By Harlan Nemerofsky
The Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team will host the 2015 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championship, the CIS reported on Friday morning.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that our men’s team has been recognized, but more importantly that our whole department has been recognized,” said Ryerson Athletics director Ivan Joseph.
“When you get selected to host the National Championship, it’s really a big vote of confidence, not just for your student-athletes but for the entire university and athletics department.”
This will be Ryerson’s first time hosting a CIS championship, Rams sports information co-ordinator Jim McLarty confirmed by email.
Seeing as though the host team gets automatic entry into the eight-team tournament, the Rams will qualify for the 2015 CIS Championship.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Rams starting point-guard and former OUA all-star Jahmal Jones, who will be playing in his final year of eligibility during that season. “It’s an honour for our school and it just shows how much we’ve changed in the last couple years: our facilities and our basketball program.”
“It would be good to finish in Nationals. I always wanted to finish my career in my own gym, so it’s definitely a good send-off.”
The Rams will also see Jordan Gauthier and Bjorn Michaelsen play their final year of eligibility that season.
“Anytime you can go to a national championship you’re honoured by that opportunity. So to be able to host it at home means a lot and to me it means a lot for our university,” said Rams men’s basketball head coach Roy Rana.
Associate director of athletics Stephanie White said that even though having the host team receive an automatic berth may sound unjust, the school is very deserving of it.
“I think when you host championships, there’s a lot that goes into it and one of the keys for any league, is to get people in the seats. And through having an automatic berth it gives you the opportunity for your fans to be a part of it and put more people in the seats, add some excitement to it,” said White.
But Rana also reiterated that just because his team is going to host nationals in 2015, the team’s focus doesn’t change.
“It can’t change anything,” said Rana. “We’ve got to focus on a day-to-day basis, practice, games and the process- that’s what we focus on. We’ll worry about the rest when that time comes.”
The Rams will also be hosting the 2014 OUA Final Four this season and will get their first taste of league action on Nov. 1 when they play host to the Brock University Badgers in St. Catherines, Ont.