Gee-Gees upset in Montreal, Ravens roll


UQAM 75, Ottawa 72… 6’3″ lefty Greishe Clerjuste had 16 while sharpshooting wing Charles Miller added 13 as the Citadins came back from a double digit deficit in the second half to pull the upset, defeating the cold-shooting Gee-Gees.  uOttawa shot just 4 for 21 from beyond the arc.  6’3″ Caleb Agada had 23 points and 11 rebounds for Ottawa but had 6 of their 17 turnovers while 6’9″ newcomer Jean-Pierre Charles added 10 points and 12 rebounds all on the defensive glass.  Freshman Misi Boye had 11 points in his UQAM debut as Citadins came up with a confidence-building win.  Citadins Head Coach Nate Philippe was understandably happy after the win, commenting “Ottawa is one of the premiere teams in the country and our guys wanted to prove that we can compete with anyone in the CIS.”  UQAM hosts Queen’s tomorrow night while Ottawa moves over to the Bee-Hive for a match-up with Concordia.

Carleton 86, Laval 62… Ravens took a double digit lead midway through the second quarter and then used an 11-2 run bridging halftime – including 3 consecutive 3’s by 6’4″ Joe Rocca, 6’2″ Kaza Keene and 6’4″ Stanley Mayambo (4-5 3’s overall) to pull away for a decisive win over improving Rouge et Or.  Carleton shot 14 for 31 overall from 3 and got 9 points and 4 rebounds from 6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor, who made his Ravens debut.  Carleton faces Acadia tomorrow night while in tonight’s second game the Axemen face St. FX as day one of the 3 day Stu Aberdeen Memorial tournament concludes.

Weekend action begins this afternoon


The first full weekend of CIS pre-season action kicked off last night with McMaster’s upset win over McGill and UVic coming from behind to win at home on the first night of the Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament at Victoria.  There are 3 other tournaments that get started today including several other non-conference (exhibition) games.

Action begins in Montreal at 4 PM ET when uOttawa faces UQAM with the country anxious to see how the Citadins line-up without All-Canadian Kewyn Blain who abruptly left the program toward the end of the summer.  Gee-Gees make their CIS debut without their own all-Canadian/Moser winner Mike L’Africain and will likely use sophomore 5’11” guard Calvin Epistola at the point until McMaster transfer Adam Presutti becomes eligible later this term.

An hour later, another interesting match-up happens at the Stu Aberdeen Memorial tournament at Acadia as consensus #1 Carleton Ravens meet Laval, a program that has upgraded their depth and talent across the front line, wing and at the point.  One noted coach believes Rouge et Or are the favorites for capturing the RSEQ this season.  This game is available on AUSTV.

At 6 PM ET, Laurentian meets Algoma, which captured their own tournament last weekend and then a slew of games begin in the 7 o’clock hour including Queen’s at Concordia and Memorial at Toronto.  The Eric Garland tournament has an interesting all-AUS matchup at 7 PM also as UNB and Saint Mary’s clash – some put the over/under on this game at 213.

Also at 7 PM ET, AUSTV should cover the pre-game ceremony honoring Stu Aberdeen that will name the floor after the popular and successful coach who put Acadia basketball on the map in the 1960’s.  St. FX will meet Acadia in the first game on the newly-named floor as Steve Konchalski starts his 42nd year as X-Men Head Coach.

AUSTV and Canada West TV ($30 for a season’s pass) covers all the games involving their respective teams.

 

RSEQ post-season tournament details


We have had several questions regarding format and location for the RSEQ post-season tournament this coming March.  Recall that several years ago, in an effort to promote their product, RSEQ went to a four-team, two-day mini tournament with the site rotating among the member schools.  If I recall correctly, the first such tournament took place at Laval in 2014, followed by Bishop’s in 2015 and then last season at McGill.

According to well-placed sources, the tournament is poised to take on a new look including a permanent site in Montreal, akin to how it is done in Atlantic Canada with their very successful AUS tournament each and every year in Halifax at the Metro Center (now called TD Center Halifax).

This season, the RSEQ Final 4 will be jointly hosted by UQAM and Concordia and will be held at the Pierre-Charbonneau Center in Olympic Park.  Although no firm plans have been announced, the prevailing thought is that this is the perfect venue for the RSEQ Final 4 concept – an annual event at a neutral site that could be well promoted, consistent and get corporate sponsors behind it.

Apparently, Pierre-Charbonneau Center has been recently renovated and is a basketball specific facility that seats 2,700 which according to our sources appears to be a perfect venue for a conference tournament.  It is the former home of the Montreal Jazz of the National Basketball League of Canada, the Montreal Royal of the American Basketball Association’s current incarnation and the Montreal Sasquatch of the Premier Basketball League.  The venue played host to the wrestling events at the 1976 summer Olympics.

We hope to have more details as they become available.

McCulloch leads Marauders to come back win


McMaster 69, McGill 62…  6’4″ Lazar Kojovic knocked down consecutive 3’s from the left wing early in the third quarter giving the Marauders the lead for good and 6’1″ guard David McCulloch scorched the Redmen off the dribble, leading all scorers with 25 points as McMaster upset last season’s RSEQ champions in the first game of the Guy Vetrie tournament at UVic.  The host Vikes came back from an early deficit to defeat Regina Cougars 76-67 in the night cap as 6’1″ Oakland, CA. native Wayne Tucker Jr., last season’s ACAC Player-of-the-Year at Olds College who transferred to UVic for his final two seasons of eligibility had 15 points.

McGill jumped out strong to an 11-1 lead early with stifling half-court “d” and 7 points from 6’1″ Jenning Leung.  But the Marauders dominated the offensive glass, getting several second chance opportunities and McGill struggled to finish in transition and generally get any real good looks out of their hand-off offense, allowing McCulloch and 6’3″ Rohan Boney to get off and take first half leads as large as 5.  A 7-0 run led by 6’6″ Francois Bourque (17 points, 7 rebounds) allowed the Redmen to carry a two point lead into halftime that was quickly erased by Kojovic’s 3’s and an inability to control McCulloch off the dribble.

In a sloppy game that featured 52 fouls (30 by McGill) and 44 turnovers (26 by McGill), the Marauders shot 44 free throws and won despite being held to only 31% shooting from the floor.  In the end, the Marauders had by far the most talented and productive guard on the floor in McCulloch while the Redmen struggled to score and not foul.

McGill meets the host Vikes tonight while Mac and Regina tangle on Day 2 of the three-day event being played on the new Ken and Kathy Shields Floor.

After difficult summer, Lancers rebuild back toward national prominence


It is not every season that a program brings in and helps develop a CIS Rookie-of-the-Year with the talent, athleticism and resume to eventually become a Moser Award candidate – the optimism becomes contagious.  It is not difficult for that optimism to wane considerably when that same player decides late in the summer to leave the program for an NCAA Division 1 school.  Unfortunately, that is the situation that long-time Windsor Lancers Head Coach Chris Oliver finds himself in.  Always a great teacher of the game and tireless recruiter, Oliver has tried to fill some obvious gaps that resulted and rippled through his roster in the wake of Isaiah Osborne’s sudden departure.

Lancers come off back-to-back OUA Wilson Cup Final 4 appearances that included a pair of road wins at McMaster just to qualify and fortunately do return arguably one of the toughest players in the entire country in 5’10” Mike Rocca.  The lefty plays every possession as if it were his last and has an infectious energy that has rallied his team time and time again, including last night in the Lancers tight over time win vs. Lambton when Rocca had 29 points and 13 rebounds.  The Lancers also bring back from last season 6’6″ Tyler Persaud and reserve 6’2″ wing forward Randy Oriakhi, who returned last night after sitting out the summer NCAA games with a broken foot.

Unfortunately, Oliver has had to rebuild the remainder of the team due to a combination of graduation – most notable all-OUA star wing Alex Campbell – and untimely departures, beginning with the sudden loss at the end of the summer of 6’4″ sharpshooter Marko Kovac, who really began to assert himself late last season as a consistent perimeter threat as a sophomore.  Kovacs apparently is set to transfer with Western potential a landing point.

Lancers did have a solid high school recruiting class that could form the foundation of future championship-level teams by bringing in Guelph Bishop MacDonnell teammates 6’5″ Lukas Wood and 6’1″ Chris Poloniato plus 6’6″ Windsor St. Anne’s product Anthony Zrvnar.  All three contributed solid minutes last night and should be consistent rotation guys this season and beyond.

To make up for the late departures, Oliver has brought in a pair of transfers including 6’8″ Djordje Babic, a former Burlington Pearson star and former York Lion and intriguing 6’0″ Micqueel Martin, a Toronto native who played for Ro Russell’s Grassroots program and graduated from Downsview C.I. in North York.  Martin originally took the junior college route, spending two season’s in Brooklyn, NY at ASA Junior College where he averaged about 12 ppg in 2013-14, scoring over 30 points several times against the likes of Munroe Community College in what is usually a very competitive conference.  Martin played 34 minutes against Lambton last night and promises to be a plug-in to the rotation.

Oliver does have a pair of definitive difference makers waiting in the wings.  6’3″ Mitch Farrell, who was a large part of Lancers drive to the Wilson Cup championship game in 2014-15 when Windsor upset #1 ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees right in Ottawa, missed all of last season with a shoulder problem.  Farrell finally underwent surgery in July and is expected to be out until after Christmas.  Recall Farrell, originally from Orillia Twin Lakes, transferred back to Windsor after a season with New Jersey Institute of Technology, an NCAA Division 1 program.  Farrell will not practice for the foreseeable future while he rehabs and the hope is he returns for the second half.

Recall also that the last in the line of the fine Allin basketball family that has been a fabric of the Windsor program over the past decade and a half, 6’7″ Luke Allin, has transferred back home and will be eligible to play in the final week of November when Lancers travel to Toronto to meet the Varsity Blues and Ryerson Rams.  Allin will have sat out the required one full year after leaving Laurier Golden Hawks last season and is in his third year of eligibility.  Allin was one of the finest high school players in the country when he left Chatham several seasons ago and provides Oliver with an immediate potential star on the wing and in the post.

The Lancers continue to grow as a group given the high turnover and Oliver remains encouraged:  “the kids have been great and we are making progress”.  However, Windsor will need Farrell, Allin and one or two others to step up quickly in time to make another playoff run.

Windsor hosts Fanshawe next week and then travels out west to Alberta to the Calgary Cup where they meet #2 Dinos plus Mount Royal and Regina.  This is a work in progress, but the highly-successful Oliver always seems to get his teams prepared for the season’s stretch run, with this particular season presenting its own unique challenges.

Touching on Dinos rich basketball history


Very little if anything ever gets missed by my carrot-munching Southern Alberta correspondent and his experienced hawking of all things CIS and Canada Basketball related has uncovered another piece of CIAU/CIS history that is worth the share.
To wit, several posts ago I made the (incorrect) claim that last season was the first CIS/CIAU championship game appearance by the Calgary Dinos.  In reality and with a hat-tip to our good friend out west, in 1965-66, the men’s national championship was actually played in Calgary and the host Dinosaurs advanced all the way to the championship game before bowing to what at that time was a legendary Windsor Lancers program.
More notable was the star-studded roster that represented Calgary at that time which included legendary UVic and Canadian national team Head Coach Ken Shields and CanadaWest Hoops author Wayne Thomas.  By eye witness accounts, Shields, Thomas and team were exactly as most would imagine them. Shields was scrappy, used to winning, a leader from the very beginning. Thomas an elegant, very tall perimeter player for his era and was an extremely really bright student, who apparently skipped a grade and started for U of C at 17 from what can be gathered.
Shields played for Mount Royal, then U of C, then UBC. Thomas played his career only at U of C.  Other guys who went on to prominence in Canadian basketball include national team player Robin Fry and international referee John Weiland.  The Dinos hosted nationals two straight years seasons and were a team made up exclusively of Canadians, which was a bit of an anomaly since the best teams often had many Americans at that juncture.
Head Coach of that Calgary crew was John Dewar, who later became an administrator at Saskatchewan and Laurentian.   It is thus likely not a coincidence that Coach Shields ended up as the head man at Laurentian.
In all, at least seven of the players that played for Dewar during that time went on to have long, influential careers in hoops off the court including Fry (Lethbridge), Morgan (Calgary) and Shields (UBC women, Laurentian, UVic), who each went on to be Canadian university head coaches. Thomas was actually interim Head Coach at U of C one semester although that has never been officially noted.
So, yes indeed last season was NOT the first time in the history of the program that the Dinos played in the national championship game, although it was the first time in 50 seasons !
Again another hat-tip to our knowledgeable correspondent out West !

Lancers edge Lambton in OT


Windsor 85, Lambton 80 in Overtime… Spark plug 5’10” guard Mike Rocca had 29 points and 13 rebounds from the guard spot as the Lancers held off a very good Lambton team in extra time.  The Lions came back from a late 7 point deficit, tying the game at the regulation buzzer on Branden Padgett’s shot – Padgett led the Lions with 31 points.  But Windsor was able to pull away by getting multiple stops in the overtime.

“Mike again showed his fearlessness and how competitive he is with another wonderful performance”, commented Lancers Head Coach Chris Oliver.  “He continues to show his tremendous leadership and mental toughness… he was the difference tonight”.

Windsor also got 21 points from 6’1″ newcomer Micqueel Martin, a transfer who last played at ASA Junior College in Brooklyn, NY where he averaged 12.9 ppg as a sophomore in 2013-14; Martin is a product of Ro Russell’s Grassroots club system in Toronto and went to high school at Downsview C.I. in North York, home of the great Ron Ellis.

Oliver was very complementary of his opponents and especially Padgett and learned much from his new group that returns just 3 rotation players from last season’s Wilson Cup Final 4 participant.

We plan to take a more comprehensive look at the Lancers in the coming days.  Windsor now faces Fanshawe next week before travelling to Alberta for the Calgary Cup where they will meet the host Dinos, Mount Royal and Regina on consecutive days.

Gaels escape in OT against St. Lawrence-Kingston


Queen’s 85, St. Lawrence-Kingston 84 in Overtime… Gaels, in the words of Head Coach Steph Barrie, “survived” to hold off a very game Vikings side in overtime despite holding double digit leads on several occasions.  Queen’s had few answers for defending OCAA POY 5’11” scoring combo guard Jaz Bains, who had 29 points but could not convert on a pull-up on the final possession of the game in OT.  Bains is a growing star who has elevated his game dramatically in this his third season under Head Coach Barry Smith after not even making the Varsity at Humber College in his first season.  Bains is described as a very good passer who gets to the rim and is tough in transition; a legitimate great player.

Gaels simply could not put St.L-K away, grabbing a 15 point first quarter lead that evaporated and then had multiple 12+ points leads and finally up 11 early in the fourth.  But Vikings held on forcing the overtime with a chance to win on the final possession.

6’3″ York transfer Richard Iheadindu was very good down stretch for Queen’s, finishing with 18 points, taking over from 6’3″ Sukhpreet Singh who left the game after cramping up in the second half.  Queen’s also got a solid effort from 6’6″ freshman Harry Range, who down the stretch of the fourth quarter with game on the line hit a big 3 and then a Europe-step finish late showing he will be a factor in the Gaels rotation.

Queen’s played without regulars 6’10” Mike Shoveller and 6’4″ sophomore guard Vincent Wood (back spasms) among others as Gaels have hit a bit of a rough spot with injuries.  But Barrie was very complementary of the Vikes and Coach Smith, indicating “we barely hung on and escaped” more than they won.

Queen’s now travels to Montreal to face Concordia Stingers on Friday and at UQAM Saturday.

Injection of athleticism at foundation of Western’s rebuild


The loss of virtually all of Western’s rotation due to graduation has been well documented.  However Mustangs Head Coach Brad Campbell has been busy not only revamping the roster but, more importantly, attracting several higher-end athletes to the program.  As well, at least two rotation-ready players return from long injury stints so some experience does remain.  Expect the new-look Mustangs to eventually get to a stage where Campbell takes advantage with a more open style of play geared toward his newest stable of more athletic recruits.

Probably Western’s two most important new pieces are a pair of athletic guards, beginning with Windsor native 6’1″ Eric Jenkins, who has transferred home from LeMoyne College, an NCAA D2 program in Syracuse, NY.  Jenkins should allow Western to be more aggressive defensively and projects as an immediate starter with the Mustangs.  Another likely high-end rotation guard is 6’1″ newcomer Omar Shiddo from Brampton Castlebrook, who is able to create his own off the dribble and will likely be looked upon as a scoring complement to Jenkins.  Expect both Jenkins and Shiddo to play major roles in the back court for the Mustangs for years to come.

A pair of quality bigs who were injured last season should anchor the front court for Western, starting with the return of former top recruit 6’5″ Cam Morris, who sat out ’15-’16 after he tore his ACL during the second practice of last season.  Morris is a classic stretch 4 with solid perimeter skills who is just entering his third season of eligibility.  In 6’9″ Alex Otzyv, Campbell has found his starting five man after the skilled big missed much of last season with an assortment of injuries.  Otzyv is a native of Mississauga who played his final two seasons of high school basketball at Kiski Prep.

Campbell is also excited about another front court addition:  6’5″ Haddi Abuzgaya, who spent last season at Brewester Academy on a team that ended up having 10 players get Division 1 scholarships.  The Pickering native is a strong, above-the-rim athlete who will likely add physicality inside.

At least two returnees are set to contribute including 6’1″ Alex Coote, a solid 3 point shooter and 6’2″ third year wing Jedson Tavernier.

Another newcomer who should help stretch the “d” on the perimeter is 6’1″ Luka Pekovic, a North Vancouver, B.C. native who spent last season at Modesto (Ca.) Junior College where he averaged over 7 points per game including shooting 41% from beyond the three point line.

Unfortunately, the Mustangs lost arguably their best incoming player in 6’2″ Kayon Meyers, the transfer from Cape Breton, who will miss the entire season after blowing out his patella tendon during the summer.  As well, 6’6″ Dylon Gregory who Western had previously announced is no longer with the program.

Other freshman expected to contribute include 5’10” Tyler Thomson, son of former Mustang great Terry Thomson, who Campbell is very excited about, stating “Tyler has come a very long way in a short period of time”.

Campbell has been very encouraged by how far his group has come and notes that the pre-season has been characterized by “lots of teaching, building new habits and ensuring everyone understands basic positioning and systems”.  Mustangs restart their pre-season this weekend with games against OCAA powers Humber Hawks (Sunday) and Lambton College (Monday).  Campbell then ventures to his childhood home in Ottawa at the House-Laughton tournament in Ottawa later in October.  Mustangs also have a trip to Edmonton for the Golden Bear Invitational at Alberta to round out the pre-season.

As well, look for a very positive announcement coming down the pike very soon involving one of Western’s recent graduates that promises to be another testament to the quality of CIS basketball.

 

CANHoops.ca Pre-season CIS Top 10


With the CIS pre-season kicking off in earnest this weekend – there are at least 3 tournaments plus several exhibition games on tap throughout the country – it is time to take our first look at the Top 10, as follows:

#1 Carleton… Defending champions have added at least two Division 1 talents in 5’11” Emmanuel Owootoah (Fresno State transfer) and 6’9″ Eddie Ekiyor (Xavier) while returning last season’s Final 8 MVP Connor Wood, an All-Canadian candidate plus slick guard 6’1″ Kaza Keene.  Ravens have plenty of young talent that would likely start on most other teams and tore through a series of Division 1 teams in August, looking primed for their 13th CIS title in 15 seasons.  Carleton meets Laval, Acadia and St. FX at the Stu Aberdeen Memorial tournament in Wolfville this weekend.

#2 Calgary… Coming off their first-ever appearance in the CIS championship game, Dinos have arguably the top player in Canada West and Moser candidate Thomas Cooper and a deep, talented supporting cast that saw no significant losses from last season.  The Canada West favorites with the longest quality roster in the conference.  Here is a more comprehensive preview from Wayne Thomas’s CanadaWestHoops site.  First CIS action for the Dinos is a week from Thursday at home as the Calgary Cup kicks off with Windsor Lancers as the opposition.  Regina and Mount Royal round out the Dinos first weekend of pre-season play.

#3 Dalhousie… Tigers used their deep rotation and a consistent commitment to defending and rebounding to capture their second consecutive AUS title and advanced to the school’s first-ever CIS Final 4 before losing to eventual national champions Carleton.  With all key players back and the addition of arguably the top high school recruit in the country in 6’5″ Alex Carson and 6’7″ Queen’s transfer Ryall Stroud, Dalhousie has even more options to add to their two-time championship roster that has five seasoned fifth-year players.  Tigers are co-hosts with Acadia of this season’s Nationals which return to the great city of Halifax once agin.

#4 Ryerson… A group oozing with athletic, above-the-rim talent, the Rams should continue to play their exciting transition-oriented style that relies on quickness and an ability to pick the proper match-up to set up the draw-and-kick 3 point game.  6’4″ Manny Diressa proved down the stretch that he can deliver All-Canadian-like performances in big spots with his versatile offensive game while 6’5″ Adika Peter-McNeilly promises to make his fifth and final season his finest.  While the loss to graduation of 6’5″ Aaron Best and 6’8″ J.V. Mukama (academics) will hurt, Coach Roy Rana has attracted another top flight recruiting class with 6’5″ Keevon Small and 6’2″ Chase Vassell among others.  The defending Wilson Cup champions are loaded once again.  Rams have a pair of games against OCAA competition this weekend vs. Mohawk on Friday and then Seneca Sting at home on Sunday afternoon.

#5 Ottawa… The addition of a pair of high-end transfers:  6’9″ Jean-Pierre Charles and 6’2″ Adam Presutti help offset the loss to graduation of Moser Award winner Mike L’Africain and 6’8″ Nathan McCarthy.  6’3″ Caleb Agada remains an elite defender and could make his own run at a Moser Award while 6’1″ Brandon Robinson looks to emerge as the Gee-Gees next high-quality wing.  While not as deep as in past seasons, uOttawa has a top level set of talent however how Presutti and sophomore pg Calvin Epistola replace the decision making of L’Africain will likely be the key determinant in how far the Gee-Gees go in the post season.  Ottawa travels to Montreal this weekend to meet UQAM and Concordia in road exhibition matches.

#6 McGill… One of the more experienced teams in the country from the perspective of consistency at the top end of the rotation, the Redmen, winners of 3 of the past 4 RSEQ championships, look to atone for their first-round loss to Calgary in a game they led going into the final two possessions.  Again, consistency at the point guard spot continues to be the key for a group that has proven to be one of the most consistently strong defensive teams in the country.  McGill faces McMaster in the first round of the Guy Vetrie Memorial tournament at UVic beginning Thursday night in Victoria.

#7 UBC… Perennial Canada West championship contenders lose only 6’9″ David Wagner from last season.  Recall Thunderbirds engaged in one of the more memorable CIS Final 8 games in recent history – an overtime loss to #1 Ryerson Rams in front of a partisan crowd.  6’9″ Conor Morgan is scheduled to return and looks to play his way into CW POY discussions while depth, talent and athleticism in the back court remain with Coach Kevin Hanson again adding a stellar recruiting class.  T-Birds host a Seattle-based senior team next weekend before hosting a pair of non-conference games against Lethbridge the following week – under the new CW scheduling format, Horns and T-Birds will not meet during the regular season.

#8 Brock… A mainstay in last season’s Top 10 for the majority of last season, the Badgers, in the face of a short rotation, could not maintain their momentum through the playoffs.  However the arrival of several new faces has transformed the rotation to ten deep with quality.  6’5″ Dani Elgadi looks to build on his All-Canadian season while five new faces all will push five key returnees for time.  The play of 5’11” sophomore Tyler Brown, a revelation last season as a rookie point guard, could be the determining factor in a National’s appearance.  Badgers travel to Welland a week from tonight for the Penninsula Hoops Classic vs. Niagara College, host St. FX next Thursday before travelling to Montreal for the Concordia Classic next weekend, completing a string of five games in five days.

#9 Manitoba… Coming off the most successful season in Head Coach Kirby Schepp‘s reign with the Bisons, optimism is justifiably high especially with the addition of Canadian U-19 national program member James Wagner, a 6’7″ freshman wing forward from Winnipeg.  As well, energetic 6’7″ forward Joey Nitychoruk is scheduled to join the Bisons after transferring from Lakehead, helping to ease the loss of 6’8″ rebounding machine Wyatt Anders.  Athletic guard play, however, is the feature component of this potentially-exciting group led by 6’4″ Keith Omoerah, the do-everything wing with all-conference potential.  Bisons host their own tournament next weekend with Lakehead and other local universities coming to their gym.

#10 Laval… Several teams potentially could fit into this slot however the view around the nation is that Rouge et Or have assembled an outstanding array of new talent including 6’9″ Sam Houston State transfer Mark Andre-Fortin.  The return of both 6’1″ Karl Demers-Belanger for his fifth season at the point and 6’1″ Yoann Folquet, who returns after a year off, helps make Laval’s back court one of the finest in the country.  6’6″ Alexandre Leclerc, runner up for RSEQ POY last season is poised to take that mantle in ’16-’17 while at least 6 other athletes on the wing and up front helped make at least one noted coach believe that Rouge et Or could easily win the RSEQ this season.  Laval will get their chance to confirm these forecasts on Friday night in Wolfville as Rouge et Or meet #1 ranked and defending CIS champions Carleton Ravens at the Stu Aberdeen Classic at Acadia.

Honorable Mention:  UNB (exciting array of athletic recruits), Queen’s (everyone except Stroud back from solid group that took uOttawa to the final possession in the playoffs last season), Concordia (tremendous recruiting class culminating in D1 transfer), Thompson Rivers (coming off best season ever in their CIS history), Saint Mary’s (came close to knocking off Dal last season and has improved roster), UPEI (newcomers but have lost all-conference forward Brad States)