NPH CIS Team Previews: UBC Okanagan Heat

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UBC Okanagan Heat

Head coach: Pete Guarasci heat-logo

Record in 2014: 3-17 (Sixth in Explorer Division of Canada West Conference)

Playoffs: No playoffs

Points scored per game: 67.4

Points allowed per game: 77.8

Key players: Mitchell Goodwin, David Manshreck, Aldrich Berrios

Key losses: Travis Worthing, Ryan Linttell, Noma Obaseki

Schedule breakdown:

A necessary evil, is that what you call a 3-17 season? The UBC Okanagan Heat remain a young CIS program, and their 2014-15 regular season schedule was such that they won only once after a 2-3 start. “There’s not much you can do,” Okanagan head coach Pete Guarasci tells NPH, “beside see every game as a learning point and try to learn from it and grow.” In other words, learning the hard way is still a way to learn; you survive and you grow up, and the latter is what the Heat intend to do this year. “It just takes a lot of time to build a program,” Gharasci says. “Everybody is a year older but I have an extremely young team. […] We have a lot more composure.”

Key games: VS Mount Royal Cougars, Nov. 20 and 21

                      at MacEwan Griffins, Nov. 27 and 28

UBCO_MBB_2015-1652217

CBG’s take:

Well, the good news is that the UBC Okanagan Heat survived last season. In only their fifth season in the CIS, the Heat finished last in the Explorer division with a 3-17 record—but they survived and can now move on. “This year,” head coach Pete Guarasci says, “it’s about starting to find ourselves on the court.”

It’s about continuing to build up Okanagan as a legitimate program. “Keeping guys for four or five years,” the head coach says, “that’s pretty much the secret to any team’s success.” A number of new faces join the Heat this season, and Guarasci counts on a few to emerge as key cogs. “We’re looking to see who’s going to make the jump from being a member of a CIS team,” he says, “to an impact on the court in games.”

And to see who will join the core that includes Mitch Goodwin and Aldrich Berrios, as well as David Manshreck—though Manshreck suffers from a concussion, and his head coach isn’t sure when his return will be. “It’s not going to be in the Fall,” is all he can say. To offset the loss, Guarasci will rely on Goodwin, a gifted scorer and versatile talent. “When he gets going,” Guarasci says, “he’s really tough to stop.”

For at least another season, Guarasci isn’t too worried about wins and losses in 2015-16; he wants his team and his players to grow first. “We’re still trying to get to a point where we’re competitive game in, game out,” he says. “We have to get to that sustainable point.”

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