Thoughts from Friday night’s action

It was great to hear from UBC Head Coach Kevin Hanson who shared his thoughts on the strong early season start for his Thunderbirds who are 3-0 vs. CIS/U-Sport teams in the early season including last night’s decisive win over Western at the Golden Bear Invitational.  The T-Birds have quality depth, especially in the post and feature a Moser Award candidate in 6’9″ Conor Morgan, who is off to a great start including last night’s dominating 29-point, 15-rebound effort against the Mustangs in a game that UBC quickly jumped out to a double digit lead that was never threatened.  Hanson has purposely put together a schedule top-heavy with non-conference match-ups against OUA teams, commenting “I like playing early season games against Ontario schools.  No matter which school, the teams always play tough, physical games.  We have four games against Ontario schools (including tonight’s against Nipissing) which provides a good test to see where we are as a team.”  Hanson was complementary on the Mustangs, commenting that “they are a young team but have some really skilled players.  I like their style… our depth in the post helped us last night.”  After tonight’s game against the OUA Lakers, T-Birds complete their pre-season at home in Vancouver next Friday and Saturday night when they host Laurier Golden Hawks and Lakehead Thunderwolves, themselves a physical, tough team… After a tremendous start out of the gate last season by Brock Badgers, most now know how their top 5-6 players wore down over time, making the key off-season objective for Coach Charles Kissi to be adding more quality depth.  After last night’s solid home win against a talented Ryerson Rams squad, the early indications are very favorable.  6’6″ freshman Daniel Cayer, toughening it out after sustaining a chin injury and playing the game with a thin head wrap, is showing flashes of competing for Freshman of the Year honors.  Cayer flashed his all round game with 15 points and 8 rebounds including 2-3 from three as well as making great decisions and defending.  5’11” Tyler Brown is growing into an elite point guard as a sophomore:  he had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists in 33 minutes before fouling out – Badgers offensive fluidity was noticeably thicker when the high-compete point guard from Hamilton sat out and then finally fouled out with about 3 minutes remaining.  While depth up front and on the wing has been addressed, Brown looks vital to any longer term Brock success, especially against quality teams like Ryerson with athletic guards.  The addition of 6’6″ Trevor Thompson is also important for Brock and, combined with the maturity of 6’7″ Dani Elgadi, scoring is much more balanced.  Elgadi took only 11 shots last night in 38 minutes and has a new found patience and ability to pass out of the double team (4 assists last night).  His improved decision making when left alone or doubled in the post is clearly evident, helping his perimeter shooters and making Brock multi-dimensional offensively… Rams struggled last night at the point in my opinion, turning it over 19 times including several careless passes while starting the offense when Brock simply jumped the passing lane.  6’0″ Myles Charvis had 3 turnovers in just 15 minutes as Rams continue to look for a consistent lead guard/forward to start the offense.  6’4″ Ammanuel Diressa has the skill set to be a table setter but he is right now far-and-away Ryerson’s best perimeter shooter and probably offensive threat.  He knocked down 5-9 threes last night including at least two tough, deep bombs that were ridiculously well contested.  Diressa, who led all scorers with 19 points and added 7 rebounds, has a chance for an All-Canadian year.  6’3″ Adika Peter-McNeilly added 14 points but went just 5-13 and 2 of 6 from 3…  Badgers get Dalhousie Tigers tonight, who easily defeated York Lions yesterday while playing without 6’2″ Kashrell Lawrence.  No word on whether or not Tigers fifth-year all-star senior will be available.  This is another in the numerous high-end pre-season inter-conference games that have been played thus far… Carleton Ravens are playing a series of scrimmages against NCAA teams which are strictly closed to the public – by NCAA regulations.  Only those individuals on the coaching staffs are able to attend.  Ravens do play an official exhibition game next weekend against Providence Friars, a perennial Top 25 team, in Rhode Island tomorrow night.  Carleton also faces LaSalle Explorers in early November at Tom Gola Arena in Philadelphia… We had two last second game winning shots last night as Queen’s won in OT vs. UNB on a three pointer by Sammy Ayisi with about 5 seconds remaining in the extra frame – All-Canadian candidate Javon Masters single-handedidly put the game in the extra session with 10 points in the final 2 minutes.  At Lethbridge, Josh Sparks knocked down a fade away 23 footer from the top of the bowl as the buzzer sounded to lift the Horns over Bishop’s.


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