Our basketball preview series continues. Here are the previews for the Quebec squads as we look towards this week's season openers. The stats are explained in the OUA preview.
Last year's results: 7-9 regular season, lost to UQAM in Quebec semifinal, 32nd in RPI
They return: 6 players, 57% of minutes, 54% of points
Top 100 players: Tim Hunter (77)
Outlook: Bishop's is in a weird position of rebuilding and becoming a veteran group at the same time. They have eight players who didn't play last season and their most experienced players are only in their third year. This may mean growing pains in a Quebec conference that is improving. Bishop's will be led by Tim Hunter and Oraine Green. Newcomers include a couple of transfers from Ottawa schools. Troy Harmon-Porter from Ottawa University and Scott Ring from Carleton.
Last year's results: 4-12 regular season, missed playoffs, 40th in RPI
They return: 7 players, 63% of minutes, 70% of points
Top 100 players: Evens Laroche (36), Decee Krah (53)
Outlook: When the first top-10 rankings had Concordia at No. 5, it may have raised some eyebrows. After all, after missing the playoffs for the first time in a very long time, there were only three teams worse when looking at RPI. But after a rebuilding year, Concordia looks to a very good recruiting class to return to the country's elite. Kyle Desmarais, a transfer from Central Connecticut sat out last year but has four years of eligibility remaining and looked very good in pre-season action. He will line up in the backcourt with Decee Krah who returns as last season's leading scorer.
In the front court Evens Laroche looks to repeat last year's success and he will be joined by veterans James Clark and Kafil Eyitayo. All in all, Concordia has five fresh faces and only lose three significant contributors from last year. Concordia should have the pieces in place to make a return to the playoffs, as their pre-season form has showed.
Wacyk Wisdom: “There is plenty of new talent to go with the more experienced foundation that took their lumps last season and should build toward another run at returning the Stingers to the Quebec playoffs."
LAVAL ROUGE ET OR:
Last year's results: 10-6 regular season, lost to UQAM in Quebec semi-final, 25th in RPI
They return: 9 players, 84% of minutes, 88% of points
Top 100 players: Jerome Turcotte-Routhier (26), Etienne Labrecque (47)
Outlook: Laval returns so many players it's scary. They are coming off of a 10-6 season where they were middle of the pack in RPI, and now can come back as an even bigger force. They return all but two players who played more than 100 minutes last season and if not for Concordia's surprising pre-season, would be the Quebec favourite and possibly still are. Should be interesting because Laval and Concordia face off in the season opener on Friday.
Aside from Turcotte-Routhier and Labrecque, Laval returns an injury plagued Jean-Francois Beaulieu-Maheux and guard Xavier Baribeau.
Wacyk Wisdom: "With four of five starters including all their big names back in the fold, expect the Rouge et Or to again make their annual push for the QSSF championship, an honour that eluded them last season after a three point loss to UQAM in the finals in Montreal."
Last year's results: 8-8 regular season, lost to Laval in Quebec semifinal, 33rd in RPI
They return: 4 players, 47% of minutes, 45% of points
Top 100 players: Michael White (63)
Outlook: McGill returned to the playoffs last season but did not renew the contract of Craig Norman. He was replaced by Dave DeAveiro who was 210-127 with the Ottawa Gee-Gees over eight years. He will have a tough task in front of him.
McGill lost many rotation players and see only four players returning to the fold. Among the newcomers, however, is highly touted Simon Bibeau who lived up to expectations in the pre-season. Bibeau will actually be one of three captains on the Redmen along with senior Michael White and junior Nicholas Nishikawa. McGill's stay in the playoffs may be short lived, but should be competitive in year one of the rebuilding stage.
Wacyk Wisdom: "Despite taking the job very late in the recruiting process, DeAveiro used a combination of his hard work, the arrival to his staff of Montrealer and former Champlain CEGEP coach John Dangelas and players who had already commitment to the previous staff to bring in several young, likely rotation players to help form a solid foundation for the future."
Last year's results: 11-5 regular season, Quebec champion, lost to Carleton in Final 8 round 1, 23rd in RPI
They return: 6 players, 54% of minutes, 51% of points
Top 100 players: Arthaud Plesius (97)
Outlook: UQAM used a veteran team to get to their second Final 8 in school history. They were the best of a pretty bad Quebec conference last year, and with losing key parts, are not expected to battle for the title this year.
UQAM is returning big parts in Arthaud Plesius, Eric Cote-Kougnima and former rookie of the year Gregory St-Amand. They also have a very good recruiting class which solidifies the Citadins as a team who expect to compete in Quebec long-term and hoping to reload every year as opposed to rebuilding.
They might get a helping hand in the second half, when Adil El-Makssoud may return.
Wacyk Wisdom: "This season, the Citadins return four and possibly five of their top six rotation players and another stable of freshmen led by a former CCAA All-Canadian. But the biggest change in the Citadins is that the wing/forward athletes have been augmented by the element of size as Hrycak has been starting two big freshman in the pre-season."