Can the Voyageurs be successful in the OUA North by playing a different, but similar style?
Head coach: Shawn Swords
Record in 2014: 7-12 (Third in OUA North division)
Playoffs: OUA quarterfinals
Points scored per game: 69.6
Points allowed per game: 76.9
Key players: David Aromolaran, Sam Hirst, Anthony Iacoe
Key losses: Tychon Carter-Newman, Ryan Bennett, Sam Levac
Because they play in Sudbury, the Laurentian Voyageurs travel quite a lot. Head coach Shawn Swords says it hurts and helps. “It’s brought up right away” in recruiting, so the Laurentian coaching staff can quickly identify which players they should, and shouldn’t, pursue. Swords has embraced this reality and made it a staple of the student-athlete experience, with Laurentian going abroad often in years past. “It brings the team together,” he says. “You’re going to know each other a lot better.” Go big or go home, right?
Playing at home has traditionally been an advantage for the Voyageurs, but they must recapture that magic. They were actually a respectable 5-5 away last season; if their overall record lagged behind at 7-12, it was because the Voyageurs finished only 2-7 at their Ben F. Avery Gymnasium.
Key games: VS Ryerson Rams, Jan. 29
VS Toronto Varsity Blues, Jan. 30
at Brock Badgers, Feb. 19
This is a different Laurentian Voyageurs team; a bigger one, head coach Shawn Swords tells NPH, and one that can improve on “the big weakness we’ve had over the years with rebounding.”
What Swords means is that his Voyageurs will be bigger by Laurentian standards. He says that, “I’d like to see us get the ball inside a little bit more.” Having relied on perimeter players like Alex Ratte and Manny Pasquale in recent times, this would be a change. Still, Swords wants to play Voyageurs basketball, which typically includes a bevy of points in transition. “I don’t think we ran the way we could have ran the last couple of years,” he says. He wants to change that.
While Tychon Carter-Newman and Ryan Bennett have transferred to McGill and Brock respectively, the cupboard isn’t bare in Sudbury. David Aromolaran, a guard who “turned it on at the end of last year” is fast in the open court and can push the ball. Swords wants to experiment with playing him alongside Anthony Iacoe, a transfer from Carleton and more a prototypical point guard.
For now, Swords has the same goal that he always does: that “we’re the best we can be by the end.”