Canada West Recruiting Class Part 1
VANCOUVER, BC–In the first installment of the Canada West Recruiting Class, NPH explores the British Columbia contingents and the new bodies that each program has managed to secure. Each year, the CIS improves in strength, and the 2011-2012 season proves to be no different.
Michael Acheampong (6-2 G Toronto-Humber); Vijay Dhillon (6-0 G Richmond-R.C. Palmer); Dominic Ohl (6-7 F Victoria-Claremont); Sean Patrick (6-4 F London, Ont.-St. Thomas Aquinas); Reiner Theil (6-5 W Vancouver-Vancouver College); John Woldu (5-11 G London-Beal, Windsor)
Victoria is bringing in a strong recruiting class to look to improve on their conference record of 15-9 last season. The Vikes have secured three Ontario recruits in Michael Acheampong, Sean Patrick, and John Woldu. Acheampong is transferring to Victoria from a very successful Humber Hawks program where he averaged 14.5 ppg and 6 rpg while leading the Hawks to the CCAA national championships. Patrick is a strong athletic versatile player who has good CIS size for a rookie. He comes from a strong high school program at St. Thomas Aquinas and has experience playing at the provincial level with team Ontario. Woldu is a transfer from the University of Windsor where he played two seasons with the Lancers and gained valuable experience playing in the CIS nationals.
UVic is also adding some very impressive local talent in Vijay Dhillon, an explosive guard who led RC Palmer to their first ever B.C. AAA championships where he was named tournament MVP. Dhillon played at the B.C. provincial level with the U17 team the past two summers, and played his high school ball under a great coach in Paul Eberhardt.
To round out the Vikes recruiting class, they are bringing in two more local B.C. players in Reiner Theil and Dominic Ohl. Theil is a multisport athlete who had his choice from a number of different schools for both basketball and football, but chose to go to UVIC and focus on round ball. Theil was a teammate of Vijay Dhillon on the provincial under 17 team. He averaged 17 ppg and 9 rpg with Vancouver College this past season.
Dominic Ohl is the last piece of the puzzle to this strong recruiting class. Although Ohl is a freshman, he is no stranger to the Victoria Vikes program; his father Phil Ohl was a player on the Vikes and now is a coach with the team. Dominic is a very skilled versatile player, and is seen to have a very bright future with the Vikes team.
UBC has been close to winning that elusive CIS national championship, but has fallen short the last few seasons; this upcoming season they are bringing in a strong recruiting class to help them get the Thunderbirds over the hump. David Wagner is one of the top young posts in Canada, and has the skills and size to contribute immediately. Wagner has experience playing against tough competition as he has played at the provincial level and even at the national stage where he won a bronze in the 2010 U17 world championships.
Nakai Luyken is a big strong athletic guard who won a BC AAA championship at Yale in 2010 and has played on the provincial team the past few years.
UBC also brought in Malcolm Williams who should fit in well in a UBC guard oriented system. Williams comes from a great program at Pitt Meadows, and has been a member on the B.C. provincial teams.
Jordan Blackman (6-5 G Abbotsford-Yale); Luke Braund, 6-6 F Vancouver-St. George’s, Western Ontario (CIS); Mike James, 6-6 F Winnipeg-Oak Park, Winnipeg (CIS) ; Klaus Figueiredo, 6-6 G Calgary-Paul Kane, NAIT (CCAA)
Fraser Valley had a tough season last year and in large part that was due to season ending knee injuries to their front court. They lost two of their starters in Kyle Grewal and Jasper Moedt. UFV is hoping to have a healthy season and be one of the top teams in a very competitive Canada West. UFV was able to secure local hoops star in Jordan Blackman who is a fantastic athlete and very versatile player. Blackman won a championship with Yale in 2010 and was a member of the B.C. provincial team.
Fraser Valley’s other recruits include Luke Braund and Mike James who both have CIS experience and will be looked on to contribute right away. The Cascades are also bringing in Klaus Figuiredo who is a transfer from NAIT. Klaus is a big guard and will also be looked upon to contribute in his first year with UFV. He has a winners mentality as he won a high school 4A championship and also helped lead the Ontario U17 team to a national title in 2007.
Yassine Ghomari (6-0 G Vancouver-Kitsilano, Langara); Brad Quevillon (5-9 G Vancouver-Kitsilano, Langara); Parry Aulakh (6-2 G Oliver-South Okanagan); Bret Macdonald (6-1 PG Port Coquitlam-Terry Fox); Julian Asselstine (6-8 P Coquitlam-Dr. Charles Best); Ben Hindson (6-9 P, Naramata-Brentwood College); Nick Fournier (6-5 F, Niagara Falls-Welland Centennial)
UBC-Okanagan had a great run at the CCAA level, but now enter the very tough Canada West in the CIS. The Heat have brought in a strong recruiting class and have some good players returning. UBCO brings in Yassine Ghomari and Brad Quevillon who both played high school basketball at Kitsilano and at the CCAA level with Langara. One thing the Heat needed to add to be able to compete at the CIS level was size and they did that by bringing in Julian Asselstine and Ben Hindson both players are big bodies who are a bit raw on the offensive end, but should be a presence in the paint. They also added Bret Macdonald who led his team to a third place finish at the AAA provincials. During provincials, Macdonald averaged just under 20ppg and was arguably the best player on that Terry Fox team. The Heat round out their recruiting class with Parry Aulakh and Nick Fournier. Despite UBCO bringing in a good recruiting class they will have a long season ahead of them as they transition into the new league with tougher competiiton. NPH wishes UBCO the best of luck in thei first season at the CIS level.
Justin Bakuteka (6-1 PG Toronto-Martingrove, Lakeland College); Dan Briscoe (6-4 W,Kelowna-KSS,UBC-Okanagan); Mich Cockrill (6-5 G Chilliwack-GW Graham, UBC-Okanagan); Taylor Heinrichs (6-7 W Coquitlam-Heritage Wood); Sean Peter (6-3 G Ottawa-Hillcrest, Ottawa)
Trinity Western is coming off a outstanding season where they lost to Carleton in the CIS gold medal game. It was the best finish in TWU school history. Trinity still has a lot of talent on the roster and is bringing in a strong recruiting class, but will sorely miss Tyrell Mara and Jacob Doerksen. Mara and Doerksen were not only talented basketball players, but were also two great leaders. One area the Spartans have improved is their backcourt, they added two very good guards in Justin Bakuteka and Sean Peter. Both these two will be able to contribute right away. Bakuteka was Lakeland’s rookie of the year where he averaged 10 ppg in his rookie season. The other guard, Sean Peter is a former OUA allstar playing four years at Ottawa where he has a lot of experience playing in big games, also playin in two national championship games. TWU brings in second year transfer from UBC-O in Micah Cockrill. Micah had a great rookie year where he was named to the BCAA all rookie team, and is a versatile offensive machine. The Spartans round out their recruiting class with Taylor Heinrichs and Dan Briscoe.
Richard Bos (6-6 F Surrey-Holy); Justin King (6-4 Las Vegas-Liberty, Skagit Valley CC); Will Ondrik ( 6-7 F Surrey-White Rock Christian Academy); Mike Zayas ( 6-2 G Richmond-R.C. Palmer); Derek Wolf (6-1G Penticton), Blaz Bozinovic (6-10 F Kamloops-St. Ann’s Academy); Ivan Bozinovic (6-10 Kamloops-St. Ann’s Academy); Zach Usherwood (5-10 PG Coquitlam-Gleneagle); Akeem Pierre (5-11G Richmond-R.C. Palmer, UBC)
Thompson Rivers has had its struggles at the CIS level, but with a new coach in Scott Clark and a load of new talent to work with, this group could be a good core to work and build with. A big signing for the wolfpack was the twin towers in the Bozinovic brothers. Ivan and Blaz Bozinovic are both 6-10 and have size 17 feet, possibly still growing. Anytime you can bring in two 6-10 rookies you are making a step in the right direction. Both brothers are raw offensively and need to get stronger but are committed to getting better and working hard.
The wolfpack has a couple other high profile recruits, one of them is the explosive athletic UBC transfer Akeem Pierre. Akeem was a big time high school player who played with the B.C. provincial team and played at a very good high school program at R.C. Palmer.
Another player I am very excited to see play this season with TRU is Justin King. King comes from playing at Skagit Valley CC where he was NWACC MVP and averaged 18ppg and 10 rpg last season. Other players TRU has brought in this season are Richard Bos, Will Ondrik, Mike Zayas, Derek Wolf and Zack Usherwood. Coach Clark has reshaped the roster with nine new players this upcoming season and has a tonne of depth and talent at all positions, it should be a very competitive season for TRU.