Coming off another season where their playoff fate came down to the final weekend, Marc Dobell‘s Mount Royal Cougars appear to have added at least two formidable pieces designed to push Calgary’s other CIS program into Canada West contention. MRU finished strong last season, winning 5 of their last 6 to finish at 10-10 and tied for third with MacEwan but lost the tie-breaker and missed the post-season. With the commitment of 6’4″ CCAA Player-of-the-Year Josh Ross, the Cougars have a potential Canada West all-star candidate to join 6’8″ sophomore Brett Layton (17 ppg as a freshman), already one of the emerging stars in the league. Recall Layton returned from a two year Mission to start his CIS career last season after starring in high school at Calgary’s Sir Winston Churchill, graduating in 2013. Ross, originally from Burlington, Iowa, will have two seasons of eligibility remaining after starting his post-secondary career with two seasons at Southeastern C.C., a NCJAA program from West Burlington, IA. In his second season, he was one of the top players in the ICCAC, averaging 15.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg including a 42% three-point shooting percentage. Last season, Ross, who projects as a combo 3/4 forward at the CIS level, led Vancouver Island U to a fourth-place finish at the Canadian College national championships, averaging 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists per game. Joining Ross as a second potential-impact newcomer is 6’0″ Craig Martin, who completed his high school career at Dallas, TX Woodrow Wilson High in 2014-15, averaging 10 ppg as a senior before sitting out last season. Martin has a strong reputation as a pit-bull-esque ball defender and should immediately help the Cougars back court. MRU loses only 6’4″ James Lefebvre from their starting lineup from last season, returning conference all-star Layton, 6’2″ Derek Wolf, 6’2″ Glen Yang plus 6’5″ Neil Phillip. 6’4″ Noah Lewis, who started the first 4 Canada West regular season games before missing the remainder of last season is also scheduled to return. Cougars also added some depth to their front court with the transfer from Trinity Western of 6’7″ Nick Tancon, who was an all-star at the ’13-’14 B.C. Provincial championships when he averaged 33 points and 25 rebounds per game. Tancon also has international experience playing in Denmark. Tancon averaged 13.4 minutes and 4.1 points per game in his only season with the Spartans in 2014-15.