NPH CIS Team Preview: McGill Redmen
Head coach: Dave DeAveiro
Assistant coaches: John Dangelas, Rouel Hidalgo, Daniel McCue
2012-2013 record: 11-5 (RSEQ)
Key players: Simon Bibeau, Christian McCue, Vincent Dufort, Francois Bourque
- Sebastian Beckett
- Michael Friesen
- Regis Ivaniukas
- Bradley LaGuerre
- Jenning Leung
- Dele Ogundokun
- Michael Peterkin
Departures: Adrian Hynes-Guery, Te’Jour Riley, Nicholas Yantzi, Winn Clark, Aleksandar Mitrovic
MONTREAL–Every discussion on the McGill Redmen must start with the CIS Final 8, because that’s where it ended last season for head coach Dave DeAveiro’s squad–with a win over the Victoria Vikes for fifth place in the CIS. “Our conference may only have a small number of teams,” he says, “but I think we have quality teams.”
DeAveiro is only getting warmed up. “Our biggest problem as a country is that we don’t play enough out-of-conference games,” he says. “It’s all in the preseason, it’s all in October. It’s the beginning of the season.”
The McGill head coach wants to see more out-of-conference play over the Christmas break, if only to show how good the RSEQ is. “Our conference is very good, and it doesn’t get enough notoriety in terms of players of the league and the levels of the teams,” he says. “I thought that Bishop’s could have been at the Nationals, and I thought that Concordia could have been at the Nationals last year.”
As DeAveiro puts it, it’s hard to pick a wild card team for the Final 8 based on what happened in October.
But nothing has changed, so the road to success remains the same for each team of the five-squad RSEQ–16 conference games, then win the playoffs. Playing in such a small conference presents challenges, notably the fact that teams quickly figure the nuts and bolts of every other team in the conference.
But DeAveiro says there are also advantages. He says that, “It creates very good rivalries. You play a team enough times, you’re not going to like them regardless.”
If the Redmen intend on repeating the successes of last season, when they were the RSEQ representatives at the Nationals, they will need to do so with four new starters. Gone are forwards Aleksandar Mitrovic and Te’Jour Riley, and guards Adrian Hynes-Guery and Winn Clark. Stepping in their place—well, it remains to be seen exactly who will do so. The roster will again be young, Simon Bibeau, Tristan Renaud-Tremblay and Gordon Duffley being the elderly Redmen in their fourth year of eligibility.
DeAveiro has used three NCAA games this August to assess what he has in his new players. These games have given valuable experience to plenty of players who are severely lacking it. “(The games) serve as a good base in terms of evaluating and getting started on the things that the players need to work and that we need to work on,” the coach says.
If the new players lack experience, another way of looking at things is that they are a little bit of a blank slate and that the McGill coaching staff can remodel them accordingly. Coaches must do a lot of that at a school like McGill, where athletics come second. “The academic standard (here) is extremely high,” he says. “You may not get the talent that other places get, so you must spend more time developing skills.”
With such high turnover, McGill will need to find new ways to beat opponents—one of them will be with shooting, which DeAveiro says has improved compared to last season. Defence, too, will be a force, he says. “Our defense is probably going to keep us in games,” he says, “and we’ll have to find ways to win games.”
DeAveiro hopes to peak at the right time–right around the time that the playoffs roll around. It’s simple, really. “We have to be patient,” he says.
There are no secrets in the RSEQ, not when teams play four times against each other. That’s a pitfall of playing in a small conference. The flipside is also a positive, though–each team has a one-in-four chance not only at the playoffs but at the nationals, better than any other conference in the CIS.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops
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