NPH CIS Team Preview: UPEI Panthers

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Last Season:

Overall

Pct.

Conf.

Pct.

Streak

Home

Away

13-7

.650

13-7

.650

W4

7-2

6-5

Head Coach: Tim Kendrick

Assistant Coach: Marvin Rhyno, Alonzo States, Scott MacDonald

Key Players: Deontay (DJ) Smith, Donathon Moss, Brian Ofori, Stefan Vujisic

Additions: 

  • Stefan Vujisic (Kraguievhe, Serbia)
  • Ellis Ffrench (transfer St FX)
  • Jayden Nordin (Halifax, NS)
  • Ethan Deruelle (New Waterford, NS)
  • Mahad Mohomed (Toronto, ON)
  • Spencer Dawson (Hamilton, ON)

 

Departures: Jermaine Duke, Terrence Brown, Opel Samuel  Otieno, Andrew Rogers

Coach Kendrick is entering his third season as the UPEI bench boss and is looking to build on back to back 13-7 seasons that was good enough for 3rd place in the AUS.  The Panthers have been knocking on the door of being an AUS elite and could be poised to kick the door through.

The intrigue and potential starts with the addition of 6-9 Serbian Stefan Vujisic, a versatile post player who can play in the block and has a solid face up game.

 

However, the road to an AUS championship has always gone through the paint and his ability to compete with AUS elite bigs will determine the panthers success. This responsibility does not fall entirely in the lap of the freshman, as 6-5 second year Brian Ofori should be poised to be more consistent and give the Panthers a solid paint game after a decent freshman year.

CIS Rookie of the year DJ Smith won't be relied upon as heavily this season, but will still get buckets

CIS Rookie of the year DJ Smith won’t be relied upon as heavily this season, but will still get buckets

The above is no disrespect to CIS rookie of the year Deontay (DJ) Smith, as he is a fantastic basketball player and the fortunes of the Panthers seemed to rest on his shoulders last season. DJ delivered for the most part and expect this very talented player to continue that. However, having a deeper and more balanced team will save DJ from having to be super man every game and leave his energy for consistent sound basketball, with regular flashes of WOW.

After a one year medical red shirt, Donathan Moss returns to the line up and will most definitely be an immediate impact. Moss is a 6-4 athletic forward who led the Panthers in scoring at 17.8 pts per game in 2011/12 and will give the Panthers one of the best small forwards in the AUS.

In addition, the Panthers add 5-11 sharp shooting guard Ellis Ffrench, a medical redshirt with the St FX X-Men in 2012-13. Not only does Ffrench bring a strong set of basketball skills, he also brings strong playoff experience from the AUS and National tournaments that will help guide the Panthers through the process. Ffrench’s basketball intelligence and leadership may be invaluable to the Panther program.

UPEI is set to pounce into, and climb the CIS ladder for the 2013-14 season. The growth of the UPEI program gives the AUS four teams that not only could win the conference championship but it also gives a fourth team along with Acadia, SMU and Cape Breton that could beat any team in the country (except Carleton) on any given night.

 

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