The start of the new Ontario Collegiate Athletic Association’s (OCAA) men’s basketball season is set to begin in the next couple of weeks, and there are many questions surrounding the colleges across this great city of Toronto.
Will Sheridan repeat as champions? Will Humber get back to the promise land and qualify for the nationals for the first time in five years? How will Seneca respond from a disappointing season last year that saw them go 10-10 in the regular season and 11-14 overall?
Each week, we will analyze each of these schools performance coming into the season, who you should be watching to make an impact on his team, and how they will stack up with the rest of the province and Canada respectively.
Our first addition to this series is the all-time OCAA leader in championships, Humber College!
Full-time student enrollment: 27,000
OCAA Titles: 13
National Titles: 5
2013-2014 record: 15-3 (t-1st in west division)
Ontario’s largest College will be looking for a better result this year, despite going 15-3 in the regular season and claiming a bronze medal in the OCAA playoffs.
But if you know anything about this five-time college national championship program out of Etobicoke, it’s either a trip to the nationals or bust in fans, players, and coaches minds alike.
Three new young recruits, Curwin Elvis, Brayden Gohn, and Keny Ejim, will all be hoping to make an immediate impact for the Humber Hawks.
Many recruited rookies tend to get their fare share of minutes in the OCAA should their play in practice be exceptional, it’s one of the better qualities of the league: regardless of your experience, the best players in practice get the most minutes.
With that said, the main focus of the younger class men will still be on the Humber’s 2013-14 male freshman athlete of the year, guard RJ Ramirez.
The 5’9” guard has been playing his summer ball with Megacity basketball, a highly competitive rec/semi pro league here in Toronto where a number of current and former Canadian and American college players are playing at.
Needless to say, he’ll be in game shape for the home opener, the bigger question will be his mental state after dealing with the passing of his mother over the summer.
If anything, Ramirez will use this moment as a tool of motivation, and his teammates will undoubtedly rally around him coming into this season.
As for Ramirez’s abilities, his on the ball defence, ability to create his own shot off the dribble, and tendency to slash into the lane and take contact will once again to cause headaches for interior defences across the OCAA.
All in all, it should be another dominating season for this Rexdale powerhouse. Their athleticism and ability to pressure opponents into turnovers is usually enough to overwhelm all but a few teams across Ontario.
Players to watch:
Tyrone Dickson driving to the hoop against Seneca in the 2013 OCAA playoffs, how will he perform during his Junior season? (Photo: Bialek/Humber College Athletic Department)
The third year man out of Scarborough will be looking to bounce back after missing half the season last year.
The 6’4″ forward has held down the front court for the Hawks with his size and will continue to disrupt any attempted shot in his vicinity.
Dickson has a decent three point shot but most of his scoring will come off of rebounds and interior penetration, a style of offence Humber likes to use to wear down opponents.
Prediction for this year:
Humber will undoubtedly qualify for the playoffs, while finishing with a silver medal in the OCAA tournament, look for them to reach the semi finals this year at the nationals.
Be sure to check in next week when we analyze last years OCAA champion and Nationals Bronze medalist, Sheridan College.