The McGill Redmen basketball team has a target on its back this year. After a spectacular 2012-13 season, which culminated in winning the RSEQ championship for the first time since 1986 and finishing fifth at the CIS nationals, McGill is hungry to repeat that success and appears to have the capability to do so. Seven players are returning this season, and their development should play a vital role in the team’s success. Sophomore shooting guard Thomas Lacy is one of those players, and has already shown flashes of brilliance with 19 and 20-point scoring outings so far this season.
“We lost a few key guys, but we picked up some real talent and depth from our rookie class,” Lacy explained. “We definitely have the potential to make noise come March, [but] right now we have a lot of learning to do.”
The Redmen must integrate a whopping nine rookies into the program this season—a tall order for fourth-year Head Coach David DeAveiro. These rookies will have to adjust to the pace and style of the CIS to quickly have an impact on the team’s season. Leading McGill will be guards Simon Bibeau, an All-Conference player, and Vincent Dufort, last year’s team MVP. However, a lack of size up front—no current player stands above 6”5’—and the challenges of integrating this many young players will make the early season an uphill battle.
This challenge is evidenced by the Redmen’s 5-6 record in the pre-season. Nonetheless, the team ranks ninth in the nation and has won their lone game against an RSEQ opponent—a narrow 62-59 victory over Laval in which freshman guard Dele Ogundokun led the way with 15 points. The Redmen open their season on Nov. 21 against the Concordia Stingers at Love Competition Hall.
The McGill Martlets are undoubtedly the team to beat in the RSEQ this season. They are coming off back-to-back RSEQ Championships and appearances at the CIS National Championships. Their fifth-place showing last year is their most successful so far under 11th year Head Coach Ryan Thorne.
The squad has nine players returning from last year’s roster. Headlining the team will be Gabriela Hebert, Dianna Ros and Mariam Sylla. Hebert, a junior forward, was recently named to the All-Tournament team of the Redbird Classic. Ros is back to orchestrate the offence in her role as point-guard, and is fresh off of an appearance with Team Canada this summer at the Summer Universiade. in Kazan, Russia. Sylla is the reigning CIS Rookie-of-the-Year, and was also named the MVP of the Redbird Classic. Sylla is a force to be reckoned with on the boards and the paint, and should be a nightmare matchup for opposing teams.
The Martlets currently boast a 5-1 overall record, which includes their three-game sweep and ensuing tournament victory at the Redbird Classic. The team looks primed for another league championship behind their standout players. If they can withstand the rigours of the regular season and develop solid depth from their group of four rookies, a medal at the national championships is not out of the question. The Martlets are currently ranked ninth in the CIS after coming off of a gritty 44-33 victory over Laval. They host the Concordia Stingers on Nov. 21 in their first home game of the regular season.