A chance to make history
With returning key players, a strong recruiting class and an impressive season only a year behind them, Wilfrid Laurier University’s men’s basketball team is one of the most highly anticipated teams on campus.
The expectations for the team are large and as the season comes closer, the excitement only grows.
The team has all the ingredients for a recipe of success. They have the best player in school history coming back for his fifth year, Kale Harrison.
Complimenting Harrison’s uncanny scoring abilities is the defending Ontario University Athletics’ (OUA) rookie of the year, Patrick Donnelly.
They have key role-players in their prime, ready to contribute, Matt Buckley and Maxwell Allin, as well as the energy boost that is Sharif Wanas, ready to come off the bench, fulfilling the necessary role of sixth man.
The buzz surrounding this team is everywhere; there are promotional posters up all over Laurier’s Athletic Complex featuring the team’s stars, as well as a Laurier Athletics’ commercial that runs on The Score television channel featuring the third-year arts major, Allin.
The team is ranked tenth in Canada, and fourth in Ontario, which are some of the best preseason rankings Laurier has ever seen for their basketball program.
Those close to the team say that the squad’s strength is depth, as they feature a roster full of guys that can contribute.
“We have nine or ten guys who can play and all contribute at a high level which is huge,” said all-star Harrison.
With so many positive signs, there is little standing in the way of this team’s ultimate goal of winning the OUA championship. What could possibly go wrong?
The team is largely healthy going into the season, so that’s not a concern. But fifth-year standout Buckley does express one issue that the team needs to fix in order to compete with those ranked higher as of now.
“Getting more consistent, defensively, is an improvement we need to make to be a top echelon team,” said Buckley.
The team can undoubtedly score with anyone in the nation. They feature some of the most offensively gifted players in school history, as well as a potential player of the year candidate for the OUA in Kale Harrison. But offence is only half of the game, and the team knows that.
Laurier played impressive basketball in the pre-season, posting a record of 9-4. But the pre-season is never a comprehensive litmus test of the strains of the regular season, and therefore not a true representation of both what this team can do and what their opponents can do.
Laurier should be right on par with their lofty expectations and be one of the best teams on campus.
The Golden Hawks’ athletics department knows it, hence the advertisements everywhere. Odds are that even if the team does not meet their goals, they will still have an historic season for Golden Hawk basketball, but that is certainly not enough for those in the program.
Laurier faces a tough test early on, as they have two games on the road to open up their schedule, beginning Nov. 11th. Their home opener will be Nov. 18, against Queen’s.