After a decisive win at home over a tough Redeemer squad on Wednesday, Waterloo Warrior coach Justin Gunter was guardedly optimistic about the progress of his squad but very certain that has group has a strong culture founded in the hard work and strong examples of his three fifth-year seniors in 6’2” Jon Ravenhorst, 6’5” Mike Pereira and 6’4” Ben Davis. “All three of them bought in immediately to our plan of allowing our recruiting class to learn on the fly”, commented Gunter. “With the great class we brought in and are committed to long-term, having these 3 seniors provide their leadership while the young guys grow is outstanding”. Gunter indeed brought in a sterling class, led by their point guard of the future in 6’3” Simon Petrov, one of three local Waterloo talents – all from Sir John A. MacDonald H.S. which includes 6’5” Nedem Hodzic, another Day One starter and 6’4” Justin Hardy who will be a rotation player also. Petrov is expected to be a 30+ minutes per game starter as a lead guard and should help improve the looks that Ravenhorst, a high-volume shooter last season, can play off of. Pereira is 25 pounds lighter and much stronger as an undersized post while Davis, like Ravenhorst, is much more committed to finding his offense in the flow of the game instead of looking for his on his own. Gunter expects Hodzic to evolve into a high-quality wing/forward and Hardy brings a wide-ranging skill set to complement the veterans off the bench. Warriors also return hard-working 6’6″ 225 lbs. post Zeshan Anwar, back for his final season poised to provide 15-20 minutes per game as an undersized but effective post. Two other top recruits are targeted for meaningful rotation minutes including 6’8″ forward Divi Ramon Prados, an import from Madrid, Spain who redshirted at Illinois-Chicago 2 years ago (D1) and then played last season at North Plattee CC, a JUCO in Nebraska. The Euro-skilled forward should complement the inside bangers with his combination of passing and creating ability. Gunter also found one other local prodcut 6’2″ combo guard Korbil Gany (Kitchener Ressurection) who is slated for minutes at both guard spots. Gunter describes Gany as a tough kid who can defend on the ball and plays with lots of energy and passion. Warriors also have brought in a high-potential project in 6’6″ 160 pound Fadi Elgadi, younger brother of Brock All-Canadian Dani Elgadi, a super-long, hard working, instinctive three man who has the potential to be a solid CIS wing as he matures physically and continues his hard work. The five new faces allow Gunter to extend his rotation to 9 or 10 deep and play at the pace he wants to be at longer-term. The Warriors have thankfully resurrected the annual Naismith Tournament which begins next weekend with nationally-rated Manitoba Bisons, UQAM Citadins and perennial CCAA power house Humber Hawks in the 4 team event.