Golden Bears add Division 2 transfer


After capturing the Canada West championship this past season, Coach Barnaby Craddock‘s crew was arguably just one poor travelling call away from a spot in the U Sports Final 4 in Halifax this past March and the Golden Bears lose just one player from their rotation:  7’0″ Brett Roughead so any new impact faces are likely to augment a winning formula.

Alberta therefore is excited to bring in 6’4″ Montreal native Nolan Woodward, who played his CEGEP for Coach Craig Norman at Champlain-St. Lambert before moving on to NCAA Division 2, first with Gannon College, where he was a redshirt in his freshman year with the Golden Knights (2013-14) before transferring to American International University, another D2 school in Springfield, MA.  In two seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Woodward, a combo forward, averaged about 6 points per game and made a total of 11 starts in 2014-15 and 2015-16 combined – Woodward sat out last season.  Craddock expects to find time for the veteran out of Quebec on the wing and up front depending upon match-ups.

As well, levering his contacts in Europe which include those from his professional playing days overseas, Craddock has announced that the Golden Bears have signed 6’7″ French import Hugo Cluysen from the French club team JDA Dijon Bourgogne.  Cluysen, described as a combo forward, is just 19 years old and has represented France in international competition as a 15 year old.  Cluysen cited the desire for a strong education and learning English while playing basketball as key reasons for making the transition to U-Sports basketball at Alberta.  Much like Alberta’s current All-Canadian candidate Mamadou Gueye, Cluysen will begin his first year of education in Alberta’s French-language faculty and transition to studying completely in English by his fourth year.  Cluysen will enter his freshman season of eligibility and should work his way into a rotation spot as his career progresses.

The Golden Bears start practicing a week from tomorrow in Edmonton in preparation for two games in Calgary against NCAA Division 1 Montana State (Big Sky Conference) on Friday, August 11th and Sunday, August 13th at the Jack Simpson Gym.


Legends in Retirement

Doing our part to highlight some of wonderful stories and activities that Canada’s basketball coaching legends are authoring in retirement, we present our first edition featuring a growing folk signing legend:  MBK esq. and Friends… in their first feature video “Takin’ It To The Street”

Cheng leads Canadian team to tournament title in China


Canada added another international tournament title to our recent string of successes on the global stage as Nipissing Coach Chris Cheng and a group laden with U-Sports stars of past and present finished a perfect 3-0, including a pair of tight wins yesterday and earlier today China time, capped by a 100-94 overtime victory over the host Chinese Pro team Bayi Rockets (China).  U of T Varsity Blues 6’5″ Devin Johnson tied the game for Canada late with a 20 foot jumper from the right wing after Canada had blown a 13 point lead against the home side.  Johnson finished with 11 points while 6’7″ Ryan Ejim (Carleton) had 15 and 6’5″ Theon Reefer (Saint Mary’s) finished with 14.  On Saturday, 6’3″ Sukhpreet Singh (Queen’s) led all scorers with 20 points as Canada outlasted a team from the USA 98-96.  Congratulations to Coach Cheng and his group.

Canada romps to Jones Cup Championship

Winning both weekend games going away, Canada captured our second-ever Jones Cup championship in Taiwan, finishing first with an 8-1 record in the 10-team, round-robin event after Sunday’s 117-83 win over China-White.

Canada broke open a relatively tight game at halftime with a 66 point second half as, once again, U-Sports grad 6’4″ Connor Wood led the way with 24 points including 7 for 12 from beyond the three-point line.  The Carleton grad, who is also scheduled to play for Canada’s FISU Games team in August – also in Taiwan – averaged 14 ppg for the tournament and had five games during which he made at least six threes (Wood was held scoreless on Friday during Canada’s 108-60 smashing of Japan which was never a game).

Four other team members with U-Sports ties had solid contributions to Canada’s Gold Medal with ex-Alberta Golden Bear Joel Friesen averaging 9.4 points per game, Joey Haywood (Saint Mary’s) 8.2 ppg, Shaquille Keith 8.1 ppg and UBC’s 6’9″ Conor Morgan, who will join Wood on Canada’s FISU Games team, with 8.0 points per game.

Congratulations to the entire team including Head Coach Kyle Julius (Guelph Gryphons alumnus) in bringing home the championship.

Canada last won the Jones Cup in 1996 when St. FX Head Coach Steve Konchalski and former McMaster coach and current Niagara River Rats boss Joe Raso led the Canadian National team to the tournament championship.

Canadian team wins first game in Kaili, China over Serbia

6’6″ Matt Marshall, now playing in Europe after a solid career at Brock, led the way with 15 points as Canada took an early double digit lead and went on to defeat Serbia, represented by KK Dynamic Belgrade, 78-68 on the first day of the 3-game Guizhou Kaili International Men’s Basketball tournament in China.  Five other U-Sports grads helped push Canada to the big win including 6’5″ U of T alumnus Devin Johnson (14 points), 6’7″ Ryan Ejim (13 points/Carleton), 6’3″ Sukhpreet Singh (Queen’s) and 6’5″ Theon Reefer (Saint Mary’s) with 9 points apiece.

Canada looks forward to meeting the American team tomorrow and completes the tournament on Sunday against the host Bayi Rockets team that is representing China.


Canada romps to 49 point win over India

Canada shot a ridiculous 68% from the field and won the rebounding battle 56-22 in a 121-72 romping over 0-7 India to move to 6-1 at the Jones Cup in Taiwan.  6’3″ Diego Kapelan led all scorers with 21 points for Canada while former CBU Caper 6’4″ Shaquille Keith came off the bench after missing the past 2 contests with 18 points and 6 rebounds in just 14 minutes as Coach Kyle Julius substituted freely, evening out the minutes ahead of Canada’s final two games, beginning tomorrow against Japan (1-5).

6’5″ Alberta grad Joel Friesen had 10 points and 6 assists while 6’9″ Conor Morgan (UBC) added 8 points/4 rebounds while Carleton grad 6’4″ Connor Wood had 9 points.  6’1″ Joey Haywood (Saint Mary’s) added 12 points on 5-6 shooting.

With a pair of wins on the weekend against Japan and China-White (1-6), Canada will be crowned Jones Cup champions.

Canada in driver’s seat for Jones Cup championship after decisive win

6’4″ Connor Wood, 6’3″ Diego Kapelan and 6’9″ Conor Morgan combined to shoot 11 for 21 from downtown – part of a 14 for 30 effort from beyond the arc, as Canada broke to a 15 point halftime lead and hammered South Korea (4-2) 98-72 to move to 5-1 at the Jones Cup in Taiwan.

Canada now is tied for the lead in the standings with Lithuania, who Canada defeated earlier in the tournament.  With 3 games remaining in the tournament (India 0-6, Japan 2-4, China-White 1-5), Canada will capture the tournament championship by winning out.

Wood, starting for the second consecutive game, shot 6-10 from three in 28 minutes while Morgan, inserted into the starting five, had his best game of the tournament with 15 points and 6 rebounds in 17 minutes.  Kapelan added 18 points while former Alberta Golden Bear 6’6″ Joel Friesen had 14 points in 26 minutes while also starting the game.

Canada meets winless India tomorrow in the first game of the day and looks to end the weekend by bringing home a Jones Cup championship !

Canada back on track at Jones Cup with easy win over Iran

Getting a tournament-high 29 points from 6’3″ veteran Diego Kapelan (Vancouver/McNeese State/European pro) which included a blistering 7 for 11 shooting from downtown and 8 assists, Canada returned to their winning ways with a 105-71 victory over Iran to move to 4-1 on the tournament.  Canada led by 10 at the half and then opened up leads as large as 25 in the third quarter to win going away.

Coach Kyle Julius inserted two U-Sports stars into his first five as both 6’4″ Connor Wood (Carleton grad) and UBC’s 6’9″ Conor Morgan entered the starting lineup for the first time in the tournament and Morgan had 11 of 18 points (2-4 3’s) after halftime while Wood continue to help spark Canada from beyond the arc, going 3-7 from 3, part of a 14-27 effort from downtown by Canada as a team.  Canada shot 60% from the floor in dominating the Iranians, who dropped to 2-2.

There are now five teams tied atop the round-robin standings at 3-1 including Canada, who gets set to play South Korea, also 3-1, tomorrow.  Canada then completes their schedule with games against India (0-4), Japan (0-4) and Republic of China-White (1-3) with the team leading the round robin standings at the end declared winner of the tournament – we are not presently aware of the tie-breaking scenarios which are likely to come into play.

Home side upsets Canada at Jones Cup

In front of what was described as an electrifying home crowd in Taipei, Taiwan, Canada tried to rally from double-digits down but could not complete the comeback, suffering their first loss of the 39th Jones Cup tournament 89-86 at the hands of the host Taipei team “Republic of China-Blue” to fall to 3-1 on the tournament.

The Chinese held leads for much of the first half before Canada climbed to within 2 by halftime.  Canada could not get over the hump and lost in a one possession game.  6’4″ Connor Wood (Carleton) came off the bench to finish with 10 points for Canada (3-7 3’s) in 23 minutes while 6’4″ Shaquille Keith (Cape Breton) added 9 points/7 rebounds in 17 minutes which featured a strong second quarter that helped Canada get back in the game.  6’5″ Joel Friesen (Alberta) added 5 points in 19 minutes.

Canada (3-1) has five games remaining including tomorrow’s affair with Iran (2-2) as the tournament continues.

NCAA vs. U-Sports Games Team-by-Team


Friday, August 11th :  vs. Montana State (at Calgary)

Sunday, August 13th :  vs. Montana State (at Calgary)


Sunday, August 20th   vs. Canisius (at Champlain-St. Lambert)

Saturday, August 26th :  vs. Northeastern (at Raven’s Nest, Carleton in Ottawa)

Thursday, August 31st :  vs. Hofstra (Vanier College in Montreal)


Wednesday, August 9th :  vs. Binghamton (St. Catharines)

Sunday, August 13th :  vs. Jacksonville (St. Catharines)

Wednesday, August 16th : vs. Vanderbilt (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Sunday, August 20th  vs. James Madison (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Monday, August 21st Brock vs. James Madison (U.S. Virgin Islands)


Thursday, August 10th:   Montana State (Calgary)

Saturday, August 12th:   Montana State (Calgary)


Monday, August 7th :  Towson 7 PM (Ottawa)

Wednesday, August 9th :  Alabama (Ottawa)

Monday, August 14th :  vs. Vanderbilt (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Tuesday, August 15th :  vs. Northern Colorado (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Thursday, August 17th :  vs. Vanderbilt (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Friday, August 18th :  vs. James Madison (U.S. Virgin Islands)

Tuesday, August 22nd :  New Hampshire (Ottawa)

Wednesday, August 23rd:  Canisius (Ottawa)

Friday, August 25th :  Northeastern (Ottawa)

Sunday, August 27th :  St. Francis Brooklyn (3 PM in Ottawa)

Monday, August 28th : Siena (in Montreal; location to be determined)

Wednesday, August 30th :  Hofstra (Scrimmage Only:  in Ottawa)


Monday, August 21st:  Canisius (Montreal)

Wednesday, August 23rd : Northeastern (Montreal)

Thursday, August 24th :  New Hampshire (Montreal)

Tuesday, August 29th:  St. Francis Brooklyn (7 PM in Montreal)

Thursday, August 31st :  Siena (6 PM in Montreal)

Friday, September 1st :  Hofstra (7 PM in Montreal)


Saturday, August 5th :  vs. Montana (Costa Rica)

Tuesday, August 8th :  vs. Western Kentucky (Costa Rica)

Thursday August 10th :  vs. Western Kentucky (Costa Rica)

Saturday, August 12th :  vs. Kent State (Costa Rica)


Thursday, August 10th :  vs. Binghamton (at Brock in St. Catharines)


Wednesday, August 9th :  Towson at Laval (Ste. Foy)

Sunday, August 20th :  New Hampshire (Ste. Foy)


Monday, August 7th :  Alabama (Montreal)

Tuesday, August 8th :  Southern Methodist (Montreal)

Thursday, August 10th :  Towson (Montreal)

Monday, August 14th :  vs. Kent State  (Costa Rica)

Tuesday, August 15th :  vs. Lamar (Costa Rica)

Wednesday, August 16th :  vs. UTEP (Costa Rica)

Thursday, August 17th :  vs. UTEP (Costa Rica)

Monday, August 28th:  St. Francis Brooklyn (7 PM in Montreal)

Tuesday, August 29th: Siena (7 PM in Montreal)

Saturday, September 2nd:  Hofstra (3 PM in Montreal)


Sunday, August 13th :  Binghamton vs. McMaster (Noon at Kerr Hall in Toronto)


Thursday, August 10th :  Alabama at Ottawa (Ottawa)

Monday, August 21st :  New Hampshire at Ottawa (in Montreal)

Tuesday, August 22nd:  Canisius at Ottawa (Ottawa)

Monday, August 28th :   Ramapo (NCAA DIII from New Jersey) at Ottawa (Ottawa)


Saturday, August 19th :  Canisius (Kingston)


Thursday, August 10th :  Southern Methodist (Kerr Hall, Toronto)

Saturday, August 12th :  Binghamton (Kerr Hall, Toronto) 2 PM


Saturday, August 19th :  Notre Dame College (NDC- NCAA Division II) (Goldring Center)


Friday, August 18th :  vs. Nevada (Costa Rica)

Saturday, August 19th :  vs. UTEP (Costa Rica)

Monday, August 21st :  vs. Nevada (Costa Rica)


Sunday, August 6th :  Towson 3 PM (Montreal)

Wednesday, August 23rd :  New Hampshire (Montreal)

Saturday, August 26th :  St. Francis Brooklyn (Montreal)

Tuesday, August 29th:  Hofstra (7 PM in Montreal);


Friday, August 11th:  Jacksonville at Windsor (Windsor)


Monday, August 21st :  Notre Dame College (NDC – NCAA Division II) (Tait McKenzie)