Basketball opens season with pair of wins

The TRU men's basketball team opens promising 2015/16 season with two victories

Josh Wolfram surveys the court during TRU’s 94–89 victory over UNBC Friday, Nov. 6. (Matt Wood/TRU Athletics)

Josh Wolfram surveys the court during TRU’s 94–89 victory over UNBC Friday, Nov. 6. (Matt Wood/TRU Athletics)

WolfPack basketball travelled to Prince George this past weekend and were victorious in a pair of games against the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves, winning 95–89 and 85–79.

Last season was a very good year for the ‘Pack: they finished third in the Explorer division and recorded the first playoff series victory in program history before finally bowing out in the conference quarterfinals to the eventual fifth-place team in the country, the Saskatchewan Huskies.

The successes of last season caused the other head coaches in Canada West to take notice of the WolfPack, as those coaches placed TRU fifth out of the seventeen teams in the conference in a preseason poll.

This is a roster that has to deal with a lot of turnover coming into the season however, as Tallon Milne, Brett Rouault, Brett Parker, Josh Mayorga and Victor Aguero are all gone. They all played key roles in the successes of the 2014/15 season. TRU head coach Scott Clark feels as though their production will have to be replaced by committee and points to Luke Morris, Mike Rouault, Jeff Tubbs, Mauricio Medrano and Volodymyr Iegorov as players who have shown that they are capable of stepping up, competing hard and shouldering the load.

Clark’s words would prove to be prophetic as Iegorov had a great weekend, leading the team with 29 points on Friday night and chipping in with another 23 on Saturday.

Two returning players for the WolfPack that are sure to be relied upon are Reese Pribilsky and Josh Wolfram. Pribilsky directs the tempo of the game as the point guard of the ‘Pack and possesses the rare combination of elite floor vision that allows him to distribute the ball with ease as well as a deadly scoring touch.

Wolfram is a guy who does it all for the WolfPack. He led last year’s team in points per game, rebounds per game and blocks per game, and was named a Canada West first team all-star. Clark credits Wolfram’s success to the fact that he’s such a hard worker. “He’s done all the right things. He comes early to practice and stays late, he’s lifting weights. In the off-season he’s coming to open gyms and that’s what competitive people do, things that put them in the position to be advantaged, and he’s advantaged because he works hard.”

Despite a perfect preseason that saw the WolfPack win all eight games that they played, Clark still feels that there is some room for improvement as the season progresses. “Things have gone okay for us, we were perfect from a standpoint of wins but we were far from perfect in our execution offensively and defensively.

It’s early in the year, we are probably where we should be but not where we need to get to.”

TRU will be on the road again next weekend for pair of games against the Mount Royal University Cougars, before playing their home opener at the Tournament Capital Centre Friday Nov. 20 against the MacEwan University Griffins.