Simon Farine leads a revamped Tigers team poised for a championship run.
by Bill McLean
The big question for John Campbell and his Dalhousie Tigers heading into the 2010 AUS basketball season was whether they could be competitive with the Cape Breton Capers and Saint Francis Xavier X-Men.
After this past weekend’s trip to Antigonish, Tigers fans and conference pundits have their answer.
Led by another stellar performance from Joe Schow, the Tigers beat the X-Men 59-52 and immediately vanquished the naysayers who claimed they weren’t athletic enough to compete with the big boys in the AUS.
Certainly there was cause for skepticism. Last year the Tigers were 0-7 vs. the Capers and X-Men and lost every game by double digits, including a 76-60 whipping by CBU in the AUS Semi Finals.
But the return of combo guard Stephen Lopez and the recruitment of swingmen Juleous Grant and Alex Arthur has given the Tigers a much needed boost in athleticism, allowing them to match up with X and CBU in a full court game. Add to the mix the dynamic defensive specialist Will Yenge, and the Tigers are positioned to run with any team in the country.
Back for his final season is perennial first team all star Simon Farine who averaged over 20 points per game last year, along with fifth year senior Sandy Veit who has been a solid starter throughout his career at the post position.
But it’s been the play of Veit’s partner post player and senior, Schow that has propelled the Tigers to a 3-0 record to begin the season.
The “Stormin’ Mormon” has averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds a game and been a physical force down low for a Tigers team that has suffered from a lack of toughness inside throughout
John Campbell’s era as Head Coach. In a victory over UPEI last weekend, Schow put the team on his back and provided the emotional spark the team needed to pull away in the second half.
Campbell has even upgraded his coaching staff with the addition of former UNB Varsity Reds Head Coach, Tom Gillespie. Sitting alongside the legendary Dave Nutbrown, the Tigers have basically three head coaches at the helm.
Three point specialist and former Acadia Axemen Peter Leighton has come on board for his final season of eligibility and should fit in very nicely for the departed Andrew Sullivan by knocking down open shots created by the dribble penetration from Farine.
In the ever competitive AUS featuring arguably the best guard play in the country, Tiger’s fans shouldn’t get too excited too soon. However the Tigers would appear to have all the pieces in place for a championship run in 2011.
Bill McLean Sports Show can be heard every Tuesday morning at 10:30 on CKDU 88.1 FM, ckdu.ca. Follow us on twitter @haligoniasports and check us out of Facebook.