Coming off their second RSEQ Championship in as many years, the McGill Redmen seem poised to win another this season with a group of developing youngsters. Head Coach David DeAverio enters his fifth season with an astounding 15 underclassmen, including five freshmen. Veteran Ave Bross will likely take over the starting point guard position after former captain Simon Bibeau graduated this past year. While Bross’ defensive prowess will keep him in the starting lineup, don’t be surprised if Jenning Leung and freshman Jawara Pedrican make a push for playing time as the season progresses.
Freshmen centre Noah Daoust will likely fill the void left by Nathan Joyal, while swingman Jeremie Casavant-Dubois expects to see significant minutes off the bench.
“Simon and Nathan are two talented players who are very hard to replace,” senior swingman Vincent Dufort said. “That being said, we have some real good rookies that will make an immediate impact.”
Dufort will be relied upon to provide significant production after leading the team in scoring and taking home RSEQ MVP honours last season. With so many underclassmen on the team, the Redmen still need to work out all their kinks. Dufort is confident that the team will work out their issues and improve on their first-round exit from the CIS playoffs last season. The Redmen open their season at home on Nov. 8 against the Bishop’s Gaiters in a rematch of last seasons RSEQ Championship game. If McGill can overcome the injuries and continue to develop young stars, look for McGill to clinch back-to-back-to-back championships and take another step towards a CIS Championship.
The McGill Martlets have been the team to beat in the RSEQ for the past three seasons, and don’t expect that to change any time soon. The squad looks to four-peat as conference champions this season and is hoping to bring home a medal at the CIS National Championships after a disappointing fifth-place finish last season.
The Marlets have seven players returning but will sorely miss Helen Bibeau and Françoise Charest, two key starters from last year’s team. Expect Mariam Sylla to lead the way for the Martlets following a dominant 2013-2014 campaign in which she won RSEQ Player-of-the-Year honours while posting 14 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. Seniors Dianna Ros and Gabriela Herbet return to the starting lineup and will be counted on to mentor the team’s four new rookies. Junior centre Alex Kiss-Rusk looks poised for a big season after an impressive showing during pre-season play, and first-year guard Marika Guerin will be expected to make an impact after starting all three games at the Redbird Classic.
The Martlets currently sit fourth in the CIS rankings after a dominant pre-season that included sweeping the Redbird Classic in convincing fashion. If the new faces continue to play strong and the team’s veterans can improve on an excellent 2013-2014 season, a medal is within reach for these Martlets. They open their season at home against the Bishop’s Gaiters on Nov. 8. While Bishop’s won’t be much of a test for the Martlets, it will be a good taste of RSEQ basketball for the new freshmen before they head out to UQAM on Nov. 13 in a rematch of last year’s RSEQ Final.