Brock’s annual RBC Classic shines light on top U Sports teams

Brock’s Mo Ismail with the ball during the RBC Classic / Chloé Charbonneau

 

This past weekend Brock men’s basketball hosted its annual RBC Classic, which featured teams across U Sports (formerly called CIS). It was an opportunity for each team to get their feet wet ahead of the 2016-17 season, which is fast approaching.

The three day event featured a total of nine teams, although Guelph and Niagara College only played a game each. The other six teams that travelled to Brock played three games and Brock men’s basketball played two.

From my two days of watching, here is a team-by-team breakdown.

York Lions
Standout player: Jayden Frederick

If you’re looking at the York Lions roster for this upcoming season and wondering why there are so many new names, it’s because the Lions top six scorers from last season have departed. However, it’s not just those six players that have left but another handful have transferred or simply quit the team. The reasons why are up for speculation.

In terms of the roster the Lions will put forth this season, it’ll be a clear rebuild season. The Lions posted 0-3 weekend at Brock and it looked as if the players just don’t trust the system. The offense looked stagnant all weekend long, not being able to find any rhythm. The team averaged 28 turnovers per game and were outscored by a total of 51 points over the course of the three games.

Frederick was the only standout player averaging 20 points on 56 per cent shooting. It’ll be tough for the second year player to carry this team all season long. The Lions 2016-17 season doesn’t look good.

Universite du Quebec a Montreal Citadins
Standout player: Charles Miller

Inconsistency is the first word that came to mind when watching this UQAM team. Their offense, led by their guard play, can be successful if played in a slow pace half-court set. Once the guards begin to do too much, making passes into traffic and driving into defenders the offense stalls. They went 1-2 this weekend and in the two losses they turned the ball over a total of 19 times each.

The team will once again be led by Miller and Greishe Clerjuste. Ibrahim Sylla also had a strong weekend for UQAM, being inserted into the starting lineup in their third game replacing Misi Boye. Miller averaged 18 points over the three games, Clerjuste averaged 11 and Sylla averaged 15 – including 22 points on nine of 11 shooting in his one start.

Regina Cougars
Standout player: Johneil Johnson

It was a little tougher to pick a standout player for the Regina Cougars. It seemed as if a different player stepped up every game as the Cougars went 2-1 on the weekend. The decision to highlight Johnson, a first year player for the Cougars, was because it might be a good idea to expand his role. Head coach Steve Burrows has his veteran players that he can trust, but Johnson has shown he can score. Johnson averaged 13.3 points per game, leading the team in scoring in two of three games.

Efficiency might be the reason Johnson isn’t in the starting lineup as he shot 39.2 per cent for the weekend but it’s not like the overall team was any better, shooting 36.1 per cent over the three games. Alex Igual had a 21 point game versus UQAM, but only averaged 12.6 points for the weekend.

Regina was successful defensively in their two wins, but they’ll need to see consistency on both ends of the floor if they want to compete in an unpredictable Canada West Pioneer Division.

Windsor Lancers
Standout player: Micqueel Martin

In their first game of the weekend, the Lancers looked as if they were missing something. Possibly the departure of 2015-16 U Sports Rookie of the Year Isiah Osborne. Osborne, who transferred to the NCAA this summer was a major part in the Lancers success last year and with Alex Campbell graduated the Lancers are thin on a late game reliable scorer.

Standout player, Martin, a third year guard was impressive for a 6’1” player. He filled almost all areas of the box scores averaging 21.3 points (38 points versus UQAM), 6.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, two blocks and three steals (seven steals against York).

With Martin joining the team this year, Mike Rocca’s scoring (17.7 points per game) and Tyler Persaud’s leadership on the court, the Lancers should be fine without Osborne.

The Lancers win over Dalhousie will stand out as Dalhousie did defeat Ryerson and Brock this preseason, but Windsor just may not have what it takes to overcome the tough OUA competition.

Dalhousie Tigers
Standout player: Kashrell Lawrence

Dalhousie saw themselves in and out of the U Sports top 10 rankings last season, but they should be able to stick around if they can avoid losses to less competitive teams. After defeating a strong Brock team, the Tigers lost to the weaker Lancers this weekend, which a good team shouldn’t do.

Lawrence in the two games he played in scored 32 and 12 points, respectively, shooting a combined 64 per cent.

It’ll come down to being successful on rebounds for the Tigers, as the only rebounding battle they lost was against the Lancers. Last season they finished first in the AUS with a top ranked defence, but their offense was lacking. If they can rebound their offense will succeed as well. The Tigers will be a top AUS team again and a top 10 ranked team in the country.

Along with Lawrence, the veteran core leading the Tigers includes Sven Stammberger, Jarred Reid and Ritchie Kanza Mata. Sophmore Sascha Kappos and freshman Alex Carson will also play key roles for the Tigers this year.

Ryerson Rams
Standout player: Take your pick

This continues to be a well-rounded roster even with the departure of guard Aaron Best and forward Kadeem Green. You know this team can score, but does this team have a scorer they can count on when needed late in a close game? Do they have someone who can control the floor late? As much as Ryerson tried to make a comeback against Brock, they continued to fall short.

Ryerson’s three of four recruits for the summer stood out at their own moments throughout the weekend. Myles Charvis had two strong games, while Keevon Small and Jovan Leamy looked like solid off the bench pieces for the Rams.

Adika Peter-McNeilly and Ammanuel Diressa will lead this talented Rams team. I’m just not sure if this team will be a top three U Sports team like last season. The Rams looked outmatched by Brock in the third, although the Badgers were shooting lights out. But even Niagara College offense looked comfortable against the Rams, although it was a 37 point win for Ryerson.

Brock Badgers
Standout player: Tyler Brown

Before I get called biased because I’m a Brock student I can say this: this is my third year covering the Badgers and I’ve watched dozens of games, but their game against the Rams was the first time I have seen Brock’s offense keep an opposing teams defence on its toes for a full 40 minutes.

The reason Brock’s offense continued to stay strong against Ryerson was their added depth, which will be the talk of the season. However, the one thing we can’t let go unnoticed is the improved three-point shooting of point guard Tyler Brown. Brown shot four of nine from deep for the weekend, and you could see the confidence in his jumper. Unlike last year, teams won’t be able to sag off the Brock guard.

Freshman Daniel Cayer is also a major addition for the Badgers. He didn’t look like a rookie against the Rams, leading Brock in scoring and standing up for himself as he got into a couple scuffles with the Rams Fillip Vujadinovic.

The Brock versus Dalhousie game saw a combined 47 fouls — the most in any game all weekend — but that being said, Brock seemed to fall apart defensively in the third quarter, which they’ll need to clean up.

This Badgers team is good on paper and it’s showing on the court. They’ll be ranked fourth or fifth to begin the season but they’ll move up surely.

 

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