The Algonquin Thunder men’s basketball team will have a different look this season, but still believe they can improve on last season’s eighth place finish at provincials.
“We are going to bring in at least 10 new guys,” said head coach Trevor Costello on Sept. 20. “We have about six guys coming back.”
Those six players are Owen Powers, Denis Dervisevic, Jadyn Flanders, Kristian Charette, Sam Wilson and Ebitimi Amaebi-Okoro.
Powers, who is entering his fourth year in the league, graduated from business marketing last May, but decided to take a one-year program at Algonquin to stay on the team.
“I came back because I saw the guys who wanted to come play for us this summer during some of our scrimmages and could tell the team was going to be good,” said Powers.
Most notably, Murphy Beya, who was named a first-team all-star last season, is one of the many who will not be returning to the team.
“Murphy was a big loss for us,” said Costello. “However, we have a new guy on our team that I think will fill the role pretty good. Maybe not from the rebounding point of view, but everything else on the court we can fill his role.”
“We’re going to be thin in the post area on the court,” said Costello. “But our guard play has improved.”
Denis Dervisevic believes that even though the team looks different on the court they will be able to improve from last year’s record.
“My projection is that we have a better overall record this year,” said Dervisevic. “Personally I always strive to go undefeated and this year I really think we have a chance at accomplishing that feat. If every player buys into their role, we should have no problem securing a top two seed in the eastern conference.”
However, Dervisevic doesn’t believe that will all fall into place magically. There is still work to improve on from last season.
“There are many things we can improve on,” said Dervisevic. “From small things like everyone being on time and at every practice to big things such as every man knowing every play and exactly how to run our offense. Another thing we need to improve for this year is communication on the defensive end of the court.”
Costello also believes that with additions of many younger players the team will be better.
“We added more point guards to the team, guys that can make better decisions,” said Costello. “Yes they are younger, but they’re pretty experienced when it comes to playing at a high level whether it was high school or club teams, and we’re going to be quicker on the court. I think we are going to be better, but the league is going to be better.”
And Costello is not worried about local rival La Cité Coyotes stomping on their tracks any further.
“La Cité won’t be running through everyone like last year,” said Costello. “That was a once in a 10 year thing. Every 10 years maybe, La Cité will have their pride and joy.”
The Thunder open their season at home versus the George Brown Huskies on Oct. 29, at 8 p.m..