McGill team captain Vincent Dufort
MONTREAL — The McGill University men’s basketball team will officially open their 114th season on Friday, Nov. 8 when they host Bishop’s at Love Competition Hall. Tip-off is 8 p.m., following the women’s opener at 6 p.m.
The Redmen are coming off back-to-back RSEQ championships, where they have a combined 25-7 regular-season record and qualified for the CIS Final Eight in both campaigns after a 34-year drought. They return four starters from last season after registering a stellar 14-2 record.
Conference coach-of-the-year David DeAveiro returns for his fifth season at McGill, where the 50-year-old native of Toronto has posted a 74-47 mark (.612) against CIS opponents and a stellar 45-19 record (.703) in regular season play. This past August, DeAveiro had the opportunity to lead Team Canada at the FIBA under-17 world championships in Dubai. His 2014-14 edition of the Redmen is very young, featuring only three seniors, two juniors, eight sophomores and five freshmen. The Redmen had an intense preseason schedule, posting a 4-5 record against CIS competition and an 0-4 mark against NCAA Div. 1 schools.
The only starter lost to graduation is three-time all-star point-guard Simon Bibeau, a co-captain who overcame two injury-riddled years to average double-digit scoring in each of his three healthy seasons. Other losses include Nathan Joyal, a key forward off the bench who has graduated, along with role players Michael Friessen, a guard who transferred and forward Nicholas Yantzi, who has had injury issues and decided to focus on academics.
Leading the Redmen will be 6-foot-4 senior Vincent Dufort, a shooting-guard who was voted as the league’s most valuable player last season and merited second-team all-Canadian honours. The native of Smiths Falls, Ont., averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds over his 16 games played. He was also third among league leaders in defensive rebounds (5.0 per game), fourth in assists (56), fourth in steals (27) and fifth in blocked shots (12). He ranked third in three-point shooting (39%), seventh in free-throw shooting (75%) and had the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).
Looking to build on solid freshmen seasons will be sophomores Dele Ogundokun from Hamilton, Ont., and Francois Bourque of Terrebonne, Que.
Ogundokun, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound shooting-guard has recovered from off-season surgery. He was the league’s rookie-of-the-year award winner, averaging 11.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He was the top three-point shooter in the league, connecting on 47.8 per cent of his shots from beyond the arc (22/46). The 19-year-old economics and accounting major also garnered second-team all-star and all-rookie team nods. He averaged 31.9 minutes of court-time was seventh in field-goal shooting (45.1%), led the league in steals (42 in 16 games), was sixth in blocked shots (8) and eighth in assists (36).
Joining him on the league’s all-rookie squad was Bourque, a 6-foot-5, 192-pound forward who averaged 8.8 points per outing and was second among conference leaders in both rebounds (7.9 rpg) and field-goal percentage (.500), connecting on 57 of 114 attempts.
Veterans Christian McCue, Thomas Lacy and Rodrigo Imperador are all key pieces in the Redmen attack.
McCue and Lacy, both imported guards from the U.S., can heat up at any time, knocking down key long-range shots. Lacy, a 6-foot-1 junior from Jericho, Vt., tied a single-game team record this fall with seven treys in an early October preseason tournament match against Guelph. Imperador, a 6-foot-4, 255-pound senior forward from Brazil, has quick, low-post moves making him a dangerous back-to-basket type of player.
Other sophomores relied upon will be returning starter Michael Peterkin, a small forward who averaged 19.5 minutes per game, point-guard Jenning Leung (9/18 in FG shooting) and sharp-shooter Regis Ivaniukas (.382 in three-pointers), plus forwards Bradley Laguerre (6’5″) and Sebastian Beckett (6’7″, 229) who add size off the bench. Also sophomore guard Jonathan Telfort has returned from an injury-plagued season and can play vital defensive minutes.
Leading a large group of newcomers is Jawara Pedican, a 6-foot-2 guard from Vaughn secondary school, who is expected to push senior Ave Bross and the aforementioned Leung for minutes at the point.
Noah Daoust, a versatile 6-foot-8, 240-pound freshman forward from Dorval, Que., is expected to contribute heavily on the offensive end. A product of The Hotchkiss School, he can step out and shoot the three-pointer when needed. Abdul-Aziz Atta, a 6-foot-7, 230-pound forward out of College Brébeuf brings size and intensity to defensive end of the floor and Jeremie Casavant-Dubois, a 6-foot-5 star out of College Montmorency, brings a good shooting touch. Rounding out the freshmen is Avery Cadogan, an athletic 6-foot-4 wingman from St. John’s Ravenscourt school in Winnipeg.
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