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UBC Men's Basketball Studded Recruiting Class is Sure to Impress

September 14th, 2017

The Thunderbirds are looking to rebound from an injury-ridden end to their last season with talented new recruits.

After 18 seasons at the helm of the University of British Columbia Men’s Basketball Team Head Coach, Kevin Hanson, and the rest of the coaching staff have truly outdone themselves with the talent that they’ve recruited for the upcoming season.

“Overall we feel it was a very successful recruiting season, probably the best that I’ve had since I’ve been here, we’re really looking forward to seeing these guys play this season,” Hanson said.

Due to the five years of eligibility, that players have in the U Sports league, UBC coaches look at the team on a five year grid to see what holes they’ll need to fill when players graduate. “In a lot of cases, it was good timing for us [this year] to get some of these guys, we did,” Hanson said of the luck the team had this season, “several of them wanted to play with each other because they had played on the provincial team together, so once we landed one, more of them felt comfortable making a decision.”

In Hanson’s mind, “recruiting is all about building relationships.” The long seasons, running from August through till March, coupled with five years of eligibility requires the coaches to bring in players that boost team morale, “when you’re recruiting these players, you want to make sure you’re recruiting good kids,” he said of what he considers when looking at potential players, “you want to have good people in the program because you’re going to be spending a lot of time with them.”

Although talented, recruits are coming into university at a relatively young age and, because U Sports doesn’t have an age restriction, they’ll be going up against “full grown men.”

“The pace of the league, play, and the size and age of the players is a real eye opener for some of these guys coming in,” Hanson said of how the game differs from the high school level, “it takes a while to learn how to play in this league.”

For that reason, Hanson and the rest of the coaching team put an emphasis on developing the athletes during their first three years on the team, “a lot of growth that has to happen with these guys; they’re all very competitive and they all want playing time,” Hanson said of his recruits, “but they have a bit of a role to play until they grow into their major contribution years.”

Meet the Recruits

Grant Shephard

Hometown: Kelowna, BC

Position: Forward (6’10)

What Coach Hanson says:

“The expectations everyone has for him are very high, but he’ll still be a young man coming into the league. Athletically he can fit into the league, he can dunk the ball and he can run, he has a lot of physical attributes for sure. There’s also the mental part to consider, the grind of practicing every day, the length of the season, and the load of the academics on top of that will all be an adjustment. I’m certainty hoping he’s going to be able to contribute right away, but we’re going to be patient with his development”

Mason Bourcier

Hometown: Kelowna, BC

Position: Guard (6’4)

What Coach Hanson says:

“Always want to recruit kids that have been successful in elite programs and have performed well in big games and Mason and Shephard won the high school championship in grade 11 together without losing a game all season. They feed off each other well, which means being on the team together will be rewarding for both of them. Mason knows how to pass the ball to the post because he’s played with posts his whole life, and he was the starting point guard on the provincial team. Him and Shephard gel really well on the court and the timing and relationship they have is going to be very important to both their development, but also the team”

Brian Wallack

Hometown: Surrey, BC

Position: Guard (6’4)

What Coach Hanson says:

“Brian will be red shirting with us this season, we recruited him on that basis. We don’t know exactly where he’ll fit in on the team yet; he can play a little bit of everything, which is positive. He’s a great kid and he’s academically solid, he’s the epitome of what a UBC athlete is. He’s a very well rounded, and a worldly kind of guy. We’re looking for him to develop in the next three years. He’s a guy that just wants to train and get better and he’s a great kid and we’re really excited to have him in the program”

Anthony McNish

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Position: Guard/Forward (6’3)

Grant Audu

Hometown: Thornhill, ON

Position: Guard/Forward (6’4)

What Coach Hanson says (about both McNish and Audu):

“Something about the Ontario kids; they have a little bit more confidence in their game and are little bit more competitive. The programs out east are more developed. Those two guys absolutely love the game of basketball, which, as a coach is always want you want in your players. They played together in high school in grade 10, and then they went on to prep schools, which shows us that they left their comfort zone to get better. They bring that competitiveness, grit, and that winning attitude, which I love. When we flew them out here they fit in well with the team, they are vocal on the floor—you can see that added toughness when they play, and they want to win every time they step on the floor, we hope that’s contagious.”

Cameron Morris

Hometown: Burnaby, B.C

Position: Guard (6’6)

What Coach Hanson says:

“I really like the taller wings. He’s another starter off that provincial team that played with Bourcier and Shephard. Cam I think is one the best three point shooters in the province that’s coming out this year. He’s really good at getting his shot over taller defenders, and he’s deceptively good defensive player himself, he picks off passes and gets his hands on a lot of balls. He does a lot of really good things, but he has to put on some strength, and he needs to come out of his shell a little bit, but when he does he’s going to have a great career here.”

After playing three exhibition games in Costa Rica in August, the team will kick off their season at the UBC invitational on October 6th.

Written By: Sarah Reid

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