Langley, BC (ISN) – The Trinity Western men’s basketball team took a big step forward towards improving its backcourt as coach Scott Allen announced the signing of guards Mark Perrin (Toronto, Ont.), Jesse Hilleary (Logan City, Queensland, Australia) and Matthew Blackaby (Maple Ridge, B.C.) Tuesday.
With the loss of graduated standouts Calvin Westbrook, Kyle Coston and Sean Peter, the trio of new recruits will be given every opportunity to make an immediate impact on a team looking to reload and get back into the upper echelon of both Canada West and the CIS.
The three new additions will join OCAA (Ontario Colleges Athletic Association) all-star Denny McDonald as part of the four already announced recruits who will arrive in Langley this fall.
Perrin, who will enter his third year of university eligibility this fall, will join the Spartans having played and excelled at Humber College of the OCAA for the past two years.
The 6-foot-1 guard, who graduated from Crawford Adventist Academy in 2008, was a dominating presence for Humber this season as he was second on his team in points, with 12.9 per game, while also averaging 5.9 rebounds per game, and, for his efforts, was named an OCAA West Division Second Team All-Star.
Perrin helped guide the Hawks to a 15-3 regular season record and a subsequent run to the OCAA championship game. In the OCAA gold medal match, Perrin put up a college career-high 35 points, but his team came up just short of winning the title as it lost 89-86 to Mohawk College.
Having averaged 13.3 points per game in his first year at Humber, he finished his OCAA career averaging 13.2 points per game.
“Mark is an extremely talented athlete who can play both ends of the floor,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “He has incredible explosiveness and is amazing when he plays in the full court. We are counting on Mark to easily make the transition to the CIS and to anchor our backcourt for the next three years. I’m confident with the addition of Mark we will compete more consistently and play with a high level of intensity.”
As a high school star, Perrin was his team’s MVP in each of his final four years as he helped his team to a district championship in both Grade 11 and Grade 12.
“I’m really excited to come to Trinity Western and help develop the team into a national contender,” said Perrin, who plans to study human kinetics. “And I think Trinity Western can help propel me towards my aspirations of playing in the NBA.”
The 6-foot-4 Hilleary graduated from Trinity College, a Catholic secondary school in Beenleigh, Queensland, in 2008 and has been playing amateur basketball – largely in a men’s league in Brisbane – to maintain his university eligibility ever since, with hopes of eventually garnering a university opportunity. This fall, Hilleary will get that chance at Trinity Western.
“Jesse is going to be an excellent addition to our Trinity Western basketball program,” Allen said. “Jesse has amazing range and will stretch defenses and give space for our other players to work. He is also a tough-minded athlete who has an amazing work ethic. His ability to see the floor and create easy shots for his teammates may be his strongest attribute. Jesse comes into Trinity Western as an amazing student in the classroom as he boasts a 4.0 GPA and I’m sure we will see his intelligence transfer to the court in his decision making.”
During his high school years, Hilleary was a hot commodity on the court and received several looks from NCAA schools but ultimately decided to stay at home, until now.
In his final year of high school, Hilleary was the top scorer at the Queensland U18 State Championship and, in the process, was named an All-City First Team All-Star. During the championship final four, he averaged 28.0 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game. That year, he was also named a Queensland Schoolboys All-State, All-Region and All-District First Team All-Star.
Outside of high school, Hilleary had a chance to play for the Queensland U18 All-State team, helping lead his side to a national championship bronze medal.
During his time playing men’s league, Hilleary had the chance to represent Australia’s Gold Coast All-Stars at the Elite Men’s L.A. Lights World Challenge – a top-flight invitational men’s league tournament featuring teams from South East Asia and Australia – in Surabaya, Indonesia. His team, which was comprised of some of the best men’s players in Australia, finished second in the tournament.
“I’m very excited about attending Trinity Western,” said Hilleary, who plans to study business. “Trinity Western has first class academic and athletics programs, as well as a vibrant campus community. Coach Allen and his staff really impressed me with their strong leadership and I feel they will be great mentors for me both on and off the court. Trinity Western will provide me with a great platform for success.”
Hilleary is already getting a flavour for Trinity Western athletics and its community as former Spartans men’s basketball guard and assistant coach Louis Hurd is currently living with Hilleary’s family while playing professional basketball for the Northside Wizards of the Australia Basketball Association.
The 6-foot-2 Pitt Meadows Secondary student, who will graduate this spring, was a dominant presence on the court for the Marauders Air Force this past season as he averaged 17.0 points per game, 4.0 assists per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and 3.0 steals per game.
“Matt is a hugely underrated person and athlete,” said Spartans coach Scott Allen. “I’ve always admired his internal drive to be the best he can be both on and off the court. Matt has a great motor for playing in a full-court game and loves to compete. We are hopeful his drive and relentless play can assist his teammates in our style of play and I’ve always been impressed with his willingness to give up the limelight in order for the team to succeed.”
Blackaby helped his Pitt Meadows team to a 44-4 overall record this past season, a Fraser Valley championship and a fifth place finish at the B.C. “AAA” provincial championship. In the process, he was named a First Team All-Star at the Fraser Valley championship, a Third Team All-Star at the provincial championship and an all-star at numerous other tournaments throughout the year, including a First Team nod at the Telus Basketball Classic.
He also helped his team, one that was ranked No. 2 for much of the season, to tournament wins at the WJ Mouat Hawkball tournament, the North Shore Invitational tournament and his school’s own Pitt Meadows Air Show tournament. The Marauders Air Force also finished third at the Telus Basketball Classic.
After two years at Pitt Meadows, Blackaby compiled the second best free throw shooting percentage in school history and closes his high school career 12th in all-time school scoring.
Off the court, Blackaby is an honour roll student who also won the French 11 Student of the Year award.
“I am very excited be attending a Christian university and to be able to play basketball for such a high-calibre program as well,” said Blackaby, who plans to study communications. “Being relatively close to home and having the academic programs I am interested in made Trinity Western seem like the perfect fit.”
About Trinity Western Men’s Basketball
The Spartans are coming off a 2011-12 campaign in which they finished the regular season with a 10-8 record and qualified for the Canada West playoffs by clinching the wild card position. The Spartans lost in the opening round of the playoffs against Prairie Division regular season champion and Canada West bronze medalist Saskatchewan.
Trinity Western is looking to get back to the CIS national championship after capturing a silver medal in 2010-11 in its first ever appearance at the men’s basketball Final 8. After knocking off Canada West gold medalist UBC in the national championship semifinal, the Spartans lost to Carleton 82-59 in the final.
The Spartans men’s basketball team has been competing at the CIS level since 1999.