Gil Cheung’s 15 minutes of fame actually stretched into about five days.
In the end, the Brandon University Bobcats head coach’s half-court shot not only earned BU student Mason Kaluzniak free tuition for a semester, but also provided the university with a plethora of priceless publicity. Cheung’s dream shot at halftime of last Friday’s Canada West men’s basketball game ignited a media frenzy that found the coach interviewed live on CNN and CTV’s Canada AM, with stories and video highlights on the likes of ESPN, TSN and USA Today and more than two million hits on YouTube. When was the last time that happened for BU?
“It was really a win-win situation for everybody,” Cheung said. “It brought exposure to the university, the brand-new Healthy Living Centre and our men’s basketball team, and Mason got his tuition paid for … Two million hits on YouTube and being on ESPN and all that stuff, it brings great positive exposure to us.”
Cheung is hoping that exposure helps his recruiting efforts and the newfound name recognition appears to already be paying off.
“It definitely doesn’t hurt,” said Cheung, who has everyone on his current roster eligible to return next season but is already close to signing up a couple of new recruits. “I did have a couple of kids contact me from the States already, inquiring about eligibility rules in Canada and things like that … They emailed, ‘Hey coach, I saw your shot,’ one kid out of Chicago, one out of Tennessee, just wondering about basketball up here … So it’s definitely a positive in all aspects, I think.”
After struggling to a 6-16 record in an injury-riddled season, the Bobcats could use all the help they can get — even if that helping hand comes courtesy of YouTube.
The WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings have a chance to play the role of spoilers tonight in Saskatoon where the Blades will try to set a new franchise record by winning their 14th straight game. With the playoff race all but over for the Wheat Kings — now 13 points out with only 11 games remaining — Brandon is closer to lottery pick position for the No.1 choice in this year’s WHL Bantam Draft. Tied for the third-worst record in the WHL at 21-35-3-2, the Wheat Kings are on pace to pick one of the top five blue-chip prospects available this year — the likes of forwards Tyler Benson and Sam Steel of Edmonton, defenceman Kale Clague of Lloydminster, Alta., and forwards Nolan Patrick of Winnipeg and Brett Howden from Oakbank …
While the season is over for BU’s basketball teams and women’s volleyball squad, coach Grant Wilson’s Bobcats men’s volleyball team goes to the Canada West final four in Edmonton this weekend needing to win just one of two matches to advance to CIS nationals. Of course, that will be easier said than done, with the eighth-ranked Bobcats facing the Alberta Golden Bears — the No.1-ranked team in the country — tonight, before battling either the third-ranked Trinity Western Spartans or the seventh-ranked UBC Thunderbirds on Saturday ...
Brandon pro mixed martial arts fighter Curtis (The Demon) DeMarce is off to San Diego this week to train for his first fight in more than a year since shattering his right arm in five places in a serious car accident. After recovering from potentially career-ending injuries, the 24-year-old DeMarce is slated to battle Adam Lorenz after Bruno Capdeville dropped out of a proposed bout in the Aggression Fighting Championship 16 “Uprising” on March 23 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. DeMarce — who sports a 12-10 record as an MMA pro — is dropping down from lightweight (155 pounds) to featherweight (145 pounds) for his return to the cage …
And finally here at home, the Brandon Midget AAA Wheat Kings get their first taste of playoff action after a two-week layoff when they face the Kenora Thistles on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30 p.m.) at the Sportsplex. With the WHL’s Wheat Kings out of town, it’s a chance for fans to pack the place to support the Midget AAA Wheaties, a talented team that led the West Division with a 32-10-2 record this season. It’s also a chance to check out a couple of Brandon’s WHL prospects in 16-year-old list players Tyler Coulter (33 goals, 28 assists, 61 points) and Brett Kitt (25-26-51), who both finished in the top 11 in scoring in the Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League this season.