Young team with high expectations

(File photo by Cristina Rucchetta)
(File photo by Cristina Rucchetta)

After a first-round exit from the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) West playoffs, the Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball team has embodied unified mentality this season, as they look to set the bar higher and improve from last seasons adorned campaign, to tasting victory this season.

Last season, the Golden Hawks posted a forgettable 9-13 record. Since then, head coach Peter Campbell and the Golden Hawks have their eyes set on etching their names on the fabled Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) national trophy this year.

“There is no reason that we can’t compete for a national title. Our youthful team with a mix of veteran presence will take us a long way this year,” said Campbell on the outlook of the upcoming basketball season.

The men’s basketball team boasts a youthful and energetic squad this year, with half of the entire team collectively made up of rookies, and the other half returning from the year prior.

“The freshman looked great [in the preseason], two of them earned starting spots in our tournament out West [in British Columbia]. They’ve been a welcome addition,” he added on the new faces wearing the purple and gold for the first time. “We’ve got a solid team all-round, but we will be leaning heavily on our veterans to help guide us through the season.”

Coach Campbell is right; it can be hard to win championships without leadership and experience.

Luckily for the Golden Hawks, they have Ontario University Athletics (OUA) all-star and reigning team MVP Max Allin to help guide the youth to playoff contention.

Allin led the team last year with 23.2 points per game (PPG), and looks to play an even bigger role in the Hawks’ success this season.

“We need to come out of the gates ready to go this season,” said Allin on the upcoming campaign.

Like Campbell, Allin believes the team has what it takes to be successful this season.

“We played two teams that will be the tops in Canada this year, we played them tough and it was evident we could beat them,” he continued. “We’ve improved and are playing better now.”

As confident and as hopeful as the Golden Hawks appear to be on this year’s season, both Campbell and Allin share the view that the team must improve defensively if they are to come close to a national title.

“It is something we have been lacking in, and we definitely need to elevate that part of our game to be successful,” remarked Campbell.

Allin voiced his coach’s opinion stating that defence is indeed the biggest issue that the team is dealing with.

“We can score the ball very well, but in order to be the best team we need to hold the teams to lower scores.”

Campbell and the Golden Hawks will hope to work with their improved lineup in the coming weeks before opening up their season on Nov. 1 against the Algoma Thunderbirds at home in Waterloo. Game time is 8 p.m.

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