NPH CIS Team Previews: Brock Badgers
After an undefeated preseason, the Brock Badgers are the talk of the CIS but does it mean anything?
Head coach: Charles Kissi
Record in 2014: 7-12 (Fourth in OUA Central division)
Playoffs: No playoffs
Points scored per game: 76.6
Points allowed per game: 84.4
Key players: Dani Elgadi, Ryan Bennett, Johneil Simpson, Matt Marshall
Key losses: No key losses
Last season’s 7-12 record didn’t sit well with Brock Badgers head coach Charles Kissi. “We got to make the playoffs this year,” he says. “I like winning.” Not that winning will come easy in the OUA Central, where the McMaster Marauders have reigned supreme ahead of a pack of three relatively equal teams—but that could change this season. The Badgers have yet to lose against a CIS team and, though it’s only the preseason, it does lend credence to Kissi’s claim that success would be “building on last year.” Now, he says, it’s a matter of doing this during the season. “We open with (McMaster),” he says, “and that’s when it all starts to be real.” He wants his players to win, if only because he believes they can and they have to prove to themselves that they are contenders. Kissi says that, “(Making the) playoffs is a good mark of that.”
Key games: at McMaster, Nov. 4; VS McMaster, Feb. 24
VS Lakehead Thunderwolves, Nov. 27 and 28
The Brock Badgers are loaded; you don’t say that of many 7-12 teams, but maybe it’s because they aren’t a typical one. “We haven’t won anything yet,” head coach Charles Kissi tells NPH. “We just have a lot of potential now.”
Technically, that’s true. But the Badgers have won things, preseason games—and while it’s infinitely better to win in February than in October, we’re in October right now. So yep, Brock is loaded. “We have a lot of talent and it’s just going to be a matter of how it is looking when it is put together when it counts,” Kissi says. That’s as close as he’ll come to say it.
So far in the preseason, it’s been put together quite well. Last year’s No. 3 Ryerson Rams? Down 92-83. Number 5 Windsor lost too, 94-92, and so did Canada West champion and CIS semifinalist Victoria—by 30 points. All told, Brock has played and won seven preseason games against CIS teams.
Since arriving in St. Catharines two years ago, Kissi has built a core of five key young Badgers as keystones of the program. “We have time,” he says. “Playoffs is an absolute must for us, and that’s a minimum.”
Third-year Dani Elgadi isn’t alone, not with Nolan Mackenzie set to shock people, not with Ryan Bennett shooting lights out and not with CIS rookie of the year Johneil Simpson giving opponents fits. “They’re talented,” Kissi says. “The scary part is they’ve gotten better and they continue to get better, and they will continue to get better. They’re not at their peak.”
Kissi must be grinning as he says that: scary for the rest of the CIS, yes.