Basketball: Dinos look to Bakovic for quick rebuild

It wasn't long ago the Calgary Dinos had one of the best groups of core players in the CIS. After playing a few seasons together, the Bekkering brothers, Robbie Sihota and a host of young talent made the Dinos a perennial contender in Canada West and Final 8 play.

Apart from Henry Bekkering's two-year stint at Eastern Washington, that core had grown together and build Calgary up as a contender.

It was according to the traditional plan of building a CIS contender: Recruit well, give the kids playing time, add water and rack up the wins.

But with the Bekkering brothers and Sihota gone, Calgary has taken to the new formula of building a CIS contender: Find top-quality players who a) want to win a championship, b) want to enhance their chances of having a pro career, and c) have left a previous school looking for something new.

Boris Bakovic, the second-most prolific scorer in OUA history, will play his fifth and final year of eligibility with the Dinos this year. He transferred to Calgary after opting not to play his final season at Ryerson last year and will be eligible to play immediately.

It's a formula that's worked for a number of CIS (and especially Canada West) teams lately, and one the Dinos are hoping will get them back to contention in a hurry. Take a look at some examples of teams that have tried - and succeeded - in using transfers to bolster their lineup:

UBC THUNDERBIRDS: Added Josh Whyte from Victoria and proceeded to make two consecutive CIS championship games; he also won Player of the Year honours in 2010.

TWU SPARTANS: Have pretty much built an entire team from transfers, most notably 2009 Player of the Year Jacob Doerksen and 2010-11 standouts Kyle Coston and Tyrell Mara, who led them to the championship game this year.

SASKATCHEWAN HUSKIES: Found two hidden gems from California in Showron Glover and Jamelle Barrett (not to mention Huskie-turned-Brandon Bobcat-turned-Huskie again Rejean Chabot), the former of which led the Huskies to a national title.

There are plenty of other (less successful) examples from outside Canada West, notably Ottawa with Josh Wright and McMaster with Keenan Jeppesen, as well as recently Carleton, who just added Clinton Springer-Williams.

Now, Calgary is hoping they'll be able to mix their existing players with an infusion of talent. Bakovic isn't the only transfer to join the Dinos this season. He's joined by a pair of foreign additions in Australian guard Josh Owen-Thomas and Arizonan guard Daryus Sconiers. On paper, it seems like this project can work. It's not like the Dinos are building a team from scratch. They have a solid fifth-year forward in Tyler Fidler and an intriguing guard in Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, who's coming off a lost year to injury last season.

Dinos Hoops News editor Wayne Thomas, who would know better than pretty much anyone how Boris would fit in with the Dinos, seems to think he'll fit in well with the existing framework of Calgary's frontcourt.

"[Tyler] Fidler and Boris play well together. They have complementary skills and both will be big factors in both scoring and rebounding... the pressure will be off Fidler, in some sense, because Bakovic will take some of the scoring load off his shoulders." Thomas told the blog in an email. "He made the decision to play for Calgary because he was welcomed by the Dinos vets including Tyler Fidler and Dustin Reding, both big men also going into their fifth year."

One can certainly imagine the Xs and Os possibilities for coach Dan Vanhooren with Fidler roaming the paint and Bakovic stretching defences to the perimeter.

The caveat is that adding a prolific scorer like Bakovic takes some getting used to for any team. He makes his living on the free throw line and needs the ball in his hands - a proposition that doesn't always sit well with new teammates. But if the price to work him in the lineup - which shouldn't be an issue for a scorer of Bakovic's ability - nets a few wins, however, I don't think too many other Dinos will mind. Bakovic is a rarity in the CIS; the kind of player you simply get the ball to in the right place and simply expect to produce offence.

The last two years he played for Ryerson, Bakovic was no.1 in PER. For lack of better available team statistics, the Dinos struggled to put up points last year, shooting just 41.4% from the field.

It seems like a perfect match, with a middling team addressing their biggest weakness in a big way. Of course, it's impossible to say how this project will turn out in terms of wins and losses.

But as far as building a championship team, it looks like Calgary is ready to see if the new winning formula works for them.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


Post a Comment