By Harlan Nemers
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team reached last season’s CIS championship with their speed and athleticism. Last week, Head Coach Roy Rana addressed his team’s biggest off-season need – size – with the additions of 6’7” combo forwards Kyle Hankins and Juwon Grannum.
Both are amongst the top-ranked high school players in the country and, along with 6’6” forward Matthew Beckford, will add size to a team that ranked 33rd out of 44 in CIS team rebounding, and struggled against the much larger Carleton Ravens in the OUA Final.
“I think we brought in some really talented kids who have great work ethic. Hopefully we can start closing that gap and start establishing ourselves as a top-level program in the CIS,” said Rana.
The Rams have also added size in the backcourt, with the incoming transfers of third-year shooting guard Ostap Choliy from York University and fourth-year combo guard Yannick Walcott from Dalhousie.
“We replaced Luke [Staniscia] with three kids that are 6’6 and above and are good athletes,” said Rana. “And in the back-court we now have a 6’5” shooter and a 6’4” type combo guard, so our overall size improves a lot.”
Choliy hasn’t played since the 2010-11 season, when he started 19 of the Lions’ 22 games and averaged 11.9 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. The Oakville, Ont., native decided to leave York because his program, Business Economics, wasn’t specialized enough.
“I felt this was my best option, where I would be happy and see myself fitting into the system best,” said Choliy. “Playing against Ryerson in the past, they were always scrappy and fast-paced, so I know in practices they compete hard with each other.”
Choliy’s three-point capabilities will add to a team that already features two of the top 10 three point shooters in the CIS, Jordan Gauthier (3rd, 50%) and Aaron Best (6th, 48.8%).
“I am very excited to start this season, I want to be a part of its success and help the team get to Nationals again.”