Kamloops, BC—The Thompson Rivers University WolfPack are hoping that it is ‘home sweet home’ as they entertain the University of British Columbia Okanagan Heat in Canada West men’s basketball action this weekend. The two squads (both 1-5) will tangle on the Warner Rentals court at the Tournament Capital Centre on Friday and Saturday nights (Nov 25-26).
For TRU, it’ll be their final home games before the Christmas break and their first home tilts in three weeks.
“Sure these are league games and there is the geographic rivalry,” says head coach Scott Clark. “But it more about us trying to get back on track. We need to play basketball and look after the factors that are under our control. If we do that, then I will feel good about things. I am sure the guys will feel good as well.”
The WolfPack have played some of the toughest teams in the country to start the season: UBC is ranked second in USport. Alberta (who beat TRU twice last weekend) is ranked 10th in the country. “ We looked at the schedule and knew we would be in tough. On the road back to back weekends; we have played the roughest schedule of anybody. But that is out of our control. What is under our control is our approach and that is what we have to concentrate on.”
A look at the stats sheet shows that the WolfPack have been getting contributions from a lot of players. Clark is quick to point out though that the focal point has been his hard working fifth year, Canada West third team all-star Volodymyr Iegorov (Donetsk, Ukraine).
“We have some guys who can shoot the basketball. Vlad is the biggest part of things. A lot of time, other guys get shots because Vlad is double teamed or he drives the ball to a secondary defender and finds an open guy. Others still have to make the lay up or stationary shot. Offense: the thing you control is shot selection and distribution. Other than that shot making is the players and they have done a good job of that.”
Clark and UBCO counterpart Peter Guarasci have a rich history. Guarasci played for Clark at Simon Fraser University in the mid 1990’s and the two were part of the Canadian National team program at one point. “Peter was an All-American. He was always the best player on the floor and went onto represent Canada Internationally (1999-2000). They were the last team to represent Canada at the Olympics with Peter as the starting center. It’s fun to coach against him. I am quite a big fan of Peter as far as his play, competitiveness and his love for the game of basketball. It is fun to see your guys go onto be good citizens, basketball players, coaches, husbands, dads and that would be the case here. He is a stand up guy.”
Tip off Friday night is 8 pm. Saturday nights tilt is 7 pm. Both will be shown on a pay-per-view basis on Canada West TV.
Next weekend (Dec 2-3), the WolfPack close out the pre-Christmas portion of their Canada West season in Prince George as they visit the UNBC Timberwolves.