Relationships can take a long-time to build even if the universe is continuously pushing two people together. There could be multiple signs showing a connection, but those signs can only be brushed off for so long until the two must accept their destiny.
That’s how things have gone for Madhav Trivedi and Brock University. The new men’s basketball head coach has been connected to the university for almost four years and it wasn’t until early August that the two finally came to terms with each other.
Trivedi takes on the coaching duties of a program coming off a U Sports Final 8 appearance, and he is replacing a good friend in Charles Kissi.
“I can’t remember exactly how it happened,” said Trivedi about his friendship and bond with Kissi. The two met at Ryerson University when Trivedi went from student-athlete to student-coach for the men’s program and Kissi was an assistant coach for the women’s team.
Kissi eventually became the men’s basketball head coach at Brock in 2013 and was interested in having Trivedi join him as an assistant coach. However, other opportunities presented themselves and Trivedi never took up Kissi’s offer.
Then in 2016, according to a source, Trivedi was the runner-up for the Brock women’s head coach job. At that time, Brock Athletics had decided to hire Ashley MacSporran, who only lasted two seasons with the program.
With the women’s position vacant again, after Brock and MacSporran parted ways in April, Trivedi was mentioned as a potential replacement. Yet again, the Brock and Trivedi relationship was put on pause.
Trivedi had been enjoying his time as lead assistant with McGill’s men’s basketball program for five seasons, but it was time for a change as he was prepping to return to Ryerson to join Roy Rana’s staff for this season.
Then news broke that Kissi was leaving Brock to join the Toronto Raptors G-League Affiliate, the Raptors 905, as an assistant coach. And so, another opportunity arose at Brock.
“I got the call from Neil [Lumsden],” said Trivedi, who was named the new coach at Brock in early August. “What I think happened is [Kissi] had recommended me to Neil. I met with Neil, we went over some logistics and it went pretty quick from there.”
The storyline between Trivedi and Brock has had many turns: from turning down Kissi’s proposal as an assistant to Brock turning him down for the women’s job. However, he’s arrived, and the Badgers are off to a 2-0 start under his leadership.
The 2018/2019 season began this past weekend for the Badgers, with victories at home versus Laurier and Guelph.
On October 26, in their home opener, the Badgers defeated the Golden Hawks 84-75. The Badgers showed life on the offensive side early, scoring 33 points in the opening quarter. Laurier was able to answer in the second quarter, with Brock’s offense slowing down but the Badgers held on in the second half.
Johneil Simpson led the Badgers with 27 points, seven rebounds and six three-pointers. Tyler Brown added 15 points, six rebounds and nine assists, while Cassidy Ryan, scored seven of his 13 points in the first quarter.
The following day, the Badgers were able to run the Guelph Gryphons out of the gym despite battling foul trouble. Ryan picked up two fouls in the first quarter but led the Badgers with a team-high 20 points on seven of 14 shooting on route to the 102-85 win.
Ryan played with four fouls for a majority of the second half, Daniel Cayer and Mitch Saunders both fouled out, and Michael Vos Otin also had four fouls. Simpson had another strong scoring game, putting up 18 points; Brown added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists; Noah LaPierre came off the bench for 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 33 minutes; and Saunders added 10 points and seven rebounds.
Two players that weren’t considered to be factors on the Badgers roster but have found themselves playing key minutes are Saunders and LaPierre. In his previous three seasons with Brock, Saunders has played 43 games and averaged 4.3 minutes, 0.7 points and 0.3 rebounds, while LaPierre in his rookie season played 17 games, averaging 5.7 minutes and 2.2 points. Through two games this season, Saunders is averaging 14.5 minutes, nine points and seven rebounds. On the other hand, LaPierre is averaging 27.5 minutes, 10 points, 8.5 rebounds and four assists.
Next up for the Badgers is the only other 2-0 OUA West team, the McMaster Marauders on November 2. The Marauders are a program on the rise under third year head coach Patrick Tatham.
“They’re very dynamic. They’re small, but tough and athletic,” said Trivedi about McMaster. “They get out and play. We have to start with matching their intensity right from the get go.”
The Badgers have won 28 of their last 30 games versus OUA West opponents dating back to February 27, 2016.