Three key contributors will be missing this season, but the Dinos are still loaded.
Head coach: Dan Vanhooren
Record in 2014: 12-8 (Fifth in Pioneer division of Canada West conference)
Playoffs: Conference quarterfinals
Points scored per game: 79.9
Points allowed per game: 78.7
Key players: Josh Owen-Thomas, Matt Letkerman, Thomas Cooper
Key losses: Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, Phil Barndt, LJ Hegwood,
Dinos head coach Dan Vanhooren, having joined Calgary in 2000, is as well-versed as any of his counterparts in the challenges of playing in the Canada West conference. “There is a great deal of parity among the teams, coupled with a great deal of travel,»”he says.
“Road wins are difficult as a result of these two items.” The team will know right away where they stack up in the Pioneer division, as it plays its entire first half of the schedule against the teams that finished second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh in the division a year ago.
Key games: VS Winnipeg Wesmen, November 6 and 7
VS Alberta Golden Bears, Dec. 5; at Alberta, Feb. 20
It’s not often that a team can lose a do-everything point guard, a veteran and “a leader in the locker room and a dynamic forward between the lines” and still enter the new season as loaded as ever, but here come the Calgary Dinos.
Gone is Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson—to Portugal it turns out—but Dan Vanhooren’s team still has 13 returnees. It should be fine. “We expect that this continuity,” the head coach tells NPH, “will be valuable to achieving our goals.”
On the basketball court, Vanhooren has already carved his team’s identity: with so much continuity comes the comforting feeling that what worked a season ago might still do the trick. He wants his team to be “aggressive defensively using our size and length. On offense, we need to play hard and fast with our transition game.”
And the head coach expects more than basketball.
“Our efforts on the floor and off,” he says, “is our measure for success.”
That kind of impact isn’t measured on the CIS standings page, but it doesn’t make it any less important.