Posted on: October 8, 2005
By BRONWEN SCOTT
KAMLOOPS-Thompson Rivers University men’s basketball coach Nevin Gleddie is filling in the blanks left by graduating students, and he’s very happy with the results.
“We are very pleased to have in place what I believe will be a very exciting team to watch, and a team that can compete with anyone in the country,” he said.
Gleddie, whose team won national gold in its final year of play in the Canadian Colleges Athletics Association (CCAA), is looking to field a strong team in its first year of competition in Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) Canada West conference. He’s also looking to maintain a balance and keep continuity in his roster, so he’s recruited one high-school grad and three other players with varsity basketball experience, one of whom played CIS last year.
Josh Booy, a Salmon Arm Secondary grad who played for the UCC Sun Demons for two years before heading east, said he “personally did well” in CIS play for the University of Ottawa last year, and is upbeat about the WolfPack.
“I’m excited about playing in the CIS again,” said Booy. “Nevin’s team is very good. I think we’re going to be underestimated a lot next year, and I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people.”
Gleddie is looking to the bachelor of arts student, who has two years of eligibility left, to play a major role next season. “He is an extremely hard worker with a lot of strength and athleticism. He will fill a key role in defending in the post and offensive rebounding.”
Another key recruit with two years of eligibility left is Chris Veale, who led the BCCAA in scoring when he played for OUC in 2003/04. Veale, a chemistry major who took year off varsity basketball last year to concentrate on his studies, has been practicing with the Okanagan team and playing in men’s rec leagues to keep on top of his game.
“I think college play has prepared me for CIS play,” he said. “The WolfPack is a very well-coached team, and I’m pretty determined. Hopefully, I’ll meet people’s expectations.”
Gleddie expects Veale to make an immediate impact. “This tough, quick and versatile point guard pushes the ball very well and can pressure the ball at the other end. Chris will fit seamlessly into our style of play,” he said.
Joey Farebrother, now entering his third year of eligibility, also joins the WolfPack after a hiatus from varsity basketball. A second team all-star when he played for the UCC Sun Demons in 2002/03, Farebrother, who hails from Prince George, is excited to come back, but humble.
“I’ve always wanted to play CIS. It’ll be tough, but it should be okay,” he said.
His coach has much more confidence in his new recruit. “Joey can downright score inside and out,” said Gleddie. “He is a tremendous 3-point shooter, but with his athleticism and size, he’s also dangerous at the rim. His ability to elevate makes him a very exciting player to watch in transition.”
Gleddie’s also excited about his youngest recruit, and the first high school recruit to commit to the WolfPack. Charlie Spurr, a BC provincial high school first team all-star for the past two year, is looking to run with the Pack for his entire eligibility. “I hope to take basketball as far as I can,” he said. “I hope to have five good years at TRU.”
The Victoria student, who is enrolled in first-year arts courses at TRU, knows it’s a big leap from high school to university play. “It’s a pretty tough transition, but I think I’m ready,” he said.
Gleddie agreed. “Charlie is a very talented young player with a lot of potential yet untapped. He brings a lot of championship experience to the team, and I believe he will be a great player in this league,” he said.
“He has an intense desire to win. He’s a pitbull on defense and can hit the pullup jumper and take it to the rim with anyone. We are very pleased to have one of the best point guards in the province play for us next season.”