Royals men’s basketball poised to go the distance
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
After some massive offseason overhauls, the Royals men’s basketball team have made quite the name for themselves. Ranked seventh nationally by the CCAA, the Royals have gone from a fringe team to one of the best in the west. While it is still early to be praising the team, it’s hard not to love the style of basketball that the Royals are playing.
Tied for second in the PACWEST with a record of 4-2 headed into the winter break, the Royals have really established themselves a powerhouse team. In particular, a defensive powerhouse. Coach Joe Enevoldson has his team playing a defence-first kind of game with a power transition offence that sees his team succeed on both sides of the court.
So far, the team’s biggest game has been against CBC, where they won 84-62. However, as a bottom team, it’s not the team’s most impressive win. That would be their 97-89 win over the Langara Falcons in their home opener. Their hardest loss came to the VIU Mariners, 89-77. As the Mariners are the go-to team to beat, it stung that the Royals weren’t able to do so. However, it was a humbling loss that the team can learn from.
Overall, the Royals have a fantastic all-around team on the court. Offensively, the Royals are up there with some of the best in the league. Grant Campbell’s 17.3 points per game has him ranked fourth in that category. Noah DeRappard-Yuswack has 16.2 points per game, sixth best in the PACWEST. American international Kameron Johnson has 15.8 points per game which is 8th best in the PACWEST. The Royals are the only team to have three players in the top 10 of points per game. Though the offensive mantle still belongs to Usama Zaid of the VIU Mariners, the Royals do other things just a little better.
The arrival of Kameron Johnson has seen Grant Campbell step into the role of a scorer rather than a playmaker. Johnson makes the play, Campbell finishes. At the moment, Johnson averages 4.5 assists per game, third best in the PACWEST. But where the Royals have really found their success this year is off the glass. Noah DeRappard-Yuswack averages 12.5 rebounds per game, the PACWEST’s highest. That means that he averages a double-double every game. Reese Morris has also been a defensive monster for the Royals. Averaging 9.6 rebounds per game (third best in the PACWEST), and 1.8 blocks per game (PACWEST best), Morris is a keystone in the Royals defensive game. With Kameron Johnson averaging 6.8 rebounds per game, and Grant Campbell averaging 6.2, the Royals are the only team with nearly their entire starting lineup in the top 15 rebounders. That says a lot about the style of basketball the Royals play.
Looking at the numbers, the Royals have the best all-around team in the PACWEST. It’s just about transitioning that to beat VIU. Look for the men to put work in over the break to come back even harder. With this lineup, it’s hard to imagine anyone but the Royals in the finals against VIU right now. Knock on wood.