Bidding their farewells: Heat ballers say goodbye

Okanagan heat-logo-just-H

by Cary Mellon

February 15, 2014, KELOWNA, B.C. (ISN) – The final buzzer rang not only for their nights but for their last time in Heat uniforms Saturday as the Heat basketballs teams concluded their 2013-14 campaign, now their third tour in Canada West.

The UBC Okanagan Athletics department is proud to graduate women’s basketball player Krystal Schouten (Winnipeg, MB), as well as men’s players Yassine Ghomari (Vancouver, BC), Ed Dane Medi (Rome, IT), Landry Ndayitwayeko (Windsor, ON), and Mike Zayonc (North Vancouver, BC). In addition, Laura Marcolin (Rothesay, NB) has decided to hang up the sneakers as she continues to pursue her studies at UBC’s Okanagan campus.

Women’s Basketball
Krystal Schouten – A fourth-year post from Winnipeg, MB, Schouten began her post-secondary basketball life in a one-year stint at Quest University during the 2009-10 season before transferring over to UBC Okanagan the following year. After sitting out the 2010-11 season due to injury she officially joined the team on the court in the Heat’s inaugural Canada West campaign in 2011-12 where she would average 5.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.

Her best career game was a 20 point outing versus Regina in the 2012-13 season. This year she has started in (18 out of 20 games) and has averaged (6.3 ppg., 4.1 rpg.) per contest.

Despite losing in her final home game of her career, Schouten was feeling “pretty good,” though she acknowledge the experience was bittersweet. “It’s bittersweet because it’s the end of a wonderful experience for myself, and I would have liked to have had the win [Thursday night] of course. But I cannot stress enough that I am so blessed to be with this group of girls, so regardless I feel good about it and I know that next year they are going to do great things.”

For the rest of the semester, Krystal will be busy working towards completion of her Bachelor’s in Human Kinetics. “Basketball is always a nice stress reliever,” she added, “so I’ll probably hit up the gym to get rid of that, but it will be different for sure.”

Laura Marcolin – A third-year native Rothesay, NB, Laura Marcolin will be hanging up her sneakers following her lone stint with the Heat following a series of battles with various injuries. She will be continuing to pursue studies in the management program

“I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else,” Marcolin said after Thursday night’s home game. “All good things come to an end, but it’s a great end.”

Men’s Basketball
Yassine Ghomari: Ghomari has played four of his five years of eligibility in Heat uniform. Coming straight out of Kitsilano secondary in 2007, he played in all 21 games of the 2007-08 season. In the BCCAA playoffs he led the Okanagan team to a Provincial Silver medal himself earning a Provincial Tournament Rookie All-Star, and they went on to a national championship in Montreal. He left to pursue studies at Langara College and would play for the Falcons in 2009-10. After spending a year just in school at UVIC in 2010-11 he made the decision to come back to the Okanagan to play his remaining three years with the Heat.

Ghomari will leave the program as its all-time three-point leader dating back to 2006 (87 makes at a 34% clip), and also holds the free-throws crown in a blowout 264 made FTs to date. He will receive a Bachelor in Human Kinetics in the spring. Ghomari currently sits as the third best point getter at this institution with 943 total points and he is also third in total assists (159).

“It’s pretty cool,” said Ghomari of his spot on the all-time lists for the program, “but at the end of the day a record is just a record. It’s not why we play. We always play to win. Unfortunately that didn’t happen too much this season, but it’s always nice hearing that you’re in the books too, I guess.”

Ed Dane Medi: Heading into the final weekend of play Ed was tied with Matt Gowing as the team’s all-time leader in games played with 86. He broke that record on Thursday night and added another ‘GP’ on Saturday to now have played more regular season games than any other male basketball player at this institution.  The record now stands at 88 games played and has the name Ed Dane Medi beside it.

Originally from Rome, Italy, Medi is the longest continually serving roster member for the team, dating back to the 2009-10 season, while being a key piece in the team’s transition to Canada West in 2011-12. Ed finished 5th all-time in total rebounds with 349, trailing former teammate Dave Mackay, who grabbed 369 – Jon Wiliams’ hauled in 637 for tops at the school. Ed is, however, the host of the Heat block party with an all-time record of 40 blocks (dating back to 2006).

“I didn’t even know about all of this until Cary [Mellon, SID] told me,” Medi said about his record setting, “but hey, it’s one of those things that’s up there and eventually someone else is going to take it.”

With an international flair Medi plays the game with a passion and energy that was contagious, and he was always the first guy off the bench to cheer on a teammate or extended a hand. Ed’s efforts and growth as a basketball player, and a teammate, have been recognized by his coaches and his peers earning him over his career a team’s Most Improved Player and Top Defensive Player.

“I walked on [in my first year] and managed to make the team, so it’s been a real blessing.” Medi said as he detailed the beginnings of his career.

The multilingual Medi will cross the stage to receive his management degree this coming spring.

Mike Zayonc:  A Capilano University transfer, Zayonc has been with the Heat for two years now but has only seen the court this year. He served in Blues uniform from 2008-09 through 2011-12 before climbing the mountains to Kelowna for the Heat’s second venture in Canada West.

An Argyle Secondary product, Zayonc has played every game so far this year and has started in nine of them. In 15 minutes per game he has averaged 3.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in a productive bounce back from an injury that had him redshirt last season on Heat coach Pete Guarasci’s bench.

An elbow-grease kind of guy, Zayonc was proud of how his team worked and fought this season despite their final win-loss columns. “As long as we played hard and gave everything that we had every single game, that’s what matters,” he said after Thursday night’s game with TRU. “The wins and losses we can’t always control and sometimes we just don’t hit shots but I think we’ve played hard.”

Zayonc will be receiving a degree in management in the spring.

Landry Ndayitwayeko: Like Zayonc, this will be Landry’s second and final year with the Heat men’s basketball squad. Having previously played for both Algonquin College and Lakeland College, the Windsor, ON product has been a prolific three-point threat. Averaging nearly 1.5 threes per game in 2012-13, he has been knocking down almost one more three per game (1.9) in this year’s campaign.

As a team captain, Ndayitwayeko’s on-court leadership has been perhaps his greatest asset. His ability to motivate and give advice to his younger teammates has been invaluable to the growth and development of the program.

Landry will be accepting a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in the spring.

Reflecting on life as a student-athlete at UBC Okanagan

Krystal Schouten: “I’m a transfer student, but coming here … what first intrigued me was the community feeling, and how welcoming everybody was. And even now, walking around the gym or campus, people come up to you and are very friendly and you may have only met them once before. UBCO is really an awesome, tight knit community.”

Ed Dane Medi: “I walked on [in my first year], and I managed to make the team, so it’s been a real blessing. I’m going to miss this. I’m going to miss the camaraderie. I’m going to miss playing organized basketball.”

Mike Zayonc: “I’ve had a great time these last two years at UBC Okanagan. I’ve been able to graduate in two years and get my Bachelor in management. And at the end of the day, that’s why I came here. I really enjoyed it, I really like the people on the team, the people in this city and I’m thrilled about how it’s gone. Maybe I’d enjoy another win or two, but we played hard, so it’s all good.”