It is to the sound of a cheerful crowd in the West Gym that SFU men’s basketball had its first preseason game. The Clan opened their preseason with authority with a 97–63 win over Douglas College and dropped 16 three-pointers in the victory.
The Clan was up 22 points in the first half against the Royals, leading 51–29, before dropping 46 points in the second. SFU also outrebounded their opponent 43–31.
SFU men’s basketball featured a new head coach — former Terry Fox High School head coach Steve Hanson — as well as seven recruits.
The lineup on the court was drastically different from last season. Aleks Vranjes, who redshirted last year, played a total of 24 minutes against the Royals, while Ontario natives Othniel Spence and Michael Provenzano registered 16 and 25 minutes, respectively. Coach Hanson opened up about this strategic choice, stating “early in the season we want to give everybody a chance to see how they fit. I think all the guys on the court gave us a little bit of something.”
SFU’s new junior guard Kedar Wright and freshman guard Michael Provenzano dictated the game with continuous offensive actions on the court. UBC transfer Kedar Wright scored a total of 21 points and was four-of-seven on three-pointers. Freshman guard Michael Provenzano scored 14 points on four-of-six shooting. Freshman guard Graham Miller, who redshirted last year,, had 12 points. Senior guard Gibran Sewani, who is one of the two seniors returning this season, did not play the first exhibition game due to a concussion.
To add to this new roster, the team will be doing without some of SFU’s most talented recruits from last season. Freshman Oshea Gairey, who looked like he could carry the Clan’s future, departed the team. Victor Valley transfer Max Barkeley, who probably had the most exciting performances on the court, will not be part of Coach Hanson’s team.
However, despite the result, there is still room for improvement.“We’re not playing 40 minutes hard yet, so there are a lot of breakdowns early in the game that kind of let the other team back in,” said Hanson. “They threw some zones at us which we were not really ready for, so coaching is ready for that. Overall, I’d say it was a positive start.”
The coach also commented on Michael Provenzano’s performance: “As a young leader on our team, he is doing so far, so good.”
Hanson, who was the lead assistant coach last year, admits that it will take a herculean effort to rebuild the team and be consistent enough. The Clan suffered an 18-game losing streak last year. The only conference win came from a game against Concordia University. In addition to rebuilding the team, Coach Hanson will face the challenge of adapting to the NCAA level. “We’re playing a very tough conference. Our expectations are really about ourselves and just trying to get better.”
Simon Fraser will be hosting an exhibition game tonight against Columbia Bible College. The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.