By Gabriel Lee
When the Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team defeated the Lakehead Wolves, 86-70, in the OUA semi-finals Friday night, head coach Roy Rana reacted very uncharacteristically to the win.
After the game he tweeted “[I] may not be the warm and fuzzy type but I LOVE my guys! ”
Despite losing to the Carleton Ravens the next night, the Rams’ silver medal finish marks the first time in over a decade they’ve qualified for the national championships. The last time the Rams reached the nationals was in 1999.
From day one, Rana was determined to recreate the culture he had established at his previous coaching gig at Eastern Commerce Collegiate Institute, where he led them to four consecutive Ontario provincial titles. By reaching the nationals in just his third year at the helm, he’s surprised many — and judging by his celebration Friday night, maybe himself as well — at how fast he’s been able to find success at the Canadian Interuniversity Sports level.
The players he’s recruited have exceeded all expectations, led by their all-stars Jahmal Jones and Jordon Gauthier. The Rams finished the regular season by winning nine of their last 11 games; followed by two impressive victories in the playoffs.
However, there remain critics who don’t believe the Rams are a legitimate powerhouse. This weekend at nationals will be a true litmus test to see far Rana’s Rams have actually come.