The Tigers recruiting class: Looking to repeat as AUS Champions

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FOLLOW ARMAAN AHLUWALIA @THEREALBRINDIAN AND NPH @NORTHPOLEHOOPS

Last season Coach John Campbell and the Dalhousie Tigers had a great season; as they captured the AUS championship, and managed to make it to nationals.  Nationals however was bitter sweet as they only managed to win one game at the metro centre.  They finished in 6th place when it was said and done and became the first Dalhousie Men’s Basketball team to win a game at nationals.

Aus logoWinning an AUS championship is no easy feat, and with players such as Simon Farine, Peter Leighton, Joseph Schow, and Sandy Veit it became a little easier.  With that being said Dalhousie will lose all of those four players to graduation.  A few of them will move on to persue a career in basketball or in a different field. Campbell has been given the hard task of replacing these great seniors on the court for the next season as the Tigers try to repeat as AUS championships.

Coach Campbell knows how important they were to the program’s recent success. “I am proud of them for their accomplishments and I think we are obviously going to miss them, they are very good players but they are also very important for the culture of our program and they were all hard working players and very dedicated and committed to success of the program.”

The Tigers have three confirmed recruits and one pending a student visa.  The three committed recruits are Ritchie Kanza, John Traboulsi, and Derek Norris.

With so many key role players graduating this past season, Coach Campbell knows there are a lot of minutes up for grab next season.

“Graduating Simon creates an opportunity for 35 minutes a game that someone has to fill.  Whether it’s a player that takes those minutes who has been inside our program over the last few years or it’s a new player coming in those minutes are available.  In Joseph Schow’s case the same thing along with Sandy Veit, and Peter Leighton.  If you look at the 200 minutes available over the course of a game for a team, in our case there is probably over 100 minutes that are now available for some players to try and prove that they are deserving of those minutes.”

Ritchie Kanza from Mother Teresa high school in Toronto; one of the three recruits, understands that there is a chance for him to come in and start right away.  “Coach told me there’s a great opportunity for me to come in and start but it’s not a given, and that’s the kind of coach I want.  I don’t want anything handed to me; I want to work for everything I get,” expressed Kanza.

John Traboulsi decided to come to Dalhousie for a few reasons, one of them being Coach Campbell. “They (Dalhousie) have a fantastic basketball program under Coach Campbell’s leadership. After watching how they performed the entire season and win an AUS last year, I got really excited to join their program. Also, Dalhousie has very strong academics. Coach Campbell is great for supporting academics and I’m going into Engineering and he’s supported me 100%”.

The final recruit Derek Norris has Tiger blood running in his veins, as he follows his older brother and cousin’s footsteps by joining the Tigers.  Derek decided to join the Tigers due to the closeness of home.  He also feels that Coach Campbell will be able to help him grow as a player.  “I think Coach Campbell is a knowledgeable coach who has ran a very successful program over the past few years. I believe my work ethic and style of play will suit his philosophy, and I’ll be able to develop tremendously and learn under his guidance.”

All three recruits are excited to get on campus, work hard and help make the team a successful one.  They know that with hard work another AUS championship is possible, despite losing some great players.

Moving forward to training camp, there are still a few questions that will have to be answered for this Tiger’s team.

Campbell reflects, “We’ve lost a lot of depth in leadership, but I think we have some guys who have the potential to step up and lead and a lot will depend on the work that guys put in over the summer.  Then coming into training camp who is able to step up and not only lead their teammates but liaison with the coaching staff and provide a presence in the locker room and on the floor.  I think for us right now we are not sure where that is going to come from and hopefully over the course of the summer and then early in training camp that we will have a couple of our veterans step up and assume that role”

Another AUS Championship could become a possibility as the tough but underrated AUS conference will be a lot closer from the top to the bottom as teams have closed the gap.  Acadia seems to be the pre-season favourites having a large core of their players remaining but the Tigers and Huskies could be knocking.  Don’t count out Cape Breton or St. Fx as they always bring top talent on the floor.

PHOTO COURTESY – DAL HOUSIE BASKETBALL

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