Mohawk College is hosting the CCAA National Championships this year which means the Mountaineers will get an automatic bid to the big show.
The question now becomes, is the host team good enough to compete for the National Championship this season?
In my opinion, I think they definitely have all the pieces to challenge any team in the country. Brian Jonker returns for his 10th season as head coach of the Mohawk Mountaineers and the team returns almost every player from last season’s core.
In 2013-2014, the Mountaineers finished the season with a record of 15-3, but fell just short in the playoffs as they lost to eventual Provincial Champion Sheridan Bruins in a close game during the semi finals.
Last season was full of individual success for the Mountaineers, however this year they will look to take the team to the next level and compete for a National Championship.
Key Returning Players
Matt Fennell is a 6’5 versatile forward who fills the stat sheet. He averaged 25.4ppg, 5.8rpg and 1.8apg and played in all 18 games last season. He also shot the ball very well from the floor at 52% FG, 43.2% from three and 80% from the free throw line.
Before Fennell went to Mohawk, he spent two seasons at Fanshawe, and one season at UPEI (where he averaged nearly 16 points a game). After a breakout season last year he was rewarded with OCAA Men’s Basketball West Division First-Team All-Star honours, and was also named a CCAA All-Canadian.
Andrew Cicuttini is a 6’7 PF who averaged 18.5ppg and a monster 12.8 rpg was also named a OCAA Men’s Basketball West Division First-Team All-Star. Andrew is a skilled forward and as you can tell from the numbers is a relentless rebounder. Before Cucunttini played for Mohawk he played for Brock University.
Taylor Dowhanuik is a 6’9 Centre who clogs up the middle of Mohawk’s 2-3 zone and swats any shots that come his way. Taylor averaged 9.1ppg, 9.1rpg and 4.3bpg last season which earned him OCAA Men’s Basketball West Division Defensive Player of the Year and a spot on the OCAA Men’s Basketball West Division Second-Team All-Stars.
Other key returning players for the Mountaineers include: Patrick Iavarone, a 6’0 guard, Xzennis Brereton a 6’3 guard and 6’6 forward Jeff Hunt; all three had an impact on last season’s team and will look to continue to add depth to this season.
Matt Savel is a 6’0 point guard who played four seasons at University of Toronto. Last season for the Varsity Blues, Savel was 2nd in scoring at 10.1ppg and led the team with 51 assists on the year. Savel will likely come in as the starting point guard for the Mountaineers and look to take the team to the next level.
Lamar Barr is 5’11 guard who practiced with the team last season as he was rehabbing an injury. If healthy he will add some quickness and shooting and could likely start alongside Savel at the guard positions.
Other incomers that will look to make an impact on the team are: OJ Watson, a SG who transferred from Southeastern Community College in Iowa, Kojo Afari, a transfer student who played three seasons with Sault College and 6’10 freshman Centre Brian Hyrski.
Coach Brian Jonker thinks the team has the pieces, size, depth and experience to challenge for a National Championship and that is the team’s goal and focus this year.
Jonker also stated that the team still has a lot of work to do to get to the level they need to be in March.
A lot can happen during a season, but I think the Mohawk Mountaineers have everything they need to make a run and win the National Championship.
Hosting Nationals and having an automatic bid doesn’t hurt either.