Royals men’s basketball looking to make a splash
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
It has been a season of both growing pains and new successes for the Royals men’s basketball team. Having a new coach in Joe Enevoldson has definitely changed things up this season, and you can see it in how the squad plays. But such change took time, and that wasn’t exactly as quick as initially thought.
After a 3–3 opening to the season, the team went on their holiday break only to come back to some rough results. They would go on to lose four out of their six games in January. However, February was a much different story. Having finally put things together, things clicked for the team. They won five out of their six games in February, and came into the playoffs as the fourth seed.
The playoffs are going to be a challenge the guys are probably looking forward to. They face the Quest Kermodes in the quarter-finals of the playoffs. While every team gears up for the playoffs, the difference in quality might be enough here. The Royals bumped the Kermodes three out of three times this season, and I can’t see them losing here.
Next is the VIU Mariners. Now this is going to be a challenge. Not only are the Mariners as a whole going to be a challenge, they have something no other team in the PACWEST can even claim to match. Usama Zaid is a shoe-in for Player of the Year. In 17 games, he’s scored 482 points, averaging 28.35 points a game. He’s got more than 100 points than the closest guy to him, and more than 8 points a game as well. He’s third in average rebounds a game, grabbing 9 a game, and sixth in assists per game, proving that he’s not just a selfish player. The guy is nuts. And if he wasn’t enough, the Mariners have an entire roster built to support him, including but not limited to a dedicated rebounder, a playmaker who will always find him, and a secondary scorer when they decide to rest him. Beating the Mariners is going to be a challenge. However, it’s not impossible. Complacency is the weakness of every team, and if any team has room for it, it’s the Mariners. In a single elimination tournament, it only takes one loss to end it all, and the Royals can very well be the team to dish that out for the Mariners if they aren’t careful.
Should the men pull off the improbable, they would face the winner of the Langara series. Realistically, I see the Capilano Blues facing off against the Falcons, and the Falcons moving onto the finals. The Falcons have been a team that has progressed the other way as the season has gone on. In fact, I believe that if it’s a Royals and Falcons finals, the Royals have a real shot at winning. After all, in their final game of the season, it was the Royals who came out on top. As a team, the Falcons have a lot of cohesive pieces, but they lack a star—someone who can make a game-changing impact. The Royals have a couple of those. It’d be an interesting match, to say the least.
Should the Royals fall to the Mariners, they would probably face the Capilano Blues. The Blues got the better of the Royals early on in the season, but then the Royals thumped them by 27 points in their final meeting of the season. The Blues have one player the Royals would need to really watch. Greet Gill is indefinitely going to be an All-Star. He has carried the Blues on his back this year, and the Royals would need to shut him down.
Anything can happen come playoffs, but I’m betting that the Royals end up with a medal, one way or another.