After three weeks of formal practice, a controlled scrimmage and an intra- squad game, the 2017 -2018 Mounties Men’s Basketball team is on the verge of beginning their season in ernest with three straight weeks of exhibition play before their first ACAA league play Nov 4-5th weekend.
The Mounties had a strong opening weekend of exhibition play with two good showings against U SPORTS opponents at the Mickey Place tournament hosted by UPEI on the weekend. On Saturday, the Mounties fell 100-82 to the Cape Breton Capers. Sunday, the Mounties had a chance to win late but ultimately fell 79-72 to the host UPEI Panthers.
This coming weekend the Mounties will travel to Fredericton where they will compete in the Ron Gould Invitational playing exhibition games against ACAA opposition including UNBSJ, St.Thomas and Dal Tech. The Mounties complete their exhibition play on October 28 by hosting the Bishop Gaitors of Lennoxville in a 2pm tilt at McCormick gymnasium.
Steve Chapman returns as the Mounties bench boss having helped guide last years Mounties to a 17-4 second place finish in the ACAA and the teams historic first ever trip to the CCAA National Championships at Holland College last March. Chapman previously coached the garnet in gold from 1992-2000 and also played for the Mounties from 1978-1982 . Gerard Reinders of Moncton returns for his second year as assistant coach having previously coached in both Riverview and Moncton for 8 years before joining the Mounties last season. New to the Mounties coaching staff will be newly appointed Mike MacDougall of Riverview who brings 20 years of coaching experience to this year’s Mountie team.
Chapman and his staff will be looking to build on last year’s success with 9 returning players and 6 newcomers to the program. Featured in the Mounties returning cast is second year point guard Thomas LeGallais of Cornwall Ontario. LeGallais led the team in scoring last year, was chosen as a first team ACAA All Star as well as the ACAA Rookie of the Year. Elevated to a captain’s role this year, LeGallais will be joined by a number of key returning players including 6”4 Brad Sandford of Quispamsis. Entering his final season, Sanford will also have a captain’s role and was among the teams leaders in scoring last year as well a former ACAA Rookie of the Year . Power forward Rod Joseph also returns for his final year. At 6’2 and 250 pounds, Joseph will be looked upon for a physical presence for the Mounties at both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor. The only other senior member of this year’s Mounties will be 6”3 forward Kellan Duke, who formerly played for basketball power house Auburn Drive in Halifax. Duke will also captain the Mounties this year being looked upon for court leadership as well as coming off the bench to provide defensive intensity and rebounding. Jeshua Becker from Maits Corner NB returns for his 3rd year. Becker will be looking to attain a regular starting position, is very athletic and one of teams best outside shooters which will compliment the Mountie attack of up tempo fast break style they wish to play when they were the second highest scoring team in the ACAA last year at 84.3 points per game. 6’1 Mack Chisholm returns for his third year and will be moved to the forward position due to his aggressive play defensively and athleticism to play both inside and on the perimeter. Chisholm will push for a starting position as will second returning guard Yanniv Perez from Montreal. Perez is amongst the teams emotional leaders and spark plugs as well as one of the team’s best three point threats while also being aggressive at the defensive end. Seong Woo Park , the former Fredericton High Black Kat standout guard will once again be an integral part of the Mounties this year . At 6’1 Park had an excellent rookie season, played valuable minutes and quickly became one of the league best defenders and penetrating point guards. Rounding out the Mountie returnees is 6’4 Matthew Tanton of Summerside PEI. Tanton saw action last year but has returned stronger and looking to play more minutes due to his ability to defend and rebound and tremendous work ethic.
Six new faces come to the MTA campus this year which has the Mountie coaching staff lots of reasons to feel confident for years to come with their off season recruiting efforts. Chapman was fortunate to land some of NB’s elite high school players in landing Moncton’s James French, Riverview’s Aram Currie and Harvey Station’s Brett Curtis. All three were NBIAA first team All Stars as well as teammates on the U17 NB provincial team in 2017 as well as their respective team’s mvp their senior years. French , a graduate of Bernice MacNaughton is a mobile 6’5 forward, is an excellent rebounder as well as a very good outside shooter. The 6’1 Currie, a Riverview High grad is an excellent open floor player, amongst the teams best three point shooters and very good perimeter defender. Curtis, at 6’1 was a high school scoring combo guard with the provincial winning Harvey High Lakers and has already established himself as one of the Mounties toughest on ball defenders. Yet another NB talent arriving to the Mounties is 6’6 forward Zachary Boudreau who played for the Tantramar Titans one year ago. Boudreau is athletic and has steadily shown improvement this during the teams fall practices. Rounding out the Mounties 15 member squad are a pair of athletic guards which will contribute to the teams overall depth. Michael Otoo , from Ottawa, Ontario, returns to the Mounties after a year absence due to an injury related incident. Otoo is an excellent shooter and good on ball defender as is Zachary Pennerman from Nassua Bahama’s , one of the teams quickest players and strong attacker of the rim.
The Mounties will once again compete in the 8 team parity filled ACAA. The team will undoubtedly miss graduates and ACAA All Stars Bradley Fuller and Alex Chisholm as well as team captain and starting guard Jesse Basler but a strong returning core and excellent recruiting class should place the garnet and gold in the thick of things with traditional powerhouses such as Holland College, Mount Saint Vincent Mystics and the Chargers of Crandall University. UNBSJ, St. Thomas Kings and Dal Tech have all had improved with many returning players and off season recruiting so the ACAA will once again be a grueling , exciting , and competitive league to watch.