Golden Hawks’ men’s basketball team adding eight new members

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The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks’ men’s basketball team will be adding eight new members to their roster next year, following a season that saw them advance to the OUA semi-finals, their best result in 40 years.

Four new high school recruits to the team are forwards in Ree Compton and Benhur Gebrekidan, as well as shooting guards Nickolas Rakas and Vladimir Lukomski. The team will also be adding four transfer players in Nashon Hurst from Lakehead, Romello Taylor from Fleming, Josh Stephens from Ottawa and KJ Massela from McMaster. Stephens will be eligible to play for the team mid-January, where Massela will not be eligible to play until 2020.

“We lost three core players that wanted to focus on school, and those players were in first and second year, along with graduates and other factors, basically we lost seven players. Two of the players won’t even be able to play until next year, and we also have a first-year kid who is going through an ACL tear in rehab,” said head coach Justin Serresse.

“So, we only have five new players this year. People don’t realize that and on paper eight new recruits looks like a lot, but actually it’s not really.”

After their record book season was ended by the Ryerson Rams in the OUA semi-finals, the Golden Hawks look to reload their roster and continue their search for a national title. The team was nationally-ranked during their playoff run and will look to make it to the USPORTS championships with a better record next year.

“We wanted the new talent, but we also wanted to have some veteran guys so that’s why we targeted the transfers, the goal is to integrate the transfers as smoothly as possible. We want them to be able to play right away but some of them have to sit out, so we have to get some of the guys up to speed so they can help us get to the next level,” Serresse said.

“The other young guys are going to have to adjust to university and are going to want to and have to be able to play with the veterans, we want these guys to get better. The second-year guys going into their third year are going to have to step up into leadership roles and be prepared.”

The Golden Hawks went 18-6 in conference play last season, winning 10 of their final 11 regular season games and beating out a strong McMaster squad in the OUA quarter-finals before their loss to the Rams.

The team will look to continue their achievements in the next year, creating records like their first semi-final match at home in 40 years as well as sophomore Ali Sow breaking the OUA single season scoring record while wearing the purple and gold.

“This year is going to be a new challenge, and we are super excited for the upcoming season and we want to make everybody proud and create new achievements, we had a great year last year but we are moving forward to hopefully do some more.”

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