Brock Basketball showing positives in preseason play

Brock’s Johneil Simpson in a game last season /


When you think of a roster with depth you do not think of the 2015-16 Brock men’s basketball team. However, that is set to change for the upcoming season.

Head coach Charles Kissi made it a priority this past summer to add depth to an already talented starting five. From the names on the roster to the results on the court, Brock’s roster may give defences no time to rest.

Last season Brock’s offense finished seventh best in the OUA with 77.6 points per game. However, the Badgers ranked last among the top 10 offenses in the league in bench points per game. Brock’s 13.37 points off the bench was more than four points worse than the next worst Windsor Lancers, whose bench averaged 17.7 points per game

This summer, Kissi made sure not only to add bench scoring pieces but also made certain the additions were players with experience. New additions to the Badgers roster include: Mo Ismail (played three seasons with the University of Ottawa), Cassidy Ryan (played two seasons in the NCAA with Canisius Golden Griffins), Trevor Thompson (transfers to Brock after three seasons with the University of Guelph) and Daniel Cayer. Although he’s a freshman, Cayer adds scoring to the Badgers lineup.

Niagara River Lions head coach Grace Lokole was the colour commentator for when Brock took on Niagara College in their first of five games in five nights. Lokole made a comment during the game that really emphasized how important the added depth to the Badgers is.

“They have a really good starting five… one of the best starting five’s in the CIS last year,” Lokole said. “Adding depth to your bench allows Dani [Elgadi], Johneil [Simpson] and the Ryan Bennett’s to get a little more rest so you can be a little more effective in the later quarters.”

Last season in the OUA, Elgadi and Simpson ranked third in combined minutes per game amongst any combination of two players on a single team. Elgadi and Simpon’s combined minutes per game was 67.5, which ranked only behind Western’s duo of Greg Morrow and Tom Filgiano (68), and Lakehead’s Henry Tan and Alexandre Robichaud (67.7). The two Badgers both ranked in the top 10 in minutes per game in the OUA — only Brock and Lakehead had two players in the top 10.

The depth and scoring has shown for the Badgers in their five preseason October games, which were played in five straight days. Their offense averaged 85.2 points per game in their five games, which is 7.6 points better than their average last season (yes, it’s only preseason so we shouldn’t read into these statistics too much).

What has been most impressive about the Badgers victories have been their ability to find scoring from all sorts of players, as the offense continues to play around star Dani Elgadi. The fourth-year forward has averaged 22.2 points over the five games, leading the Badgers in scoring in four games. Elgadi had a 36-points performance in the Badgers’ most recent victory over Concordia.

Simpson, Ryan, Thompson, Bennett and first year guard Michael Asemota were all among the top scorers for the Badgers over the course of the five games as well.

The five games included wins over: Niagara College (89-62), St. Francis Xavier (83-76), Cape Breton (74-53), Nipissing (85-54) and Concordia (95-78). The latter three games were played in Montreal at the Concordia Tournament, which the Badgers won.

Next up for the men will be a game against Redeemer on October 20, and then their biggest preseason test will be Oct. 21 versus the Ryerson Rams and on Oct. 22 they’ll play Dalhousie. All three games will be played at Bob Davis Gymnasium, as the Ryerson and Dalhousie games will be played in Brock’s annual RBC Classic tournament.

The Brock women’s basketball team travelled to Alberta for three games earlier this month and then to Waterloo for two games late last week. The women had strong showings as they won four out of five games in nine nights.

According to first year head coach Ashley MacSporran’s Twitter, the Badgers began to deal with the injury bug during their time in Waterloo as three players sat out due to injuries — which limited them to eight players.

In Alberta, the Badgers defeated Lethbridge 84-63, lost their only game to Calgary 72-48 and beat Mount Royal 81-48. Their two games in Waterloo were against the Waterloo Warriors and the University of Northern British Columbia, in which the Badgers won 71-60 and 71-67, respectively.

The Badgers look as if they’ll have a big three ready to lead the way in forward Kira Cornelissen and guards Melissa Tatti and Chrissy Sirignano. Cornelissen averaged 20.4 points per game, including a career-high 28 points versus Mount Royal and another 27 point performance versus Waterloo. Tatti in the five games averaged 17.8 points and Sirignano averaged 13.8 points.

Although it’s preseason, MacSporran seems to have found an offensive system that works for the Badgers as they’re performing 5.2 points better than their season average last year.

At the end of this month the Badgers will conclude their preseason play with home games against Laurentian on Oct. 28, Nipissing on Oct. 29 and Western on Oct. 30.

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