Hoops: Lancers get their Ffrench man

Time will tell if Ellis Ffrench is a tough on his checks as he is on computer spell-checkers.

Both the Windsor Star and Halifax Herald had articles on the Lancers landing the talented Nova Scotia point guard, who led his high school team to a 64-game win streak across the past two seasons. That says something.

So does an OUA West school landing a highly sought after player out of the Maritimes. People used to be accustomed to seeing Ontario kids head down East to play hoops and plenty still do, but it's not often you saw many coming the other way. Elliot Thompson from Fredericton opted for Carleton last season. That's the byproduct of the OUA catching up to the rest of the country on the scholarship issue.

Lancers point guard Ryan Steer is graduating, so Ffrench could get a chance right away. He and Western sophomore-to-be Ryan Barbeau should have some pretty good duels in a couple seasons.

To be honest, I'm split on this whole business of announcing recruits in the spring. It's never going to reach NCAA levels of hype, it's media-friendly and it looks professional, but how meaningful is it? The players still have to get an offer of admission and the CIS is very much a league for fourth- and fifth-year guys; how many key contributors at the Final 8 two weeks in Ottawa were in high school 12 months ago? Barbeau might have been the only one.
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  1. You're right that CIS basketball is still largely a veterans' league, but that doesn't necessarily mean rookies have minimal impact. As you pointed out, it's probably not the teams with rookies making prominent contributions who wind up in the Final 8. For many universities on so-called "rebuilding years" or with younger programs, though, the rookies are going to be seeing a lot of key minutes. Thus, the rookies probably don't make a huge impact immediately on the top end of the league, but they make a substantial impact on their own school's program. The rookie impact at the top programs seems to be bigger in other CIS sports: for example, men's hockey, where UNB's Hunter Tremblay was a force in the championships, or men's volleyball, where Josh Lichty played a big role in McMaster's run to the Ontario championship.

  2. Yes, but Mr. Ffrench is a Canadian kid who was good enough for NCAA D1. Too many Canadian kids think that the NCAA is the only worthwhile option. Although they are only exhibition games, one need only scan the results of the pre-season NCAA-CIS games. CIS champ Brock beat Air Force on their home court. Other CIS teams either played very well or beat their NCAA opponent. CIS basketball is the best it has ever been and will only get better as more kids like Ellis Ffrench stay home. Wouldn't it be great to have our own version of "Canadian March Madness"?

  3. French and Barbeau played each other in the Coal Bowl Tourney (Cape Breton)2 years ago. Teams split 1-1 with Nicholson winning Final over a young Horton team. Windsor vs. Western should be fun to watch over for next few years.

  4. Again, Bucholtz with the volleyball analogies.

    It was more of a general example that a kid straight from high school is not going to play right away in men's basketball. Here's hoping Ffrench is an exception; I'm not sure what other points UW has.