NPH CIS Preview: McGill Redmen

Christian McCue is McGill's long-range sniper
Freshman Christian McCue is McGill’s long-range sniper

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @CeeeBG & NPH @Northpolehoops

Last season

Overall Pct. Conf. Pct. Streak Home Away Neutral
10-6 .625 10-6 .625 Won 2 7-1 3-5 0-0

Head coach: David DeAveiro

Assistant coaches: Rouel Hidalgo, Daniel McCue, John Dangelas

2011-2012 Record: 10-6 (RSEQ)

Key Players: Simon Bibeau, Adrian Hynes-Guery, Christian McCue

Incoming Recruits:

  • Jonathan Arlauskas
  • Christian McCue
  • Joseph Sykes

Departures: Nicolas Langley

Though McGill is located in Montreal, it’s an international school. That’s why this preview must start in Orlando, at the home of the University of Central Florida. In the middle of the 2012 summer, the Knights received a one-year postseason ban from the NCAA, along with other sanctions, for the school’s basketball and football teams.

Newcomer Adrian Hynes-Guery, important piece for the Redmen
Newcomer Adrian Hynes-Guery, important piece for the Redmen

And just like that, the potential November visit from the McGill Redmen went up in flames. Instead, the team has a free weekend before starting its regular season, and head coach David DeAveiro doesn’t mind. How could he? Except for two defeats against Northeastern and UNLV in August, the Redmen have concluded an undefeated preseason that included a tournament win at the Brock Invitational. “I’m a little bit surprised honestly,” DeAveiro says. “All we want is the opportunity to make the playoffs and to contend.”

This shouldn’t be too much of a problem. For one thing, four of the five teams make the playoffs every year in the RSEQ. But beyond that, the Redmen are a promising bunch. “We have another year of understanding,” DeAveiro says, “what it means to be successful.” A year after finishing second to Concordia with a 10-6 record, McGill hopes to grow further as the core of the team is made up of players in their first few years of eligibility.

The team has lost two starters, but DeAveiro likes the two players that step in–Adrian Hynes-Guery and Christian McCue. “We can’t afford to lose (Adrian) Hynes-Guery.” Second-year guard Simon Bibeau also is back from injury. “He’s a very important player for us,” his head coach says.

Though the team finished last season with a good record, DeAveiro wasn’t satisfied and has addressed a few weaknesses from a year ago. “I think we have more depth this year,” DeAveiro says. “We have improved our shooting and have brought our turnovers down too.”

A potential weakness, in the upcoming season, will be team size. “We don’t really have that established big man in the middle,” the head coach says. “It’s important to have one big guy to compete for the Nationals.”

Right now, 6-foot-10 Nicholas Yantzi is the tallest player on the McGill roster–but he’s injured. Size can’t be taught, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no solution for the Redmen. DeAveiro says he intends to use the failures and disappointments to teach his team that, “Change doesn’t happen overnight.”

DeAveiro doesn’t like to play in the RSEQ. “I don’t think it’s healthy to have a 5-team conference,” he says. The only good thing is it establishes clear rivalries. The head coach says Concordia is currently the team’s biggest rival. The two schools are close in downtown Montreal and both are English-speaking institutions. “It’s only natural,” the McGill head coach says.

Because McGill is an international school, it’s only fitting that its basketball team is as well. It sure is the case, with players from Ontario, Alberta, New Hampshire, Maine, Kansas, Bermuda, Serbia and Brazil. “Most of the guys we get aren’t blue-chip guys. They’ve always had to work hard,” DeAveiro says. “The program is headed in the right direction.”

Academics have never been the problem at McGill and now that the basketball team is catching up, DeAveiro says that the Redmen players can get the best of both worlds. There’s a reason why they’re student-athletes.

The Redmen are currently 1-0, defeating Laval convincingly in their season-opener, with UQAM on the schedule this weekend.

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