This year, the new men’s basketball coach for the Mounties, Steve Chapman, is looking to emphasize physicality and toughness in order to bring an exciting style of basketball to campus.
Chapman said that the objective was to build an aggressive, fast-paced offensive team and improve defensively.
This emphasis by the coach marks a shift in identity for the team. As fourth-year player Sam Prowse said, “Mt. A has been labelled soft in our league the past couple of years.”
“He’s tough, we practise every single day, we work on a lot of defence and we go at each other very, very hard,” Prowse said about Chapman. “We don’t call fouls in practice.”
The team is already looking more physical this year. On Sep. 28, Mount Allison hosted Crandall University in their first preseason game. During the exhibition, the Mounties first-year centre Liam Tubman came down with a strong rebound flaring his elbows. After the play, when an upperclassmen on the Crandall team came up to Tubman and told the rookie to watch his elbows, Tubman responded by saying, “get out of my space.”
“It’s hard to teach tough but you can find individuals that are that way,” Chapman said. With 6’9” Tubman and former Mounties football star Rod Joseph anchoring the centre position, Chapman seems to have found the players he needs.
“Rod is a key here, if he can stay healthy. He is a beast,” Chapman said.
This year, the basketball team will host the ACAA playoffs, guaranteeing a playoff spot before the season even begins. With a strong graduating class, an impressive supporting cast and a great group of rookies, the team hopes not only to compete in playoffs, but to win.
A strong cohort of graduating players, second-team all-star Alex Chisholm, first-team all-star Brad Fuller, tenacious point guard Jesse Balser and three-point threat Sam Prowse, are all crucial to the Mounties’ success.
“We are going to have a really good year, we are going to be winning a lot,” Chisholm said. He has big expectations for his final year. “Go out with a bang and bring a championship to Mt. A.”
Chapman expects the team’s depth to be key in their championship run this year. Also valuable to the team are third-year student and former ACAA Rookie of the Year Brad Sanford as well as second year and former Tantramar Titan Jeshua Becker. “Sanford is a great scorer,” Chapman said, and “Becker had some Rookie of the Year votes last year.”
Chapman stated he expects a big contribution from rookie Thomas LeGallais from Cornwall, ON.
“I think [he] is going to be a nice piece for us,” Chapman said.
Second-year guard Mack Chisholm looks to build off a solid rookie season. He and incoming New Brunswick high school all-stars Brody Blakeney and Sungwoo Park will all push for playing time off the bench.
Speaking on the depth of the team, Alex Chisholm said, “We have so many good players, it’s going to be tough. Chapman has some tough choices to make for minutes.”
Despite their strength, the Mounties always face stiff competition in the ACAA. Holland College, a team that has dominated the league in past years will host the CCAA national tournament in March, opening up two spots at nationals rather than just one.
The desire to finish in the top two and join Holland at nationals is an opportunity the Mounties have in the back of their minds.
“Looking way too far ahead that would be an ultimate goal,” Chapman said.
A long season separates the Mounties from hosting playoffs and the fight for nationals. Despite the competition, the Mounties do not seem intimidated.
“I think this year is the year we are going to beat them,” Chisholm said.