Tale of the Weekend
VICTORIA – New life will be injected into the CARSA Performance Gym this weekend as the UVic Vikes men’s basketball team gets set for their season opening games against the visiting UBC Okanagan Heat on Oct. 27 and 28.
The Vikes and Heat will be in action at 8 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Coming into the season without last year’s team leader in points per game, rebounds per game, blocks per game and assists per game, the Vikes will be looking to replace the immense production provided by Grant Sitton who graduated at the end of last season.
To do so, the team will be rolling out a roster that has a balance of both new and familiar faces.
Fourth-year guard Jordan Charles returns to the team after missing last season due to injury and Mason Loewen, a local product of Claremont Secondary, will return to Victoria after spending the past three seasons playing south of the border in the NCAA.
Also returning this season is Scott Kellum, who was named Canada West Rookie of the Year after averaging 13.2 points per game in his first year with the team.
The Vikes were able to pick up a sweep of the Heat in the only two games these teams played last season, recording wins of 81-46 and 75-65 in Kelowna.
Last Time Out
The Vikes made it as far as the Canada West Play-in series last season before being bounced from the playoffs by the Lethbridge Pronghorns.
Finishing the regular season with a record of 9-11 it took a gargantuan effort from the Vikes in their final weekend of the season to qualify for the post-season. A sweep of the then-fourth place Winnipeg Wesmen earned the Vikes their playoff spot.
The Heat struggled to a record of 2-18 last season and have not yet qualified for the playoffs since joining the conference in the 2011-12 season.
By the Numbers
0: The Vikes do not have a single fifth-year athlete on their team.
17. 6: The number of points per game Fifth-year guard Aldrich Berrios scored for the Heat last season.
Craig Beaucamp, Vikes head coach
“We have quite a few new guys in the mix but have a nice combination of new and old. For the most part we know who we are coming into this weekend, we’ve been able to have a chance to evaluate our talent.”
“The guys are obviously excited to get at it, they’ve been through the long days of training camp and we have an opportunity at home to start things off on the right foot so hopefully we can take care of business.”
“One of the main positives of the Guy Vetrie Tournament is that the guys have already felt that atmosphere before we get into league play. Hopefully we can just transition smoothly into the season.”
“Everybody is still trying to become a good basketball team, there are some things that we still have to continue to improve on. We are focussed on trying to be consistent defensively, that is what is going to give us a chance night in and night out.”