Young Rams out to pasture

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By Chris Johnston

Mens basketball team loses four key players

For a man whose team has some large holes to fill, men’s basketball coach Terry Haggerty is blindly optimistic about his team’s chances this year. “We are going to have a pretty good team,” says Haggerty who says he has little clue what the Rams will look like when this year’s season begins.  This year, Ryerson is likely to suit up as may new faces as familiar ones.

Karlo Vaillanueva and Sandy Brar, who both made the OUA East all-rookie team, are “probably not” returning to play for the Rams, according to Haggerty. Gone also are star forward Bill Crowdis and bench-sparkplug Tom Cory, both whom played out their final year of OUA eligibility last season.

As for the recruits who will have the task of filling three-fifths of Ryerson’s starting line-up, Haggerty is still not sure of their identities. “We are a long way away from determining that…a lot can happen between now and the tryouts [which start in early September]. The youthful Rams who finished with a 14-8 record in rebuilding year last season will be most hurt by the departures of Villanueva and Brar, who were expected to lead this year’s team. Villanueva had a stellar rookie year at point guard, leading the OUA in assists with 106 and the team in steals, with 52.

Brar, a shooting guard, was on the receiving end of a lot of Villanueva’s passes. He led the Rams in three-pointers, with 44, and was the team’s third leading scorer, averaging 10.09 points per game. Both players, who struggled academically, may play in British Columbia this season for the UBC Thunderbirds.

Crowdis and Cory will also leave gaps in the already depleted line-up. Last season Crowdis missed the team’s first four regular-season games due to academic problems and started the year out of shape. By season’s end he led the Rams with an average of 16 points per game and his 12.1 rebounds per game were second in the CIAU. Cory was ranked third in the CIAU in three-point-shooting.

Ryerson may also be hurt by a new interlocking schedule between the OUA’s East and West divisions, which will see them play eight new opponents, including powerhouse teams such as MacMaster Marauders and Western Mustangs.

Haggerty, who is entering his 21st season as the Rams head coach, sees advantages in the new schedule. “It’s going to be a bit easier on the team as a whole because it is a little less travel,” he says. “We used to have two long trips into Québec that really wore us out. We’ll be a little bit fresher and it will be easier on the guys academically.” The new-look Ryerson Rams open their season against Western on Saturday, Oct. 13.

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