NPH CIS Preview: Manitoba Bisons
Head Coach: Kirby Schepp (5th Season)
Assistant Coaches: Ogo Okwumabua, Jeff Laping, Herve Vincent, Joel Themmen, Jon Giesbrecht
2012-13 record: 14-8 (Canada West)
Key Players: Stephan Walton, Dan Penner, Yigit Ozsayiner
Incoming recruits and players:
- Justus Alleyn – 6’0, Winnipeg, MB / St. Paul’s
- Malik Irwin – 6’4, Winnipeg, MB / St. Paul’s
- Boris Zimbakov – 6’5, Winnipeg, MB / John Taylor
- Matthew Koenig – 5’11, Winnipeg, MB / Transfer – CMU
- Michael Holloway – 6’0, Decatur, GA / Transfer – Valdosta State
- Dan Penner – 6’7, Winnipeg, MB / Transfer – Carleton
- Daman Morissette – 6’4, Winnipeg, MB / Transfer- Red River Collegiate
Departures: Kevin Oliver, Xavier Smith, Jonar Huertas, Caleb Noel, Davidson Joesph, Kelvin Smith, Bradeon Speer
Manitoba averaged 82 points per game last season.
The departures from last season are responsible for 52 of those 82 points per game scored.
To most observers, that might come as a large concern, especially because those players were leaders for last year’s team which fell to eventual Canada West Silver Medalists, Victoria, in straight games to end the season with a first round exit.
However, optimism is high and the young talent mixed in with veterans that Head Coach Kirby Schepp has assembled looks to be coming along nicely and making strides towards making an impact.
The Bisons will rely heavily on Stephan Walton, who was a second team all-star in Canada West and the Bisons leading scorer who averaged 17.5pts, 4.4rebs and 5 asts a game last season. Due to injury Walton has been held out of all preseason games and what was first thought to be a serious injury will only hold him out for a couple of weeks.
During the preseason, the Bisons have relied on other veterans such as Amir Ali who comes into his fourth season with the team and will be relied on more than in years past. Ali looks ready to take on the role as a leader on and off the court.
The Bisons will also get another veteran presence as three time CIS Champion, Dan Penner has transferred due to academic reasons and will be a main piece to this team bringing a winning experience.
Yigit Ozsayiner, who led the team in rebounds last season is another important piece that will be expected to produce on both ends of the floor. Also expected to step up and provide valuable minutes will be big man Wyatt Anders. AJ Basi could be ready to make an impact and showed during preseason that he can be relied upon to score the basketball, having big games against OUA opponents Western and Windsor.
Freshman Andre Arruda and Justus Alleyn will be making a contribution to the team this season as both showed great flashes of poise while in preseason against formidable opponents. Arruda red-shirted last season and with a strong off season looks ready to take on CIS competition. Since watching Alleyn in High School, he has continued to get better every game and the preseason was an indication of that. He was also the leading scorer in their final contest against Lakehead.
The Canada West conference is expected to be tightly contested, where one win could be the difference between first in the conference and just missing the playoffs.
Except the Bisons to make a strong push for the playoffs despite losing a large majority of their veteran leadership and scoring. If the preseason is any indication, they showed that they can battle with anyone.