Overcoming Growing Pains

Concordia’s Men’s Basketball Team Hopeful for Championship Run Despite Losing Key Players

  • Photo Yacine Bouhali

Concordia’s men’s basketball team didn’t only lose the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec semi-finals last year—they also had to say goodbye to key seniors.

Among them was forward Evens Laroche, who was named the 2012 RSEQ MVP. The loss of forward Kafil Eyitayo, a six-foot-six forward who dominated the boards throughout his five-year career at Concordia, was also a tough one to swallow for the Stingers.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Stingers learned that All-Canadian Kyle Desmarais would not return with them this season, despite having one more year of eligibility.

Stingers head coach John Dore saw the preseason as an opportunity to give time for the many new faces to gel and learn how to play together.

“We’re in a growing process,” said Stingers head coach John Dore. “If something gets in the way of that growth then we’ll have our troubles.”

But it appears the Stingers’ troubles may already be here. In their 11 exhibition games, Concordia’s only win was a 95-64 blowout over the Memorial University of Newfoundland Sea-Hawks on Oct. 4. The Stingers have since lost eight straight contests, two of which have been by margins of at least 37 points.

However, Dore brushed off these defeats as a part of the learning curve.

“We don’t have many guys who have played with each other before,” said Dore. “It’s a process, and hopefully we’ll be able to get better.”

Nearly half the Stingers players are new additions to this year’s team. Rookies like Montreal native Zander Jean and former Bishop Gaiters forward Mukiya Post are expected to make a good contribution to the team, along with rookie guard Inti Salinas from Arizona.

Post is expected to be a scorer for the Stingers this season as he led the Canadian Interuniversity Sport in free throw percentage at 94 per cent, and scored 13 points to help lead Bishop’s to a seven-point win over Concordia in last season’s semi-finals.

With the new additions, Dore doesn’t see a playoff run as an insurmountable challenge.

“If everything goes well and we’re able to make the transition in a hurry, by the end of the year we’ll be competing for a championship,” he said.

The Stingers begin their season on the road against the Université de Montréal à Québec Citadins on Thursday at 8 p.m.

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