McGill Redmen (21-5 overall, 13-3 in RSEQ, 2-0 in the post-season, 6-2 in non-conference – all non-RSEQ teams – including 3-0 vs. Canada West opponents)… Making their fourth Final 8 appearance in the past 5 seasons under Head Coach David DeAveiro, Redmen are still looking for their first championship side win; indeed, the Quebec conference is looking for their first victory on the championship side of the bracket at the Final 8 since 2004-05, a span of 11 years and counting. Redmen came close last season, leading in the final minute against eventual finalist Calgary but two turnovers and free throws were their undoing. McGill has the nation’s second longest current winning streak at 9 in a row and have won 12 of their past 13 games overall including a pair of double digit wins in the RSEQ Final 4 in Montreal. Redmen continue their tradition of lock-down “d” and feature a veteran group of not only starters but reserves who have been in the program for multiple seasons. McGill unfortunately will be without starting 6’1″ point guard Kendrick Jolin, the RSEQ Rookie-of-the-Year, due to a shoulder injury sustained in the third-to-last game of the regular season.
Defense and rebounding usually keeps the Redmen in games, especially in the knock-down, drag-out affairs that seem to epitomize RSEQ play as referees typically “let them play”. For the fifth consecutive season, McGill led the conference in most defensive categories, led by their RSEQ “Triple Crown” winner 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun who garnered conference player-of-the-year, defensive player-of-the-year and 1st team all-star. Ogundokun is a stats-sheet filler with his work on the glass, getting to the rim and defending. However, the fourth-year wing out of Hamilton, ON suffered a bad ankle sprain in the Final 4 last weekend, limiting his mobility.
6’1″ Jenning Leung benefited most from the addition of Jolin this season, able to play the wing and concentrate on getting his feet set and shooting or attacking. The fourth-year former walk-on who didn’t get a uniform at the start of his first season worked his way into a 1st team all-RSEQ talent. 6’5″ Michael Peterkin, a long, active athlete, especially on the offensive glass, stepped into the starting lineup at the three spot when Jolin went out and further improved McGill’s dominance on the glass. Peterkin has had several eye-opening, in-traffic dunks in the quarter-court this season and presents match-up problems for many teams.
Up front, under-rated and sometimes under-appreciated 6’7″ Francois Bourque brings a toughness to the front line that is difficult to replicate. Bourque has improved his perimeter shooting and is beginning to add more power to his inside game; a former RSEQ MVP, Bourque is a 30+ minutes per game guy and an RSEQ all-star. Rounding out the usual starters is 6’8″ Noah Daoust, who is a very good “pick-and-pop” guy out to the three point line but down the stretch has become a more able passer and almost dominant on the defensive glass.
Off the bench, McGill has an experienced set of athletic wings in 6’4″ Avery Cadogen and 6’1″ Isaiah Cummins and at least one solid post with face-up skills in 6’8″ Sebastien Beckett. Cadogen loves to get to his right hand and can also punch it on you in the lane while Cummins is a slasher who made two big threes against UQAM while it was still a game in the RSEQ championship. Beckett provides strength and a high compete level around the rim at both ends and has learned to read most situations offensively, also adding an able perimeter shot out beyond the three point line. 6’1″ Greg Trahan, another freshman, could see time at the point and is one of the more polished readers of the ball screen offensively as a young first-year player. 6’4″ Daniel Pieper is another bigger wing who understands how to read offense and can make open 3’s.
Pre-tournament recap: Redmen showed down the stretch that they were clearly the class of the RSEQ, winning their last 9 games by an average spread of 20 points including wins by 29, 28 and 27 as well as leading by as many as 30 in the championship game. McGill also traveled to Victoria and Ottawa for pre-season tournaments as well as hosting their own – never playing any non-conference games against RSEQ schools. McGill did not lose more than 1 game to any team in the conference and in one of the losses took UQAM to overtime despite not having Ogundokun, Peterkin, Beckett and Bourque, who were representing Canada at the World 3 on 3 championships in Qatar.
Usual Starters: 6’1″ Jenning Leung (4th Year), 6’2″ Dele Ogundokun (4th Year), 6’5″ Michael Peterkin (4th Year), 6’7″ Francois Bourque (4th Year), 6’8″ Noah Daoust (3rd Year). 6’1″ Kendrick Jolin, a usual starter, is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
First wings off the bench: 6’3″ Avery Cadogun, 6’4″ Daniel Pieper
First guard off the bench: 6’1″ Isaiah Cummins
First big off the bench: 6’8″ Sebastien Beckett.
DeAveiro typically recruits in both Montreal and the Southern Ontario with Ogundokun from Hamilton, Peterkin from Toronto, Cummins from Oshawa and Beckett from Georgetown, both just outside Toronto. Local Montreal products include Bourque, Daoust and Jolin while Cadogen was recruited out of Winnipeg. McGill’s international appeal attracted both Leung and Pieper to the school and program.