NPH CIS Team Preview: Guelph Gryphons
Key returning players: Zach Angus, Michel Clarke
- Daniel Dooley, 6-1, Burlington
- Erik Stern, 6-2, Guelph
- Taylor Boers, 5-10, Belleville
- Drew Walford, 6-3, Etobicoke
- Andrew Grant, 6-4, Toronto
- Jonathan Wallace, 6-1, Malton
- Dimitri Rakas, 6-6, Hamilton
- Jonathan Munyakazi, 6-6, Aurora
- Colin Corrigan, 6-6, Dublin
- Konnor Findlay, 6-7, Aurora
Departures: Kareem Malcolm, Dan McCarthy
Guelph’s basketball team comes into a new season with plenty of fresh legs, adding 10 rookies to the roster and fielding 13 players that are either in their freshman or sophomore season.
On-the-job training has already started and through six competitive contests in the pre-season the Gryphons have gone 4-2 with seven rookies playing significant minutes.
“We’re very young but we’ve been able to bring in some good young talent that we’re excited about,” head coach Chris O’Rourke told NPH. “We’ve been a little up and down.”
Games against Redeemer, Loyalist, UQAM, McGill, Queen’s and Alberta have all been decided by double-digit margins. O’Rourke chalks this variability to young players not used to physical play they’ll face in the OUA.
“We can’t avoid having young guys on the floor which is fine, we understand that this year is going to be about them getting experience,” explained O’Rourke. “We’re trying to get them to compete and not let our lapses be so dramatic.”
Leading the young core will be senior 6-1 guard Zach Angus, the only real starter back from last years’ team that lost a 63-62 heartbreaker to Waterloo to end their season. He’s stepped up already and was an all-star at McGill’s pre-season tournament.
Gone are senior leaders Kareem Malcolm and Dan McCarthy, who graduated after lead the team in scoring (13.8 points per contest), rebounding (6.1), assists (2.9) and steals (1.4), and despite missing half the season with a knee injury was named a second-team all-star.
But despite moving on, his coach says McCarthy left his mark on Angus. “Playing with Danny and living with Danny has made him a better leader. He’s made some dramatic improvements in his defence which had been a weakness in past years and he certainly transformed his body and worked hard. He’s doing more at both ends of the floor.”
Of the young players, 6-6 forward Colin Corrigan from Hamilton has really shown some flashes of the elite player he could become, and he has played significant minutes in the preseason along with 6-7 forward Konnor Findlay from Aurora.
Andrew Grant, Findlay’s high school teammate at Bill Crothers S.S., is an athletic 6-4 guard with long arms and is already establishing himself as an outstanding on-ball defender. Another rookie, 6-1 Daniel Dooley is a crafty point guard who has started from day one.
“The old adage is it’s hard to say winning and development in the same sentence,” said longtime coach O’Rourke, now bench boss for well over a decade. He understands the OUA is a tough division and there’s sure to be some mistakes along the way for a young team starting the season on the road.
Guelph will travel to York, trying to tame the Lions to tip their regular season November 1st, then play Queen’s the following day.