COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN
Jordan Reaves practises with the Brandon University men’s basketball team Thursday at the Healthy Living Centre. Entering his final season as a Bobcat, Reaves is excited to make some more memories on home court, starting this weekend.
This weekend will be special for the Brandon University Bobcats athletics department.
A lot of Bobcat basketball alumni will be back to celebrate homecoming weekend, the school’s new wall of fame, which will be named after Dick and Verda McDonald, will be unveiled and both basketball teams will host the Dakota College Jacks from Bottineau, N.D., tonight and Saturday. However, it will be even more special for Jordan Reaves.
For the last four seasons, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward has put his heart and soul into playing for the Bobcats team and this weekend is just a reminder that it will be his last homecoming weekend as a player.
"This is the last time for the first time of the season that I get to put a show on for the fans," said Reaves, who led the Bobcats in scoring and rebounding last year. "I’m excited to get the season started, even though this isn’t the season starting. I’m excited to get on the court in front of the fans and show them what we can do.
"It means a lot to me that everyone has seen me play for the past five years and they’ve come back to support us. I just hope I can leave something behind that they’ll talk about when I’m gone."
The weekend tips off with the women’s exhibition game at 6 p.m., followed by the men’s game. The wall of fame unveiling will take place during a luncheon, Saturday at 11 a.m., and will be followed with women’s and men’s games at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m., respectively.
While Gil Cheung, the head coach of the men’s team, is looking forward to seeing all the alumni, he also hopes to see his team improve its play in the defensive end against the junior college squad.
"We have a veteran group that’s starting to figure things out on the fly, but it’s great to have the tape and talk about pick and roll coverages or defensive transition stuff or how we can get better on the glass," Cheung said. "Those are the three things we’ve worked on all week and hopefully we can improve on them on the weekend."
Meanwhile, the women’s team is coming off one of its best weekends in the past few years, in which it beat two CIS teams and posted a 2-1 record in Winnipeg.
Like Cheung, Novell Thomas, the women’s head coach, is looking forward to mingling with alumni and supporters this weekend. However, he’s really excited to get some of his players back from injury.
"This is the first time where we’ll actually have so many healthy bodies now," he said. "Aleah (Bridges) won’t be playing, but Amy Williams will make her debut. Keegan (Robinson), who has been out for a while, will be back for the first time since the University of Mary game. It’s an opportunity for those injured players to get back in and build a little bit more momentum. There’s things we want to do defensively, but that will require having a full, healthy roster."
The weekend will also be a homecoming for Brandonite Taylor Ward, a 5-foot-6 forward sophomore forward with the Jacks.
While both Bobcat basketball teams are busy preparing for the weekend, the BU women’s volleyball team closed out its pre-season schedule with a match against the University of Winnipeg Wesmen in Portage la Prairie on Thursday. The Wesmen took the Bobcats a full five sets, but Brandon came out on top 3-2 (14-25, 25-23, 17-25, 25-20, 15-10).
Meaghan Robertson led a balanced BU attack with 12 kills, an ace and one block. Lexi Loewen added nine kills, Gillian Leech had eight, while Jodie Baker, Shanlee McLennan and Tori Dakin all had seven. Baker also had two aces, while Dakin, Leech and Kellie Baker each had one.
The BU men’s volleyball team gained a small measure of revenge on Thursday with a 3-1 (25-19, 21-25, 28-26, 25-15) win over the Laval Rouge et Or in Quebec City. Laval beat Brandon in last year’s CIS semifinals.
Sam Tuivai led Brandon with 16 kills, a block and an ace. Sebastien Steigmeier added 14 kills, three blocks and three aces, while Dan Boutwell had eight kills and eight blocks.
The teams will play again tonight and Saturday.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 18, 2013