Men's basketball team adding plenty of new faces while women's team is still looking

By Josh Saggau
[contributor]

 

After an embarassing season in 2010, the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Eagles men’s basketball team was in need of a complete overhaul.

Bernie Love was on the way out and KPU quickly brought in Stefon Wilson from Simon Fraser University to take control of the team and build it his way.

Since taking over on March 22, Wilson has recruited half his roster — seven of 14 spots have been filled — and the team looks considerably different than last year.

The team took big steps towards improving their outside shooting. Coach Wilson went all the way back to Michigan to nab his first signing as head coach, guard David Poole. Wilson likes Poole’s athleticism and versatility.

“He can score, pass and is very athletic … I am glad we both will be on the same sideline for the 2011-2012 season,” said Wilson in a release on April 8.

Wilson was hardly done there though. His next big signing was shooting guard Aaron Ram, who spent last season with Seaquam Secondary School in Delta.

Wilson said he likes the physical mismatches he can create with Ram’s size against smaller defenders and his speed that gives him an advantage against larger ones.

Last season as a senior, Ram averaged 23 points, four assists and nine rebounds per game.

Those kind of numbers should make Wilson very happy as the Eagles spent most of last season doing anything they could to pick up points outside the paint.

Coach Wilson’s final big name signing came on April 27 when the team announced they had recruited 6’6” centre Jarrell Hogan from Michigan.

Hogan is a large body and coach Wilson said he liked the toughness and experience that the big man can bring to the Eagles’ program.

“He has the mentality to get every rebound that comes off the glass,” said Wilson.

Wilson’s other four recruits have not been identified yet, and Wilson wasn’t keen on disclosing too much about the new players and the direction the team is going into next season.

He understands that he is only half way through building his team and wanted to finish the job before getting too far ahead of himself and looking at the upcoming season.

He did say that he has many other recruits lined up that could be part of the mix, so it’s only a matter of time before more roster spots are announced.

It doesn’t look like there will be many returning members from last year’s 1-17 team though.

While new men’s basketball coach Stefon Wilson has been quick to make a name for himself and his recruits, women’s coach Dan Nayebzadeh seems to be taking it slow. The new coach — announced March 31 — has only made one major recruitment so far and it came just a week after being named head coach.

Anna Work, from Washington State, will join the Eagles squad after spending the last two seasons at Everett Community College.

The third-year point guard will help to replace the loss of Taminder Dhaliwal, arguably the team’s best player last season, who completed her eligibility last year.

“[Anna’s] already played in a college league, so she’s going to bring some leadership,” said coach Nayebzadeh. “I think you’re always looking for veteran leadership. Considering we’re going to have maybe eight rookies, she’s defi nitely going to help a lot.”

Following a 4-14 season, change was defi nitely needed on the Eagles’ roster. Nayebzadeh wanted a fresh start this season as he began here at Kwantlen, which means there won’t be many familiar faces on the Eagles’ bench on opening day.

Nayebzadeh held an ID camp on April 17 and said they had around 50 players show up looking for a roster spot.

He said he wants to cut the team down to between 13 and 15 players for the start of the season.

Having so many players could seem like a bad thing as not everyone would be able to get into every game but Nayebzadeh likes the idea out competing for playing time.

“If players have to work and fi ght for playing time, I think it’s advantageous for us.”

More recruitment announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

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