“GLEN GRUNWALD?!” is the exact text I received from a handful of people when they heard the news.

Initially reported by Ted Michaels at CHML 900 and Scott Radley at The Hamilton Spectator, Glen Grunwald, former Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks general manager, will be McMaster University’s new Athletic Director. The University made the announcement official on Thursday morning.

In terms of newsworthiness, this story trumps any CIS announcement in recent memory. Grunwald was working for one of the largest sports brands in the world in the Knicks at the start of the previous school year, but come September he’ll be in an office at the David Braley Athletic Centre.

A former NBA front office executive’s mere acknowledgment of the CIS’s existence is a good thing, but for him to take helm of a program elevates the story. People who would otherwise never care about the hiring of an athletic director are paying attention.

But it will be interesting to hear about why Grunwald took the job and, although it will be littered with corporate buzzwords, the details of his role could offer insight into the future of the role of athletic directors in Canadian university athletics. Grunwald has no immediately known affiliation with the CIS prior to the hire – he attended Indiana University for his undergrad and MBA, while going to Northwestern for law school. He then became a Canadian citizen in 1999, five years after he was brought on to work for the Raptors. Grunwald was previously on the Board of Directors at Canada Basketball.

The person who used to hold the role, Jeff Giles, told the Spectator that the majority of his work was to secure funding – either from corporate partners or out of the pockets of alumni.

Putting someone with a recognizable name in charge could help do that, and Mac could use the money. The 13th man campaign launched by the athletic department has not gotten the cash influx that was required, and the school will need to lock down more money if it wants to maintain its status as one of the strongest athletic programs in the country.

It is easy to see the name and, as McMaster students and alumni, pat ourselves on the back for being apart of the headline-grabbing move, but until we hear some tangible and concrete plans, I would refrain from popping bottles in the name of Grunwald. There’s still a ton of work to be done before we know if the splashy hire will bear any championship-winning fruit.

There is no reason to be anything but optimistic about the move. It is a big name coming to an already strong department, and members of the McMaster community should be thrilled with the choice. This will raise the program up, but the question is: how high?

One of the newest Marauders has making already made her way on to the national radar.

Linnaea Harper, a 6-0 forward who committed to play for McMaster under head coach Theresa Burns, has been invited to Canada Basketball’s Junior Women’s National Team try-outs, held at Durham College in Oshawa, Ont.

Burns was happy to hear about Harper’s invitation. “An opportunity to try out for a national team is a great honour. It will be a great learning experience and wonderful confidence boost for Linnaea,” Burns said.

Harper will be coming to McMaster in the fall, where she hopes to follow in the footsteps of two forwards that have come before her – Taylor Chiarot and Hailey Milligan. Both were able to play professional basketball overseas, with Milligan recently signing a contract to play in the Czech Republic.

The invite also points to the ability for McMaster to continue to bring in top-level recruits. Other players on the tryout roster have already committed to NCAA programs, as well as other elite CIS schools.

“Its great for our McMaster team to bring that level of talent into our program and continue to be a post secondary choice for some of the top student athletes in the country,” said Burns.

From Newmarket, Ont., Harper should have an immediate impact on the program that’s looking to retool after graduating five players. Burns is optimistic about what the rookie can bring.

“She's a very talented athlete who can impact a game at either the offensive or defensive end plus be a threat in transition.”

Canada Basketball will select the final roster by the end of July, and the team will compete in the FIBA Americas Championship tournament, where they will also look to qualify for next year’s FIBA World Championships.

You watch a McMaster men’s basketball game, and you can tell these guys are having fun.

The team plays an up-tempo game with dynamic offensive sets that encourages creativity while maximizing individual strengths. From the bleachers, it’s an enthralling product, but the players enjoyment – both on-court and on the bench - is equally interesting.

For Adam Presutti, a point guard heading into his fourth year of eligibility, it has not always been this great. Mac is coming off a CIS Final 8 run and returning the majority of the roster. Presutti is not taking things for granted.

The 2011-12 campaign saw the rookie year for five new Marauders – Nathan McCarthy, Aaron Redpath, Joe Rocca, Brett Sanders and Adam Presutti. Dubbed the “Fab Five” by the Marauders athletic department, the group was expected to help revitalize a program that had become stagnant in the late 2000s.

McMaster immediately turned around. They went 17-5, including an eight-game winning streak to close out the regular season, and beat the Windsor Lancers in what supporters say is one of the more important victories for the program of the past decade or so. As a rookie, Presutti led the team in minutes and assists per game en route to winning the CIS Rookie of the Year honours.

“After that season, I was feeling amazing, confident, happy, excited … That year I felt I proved a lot of people wrong,” said Presutti.

The rookie success was vindication for Presutti, or, in his owns words, a way of proving a lot of people wrong.

Then, in the following summer, an injury would derail his rise. During training over the summer, Presutti suffered a minor fracture in his ankle. With the injury happening later in the summer, his health to begin the sophomore season was in question. Presutti’s minutes plummeted, going from 598 minutes played to only 321, and his effectiveness on the court was limited. He could not get fully healthy, and while his ankle had healed, other issues arose.

“It just really sucked. I just don’t know how to describe it any other way than that,” said Presutti, with a bitterness in his voice. “[After my rookie season], I felt on top of the world. I went from an all-time high to an all-time low. Injuries were nagging me, and they weren’t even major but they really affected me.”

Head coach Amos Connolly aimed to guide Presutti through the tough time. Connolly says athletes at a young age do not always take care of their bodies properly.

“You don’t really see kids understand how to take care of themselves until they are 21, 22 years old. You just have to hope the kids are smart enough or humble enough that they will listen to the professionals when they are young,” said Connolly. “Some guys need to do it their own way and figure it out their own way, and that is the best way they learn.”

Presutti’s second year was already off to a suboptimal start with the injury, but the difficulty was only compounded with the turmoil following the departure of Victor Raso. The team lost a leader and had to regroup quickly to right the ship. Fifth-year Scott Laws filled that void as the season went on, but nothing could undo the damage done at the start of the year.

There was an incredible amount of pressure on Presutti in that second year. Mac had made the OUA Final Four and looked to be ready to take a trip to the CIS Final 8. Presutti was viewed as the precocious point guard that could carry the team to a height not reached in nearly a decade, along with a healthy mix of youth and experience on the roster.

Connolly talked about the pressure and his interactions with Presutti during that 2012-13 campaign.

“In some cases, I’ve been really, really hard on him. The expectations have been very, very high and I’ve put pressure on him and not let him settle. I think sometimes, when it comes to injuries, I haven’t been as fair as I should have been,” said Connolly.

And Presutti, admittedly, was grappling with confidence issues in that season. To help get back to the level he knew he could play at, that his coaches and teammates knew he could play at, there needed to be changes made in the offseason after his sophomore year.

Presutti says that it was the hardest working summer he’s ever had.
“I was getting up, going from 8:00 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. at physio, hop in the pool sometimes, do my jumping exercises. Then I’d go in the back, I’d stretch out then I’d go to yoga. By the time I’m finished eating and showered up, it’s 1 o’clock,” explained Presutti.
“As a varsity athlete, your body gets so tight and so sore that you have do foam rolls, you have to soft ball. Those things are tedious, they are time-consuming but you have to do it properly and you have to take care of yourself.”

And it was time well-spent. McMaster started 2013-14 with a difficult schedule – facing Toronto, Ryerson, Carleton and Ottawa in the first and third weekends of the year. Mac had their point guard back though, and leaned on him heavily. Presutti logged 33 minutes in the win over Ryerson – the most in an OUA regular season game since December 1, 2012. Two weeks later, Mac got 39 minutes out of Presutti in a gruelling and narrow loss to Carleton. They split the four games, but showed that they were in the same tier as the hoops giants from the nation’s capital.

That marked the start of what would be a return to form for Presutti. Glancing at the statistics doesn’t lend to what he meant to the team. He brought a steadiness to the team while on the court, limited turnovers and produced good shots.

His return to form went largely unnoticed, because it did not include eye-popping box scores or national accolades. Presutti capped off the year with a brilliant performance on the OUA Final Four.

After a blowout loss to Ottawa, Mac needed to beat Windsor to earn a spot into the CIS Final 8. While it sounds hyperbolic, it was the most important game McMaster had been in for years. The game went to overtime, where Presutti stepped up. He nailed two threes – one of them a well guarded shot from the wing – and cashed in two free throws to. Presutti scored eight of Mac’s 12 points, and the team moved on to the national tournament.

The career arc of Presutti is interesting as is, to see someone reach such highs and lows in the small span of three years. There are very few entire teams that will experience peaks and valleys as severe as his.

Presutti is happy now, saying that the gap between last season and next feels like far too long of a wait. But it is more than just being an impact player and contributing to a winning team. Gone are the days where he has to sit back and watch his teammates put in the effort while he nurses injuries.

“The toughest thing for me is having to watch your team grind through their strenuous days. These guys work full time, then go lift, then scrimmage for two hours or have an individual workout. The grind of all those things is what brings a team together and it sucks to not be a part of it sometimes,” said Presutti, reflecting on the years past.

Changes have been made that cannot be seen from the stands. The maturation is easy to hear in conversation, and he is honest about the struggle. What’s made the biggest difference is getting the mental side of his game in order.

“The most important thing I’ve learned about myself is not to say something you can’t back up. I’ve said a lot of things about my goals in the past and didn’t do what it takes to achieve them. I’ve gotten a lot better at controlling my mind, thinking positively and I’m hoping that will help contribute to our team’s success,” said Presutti.

Connolly too has made adjustments in his coaching style after his experience.

“With Adam, I’ve learned to be a little more accepting, have a little more faith in the intention of these guys. Adam’s learning curve has been nice to see. Now, there’s a noticeable difference in where his head is at,” said Connolly.

“That said, he’s still going to frustrate me, I think that’s the nature of our relationship. But I care about Adam a lot and I think he really cares about the team. I really like him as a person, and I probably don’t show him that enough. I probably don’t show any of these guys that enough.”

The end of Adam Presutti’s McMaster story isn’t written yet. Basketball past the CIS level is on his radar, and well within his capabilities. He’s grown up during his time as a Marauder, and is a phenomenal example of sport transcending the confines of the court and helping someone become a better person. Where he goes from here is up to him and Presutti is embracing that, and ready to put in the work.

The Canadian Interuniversity Sport Final 8 tournaments for men and women’s basketball are broken.

Not just a little broken either. It’ll take more than a band-aid solution to fix it. If you’re constructing a list of issues with the championship tournament, I really don’t know where you would start.  The seeding is blatantly flawed, a berth is gifted to the team that hosts and really, the best teams don’t make it.

In CIS hoop circles, the conversations when critiquing the tournament typically ends up in the same spots: is the tournament about getting the best eight teams in the country, or representing the country as equally as possible? Well, I’ve created a loose idea on how it can be both. I really don’t think that equal representation should matter, but I know that it always will. Allowing conferences to have one of eight spots despite their teams being perennially bad creates a boring product and useless games. Yes, Reseau du sport etudiant du Quebec, I’m looking at you and your 1-10 record in men’s Final 8 quarterfinal games over the past 11 years.

My suggestion is to expand the tournament back to 10 teams, but abolish the current caveats the CIS has on the seeding. The CIS had this format from 2004 to 2006, and it is unclear why they moved away from it. Attempts to contact the league and some outside historians of the tournament did not provide any help.

Some of the aforementioned stipulations for seeding are conference champions cannot be seeded lower than sixth and the host receives an automatic berth in the tournament. Both of these would be gone. We saw seeding issues this year, where McGill and Saint Mary’s were thoroughly pumped by lower-seeded teams. I can’t believe I have to say this, but when you put a floor for seeding four of the eight teams, you ruin the meaning of the seeds.

Under the revamped Final 10, a committee of CIS officials and coaches would determine the seeding for the following six teams: the OUA and Canada West finalists, RSEQ champion and AUS champion. The OUA and Canada West conferences are much larger and have performed better over the past handful of years, so giving them each two spots raises the talent level at the tournament. The last four teams would be wild card teams – the best of who did not get an automatic entry.

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Instead of using the criteria that the CIS currently uses, I want the wild card teams to be determined using Simple Ranking System. SRS is a formula that attempts to give a number value to teams based off their margin of victory and quality of opponents. Currently, the league tries to do this by giving the decision committee the ability to determine that a record may be better than the wins and losses show because of the quality of opponents. The logic with my idea is that the formula boils down the real record of a team into a number. SRS also weighs recent games more heavily, which means that teams that have rounded into form will have a better opportunity to make the playoffs. That equals better basketball teams in the tournament, which means better competition. Everyone wins.

A sidenote on current CIS criteria: should we place emphasis on a team’s whole season? The CIS likes to reward a “body of work,” but I’m sceptical. I want the best teams at the end of the year, not the team that was awesome in October pre-season action. And what about injuries or transfers who are eligible halfway through the season? If a team is absolutely hoopin’ in February, shouldn’t we want them in the tournament?

Those final four teams would be seeded in their own mini-bracket, where the team with the highest-ranked SRS team plays the lowest ranked. The winners of those games move on to the Final 8 bracket, and the team with the biggest margin of victory plays the No. 2 overall seed. If you were the loser of the play-in game, your nationals experience is over.

This idea makes the first games a little more interesting because even if it’s a blowout, you’ll see teams posturing for who they want to match-up with in the next game. What happens if they are throttling someone but want to play the No. 1 team instead of the No. 2? Madness ensues, probably.

From there, we roll with the normal Final 8 format and the fifth-place game gets reinstated.

I’ve pitched the idea around to some other followers of the league, and one rebuttal I’ve got is that the No. 1 and 2 teams have less time to prepare. With the size of coaching staffs, I think it’s fair to assume that it would not be a problem. Plus, those seeds get a team that has already played one game, giving them a fatigue factor.

The aim of all of this is to get the best teams in the tournament while representing all of the conferences. It would be great if there were nation-wide parity, but that really is a pipe dream.

Even if this format doesn’t satisfy some, I don’t think it’s a stretch to propose change. Throwing out ideas like this can get people talking. It’s time for the CIS to start listening, because what they have right now isn’t working.

 

In a season that’s been filled with triumph, the McMaster Marauders can add another accolade to the long list. Former Mac basketball player Lisa Thomaidis has been named the new head coach of Canada Basketball’s Senior Women’s National Team.

Currently, Thomaidis is the head coach for the University of Sasketchewan Huskies, where she earned CIS Coach of the Year honours in 2009 and 2011. Thomaidis was an assistant coach with the Senior Women’s National Team.

Wayne Parrish, Canada Basketball’s President and CEO, is more than confident in the transition.

“We are very excited to announce Lisa Thomaidis as our next Canadian Senior Women’s National Team head coach. Lisa has played an integral role in the development of our nation’s basketball players” said Parrish.

“Having worked under the tutelage of successful former national team coaches Bev Smith and Allison McNeill, Lisa is ready to put her stamp on the program and continue its momentum.”

After earning three OUA All-Star nods in term time with the Maroon and Grey, Thomaidis earned a professional contract in the Greek 1st division. The league is one of the toughest in the European basketball circuit. Her experience has paid dividends throughout her coaching career, as she knows what it takes to be among the best.

Canada Basketball is on the rise, and Thomaidis points to the 2012 Olympics as an example of that.

“At the London Olympics, the team showed the world that we are a basketball nation to be reckoned with. I’m motivated and driven to make sure that we continue on this path of success and strive for even greater results on the international stage,” said Thomaidis.

Canada finished with a 2-3 record in the qualifying rounds for the tournament, but they were more than capable of hanging with some of the tournament’s best. Their group had the two teams who met in the bronze medal game – Australia and Russia. In group play, Canada lost to Russia in the final minute 58-53. Australia would handle the Red and White with a nine-point victory, but Canada did not look outmatched.

London marked the beginning of Canada’s journey to being a women’s basketball powerhouse, as their Junior Women’s National Team is already showing promise. The group of 19-and-under players finished fourth at the 2012 FIBA Americas tournament and qualified for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships. Canada has also produced players who have had an impact at major NCAA schools like UCLA and Syracuse.

Thomaidis is optimistic about the future and eager to start the climb to the top of the podium.

“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to take the reins of the Senior Women’s National Team. What the team has accomplished in the past quadrennial is nothing less than tremendous, and I’m looking forward to seeing what heights we can reach,” Thomaidis said.

Quarterback Kyle Quinlan will return to the Marauders football team.

The 2012-2013 season is shaping up to be a memorable one for Marauders fans.

McMaster is looking to repeat upon last year’s successful campaign, which included Mac’s first ever Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) football championship, the Vanier Cup, an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship from the men’s soccer team, an OUA championship appearance from women’s rugby and a young men’s basketball team that reached the OUA Final Four.

The football season begins on Sept. 3, kicking off at Ron Joyce Stadium as the Marauders look to defend their championship. There will be some familiar faces in this year’s title run, with the reigning OUA Most Valuable Player Michael DiCroce returning at the wide receiver position.

Kyle Quinlan will be back under centre for the Maroon and Grey and look to top his 2011 season, which included the Most Valuable Player award in both the OUA and CIS championships.

Linebackers Nick Shorthill and Aram Eisho are also returning, and expectations are high for both players after successful rookie campaigns.

The fall athletics season will also see the women’s rugby team look to build off an amazing 2011 season. After going undefeated in conference play, the squad lost in the OUA finals to the University of Guelph Gryphons. Despite the loss, the team qualified for the CIS championships. The women’s team is poised to contend again for the OUA championship and looks to bring the 2012 banner to the David Braley Athletic Centre.

The men’s soccer team will be back on the field Sept. 5 at the University of Waterloo to defend their championship. The home opener for the men’s team will be on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 3:15 p.m., as the Marauders take on the University of Windsor Lancers.

Returning to lead the McMaster attack is forward Gersi Xhuti, who won OUA Rookie of the Year in 2011. The outlook is optimistic for the team, which includes a number of other returning key players.

Adam Presutti of the men’s basketball team was named OUA Rookie of the Year last season.

With winter comes the return of basketball and a young men’s team looking to establish themselves as a force for coming years in the OUA. After a surprisingly successful season last year, Marauders fans can expect another playoff run and possibly a shot at the Wilson Cup.

The team will feature reigning OUA Rookie of the Year Adam Presutti at the point while rookie Rohan Boney aims to use his athleticism to aid the Marauders’ fast-paced offence. This season could see the return of the Maroon and Grey to the CIS championship tournament, a level of competition the Marauders have not reached since 2006.

The Silhouette will be there every step of the way this athletic season, following all of the student athletes’ journeys to bring championship glory to the Mac campus.

Women's basketball coach Theresa Burns introduces new recruit Clare Kenney.

The 2012-13 men’s and women’s basketball seasons are looking promising for Marauder fans.With three recruits for both programs, McMaster is looking to build towards contention in the OUA Final Four.

The women’s team is looking to improve on their last season, which ended with 11 wins and 11 losses.

Coach Theresa Burns has her work cut out for her, as she has to integrate her three rookies into the physicality of the OUA level while also fixing the hole left but Taylor Chiarot, who led the team in minutes played per game (second in OUA) and points scored per game (fifth in OUA).

“I think some teams are going to look at us this year and think we’re down a notch because of losing Taylor Chiarot,” said Burns following a July 13 event to introduce the basketball recruits.

“When you lose your program’s all-time leading scorer, those are big shoes to fill, and I don’t think we can fill them.”

“We have to be a different team, and I think these players will fit nicely into that mould.”

During the basketball recruit introduction, Burns outlined the importance of adding Clare Kenney, a six-foot forward from Kingston, Ontario.

Kenney is expected to receive a lot of playing time in first year and make an impact immediately in the Marauder’s transition game.

“When she starts feeling comfortable and gaining some confidence at this level, she’s going to beat all the OUA posts up and down the floor,” said Burns.

“No one in the OUA is going to catch her in transition, and our job is to get the ball up there and find her.”

McMaster faces stiff competition in the OUA circuit, playing in the same division as the University of Windsor Lancers, who are defending CIS champions.

Coming off a Final Four appearance, the Marauders’ men’s basketball team is looking to make the proverbial leap and reach the CIS Championship tournament for the first time since 2006.

Coach Amos Connolly addressed a number of issues with the team during his recruitment by adding Rohan Boney.

The explosive forward will be bringing a new level of excitement to Burridge Gym this season with incredible speed and a nose for getting to the rim.

Boney is expected to contend for serious playing time immediately and bring the fast-paced style of Connolly’s offense to new heights.

Boney came to McMaster despite opportunities at other schools.

“It’s close to home, and my parents really liked it,” said Boney of his new school. “I can really see myself fitting in.”

Jason Quiring is another recruit of the Marauders, becoming the second member of the Quiring family to wear the Maroon and Grey on the hardwood.

As shown by his commitment in January, Quiring was a recruiting priority for the Marauder’s and adds more depth on the frontcourt.

With a good post game and perimeter skills above average for a 6’6” player, Quiring will be making the transition from the centre position to the power forward position.

During his recruitment, Coach Connolly likened Quiring to the graduated Cam Michaud.

As summer training camps ramp up and the school year nears, the Marauder programs are ready to contend for championship glory.

The rookies are hoping to make the most impact possible to help their team hoist the trophy.

It wasn't the prettiest day on court for Aaron Redpath, but the rookie guard scrapped his way to 21 points and led the Marauders past the Windsor Lancers on Feb. 25. With the 77-67 victory on home court, Mac moves into the OUA Final Four hosted at Waterloo and will play a conference semifinal on Mar. 2.

The 10-point margin of victory in the Saturday afternoon quarterfinal flatters McMaster, after what was a hotly-contested playoff match which came down to the wire. High percentage shooting for the Marauders was the order of the day, and allowed the home side to stay one step ahead of a Lancer team that was dominating the glass for much of the contest.

Hitting for over 50% in the opening quarter, Mac led 15-12 despite strong play from the Lancers' Lien Phillip. That trend continued in the second frame, as the Marauders used the fast break effectively to find easy looks, and were consistently finding the net with the short range jumper.

The hosts suffered a spate of turnovers in the second quarter which threatened to overturn their lead, but when rookie point guard Adam Presutti notched a gutsy pull-up jumper to end the opening half, the Marauders clung to a 37-34 lead.

McMaster's young backcourt duo of Redpath and Presutti were pacing the Maroon and Grey's attack at the break, with the former leading the way with 10 points, while the latter had yet to miss a shot of any kind and had nine points of his own.

An uninspired offensive start to the second half and a dominant rebounding effort from the Lancers saw McMaster slip behind in the third quarter, but the hosts would level the match at 51 by the end of the period when Joe Rocca drained a textbook triple off of a Presutti bounce pass.

A 7-0 run from the Marauders put them back into the driver's seat to open the fourth frame, but once again, Windsor would claw back to within striking distance. Five consecutive points from the Lancers' Rotimi Osuntola Jr. brought the visitors within a point at 63-62, with 4:15 remaining in the quarterfinal match.

Despite a technical foul, the Lancers would take a 67-66 with two minutes remaining, but would not score another point in the dying stages. Rocca retook the lead for the Marauders with a miraculous dribble drive and lay-in, before Cam Michaud added two of his own on a finger roll to make it a three point game with 1:14 remaining.

With the game still in reach, the Lancers put the final nail in their own coffin, succumbing to the Marauders' pressure defense. Managing a steal at half court, the hosts found Redpath on the break and the rookie found the lay-up and a foul on the play. After the rookie drained the extra point, the Marauders led 73-67 with only a minute on the clock. It was a purely academic exercise from there.

Redpath was easily the man of the match with 21 points, 13 of those coming from the charity stripe. The rookie guard consistently caused havoc on the drive, and his 15 attempts from the line speak to his effectiveness in challenging Windsor's defenders. Cam Michaud and Joe Rocca each added 15 points of their own in the win, while first-year point guard Adam Presutti had nine points and a team-high six assists.

Converting 26 of their 55 attempts from the field, the Marauders shot an impressive 47.3% over the course of four quarters.

With the win, McMaster awaits the outcomes of tonight's other OUA quarterfinals to determine their opponent on Mar. 2 in Waterloo.

Dina Fanara

Assistant News Editor

 

Former McMaster basketball player, Mouctar Diaby, age 26 has been arrested and charged with “one count of weapons trafficking, four counts of possession of drugs under $5,000, three counts of trafficking and one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking,” according to the Hamilton Spectator.

Diaby played for the McMaster basketball team from 2008 to 2010.

Following his arrest on Jan. 24, Diaby remains in police custody, in Hamilton’s Barton Street jail.

Diaby’s family was able to post $10,000 in bail and Frank Lostracco, fomer McMaster coach offered $2,000 in bail however, given the current circumstances, the court decided that bail would only be considered with a minimum of $20,000.

If convicted of these charges, Diaby could face four to five years in prison.

Police suspicion surfaced in July of last year, when Diaby was initially contacted by an undercover officer from the Toronto Police drug squad who arranged to purchase $700 worth of cocaine from Diaby.

The deal was carried out in Oakville.

Later that same month, Diaby was contacted by another undercover officer who claimed to have $9,000 worth of cocaine to sell to him, a deal which was made near Main St. and Dundurn St. in Hamilton, but completed at Diaby’s apartment located at 200 Bay St. S.

Another dealing, which occurred on Jan. 12, involved the sale of $700 of powdered cocaine as well as a handgun.

It was following this meeting, that Diaby was arrested. Diaby has been ordered back to court on Feb.1 to establish a trial date.

 

Brandon Meawasige

Assistant Sports Editor

 

With a sizeable lead in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Waterloo Warriors, the Marauders looked all the part of an 8-2 OUA basketball team who, fresh off a disappointing loss to Windsor, were poised to defend their home court.

An enthusiastic turn out at Burridge Gymnasium and solid performances from key players Cam Michaud and Joe Rocca, who both scored 20 points in the game, made it difficult to notice that despite the victory, the young Marauders are still learning some of the finer aspects of the game that will make them a CIS contender.

This critique is at least according to McMaster’s head coach Amos Connolly, who made sure his team remembered his message during a third quarter timeout.

After his team had taken a double-digit lead and looked to be poised to run away from the overmatched Warriors, the Marauders gave up an offensive rebound an easy basket at the end of the third frame – a play that did not please the second year coach.

“I said defend and box out five times at the top of my lungs,” recounts Connolly of the not-so-pleasant message he had for his team. “They haven’t had that from me in a timeout yet. I really wanted to shock them and see if they responded.”

That injection of intensity seemed to at the very least close out the game for the Maroon and Grey who eventually defeated the visiting Warriors by a score of 97-84.

Inconsistency in rebounding and on defense has been a concern for Connolly all season, but he shies from blaming the inexperience of his team.

“It’s not a coincidence that there are inconsistencies as a result of the youth on our team, but what it comes down to is as a coaching staff, are we going to accept that as an excuse? We don’t” says Connolly.

Although the team may not exactly be struggling in the OUA West standings, currently sitting third behind Laurier and Lakehead, the upcoming schedule is cause for some concern.

Success down the stretch is going to be indicative of the work put in by the coaching staff to iron out all of the wrinkles in the Marauders game. Scoring is not the issue for this team, so it is the fundamentals on defense and without possession.

“There needs to be some evaluation. The higher the level you get to, it becomes like chemistry equation, when really it comes down to fundamentals. To me it is just how do we teach it? And how do we make it stick?” Connolly asks somewhat philosophically.

Helping shoulder some of the load for his young team, Connolly questions his own involvement in helping make sure that this team continues to develop while making a push to contend.

“What I am questioning is what I need to do as a coach to get us playing back to the same level defensively as we were earlier in the season. All of a sudden we’re giving up 15 more points a game and it’s all about how were playing on defense.”

After a few days of practice and a game against Brock, this weekend will give the Marauders a chance to not only put their focus on fundamentals and turn up the intensity but also avenge their loss against the Lancers, who will visit Burridge on Saturday, Jan. 14.

In their Jan. 4 loss to Windsor, the Marauders had difficulties with their one on one defense, which Connolly pinpoints as the main area of need. “If we contain our guys one on one, it makes it easier on the rest of the defense and it will bring us closer to being a complete team. It’s all about being a complete fundamental basketball team,” says Connolly.

With twelve games remaining in the schedule, including two against Lakehead and Laurier, there is still a possibility for this season to go either way for this young Marauder squad. For Connolly, that success depends not only on the fundamentals of his team, but his own coaching attitude in teaching them. 

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