New Blood, Same Heart
New Men’s Basketball Squad Is Already Looking Towards Regular Season
With most Concordia Stingers teams already knee-deep in their respective seasons, the men’s basketball team is still tuning up for their season opener in November. The team will look significantly different with eight newcomers on their roster, but the expectations remain the same.
“We expect to win every game, of course,” said head coach John Dore. “Our expectations are high but we’re young so we know it’s going to take some time. If we put in the effort and energy necessary, we should be okay.”
The Stingers were hard at work recruiting over the off-season, luring in new blood after losing notable veterans like Adam Chmielewski, who was also a first-team all-star at the end of last season, and Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec Outstanding Defensive Player of the Year Zach Brisebois.
“We miss those guys not only as basketball players, they’re good guys, but they both got their degree, and they’re moving on with their lives,” said Dore, “We wish them all the best.”
Dore hopes his newcomers will pick up the slack in their absence, and certain rookies, such as first-team CEGEP all-star Ken Beaulieu, and Jean-Louis Wanya, are up to the challenge.
“If a game doesn’t go well on offence, I’m still there to play defence,” Beaulieu said, “If the coaches want me to take the best guy on the other team, I’m there to do it. I want to play everywhere on the court to help the team win.”
“I just try to do what the coaches tell me to do, play hard for my team and play unselfish,” said Wanya. “We just want to win so we’re going to work hard in practice, and try to win everything, win the championship.”
Beaulieu and Wanya join guard Ricardo Monge, a former John Abbott College guard who was also a first-team CEGEP all-star, fellow guards Frank Mpeck and Garry Merisier, and forwards Clauderic Lemay, Christopher Doumpa, and Nicoloas Maniatis as newcomers to this year’s team.
The Stingers will also have guard Aamir Gyles and forward Gabe Riche return to the team. Gyles last played for the team in 2011, while Riche was last with the team in the 2012-2013 season.
The Stingers have been trying to integrate their new players throughout their pre-season, beginning with two exhibition games against U.S. schools Fordham and Loyola Maryland in August.
After back-to-back wins over Memorial University of Newfoundland, the Stingers most recently ended their annual Concordia Nike Tournament on a high note, beating the New York Institute of Technology Bears 82-67 in the tournament’s consolation game. Veteran Mukiya Post had a game-high 31 points, leading the team to victory.
“We have a young team, we’re growing, we’re getting better, and we’re a lot better now than we were a month ago,” said Dore.
Post, who led the entire RSEQ last season in points-per-game, expects to continue to lead his team the best way he can, by scoring points.
“It just goes game to game. If I need to score, the best asset that I bring to the team is scoring,” Post said. “If there’s a game and there are lanes open and opportunities for me to score and hit shots, I’m going to try my best to knock those shots down and I’m going to try to lead my team by scoring, and doing the best I can do.”
Post acknowledges that losing Chmielewski and Brisebois may hurt, but he has confidence in the new players as well as his veterans.
“I think we have better depth than we had last year, even though we lost those two key guys,” Post said. “We have a freak athlete who just does everything in Ken, and [forward Michael Fosu is] a great leader, a great all around player.”
“We have good kids coming into the system. It’s time for somebody else to step up,” said Dore. “That’s what happens in university. There’s a big turnover every four years.”
Last season the Stingers finished with a record of 8-8, third in the standings behind McGill and Bishop’s. Concordia’s post-season hopes were dashed as the Bishop Gaiters knocked them out in the semifinals. It’s a result that the team looks to improve on for this upcoming season.
“We have a lot of pieces. We got to put them together, play the right way and we have a lot of potential to do very well this year,” Post said.
The Stingers still have a few more pre-season games to play before they start their season at home on Thursday, Nov. 6 versus the Laval Rouge et Or.