bounds in the last two years and so while he may still end up in a high academic division III league, he’s certainly proven himself to be a scholarship level player.
Expect Wells to compete for playing time immediately at the 4 spot with his combination of perimeter and inside skills. To directly address depth at the point guard spot, the Redmen previously announced the addition of 6’1″ Kendrick Jolin, originally from Montreal via Salisbury Prep, 6’2″ combo guard Gregoire Trahan from Cégep de l’Outaouais in Gatineau, Quebec and 6’8″ Regan Lynch from Ottawa.
McGill does return most of their core group with the exception of Dufort and 6’4″ Tychon Carter-Newman. RSEQ defensive POY 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun was McGill’s most consistent player down the stretch of big games. Adding Wells to the core of 6’6″ Francois Bourque, 6’8″ Noah Daoust and 6’5″ Michael Peterkin will make Redmen even more formidable and experienced up front with skill and athleticism. 6’2″ Jenning Leung continues his spectacular progression from an after thought walk-on to a very good CIS combo guard and would benefit greatly from a higher-end pure point guard to play off of, which the Redmen expect Jolin will round into. Back court depth is also available with rising sophomore guards 6’1″ Isiah Cummins and 6’0″ Drew Peterson. Most important will be how McGill replaces the invaluable minutes that the versatile Dufort provided for the past 5 seasons. While Dufort’s scoring peeled off after his RSEQ POY win after his third season, his rebounding, passing and play as a point forward provided Redmen a unique and underrated skill set that will be difficult to initially replicate.