Nation gives the men's team his scoring touch... and Karina Navarro will be the go-to-girl

Photo: Tom Sapiano (left) and Steve Petrick (right)

Ryerson basketball is middle of the road

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Team chemistry, health are main concerns for both teams

A sports column by Noah Love

Well it been three months since I said the basketball teams were going to be not-so-hot this season.

So how do I stack up to my previous decision to say the teams were in trouble? I’d say now that some things look a little brighter, but not much has changed.

First, the men’s team. In August, I said this: Whether this team has recruited enough talent to compete will not be the Rams’ biggest concern. With the OUA east and west merging, the Ryerson team will face a very different schedule that will include games against national tournament stars MacMaster, Western and Carleton. It could be a long year for Terry Haggerty and company.

Beyond some obvious editing problems, I don’t think I was too far off.

I think the men’s team is stacked with talented veteran players. In the preseason, Jan Michael Nation showed he was one of the best guards in the country. University of Toronto transfer Jon Reid was a former OUA all-star, and looks to be in good form heading into the season.

Dwight Chambers has improved his shooting immensely. Errol Fraser is a speedy guard who can give the team a much needed spark off the bench.

The problem is that, in the preseason they lost to Humber College. Granted, Humber is the best college team in the country, but a college team all the same. The Rams did beat George Brown College, by a single point. Not quite the comfortable lead one expects from a competitive team.

Against the University of Western Ontario Mustangs, one of the best in Canada, the Rams put on a clinic — for about 25 minutes. In the final 15 though, the Mustangs beat them with one arm behind their collective back.

I want to believe this team is going to win, but it probably stacks like this: Ryerson should be able to beat Queen’s University, Royal Military College, the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto.

They will lose their games against Carleton University, the aforementioned Mustangs and York University. The Rams simply do not have the talent or the team chemistry to beat the best.

Due to the OUA’s new qualifying system, where the top six teams make the playoffs, the Rams will make a postseason appearance. If they gel successfully during the season, they might even score a playoff upset.

On to the women’s team, where I said something to the effect of: Coach Sandra Pothier is going to need some all-star turns from a group of somewhat talented sophomores for the Rams to keep their heads above water.

If the women’s team stays healthy, something it couldn’t do for more than a week last season, they will like beat the teams that are worse, or at about the same skill level as them. Those teams are Ottawa, Carleton and York.

A 50-point loss to the University of British Columbia in the preseason indicated that they will likely still get stomped against the best teams in the OUA.

Coach Sanda Pothier can thank her lucky stars that Karina Navarro is back in the lineup. She gives the team a legitimate talent in the absence of all-star Miruna Muller (now playing in Israel).

The Rams will battle with the rest of the dregs for the final playoff spot, one that typically goes to a team with the best record below .500. If they get it, we here at The Eyeopener will be waiting to take them to dinner.

With Ryerson athletics trying to create a new fan club and build attendance and awareness of sport at the school, it would be nice if the Rams marquee sport enjoyed a successful year. Too bad former head of sport Bob Fullerton didn’t think of ways to get people into the Kerr gym when the basketball teams were consistently winning.

The opinions expressed on this page are those of the sports editor and few other people he talked to. Between them and himself, he thinks he is right.

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