Blue-chip recruiting class brought in by Bears basketball


Aug 29, 2014

Coming off a Canada West championship and CIS bronze medal season, the University of Alberta Golden Bears basketball team has bolstered its line-up for the 2014-15 season and beyond with the addition of five recruits, including a pair of forwards who had options in the NCAA.

Joining the Bears will be 6-7 forward Brody Clarke, 6-9 forward Sebastian Denault, 6-5 guard Sheldon Pittman, 6-4 guard Andriy Halushko, and 6-9 forward Grant Galbraith.

Denault, who was recruited by multiple NCAA schools, becomes the third player to join coach Barnaby Craddock’s program from the province of Quebec, following in the footsteps of Youssef Ouahrig (2013 Canada West Rookie of the Year) and Mamadou Gueye (2014 Canada West Rookie of the Year). Also like Ouahrig and Gueye, Denault comes from the CEGEP league in Quebec, where he played for the Champlain St-Lambert Cavaliers in Montreal. He tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds per game last season, and he helped the team win the CEGEP championship in 2013. He also captured a U-17 national championship with Team Quebec in 2010.

“I am very excited to join the Golden Bears basketball team,” said Denault. “It is an honour for me to join a program with such a high standard of excellence, and I cannot wait for the season to start!”

“Seb has a great basketball background, and has played for some great coaches with the Quebec provincial team and during his time at Champlain College,” noted Craddock. “He fits in perfectly with our tradition of high achievers who will succeed on the court, in the classroom, and in life beyond the court.”

Clarke, meanwhile, also passed on NCAA opportunities and made the decision to journey from eastern Canada, Ontario in his case, to play for the Golden Bears. The 6-7 forward just concluded his high school career in Toronto, where he graduated from and played for Oakwood Collegiate. In his senior year, Clarke averaged 19 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Clarke has represented Canada on three occasions (2011 U-16 national team, 2012 and 2013 U-18 national 3-on-3 team), and he helped his high school team capture the 2014 Ontario provincial championship.

“Golden Bears basketball supporters who don’t know Brody yet, are in for a massive surprise,” exclaimed Craddock. “He is a young man that exemplifies all of our standards for excellence on and off the court and in the community. We look forward to him having a highly memorable and successful career with the Golden Bears.”

By staying in Canada, Clarke becomes the first member of his family to eschew the NCAA in favour of CIS, as his father, Norman, played for St. Bonaventure in the NCAA, yet is a member of the Ontario Basketball Association Hall of Fame; older brother, Julian, played for Santa Clara in the NCAA.

“Staying in Canada, instead of following in my brother’s and dad’s footsteps to play NCAA, is something I am very proud of, especially because I’m joining a program with such a winning pedigree,” stated Clarke. “When I first stepped onto the U of A campus in May, I could envision myself being a part of the school and the basketball team. I see the U of A as a place where I can strive to be great on and off the court.”

Staying closer to home is Edmonton product, and Harry Ainlay high school graduate, Andriy Halushko. The 6-4 shooting guard helped the Titans to the 2014 Alberta provincial championship, and he averaged 21 points per game last season.

“Andriy is a balanced student-athlete, and one of the best shooters I have ever seen at the high school level. Coming from the Harry Ainlay Titans program, which has produced multiple Bears alumni including Jordan Baker and Mike Melnychuk, we know that Andriy has been extremely well coached by George Hoyt, who is considered one of the top coaches in the country.”

Also staying in the province is Sheldon Pittman, who joins the U of A from St. Mary’s high school in Calgary, where he was named the team MVP and helped St. Mary’s to a pair of city championships. The 6-5 shooting guard notched 24 points per game last season, while also chipping in with six rebounds and three assists per game.

“I’m very excited for the upcoming season with the Golden Bears,” said Pittman. “It is truly an amazing opportunity to be a part of such a tradition as great as the Golden Bears and the University of Alberta.”

“Sheldon was a highly sought after recruit out of Calgary, and we couldn’t be more excited to see him represent U of A,” said Craddock. “Sheldon’s strong work ethic and desire for improvement fits in perfectly with our core values. The more we saw him play, the more we knew he was a perfect recruit for our program.”

Grant Galbraith, meanwhile, joins the U of A program from Gleneagle Secondary in Coquitlam, British Columbia, where the 6-9 centre averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game last season. He also helped his team capture the Fraser Valley high school title in 2012, when he was named MVP, and he played on the B.C. provincial team for three consecutive seasons between 2011 and 2013.

“Grant had a stellar high school career at Gleneagle,” said Craddock. “Coach Tony Scott did a great job helping Grant develop into a low post threat with multiple moves. We look forward to having Grant in our program, and seeing him mature and take his game to the next level.”

“I am excited to join the Golden Bears program, and I am ready to compete and help the team for years to come,” added Galbraith.

The Golden Bears basketball team will begin defence of their Canada West title on October 31st, when they host the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Saville Community Sports Centre. Preseason play begins on September 27 when the Bears play their alumni in the U of A’s Main Gym on north campus, and continues with the Guy Vetrie tournament in Victoria in early October. Alberta will face the host Vikes, the Bishops’ Gaiters, and the Carleton Ravens in that tournament, and then return home to host the Lakehead Thunderwolves on October 18th.

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