Leonel Saintil the post player in Canada?
Old 09-20-2009, 10:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Leonel Saintil the post player in Canada?

The Jim Thomas Report - 09.16.2009 E-mail
Written by Jim Thomas on Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Christmas has come early for the McMaster Marauder fans. The present is the enrollment of former OUA West All-Star Keenan Jepperson who has enrolled in McMaster's MBA program and will be eligible to play this year. Jepperson will be the best player in the OUA West and brings leadership, maturity and gives the Marauders the best frontline in the conference. McMaster will be the clear OUA West favourites going into the preseason. The only question for the Marauders is who will emerge as their primary point guard veteran Jermaine Da Costa, freshmen Jordan Tew or Victor Raso who has played very well in summer league action.

OUA basketball fans will be deprived of seeing super freshman Brady Heslop. The 6'2" scoring machine, who de committed from the Guelph Gryphons over the summer, will enroll at NCAA Division I Boston College this January on a full scholarship. Heslop's stock exploded over the summer while playing AAU ball and attracted attention from several big time Division I programs. This is a big loss for Guelph coach Chris O'Rourke, who had made Brady the centrepiece of an impressive freshman recruiting class. Heslop would have easily been the OUA Rookie of the Year and possibly CIS Freshman of the Year as well. This is a huge loss for CIS basketball and the only happy faces in the crowd are opposing OUA coaches who won't have to face him this winter.

The surprise team in the CIS this winter will be Trinity Western who have an outstanding recruiting class coming in including several transfers from American universities. UBC and the University of Victory have long been the CIS powers in B.C. but that is about to change. It will take Trinity Western's new roster a while to gel but come January they will be a force to be reckoned with on the West Coast.

There are several outstanding recruiting classes coming into the OUA West this year and overall the conference teams had their best recruiting year ever. In contrast, the OUA only has two recruiting classes in Carleton and Ottawa that would be considered amongst the top fifteen classes in the CIS. This does not bode well for future competition between the two conferences and could lead to a big disparity in competition down the road if the OUA East teams don't do better on the recruiting trail this winter.

The best transfer in the CIS this year is Leonal Saintil, the 6'5" centre who has left Acadia and enrolled at McGill University in Montreal. Saintil is the best post player in Canada and instantly gives McGill a very good chance of winning their league. Saintil has already played at Memorial and Acadia and will be eligible this year.

After a protracted struggle to rid themselves of former coach Glenn Taylor, Ryerson Rams fans have new hope with new hire Roy Rana, who is well known in Ontario basketball and especially in the GTA. Rana brings a fresh focus to a stagnant basketball program that wants to be more competitive in the tough OUA East division. With a new athletic facility in the near future, the pressure will be on Coach Rana to amp up recruiting in the Toronto area and fund raise for scholarships. Getting Ryerson to the top of the OUA East past Carleton, Ottawa and Toronto will not be easy but Rana's resume is impressive and he brings energy and vision to the job.

Dave D'Aviero has been one of the most successful CIS coaches over the past five years. His teams are consistently in the Top 10 in Canada and he is well respected in coaching circles here. One would think he has a job at Ottawa University for as long as he wants to stay there. Despite all of his success D'Aviero has been strongly linked to CIS coaching searches at Alberta last winter and Ryerson this past summer. He was actually the first choice for both schools before turning down both opportunities. The question that Gee-Gee fans must be asking themselves is how much longer will D'Aviero be with the program if he is actively looking at other CIS jobs? If D'Aviero leaves, I can't see Ottawa being the power they have been. I think ideally D'Aviero would be great for the Toronto job when his mentor Mike Katz finally hangs up his whistle a few years down the road.


Matthew Wright, a 6'3" combo guard, made a splash this past summer at basketball camps. He has interest from Eastern Kentucky, Western Carolina and IUPUI. He is currently the best prospect in Toronto.

Grassroots product Christian Kabongo, a 6'4" shooting guard, has reportedly turned down a number of Division I scholarships this summer because the schools simply weren't to his liking. He has qualified through the clearing house but surprisingly is not currently enrolled in school.

Oakwood CI combo guard Julian Clark 6'3" is an A+ student and is drawing interest from Ivy League schools like Cornell. He is the son of former Toronto high school legend Norm Clark.

Woodstock Huron Park Centre Lucas Nugteren 6'10" is drawing early interest from some Division I schools who are intrigued by his size and potential. Nugteren played with an AAU team out of Pittsburgh this past summer.

Renaldo Dixon will be attending Faith Christian Prep in Raliegh N. C. this season. Dixon was heavily recruited by big programs over the summer but unfortunately failed to qualify through the clearing house.

The talent drain from the Ontario high school system continued unabated over the summer. This has been particularly noticeable in Toronto and the GTA overall. There will be in excess of thirty players from Ontario enrolled at prep schools this fall. This has made competition at the high school level in Ontario, a shadow of what it was even three years ago.
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