Improvement is needed
The University of Regina Cougars men’s basketball team has openly stated that improvement will be necessary in order to be a top contender in the Canada West, if not the CIS.
Last season, the Cougars finished with an 11-12 record, which was good enough to get them a spot in the conference quarterfinals, where they faced the Simon Fraser Clan. Although the Cougars took an early series lead against the Clan, Simon Fraser was able to battle back and eventually take the series 2-1. The Cougars will look to better their finish from last year, but with the loss of players like Jamal Williams and Paul Shubach, that may be easier said than done.
The Cougars were busy in the off-season, losing key players as well as making key offers to some young recruits. Possibly the biggest loss for the Cougars roster will be Williams, a rebounding specialist. Williams holds the top spot in Cougar history for the most rebounds overall and his presence on the court was always an advantage for the Cougars. His partner in crime, Paul Shubach, will also be missed greatly by the team. Last season, Shubach had the highest three-point shooting percentage on the team, while both he and Williams share the top prize for most games played in a Cougars uniform with 106. Their presence both on and off the court is a rare find, but the Cougars are confident that they have a recruiting class to help fill these voids.
Going into the 2010-2011 season, it was believed that the Cougars would need to add some much needed size to their lineup in order to be a contender. Matt Campbell, a local recruit and possibly the best player available in the province, is believed to be able to help solve many of the Cougars problems. Listed at 6-4, 245 pounds, Campbell may not be the biggest player on the court, but he may be one of the smartest. Campbell’s basketball IQ is off the charts, he is a fantastic playmaker and will give the extra effort to have his team succeed. Although Campbell may not get the amount of minutes that he is accustomed to seeing right off the bat, by the end of the season he could be racking up the points and the minutes.
Other notable rookies for the Cougars this season are Brendan Hebert and Dan Osiowy. Although Hebert may not be the biggest guy on the court, listed at 5-11 and a generous 160 pounds, his pass-first mentality will help the team’s playmaking ability almost immediately. Osiowy makes up for Hebert’s lack of size, as he stands at a staggering 6-9 and weighed in at 230 pounds, making him the tallest Cougar on the court.
Jared Janotta and Jeff Lukomski, who both also play for the Regina Rams, will be
returning to the court for the Cougars. This season will mark Lukomski’s last in a Cougars uniform as the team will lose him to graduation this year. Although both players have experienced some injuries as of late while playing with the Rams, both are excited to be able to concentrate on basketball – but not before seeing how far the Rams can go.
Along with Lukomski, this year will mark the last season with the Cougars for a number of other players as well. Lynn Gee, Kris Heshka, and Marek Downarowicz will also be playing their final season with the green and gold, and all of them want to go out on top.
In order to finish with a better result than last year’s, the Cougars will have to make use of their newly added size and skill. Regina kicks off the regular season when they take on the University of Brandon Bobcats on Friday and Saturday. Both games are at 8 p.m. at the Centre for Kinesiology, Health and Sport.