U-Sports Top 2017-18 Freshmen Review

Our review of pre-season forecasts continues with the top freshmen in each conference.

AUS Pre-Season Forecast:  High-Impact:  6’4″ Keevan Veinot Dalhousie (Wolfville Horton High) ; 6’5″ Nikita Kasango Saint Mary’s (Champlain-St. Lambert); 6’3″ Jordan Brathwaite, Dalhousie (Milton Bishop Reding); 6’6″ Ibrahima Doumbouya, UNB (Calgary Pearson); 6’5″ Mason Middaugh, Acadia (London John Paul/RISE Prep).  Notes:  Both Veinot and Kasango are immediate impact players with bright futures on younger teams.  Brathwaite should also get strong, meaningful minutes while Doumbouya has fit into a deep, veteran roster and Middaugh flashes strong potential as a taller perimeter shooter…. Others to watch:  6’3″ Dakelle Brooks, UPEI (Cole Harbour Auburn Drive/SW Academy); 6’4″ Eli Kraucher, Acadia (Cole Harbour Auburn Drive); Vernelle Johnson UPEI (Halifax Grammar); 6’1″ Jaydan Smith (Halifax Citadel), St. FX; 5’11” Levi Smith, Cape Breton (Cole Harbour Auburn Drive); 5’11” Jason Thompson (Waterford Valley), Memorial; 6’1″ Moshe Wadley, UPEI (Toronto Emery, SOE Academy).

AUS Top Freshmen 2017-18:  At one point in the discussion for AUS MVP and AUS top freshman, Saint Mary’s 6’6″ Nikita Kasongo has been a key reason why Huskies have hardly skipped a beat this season after losing virtually their entire rotation from last season.  Kasongo remains one of the leading scorers in the conference at 19.2 ppg and despite a recent leveling off remains an All-Star candidate as a first-year player.  Others under consideration include Dalhousie’s 6’4″ Keevan Veinot, who also is likely to have a career with multiple All-Star awards before all is said and done, 6’7″ Ibrahima Doumbouya (UNB) who has starred off the bench for the V-Reds – the slick wing from Calgary has missed the past three games due to injury but is expected back this weekend – and underrated 6’1″ Moshe Wadley, part of the foundation of the improving UPEI Panthers.

RSEQ:  6’7″ Michael Hakizimana, Concordia (Thetford Academy); 6’3″ Jamal Mayali, McGill (Markham Bill Crothers); 6’4″ Sam Jenkins, McGill (Hamilton MacNab); 6’3″ Oge Nwoko, Concordia (Mississauga St. Joseph’s); 6’6″ Harvey Matou, Bishop’s (Paris, France/Thetford Academy); 6’0″ Alexandre Compres, UQAM (Montmorency).  Notes:  Hakizimana has the physical tools to be an impact wing/forward while the French import Matou has logged about 15-20 off the bench for Gaiters in the pre-season.  Mayali and Jenkins are both presently in McGill’s 9-10 man rotation.

Having started much of the second-half of the season, McGill’s 6’3″ Sam Jenkins grades out over the entire season as the most productive freshman in the conference, playing a supporting role primarily as a three-point shooter for first place McGill.  The Hamilton, ON native has averaged 6.5 ppg in about 14 mpg.  Not listed above but certainly worthy of consideration is Bishop’s 6’1″ Nervens Demosthene, who has helped Gaiters clinch their first RSEQ playoff spot in three seasons after joining the roster in early January.

OUA East:  High-Impact:  6’2″ Evan Shadkami, Toronto (Central Tech); 6’1″ Zubair Seyed, Ryerson (Cambridge St. Benedict).  Others:  6’6″ Prince Kamunga, York (Toronto College Francais); 6’7″ Connor Keefe, Queen’s (Halifax Grammar); 6’8″ Liam O’Leary-Orange, Ryerson (Toronto Michael Power-St. Joseph’s); 6’4″ Alex Muise, Ottawa (Allen H.S., Hammonds Plains, NS); 6’5″ Chase Tynes, Ottawa (Dartmouth Auburn Drive); 7’2″ Tanor Ngom, Ryerson (Dakar, Senegal); 6’4″ Will Spaulding, Carleton (Rothesay Netherwood);

Shadkami has emerged as a legitimate high-potential scorer with the Varsity Blues, averaging 10.1 ppg including several recent games with stretches that have helped Toronto clinch a playoff spot.  Injured for much of the first half, the freshman from Toronto’s Central Tech had a 20 point game in a comeback with at Nipissing and has averaged over 11 ppg in the second half.  Ottawa’s touted duo of 6’3″ Alex Muise and 6’5″ Chase Tynes have had limited minutes as part of a more veteran roster while 7’2″ Tanor Ngom remains a highly-intriguing project at Ryerson.  High potential 6’4″ shooter Will Spaulding has transferred to Saint Mary’s.

OUA West:  High-Impact:  6’6″ Jeff  Baradziej, Waterloo (Hamilton Cardinal Newman/Wasatch Academy); 6’1″ Ali Sow, Laurier (Ottawa Merivale); 6’6″ Godsman Kwakwah, Brock (Montreal Vanier).  Others to Watch:  6’9″ Emmanuel Chukwu, Guelph (Suffield Academy); 6’3″ Pedro Costa, Algoma (Portugal); 6’2″ Justin Malnerich, Waterloo (Cambridge St. Benedict’s); 6’2″ Kascius Small-Martin, Brock (Vaughan S.S.); 6’7″ Julian Walker, Western (Barrie Innisdale/Hill Academy); 6’5″ Rasheed Weekes, Guelph (Mississauga St. Martin’s).

One of the more explosive freshmen scorers to enter the OUA West in many seasons, 6’1″ Ali Sow had been terrific for the most part, averaging 16.0 ppg – 10th in OUA West & 14th in the entire conference – for the young but rapidly-improving Golden Hawks.  Primarily coming off the bench, Sow has had six 20+ point games including a career-high 31 points vs. first-place Brock while shooting 39% from three.  Sow has had only 4 non-double-digit regular season games all season.  Brock’s improving 6’2″ guard Kascius Small-Martin promises to be an impact player going forward after a solid contribution as a freshman on a veteran-laden team.

Canada West:  6’4″ Mason Bourcier, UBC (Kelowna S.S.); 6’0″ Don Dayrit, Winnipeg (Sisler); 6’4″ Sagar Dulay, Fraser Valley (Surrey Tamanawis); 6’7″ Mason Foreman, Calgary (Winnipeg/Orangeville Prep); 6’1″ Brayden Kuski, Regina (LeBoldus H.S.); 6’2″ Andrew Milner, Calgary (Antigonish, NS/Roethesay Netherwood, NB); 6’4″ Awak Piom, Lethbridge (Calgary Harry Ainlay); 6’10” Grant Shephard, UBC (Kelowna S.S./Monteverde Academy).

Once again my Canada West pre-season picks and current choices are not as educated as I would like however 6’4″ Mason Bourcier of UBC has started and averaged over 25 mpg (5 ppg) on a Nationals-contending team.  Others who have had solid numbers over the course of the year include 6’2″ Andrew Milner (Calgary/6.5 ppg in 17 mpg), 6’10” Grant Shepherd (UBC/ 8.8 ppg off the bench) and Lethbridge’s 6’4″ Awak Piom (7.3 ppg).


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