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.