September 19, 2012, Kelowna, BC (ISN) – For the second year in a row the Okanagan Heat men’s basketball team will start the season with two games against the Seattle Mountaineers. Just like last year, the Saturday night match will be featured at local high school Immaculata Regional, who will once again host the two teams with tip-off set for 7 p.m.
This will be the first chance that first year head coach, Pete Guarasci, will be behind the bench as the leading man for UBC Okanagan. Coach Guarasci has been working his players hard and expects that they are ready and excited to hit the court.
“I have been impressed with the focus of this group and their ability to learn and implement our various philosophies,” explains the new coach. “Although it is quite early in the season we are excited to wear the UBC Okanagan uniform in front of our local community. “
For the second year in a row Immaculata will be using the exhibition game as a way to raise awareness of basketball in the community.
“After successfully hosting games at Immaculata last season, I’m very grateful that Dino Gini and the Immaculata staff have agreed to do so again. Engaging our athletes with the local community is extremely important for our program,” attests Guarasci, adding that he is “very excited for our players to display our work ethic to our fans and I hope it encourages a relationship that can continue to build throughout our second season competing in the CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport).”
“I am thrilled to have Immaculata host coach Guarasci’s first game as head coach of the Heat,” says the head coach of the senior boys’ team at Immaculata, Dino Gini, who is also a coach in the Junior Heat program.
“I have had the opportunity to get to know the Heat players and coaching staff,” comments Dino. Another of Dino’s many roles in this community in basketball is his work on player development for the Heat; as such he has seen Guarasci’s team in person. “I am impressed with the team’s speed and athleticism; it’s going be fun to watch. I hope everyone embraces the Heat teams this year by coming and supporting them.”
The Seattle Mountaineers are just starting their ABA schedule for the 2012/13 season and won both contests versus UBC Okanagan last year; the Seattle team did not drop a game to a Canadian team in their entire 11/12 season. The roster for the Mountaineers is made up of graduated American university players, most from the Seattle area, but some from as far away as Detroit, MI., and Birmingham, AB.
Guarasci knows that his team will be in tough against an older more experienced team, but he thinks his players will be ready because “they have been training hard and look forward to the challenge of competing against an elite team such as the Mountaineers,” explains Guarasci.
The Heat will be in Kelowna and in action again next weekend when the Langara Falcons will hit town to play a single game against the Heat. The action will tip-off at 7 p.m. on Friday September 28th and will again be played at Immaculata.
The team will host its first regular season Canada West game on Friday, November 9th when Mount Royal University is at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
For the rest of the Heat’s schedule visit: goheat.ca.
For the UBC Okanagan men’s basketball roster visit: http://www.ubc.ca/okanagan/athletics/mensbasketball/roster.html