By: Kirk Jessome
With the return of a talented young core, and a few fantastic additions in the off-season, the Tigers men’s basketball team once again looks like a championship caliber team.
With the graduation of last season’s leading scorer, and rebounder, in Sven Stammberger, it looked as though the Tigers very young roster would be put into a trial by fire this season, but head coach Rick Plato was able to do a great job adding plenty of leadership to the team over the summer.
The most notable of these additions is Mike Shoveller, using his fifth year of eligibility after playing four years at Queen's. Shoveller averaged 11 points, nearly seven rebounds, and his 6’11 frame helped him average two blocks per game throughout the 2017-18 season.
Shoveller was also a member of the team representing Canada at the Commonwealth games last April, and that international experience will be key in helping the younger players on this Tigers roster.
Also looking to make a veteran impact is Jordan Wilson, in his fourth year of eligibility after spending the past two seasons at Niagara College, where he averaged 12 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Wilson has already shown to be a good fit with the Tigers group throughout the pre-season, being a strong presence in the paint on both ends of the floor.
Many of the returning players for the Tigers have already had a major impact in the conference, with third year Alex Carson setting a Dalhousie record for most three pointers made in a single season last year.
Providing size at both ends of the floor as a compliment to Shoveller is senior Sascha Kappos, who is a strong presence at the rim, and has developed a very nice mid-range jump shot that is becoming more and more vital as the game evolves.
Running the point for the Tigers with two very different styles are Xavier Ochu, and Keevan Veinot, both coming off of their first seasons with the Tigers.
Ochu proved he wasn’t afraid to get into the paint for the Tigers at either end of the floor, with great hands that help him slash to the rim, and was also one of the top rebounders for the team last season.
Veinot on the other hand was more of your classic point guard, averaging 2.8 assists per game last season, while usually either coming off the bench, or playing off the ball.
After finishing the season on top with a 16-4 conference record, the Tigers were heavy favourites in the AUS last season after earning a bronze medal at the U SPORTS national championship in the previous year, but were upset in their semi-final matchup against StFX.
With a 8-1 record in the pre-season against some very tough opponents in both the AUS and OUA conferences, the Tigers are set to open up their bounce back season with back to back games against Cape Breton this Saturday and Sunday. Tip off for Saturday is 8:00pm.