Wellsie’s Canada West Thoughts 13 Nov 16

Arguably Canada’s most knowledgeable basketball historian and a loyal follower of U-Sport and Canada Basketball on a regular basis, our Southern Alberta Canada West correspondent offers some recent thoughts on the early season of Canada West men’s basketball:

By Dave Wells…

Every win on the road in Canada West is  generally thought to be a BIG win.
If I count my fingers and toes correctly, the visitors won nine of 16 tilts this weekend. I can’t imagine this happens very often.
I see UBC as the most talented team in Canada West, with Calgary second.
The loop head coaches had Alberta third in the CW pre-season poll and they are 4-0 in the CW regular season. Personally, in the last year, I’ve seen them go 0-4 overall, including 0-2 in non-conference play within the last month. I like their roster on paper. I have yet to be convinced in person. It would not surprise me at all if Alberta continues at, or near, the top of the standings through 2016 though. However, they do have to play UBC and Calgary four times between Jan. 5-14,  with three of those four on the road. Happy New Year… If (University of Lethbridge grad) Barnaby Craddock’s team has less than three cumulative CW losses after Jan. 14 I look forward to Barns’ e-mail mocking me.
I am very pleased that every Canada West team except for UNBC have a win.
I’m happy the former Explorer Division teams are taking some tilts from Pioneer Division teams. Overall, Pioneer Division alums are emerging victorious – and will surely continue to this season on the whole – at a higher percentage, but think relative parity is a very good thing. Fans want to see their home teams win, but they also want to perceive there is a danger they may lose (Pro Wrestling Booking 1000.)
I hope soon fans will get the prejudices of the past out of their heads in regards to who is good and who is not just by the school they represent. This will take a few years. It would be awesome if a former Explorer Division team became a superpower.
I am happy to have seen five of 17 CW teams live (three in regular season games.)
I was particularly happy to see some star players on Explorer Division squads who have not visited Lethbridge before, if at all, in their CW regular season careers. One of the following had never played here period.
I think Mount Royal U’s six-foot-two guard Derek Wolf is one of the most improved players I have ever seen in the course of a Canada West career. The Penticton native started out at Thompson Rivers. Frankly, when he transferred to MRU, I didn’t give it a second thought. He is a real good CW player now. He can score the basketball.
MRU’s six-foot-eight (or bigger) post Brett Layton changes the game defensively with his paint presence, rebounds like a pig and can score a fair bit too. He was a wonderful get for MRU. I remember him as a complimentary high school player at Calgary Sir Winston Churchill before his Mormon Mission. This is Layton’s second year of U Sports eligibility at MRU.
I think MacEwan’s six-foot-one (no way I’m going for his listed height) combo guard Thadius Galvez has a sweet, muilti-faceted game. Love it. Absolutely love it. Amazing American JuCo recruit by MacEwan. He has one year of eligibility left after this.
MacEwan’s six-foot-two (again I refuse to go with MacEwan’s measurements) Denzel James is a smooth as silk high riser. He was good in high school at Edmonton Jasper Place and he’s good today in his 5th-year of CIS. He has a lovely touch on the ball.
Editor’s Note:  Mount Royal and Lethbridge split a home-and-home series this week with each team holding court at home – Cougars winning Thursday in Calgary while Pronghorns took last night’s game at home in Lethbridge.
Canada West Standings after two weeks:
Alberta 4-0
UBC 2-0
Calgary 3-1
Winnipeg 3-1
Lethbridge 3-1
Mount Royal 1-1
Manitoba 2-2
Brandon 2-2
Regina 2-2
Saskatchewan 2-2
Trinity Western 2-2
Fraser Valley 2-2
MacEwan 1-3
Thompson Rivers 1-3
UBC-O 1-3
Victoria 1-3
UNBC 0-4

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