By Eli Shupak
Ryerson basketball legend Lui Cinello is in no hurry to get back into the working world.
The 1995 School of Business graduate is content with applying himself in the classroom and on the hardwood floor over the next three months.
Cinello, who played a key role in bringing some respectability to Ryerson’s men’s basketball program in the early 1990s, returned to the club in late November following a year-and-a-half stint with the team as an assistant coach.
He’ll have his work cut out if he’s going to help get the team back on track following last Saturday night’s 58-50 home-court loss to the University of Toronto . The Rams (1-6), dead last in the Ontario University Athletics East standings, were held to 17 second-half points in a game that could come back to haunt them in their drive to the playoffs.
After losing his job, the former Rams’ point guard decided to pull his number 25 out of retirement, realizing he still had a year of CIAU eligibility left and could benefit from taking some computer courses.
But most of all Cinello just wanted to get away for a while from the heavy demands of the business world and get back out on the floor to provide some leadership to a very young squad comprised of six freshman.
I’ve worked hard the last two-and-a-half years,” said Cinello, who was working up to 60 hours a week. “Now I’ll be taking just three or four computer classes.”
Cinello returned to the court a little sluggish in late December at Ryerson’s Ed DeArmon Memorial Tournament. The Rams dropped their opener 67-57 to the Allegheny College (Pa.) Gators, and NCAA Division III school, but rebounded to beat Queen’s University and York University, taking the consolation final and fifth place.
“I feel pretty good,” said Cinello. “I should only get stronger with a few more games.”
In last Saturday’s game Carl Harper helped get Ryerson out to a 33-24 half-time lead and finished as the team’s high scorer with 15 points. But the team as a whole lost its focus in the second half, shooting less than 35 per cent from the field, while committing 27 turnovers in the game.
“We let ourselves down,” said Rams’ coach Terry Haggerty. “It’s like we had a total team mental cramp. It’s hard to explain.”
Next up for Ryerson Is a trip to Kingston on Sunday where they’ll play Queen’s if the weather allows. The team returns to Kerr Hall Gym on Jan. 23 to play Carlton University, the start of a crucial six-game home stand. Game time is 8 p.m. The next month will determine the team’s playoff fortunes as they play five of their last six away from home.
For now, Cinello, who won the 1995 award for Greatest Contribution to Ryerson Athletics, will try to find a way to get the team back into the playoffs for the fifth year in a row. But come March, he’ll be hanging up his uniform for good, finishing off his computer courses and looking for employment once again.
“A lot of people have been asking for my resume,” said Cinello.”I have a lot of contacts from where I was working before, but I’m going to call them just yet.”
First, he plans on taking a nice, long vacation.