|The Thomas Report - 02.10.10|
Written by Jim Thomas on Wednesday, 10 February 2010
The Sheridan College Bruins are making their usual late charge up the OCAA West Division standings challenging conference arch-rival Humber and Fanshawe College down the home stretch in conference play. Under veteran Coach Jim Flack, the Bruins are the highest scoring team in the OCAA with an average close to 90pts a game. The Bruins under Flack have always been a defense-first unit but have some outstanding shooters on this years squad that can score from anywhere. This team is still relatively young with many freshmen and sophomores dotting the roster. They are improving defensively every game and could improve enough to get out of the always tough OCAA to the national tournament in March.
Former Father Henry Carr point guard Rodel Grenaway has resurfaced at NAIT in Edmonton, Alberta. Grenaway had led the team to a number one CCAA ranking in late November but they have since faded to the backend of the ranking in late January. Grenaway has been out of school for two years since graduating in 2007. He was a top ranked point guard in his graduating year but he did not get the call from Division I schools he hoped for. At 6'1" 185lbs, Rodel would be a great fit for many CIS schools if he still wants to go the university route in this country. He and Adrian Tomlinson of St. Lawrence College in Kingston are the best point guard prospects in the entire CCAA who could graduate to the CIS level next year and be impact players.
Former Guelph Gryphon All Star RJ Bailey has resurfaced this year at Humber College at the age of 27. After getting an accounting degree at Guelph, Bailey has enrolled at Humber in a journalism course and is in his final year of eligibility. He has brought maturity, experience and a strong inside presence to the perennial strong Hawks team which is always a title threat in the strong OCAA league.
The best player in the OCAA this year is Jovain Wilson, a 6'2" shooting guard from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough. The talented Wilson, who can score from anywhere, is averaging 25ppg and looks like a first team CCAA All-Canadian in March. The Fleming team has a great chance to win the OCAA East Division this year over conference rivals Algonquin and St. Lawrence.
As the OUA season heads to the wire in February, two of the OUA East preseason favourites are headed in opposite directions. The senior-laden Toronto Blues have struggled mightily in January falling out of the CIS Top Ten after residing there all season and are now fourth in the conference standings. They have been beset by injuries to 6'7" post Nick Snow and other players on their roster. With four starting seniors in their line up they need to get healthy fast. This could be Toronto's last hurrah as one of the elite OUA East teams as heavy graduation losses will push them back to the middle of the pack next year.
The Ottawa Gee-Gee's have crawled from being totally unranked in October to a nationally top five team in late January. Ottawa is getting it done with stellar defense and the outstanding play of Josh Gibson-Bascombe, a strong All-Canadian candidate and super sophomore Warren Ward, who should make the all league team this year. Ottawa will lose some excellent senior talent in the spring but have the depth on their squad to remain at the top of the tough OUA standings.
The Queen's Golden Gaels may have their first All-Canadian candidate in almost twenty years in fourth-year forward Mitch Leger 6'6", who is at the top of the leaderboard in OUA scoring and rebounding. The Gaels who are currently third in the OUA East, would be much farther down the standings without Leger's outstanding season. Coming off a serious knee injury last year, the talented small forward could be OUA East MVP as well as a CIS All-Canadian when March rolls around.
Scott Morrison, the Lakehead Thunderwolves young coach, should get some strong consideration for CIS Coach of the Year. The Thunderwolves who have gone from last place a year ago to first in the tough OUA West in early February, are the most improved team in the country and have done it with a very young roster. I don't know anyone in the country who is more deserving at this point in the season.
THE RECRUITING TRAIL
The dynamic backcourt at Oakville Loyola HS is drawing a lot of interest from OUA schools. Adam Pressuti, the 6'6" off-guard is being heavily recruited by Toronto, McMaster and other OUA schools may come out this year. Mike L'Africain 5'10", Loyola's talented point guard may return for a fifth year. If both young men opt to go to the same university, they have the ability to make that school a national contender.
The most improved player in Peel Region high school ball this year is Peter Boateng, a 6'4" forward at d'Youville H.S. in Brampton. Boateng plays Robin to his more talented Batman teammate Manny Sahota. Together they should ensure d'Youville gets out of the demolition derby which characterizes the Peel Region playoffs and on to Quad "A" OFSAA.
Some recent CIS commitments are Chris McLaughlin of Oakville's Abbey Park to University of Victoria, Jake Robinett, a 6'7" forward from Sir John A MacDonald in Waterloo to the University of Waterloo and London Oakridge forward Peter Scholtes 6'5" to the Western Mustangs.
REDA centre Lucas Nugteren is looking out of province at Trinity Western and St. Francis Xavier and NCAA school Radford.
REDA guard Jehannes Manigat has strong interest from about ten American schools including Maine, New Hamphsire, Elon, Niagara, East Carolina and in Canada, Carleton and St. FX.
REDA forward Troy Joseph has interest from Niagara and New Hampshire while teammate G Ryan Augustine has interest from Mercyhurst, Guelph and Bishop's.
Stefan Nastic 6'11" from Thornhill HS north of Toronto, recently gave a commitment to Stanford University of the Pacific 10 conference. He and Toronto-area bigman Dwight Powell are the first Canadians to play at Stanford since Hamilton's Peter Van Elswyk was there in the mid 1990's. Nastic was considered to be the best centre prospect in Canada for the Class of 2010.
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