As CIS and CCAA student-athletes write exams the next couple weeks, play grinds to a halt.
However the talk about what has unfolded and what is to occur at the turn of the calendar for 2015 is ongoing.
The Atlantic University Basketball Conference proves its competitiveness 1 through 8 once again.
There have been some extreme shockers based on preseason predictions. But that is why we throw up the ball up and play close attention to the results.
The Dalhousie Tigers (5-1) have roared to the top of the AUS standings by ripping off 5 straight wins after an opening night loss to the UPEI Panthers.
Kashrell Lawrence has been in “beast mode” all season and seems to be the go to guy that bullies his way for tough hoops whenever the Tigers need them. “Kash” sits at 4th in the league in scoring with 20ppg at a blistering 62.8% shooting clip and 7.7 rebounds.
Jarred Reid a sleek, sweet shooting guard has contributed 16.3ppg (11th) and has been making timely shots as well as guard Ritchie Kanza Matta 13.2ppg (13th) and 6.2apg.
Dalhousie is looking really solid as Devon Stedman (who has been limited after returning from injury) gets his flow going in the second semester.
After preseason results, Cape Breton (3-4) had everyone including myself pegging the Capers as top dog in the AUS.
But then CBU slipped offensively which also seemed to affect the defensive side of the ball. The Caper’s salvaged their losing ways with a solid 93-89 win over UNB to close out their schedule entering the Winter break. Meshack Lufile has been consistent and solid in the paint at 17.4ppg (10th) but with his size and talent could bolster his 6.1rpg.
I learned as a coach that teams typically don’t become great until they face doubt and a level of failure; I would say this Capers team has seen theirs early in the season. The question is, is the win over a very good UNB team a sign that they are ready to kick it into the next gear? Will we see a Capers team producing based on their high talent level in the second half of the season?
This one has to go out to the UPEI Panthers as the team meshed very quickly and have put together a solid 4-2 record, thanks to two reasons.
Coach Kendrick’s ability to motivate is his strongest coaching skill, and Tyler Scott, who is one of the most talented players in the country (battling Javon Masters of UNB as the top player in the AUS).
Scott has been so good that he is very close the exclusive 90-50-40 club. Tyler leads the AUS in scoring at 26.6ppg and is shooting 51.5% from the field, 44.4% from the three-point line and 86.5% from the charity stripe.
The Panthers are getting steady play from Ellis Ffrench 17.7 PPG (9th) and Brad States 13.7ppg (15th) & 7.9rpg. As I watch UPEI play I am still very intrigued and excited about the development of Serbian small forward Miki Sedlarevic. This versatile forward will be huge for the Panthers success following the break.
Steady as WE GO
The UNB Varsity Reds have done exactly what is expected of them. They ended pre break league play with two tough losses on the road to ST FX and Cape Breton and sit in second place in the AUS.
Outside of #1 Dalhousie they have been the most consistent team in the AUS. Javon Masters continues his stellar play and sits second in scoring at 23.6 PPG. The dynamic duo UNB backcourt rounds out with the play of sharp shooter Will McFee, 18 PPG for 8th in the conference.
Jordan Irvine has been the third component to UNB’s consistent offense, chipping in at a clip of 13.2 ppg. Expect this senior dominant team to continue with its consistency throughout the remainder, and be battling for a first round playoff bye.
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In the ACAA it has unfolded pretty much as expected.
The Holland College Hurricanes have rolled through the first third of the league like a meat grinder.
This team is not settling on cruising based on their talent as they compete every possession to compile a 7-0 record and a victory margin of 25.14ppg — standing in the CCAA as the #1-ranked team in the Nation.
Coach Whitty has done an excellent job of keeping the Hurricanes fueled and on path to a conference championship and CCAA Nationals. The carnage will most likely continue through the remainder of the 2015 schedule.
The Hurricanes are a balanced team but thus far have been led by Chase Bowden who at this point is the front runner for league MVP and maybe player of the year for the CCAA.
Bowden is averaging 21.3 PPG(3rd), 11 RPG (1st), 1.8 blks (2nd) and 4.2asts (4th).
Kings College started out with an 0-4 record but have won 3 of their last 4 to improve to 3-4 and sit in fourth behind St Thomas and Mount Allison who are both 4-2.
The Blue Devils ride the scoring touch of Thomas Watson who is also a strong candidate for the aforementioned awards if the Blue Devils continue their winning ways. Watson leads the conference at a clip of 24.5ppg.