Basketball fans across Canada have been eager to see the “New Look” Carleton Ravens kick off their 2015-2016 CIS season. Winning the CIS Men’s Basketball Championship the last five years led by the dynamic duo of the Scrubb brothers Thomas and Philip, and winning 11 of the last 13 years CIS Men’s Basketball championships behind the great coach Dave Smart.
He helped his two best players (Thomas & Philip Scrubb) finish their senior years as Champions and going on to play in Greece for Philip and Germany for Thomas; Dave Smart will also be leaving the country to focus on the Canadian Senior Men’s National basketball team in Mexico City, his focus this year will be on trying to get the Canadian Men’s National team to earn a spot in the 2016 Olympics games in Brazil therefore he took a leave of absence for the 2015-2016 Carleton Ravens Men’s Basketball season.
Ravens annual exhibition games versus NCAA D1 teams kicked-off against the Murray State Racers. It was strange for the fans watching the Ravens without Dave Smart pacing the sidelines and demanding more out of his troops or the Scrubb brothers giving visiting NCAA coaches nightmares and perhaps even stranger for current and returning players themselves.
The first-quarter started slow as both teams struggled to score the ball ending in a 11-11 tie. Carleton’s defense looked as dominate as usual but the absence of the Scrubb brothers was noticeable as the offense struggled mightily to score by shooting 30% (9-30) from the field and a high turnover rate of 9. Murray State shot slightly better at 37% (10-27) in first-half as Carleton took a 24-23 half-time lead.
Both teams came out the second-half with a lot more intensity. The third-quarter remained close as A.J. Patty of Murray State Racers and Connor Wood from Carleton Ravens exchanged baskets keeping their teams within reach of one another, ending the quarter 43-40 for Murray State.
A monster finish from Kendrick Flomo and a hot Jeffrey Moss who finished with 16 points, most coming in the fourth-quarter, helped visiting Murray State get hot and get an 11-point fourth quarter lead. The defending champs kept fighting, a run lead by Connor Wood who finished with a game-high 22 points and Guillaume Boucard who was one point shy of a double-double with 11 rebounds and 9 points quickly carved into the Racers lead as Carleton trailed by just two points with a minute to play and in prime-position to add another win over a NCAA team on home-soil.
Murray State knocked down some clutch shots at the end preventing the Ravens from tying the game or getting a lead as the game finished 63-59 for Murray State. Due to this being an exhibition game not many people panicked after the loss as the Ravens interim head coach Rob Smart Jr. quoted “It’s early, it’s a learning experience for everybody and at this point we are just getting familiar with one another, it’s going to take some time to adjust and bring everybody on the same page.”
Filling the departure of Phillip Scrubb is starting point guard Kaza Keane (Ajax, ON) an in-coming NCAA division transfer who played at Cleveland State last-year after spending two years at Illinois State. “It’s like a I’m freshman all-over again, it’s a new system and new culture and so far the coaching staff and my teammates have embraced me and are helping me with the transition from NCAA to CIS. Despite struggling with his shot today (3-11), Keane finished his Ravens debut with 7 points, 5 rebounds and four assists and is focused on the only goal that matters, a CIS national title come March 2016 in Vancouver.
“I trusted coach Smart (Dave) and that’s why I came here to play for championship”
Although the Ravens lost their Head Coach, the Scrubb brothers and their first exhibition game of the 2015-16 season it is not time to panic yet for the new look Ravens who were also with out the services of several key players including starting starting 6’8″ forward Jean-Emmanuel Pierre-Charles and York Lions transfer Ryan Ejim (15.4 PPp/7.6 RPG).
Pierre-Charles who averaged 7.3 points and 4.7 rebounds a game last season will most likely not suit for the Ravens again as he is on the verge of transfering schools. While Ejim will be eligible come September.
Carleton will continue it’s NCAA schedule against Valpariso, Baylor and Texas Tech.
Montreal’s Luguentz Dort commits to Arizona State Sun Devils
Five star Canadian Guard Luguentz Dort has committed to Bobby Hurley and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Dort a 6-5, 220lbs, product of Montreal, Quebec has been one of the most exciting Canadian Basketball prospects in recent years, combining raw speed, with gifted athletic ability, the the 2018 elite top prospect is expected to boast the Sun Devils credibility in a tough PAC 12 conference.
Dort narrowed down his list of top schools from Baylor, eventually settling with the upstart Sun Devils program that will help him transition from a two-guard to a more accomplished point-guard. After all, Coach Hurley knows a thing or two about playing the point, having played the position for the Duke Blue Devils in the early 90’s and over 269 games in the NBA.
Highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide Return To Canada
The Alabama Crimson Tide led by former NBA Head Coach Avery Johnson, a 16-year veteran and NBA champion point-guard during his playing days will bring his highly touted Alabama Crimson Tide to Canada for series of games against Canada’s top university basketball programs.
The Crimson Tide will visit both Montreal and Ottawa for a three-game exhibition schedule against McGill Redmen (Mon Aug 7), Carleton Ravens (Wed Aug 9) and the Ottawa Gee-Gees (Thu Aug 10).
The Tide competed hard last year and took a step in the right direction with a 19-15 record, 10-8 SEC record and have NCAA March Madness tournament aspirations thanks to solid recruiting class which ranks amongst the nations best.
Led by a talented crop of returning guards, Dazon Ingram (10.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG), Riley Norris (9 PPG, 3 RPG), the coaches son Avery Johnson Jr. and forwards Braxton Key the Tide will be a handful for the it’s Canadian opposition.
Key a 6’8″, 220 lbs flirted with the 2017 NBA draft after a stellar freshman season, the Charlotte, NC native led ‘Bama in scoring with 12 point per game and was second in rebounding at 5.7 per game. The Tide will also welcome incoming red-shirt sophomore 6’10”, 240lbs Daniel Giddens to a line-up that returns four starters.
Alabama anchored by current NBA player Alonzo Gee (Denver Nuggets) last visited Canada back in 2007 and finished with a record of 4-1 against the same exact teams, dropping a tight 83-72 decision against the Carleton Ravens who have won seven straight Canadian titles including 13-of the-last-15 championships.
Carleton’s signature win over Alabama was only their second ever against a NCAA division one team after 16-game losing streak from 1999 to 2006. The Ravens current record against NCAA teams in Canada stands at an impressive 26-23 (.531%) record.