Return To Glory Years?
Vikings head coach Craig Beaucamp went on a massive recruiting mission this summer to re-tool his team and prepare for a season of parity in Canada West basketball. Beaucamp realized that with only one national front-runner, Carlton, the door was wide open for a quick re-tooling and some luck to propel the Vikes into the national title game.
Beaucamp returned with nine new players, many of whom played their first CIS games this preseason: guards Dominic Ohl, Vijay Dhillon, Reiner Theil, Michael Acheampong, andJohn Woldu, and forwards Ryan Erikson, Terrell Evans, Sean Patrick and Andy Kaila.
Theil and Dhillon competed against each other in the Senior Boy’s Triple-A Championship final last spring, where Dhillon’s R.C. Palmer squad defeated Theil’s team from Vancouver College.
Terrell Evans is a transfer from Yakima College and is expected to be an outside forward presence for the Vikes.
The returning vets include guards Ryan MacKinnon, Zac Andrus, and Reese Pribilsky with forwards Mike Berg , Pierce Anderson and Chris McLaughlin. MacKinnon, Berg, and Andrus are in their fifth years.
Despite a 1-5 preseason, Beaucamp believes there’s a sense of optimism as the year kicks off. The games afforded the new-look team a chance to build chemistry and make positive improvements in anticipation of tonight’s tip-off. Beaucamp believes that with a bit of gelling, this team has a very good opportunity to make the playoffs and make it out of Canada West.
Noting that powerhouses such as UBC and this weekend’s opponent Trinity Western have lost some firepower from last season, Beaucamp sees a league where the gap between the top and bottom teams has decreased and one where a 6-2 first half record could go a long way towards securing a playoff spot.
The journey begins tonight with the first of a pair of games against the Trinity Western Spartens, last year’s runner-ups to the Carleton Ravens in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport final. Trinity spent their preseason in China, which hasn’t afforded the Vikes a lot of game tape in preparation for this weekend.
While the Spartans lost last year’s all-star Jacob Doerkson, guards Sean Peter and Kyle Coston will aid the Spartan’s traditional guard-orientated small ball game.
The weekend games will take place in Langley.
Saturday’s game begins at 7 pm.