NPH CIS Team Preview: Brandon Bobcats
Head Coach: Gil Cheung (4th season)
Assistant Coaches: Jeremy Wielenga, Donovan Gayle, Keith Van Wellegham
2012-13 record: 6-16 (Canada West)
Key Players: Emerick Ravier, Ali Mounir-Benabdelhak, Ilarion Bonhomme, Jordan Reaves, Isaiah James
Incoming recruits and players:
- Mikee Dosado
- Issak Stark
- Theo Farnough
- Ryan Hawley
Departures: Pacome Matulu, Peterson Suffrard, Michael Smith
If leadership experience is going to pay off, this would be the season for it to happen in Brandon. The last few years for the Bobcats have been difficult and they have missed the playoffs for a number of years… Brandon is looking for change that this season.
Head Coach Gil Cheung knows how valuable the seniors will be this season. “Having fifth year athletes who have been a part of our program for a few years now definitely helps. We are hopefully all on the same page and leadership has been good so far in camp.”
This could be the year that the Bobcats put it together and make a push for the playoffs, and getting back a valuable member of the team will only help. Emerick Ravier last played in 2011 when he averaged 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2 assists in nine games before falling victim to injury putting him out for the last two seasons.
“Yes, he (Emerick) is a %100 and looking forward to having a good fifth year for us. He’s a great leader and he looks to have the impact that he did two years ago with our program,” Cheung told NPH.
Not only are the Bobcats getting back Ravier who will add leadership and production, but Jordan Reaves comes back for a fifth season after being last year’s leading scorer. Reaves averaged 13.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game last year, which was good for 24th, and seventh overall in the Canada West Conference. Reaves is coming back to Brandon hungry for another strong season and is looking get the Bobcats in the win column more often than not.
Ali Monuir Benabdelhak and Ilarion Bonhomme return to the lineup and the two registered 13.3 and 12.8 points per game respectively last season. Since both joining the team they have been solid mainstays within the rotation, providing skill and stability.
Depth will be a question forthe Bobcats this season as they look to battle in the Canada West Prairie division which will offer tough competition again this season. However, the starting five for Brandon could match-up well against the best in their league.
When asked about the strength of this team Coach Cheung replied “Like most teams, we hope to be strong defensively and win the glass each night. Those are two things that we are focused on and things we have been working on each day.”
Look out for Brandon to be a surprise team in the Canada West division as they have the right pieces to make things extremely difficult for opposing teams this season.