Sports

Richmond seniors boys basketball season preview

Kyle Rassmussen of the Richmond Colts goes airborne to sink two points against the Magee Lions during the senior boys’ basketball season-opener Tuesday. - Don Fennell photo
Kyle Rassmussen of the Richmond Colts goes airborne to sink two points against the Magee Lions during the senior boys’ basketball season-opener Tuesday.
— image credit: Don Fennell photo

PALMER GRIFFINS

"I think we will be a very exciting, high-scoring team. And as long as we remember to show the necessary intensity on the boards and on defence we can have a very successful year."

– Paul Eberhardt

The 2012-13 edition of the Griffins, like all Paul Eberhardt-coached teams, will be exciting to watch. Employing multiple defences and presses, they'll try to overcome a lack of size with speed and quickness to once again be among the highest-scoring teams in the province. They'll have no trouble shooting the three ball, with arguably B.C.'s best Grade 12 player Jamie Madewan leading the way. Madewan—a third-year Griffin—represented B.C. on the bronze medal-winning U17 team this summer at the Juvenile national championships and played a huge role in Palmer's 2011 provincial AAA championship team with four consecutive three-pointers in the title game. Last year he averaged 25.3 points per game and was all-star in every tournament the Griffins participated in.

While Madewan is a prolific three-point shooter, Eberhardt says he also has the ability to play inside and drive to the basket. He calls him "a truly complete player."

Equally strong at guard or forward, Karn Mann provides the Griffins with valuable versatility. He's also a three-point specialist who last season enjoyed several games when he made five or more treys. And as the team's sixth man he averaged almost 10 points  per game and did a solid job contributing on the boards.

Gurjit Pooni played for the gold medal-winning B.C. U16 Western Canada Games team this past summer. He was also one of the scoring leaders (averaging 18 points per game) on last season's junior team at Palmer and also led the team in assists. He too shows versatility with an equal strength at both the point and shooting guard spots.

An explosive scorer who put up big numbers in a hurry, Antonio Jhuty was the leading scorer on the junior team with an average of 21 points per game. His notable quickness enables him to be particularly adept at picking up steals in the passing lane.

Park is the prototypical point guard in an Ebehardt-led offence which is always up-tempo. Park is lightning quick and has exceptionally good court vision enabling him to find the open man in transition.

Bransford, the Griffins' final starter, is a forward who will do all of the grunt work. That includes pulling down defensive rebounds and guarding bigger opponents. He also finishes well around the hoop and has a good jump hook, says Eberhardt.

"It is our team goal to win our seventh consecutive Richmond championship and to qualify for the AA provincials where we hope to make a run for the title," he says.

This will be Eberhardt's eighth year at the helm of the Griffins, and this year he's happy to welcome one of his former player—Rob McClelland—as an assistant coach. He played for Eberhardt at McNair from 1995 to 1997 and at Capilano College in 2001 and 2002. McClelland coached Palmer's junior team last season.

Starting 5:

  • Jamie Madewan
  • Jimmy Park
  • Karn Mann
  • Mac Bransford
  • Gurjit Pooni

BURNETT BREAKERS

In a league that is generally undersized, the Breakers are one of the smallest teams—save for talented, but slender six-foot-four forward Kabir Sandhu.

But coach Bernard Lim has plenty of skill to work with, not the least of whom is point guard Brandon Beavis considered by many the best at his position in the province. He is the straw that stirs the drink for the Breakers.

The Breakers will be one of a group of four or five teams that should challenge the defending champion Palmer Griffins for league honours this season.

Starting 5:

  • Kabir Sandhu
  • Justin Wong
  • Tyler Samuels
  • Alvin Shala
  • Brandon Beavis

CAMBIE CRUSADERS

The Crusaders are off to a quick 2-0 start this season with wins last week over Guildford Park and Princess Margaret. But win or lose, one thing coach Andy Tsai  wants to hear from his players is “I gave it everything I have.”

Tsai is pleased with the energy and intensity his players are bringing to each practice and game. It’s most apparent in the team’s hard work on defence, which the Crusaders take “extreme pride in.”

While under-sized, the Crusaders are a versatile squad that handles the ball well and isn’t afraid to shoot the jumper.

Starting 5:

  • Arjay Emata
  • Hardeep Reehal
  • Andy Ha
  • Justin Singh
  • Prab Dhaliwal

HUGH BOYD TROJANS

Speed and short-range shooting are the strengths of a Trojan team that is known for its hard work. But co-coach Marcus Mullen (who is sharing the coaching chores with fellow Hugh Boyd grad Neb Aleksic) says the goal is to be able to thrive in all areas by mid-season.

“Our expectation is to be competitive in every game, but as a group that has only known one another for a month, we hope to be able to come together by the playoffs,” says Mullen.

Starting 5:

  • R. De Guzman
  • Justin Porter
  • Travis Coutts
  • M. Moldowan
  • Caleb Ritchie

MACNEILL RAVENS

At six-foot-six, 290 pounds, starting centre Nathan Thomas finally gives the Ravens the size the Ravens have always lacked. And coach Landon Dy expects Thomas’ presence should pose some troubles for opposing teams, perhaps helping to lift the McLennan North-area school to new heights.

“It’s been a  long process, but it should be a fun season,” says Dy. “All of the players (and coaching assistants) bring a different element to our team. I would say we could go 10 deep in our rotation and there isn’t any skill drop off.”

Starting 5:

  • Denzel DeJesus
  • Quiny Quisido
  • Umar Tung
  • Johnny Li
  • Nathan Thomas

McNAIR MARLINS

With four starters who all played significant minutes as Grade 10s on the senior squad two years ago, and an enviable depth at the guard position, the Marlins should contend for Richmond league honours and be well positioned for a run at a Lower Mainland title.

“We’re a run-and-gun team that looks to push the ball up the floor and we have great outside shooters,” says Jessy Dhillon, co-coach of the Marlins with Ranj Sangra.

A third-year starter, Gurdy Jadge is a pure scorer who will be expected to lead the offence, while Hamraj Sidhu is the hardest working player on the Marlins and will likely draw the  job of shadowing the opposition’s top players.

Starting 5:

  • Gurdy Jadge
  • Hamraj Sidhu
  • Brandon Rossi
  • Howard Zhang
  • Royce Sargeant

McMATH WILDCATS

Coach Jon Acob’s expectations for the Wildcats are high—to win Richmond and make the provincials.

“The goals are within reach,” Acob insists, “but the team needs to work hard to achieve it.”

Perhaps the Wildcats’ greatest strength is chemistry. The seniors have played together for five seasons and been very successful in the process, winning Richmond championships in Grade 10 and finishing second in Grades 8 and 9. The incoming Grade 11s have also had their share of success, winning Richmond titles as Grade 8 and 9s and placing third last year as Grade 10s.

Starting 5:

  • Andrew McCaskill
  • Garth Anderson
  • Marc Hervieux
  • Jason Roberts
  • Will Sherrett

McROBERTS STRIKERS

Coach Brian Meier thinks all the ingredients are in place for the Strikers to take a serious run at a Lower Mainland championships, and subsequently a berth in the AA provincials.

In starting point guard Arnold Macalipay, the Strikers boast an athlete with speed to spare and tremendous court vision. Macalipay represented B.C. at the U15 national championships last summer in Quebec.

Complementing Macalipay are two big men—six-foot-four guard John Tseng who was the team’s leading scorer last season as a Grade 10, and Nolan Howell who uses his size and height to win most rebound battles.

Starting 5:

  • Arnold Macalipay
  • John Tseng
  • Terry Lok
  • Nolan Howell
  • A. Metalnikov

RICHMOND CHRISTIAN EAGLES

Coach Rob Buller-Taylor says the Eagles are anxious to play basketball and expects them to be competitive game in and game out.

“Every player that represents our school will have an important role to fulfill,” he says. “We want our team to utilize the athletic gifts and talents of every player, and I expect each of the to grow in confidence and character. I expect them to represent our school with integrity, sportsmanship and hard work.”

Passion and heart will be the Eagles’  calling card, with good team speed and a passion for the game hopefully contributing to some success.

Starting 5:

  • Jonathan Goh
  • Byron Prasad
  • Julio Cheung
  • Aaron McDowell
  • Jack Lin

RICHMOND COLTS

Richmond Colts' coach Les Brown readily admits he's not sure where this year's team will finish.

But he is sure they're—so far at least—willing to work hard as evident by their enthusiasm for practice.

"They have been eager to learn and work hard and that's really all we can ask," says Brown, who was delighted with the team's first two games—victories over the Magee Lions and St. Johns (of Vancouver) last week.

"I think our strengths will be our ability play as a team, but our weakness is that we're young and still have a lot to learn about senior basketball."

Starting 5:

  • Sylvain Istifan
  • Brandon Harbour
  • David Yap
  • Wahaj Farooqi
  • Jerry Shi

STEVESTON LONDON SHARKS

Like most Richmond teams, the Sharks have a notable lack of height. But coach Mike Stoneburgh hopes their quick feet, good outside shooting, and hustle will help them overcome their shortcomings.

“I (still) expect us to compete for a top-four finish,” says the optimistic Stoneburgh, noting that among the three returning starters are third-year guard Kingston Chung and last year’s leading scorer Carlos Prada. Malcolm Lee is another returning starter who may have also been an all-star had he not missed some time due to an injury.

“Because of his injury last year a lot of teams might not know that besides being able to shoot well, (Lee) is also a great defensive player,” says Stoneburgh.

Starting 5:

  • Kingston Chung
  • Carlos Prada
  • Deion Adaza
  • J. Lindenthaler
  • Malcolm Lee

 

A Look Back: SENIORS AND JUNIORS Final 2011-12 League Standings

 

SR. TEAMS        W    L        PTS

1. Palmer Griffins         7    2          14

2. Steveston London    7     2          14

3. McMath Wildcats        7    2          14

4. McNair Marlins        6    3          12

5. Burnett Breakers        5    4          10

6. Cambie Crusaders    4     5            8

7. Richmond Colts        3    6            6

8. McRoberts Strikers    3    6            6

9. Hugh Boyd Trojans    3    6            6

10. Richmond Christian    3    6            6

 

JR. TEAMS        W    L        PTS

1. Palmer Griffins        7    0           14

2. MacNeill Ravens        6    1           12

3. McMath Wildcats        5    2           10

4. Richmond Colts        4    3             8

5. Hugh Boyd Trojans    3    4             6

6. Steveston London    2    5             4

7. Cambie Crusaders    1    6             2

8. Richmond Christian    0    7             0

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