For the first time in school history the TRU men’s basketball team will have a division title banner to hang from the rafters of the TCC, after a weekend sweep of the University of Northern British Columbia Timberwolves guaranteed the ‘Pack first place in the Explorer division of Canada West basketball.
“It really doesn’t matter whether it’s early or late to me. Last year we had to wait until the very last game to get into the playoffs. We know you have to be in the postseason to achieve your goals and to continue playing and we know that our season will extend past our last regular season game so that’s nice,” said TRU head coach Scott Clark after his team’s 70–56 victory Saturday night.
TRU came into the weekend with lots of momentum having won their last four games in a row.
The ‘Pack has been led all season long by the outstanding play of both Josh Wolfram and Volodymyr Iegorov. The two WolfPack players are second and third respectively in points per game in the Canada West conference. However, Clark feels as though their ability to affect the game goes far beyond point totals.
“They are pretty good players, so they draw a lot of attention. It’s hard for competing teams to deal with them in one-on-one situations, so lots of times they draw secondary defenders and other guys get shots because of that,” Clark said.
The common thread between the two standout performers for TRU, besides an uncanny ability to pile up points, is the fact that both Wolfram and Iegorov are highly versatile players that defy being placed into the standard definition of their positions.
The six-foot-10-inch-tall Wolfram, a Kamloops native that has excelled for the WolfPack for the last two years, often finds himself playing in the paint as TRU’s inside presence. While he is more than capable of banging down low, most of Wolfram’s points come from further out; his impressive speed for someone so tall allows him to get out from underneath the hoop and drag the other team’s largest defender into a speed mismatch in space that the defender has no chance of winning.
Like Wolfram, Iegorov is a player that does more than one thing out on the floor for the ‘Pack. Coming in at six-foot-seven-inches tall and weighing over 230 lbs., Iegorov is a player that has the size of a CIS power forward but the skill set of a small forward, allowing the ‘Pack to line him up at different positions and take advantage of mismatches almost every time he is on the floor.
“They’re strong, tall and can rebound, there’s a lot to like there,” Clark said about his two offensive dynamos.
With four games left in the regular season TRU has already been named champions of the explorer division, something that not only gives TRU a division title banner to hang from the rafters of the TCC but also a bye straight through to the second round of the playoffs. This is the third straight year that the team has qualified for the playoffs.
The WolfPack will get the chance to improve on their 14 and two record on Feb. 12 and 13, when they travel to Abbotsford to take on the second place University of the Fraser Valley Cascades.