Two recruits on UNBC men’s basketball head coach Zane Robison’s radar for next season toured the university on Sunday, and they liked what they saw.
“It’s amazing,” 6’6″ forward Joel Bron said. “(There are) great facilities here and from what I’ve heard it’s a great academic school, so it’s pretty much an all-around school.”
Bron and Matthew Mills, teammates on the Columbia Bible College Bearcats last season, are facing the end of their tenure at CBC and are exploring options for the fall. They spent a portion of Sunday afternoon shooting hoops in the gymnasium inside the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre.
“It’s a great facility here,” said Mills, a shooting guard. “You’ve got an unbelievable gym and a really nice campus. Some of the recruits that coach Zane is looking at getting, it could be exciting. We could have a good team.”
As a college, CBC doesn’t offer its students courses beyond the second year. While Robison has also been recruiting out of high school, Bron and Mills bring added value as players with B.C. Colleges Athletic Association experience. With the Bearcats this past season, Bron averaged 14.69 points and 6.15 rebounds a game, while Mills averaged 11.19 points and 2.31 rebounds.
“Joel for one, definitely hurt us the last time he played,” Robison said. “He was injured the first game when they were up here (on Nov. 9), but last time he played us (on Jan. 25 at CBC in Abbotsford) he had 20 points (and) he was eight-for-10 shooting from the field. He’s a high percentage shooter, he’s a very good player that’s very versatile, that fits the style of play we want to play. (He) has some size, has some athleticism that’s able to switch a lot of screens and (he) is able to guard a lot of different players and he fits that mould.”
Mills, who played between 20 and 25 minutes a game last season, offers the ability to hit long range shots.
”That’s always been my strength, and hard work on defence too.”
Robison said Mills was a sixth man off the bench the past couple seasons for CBC.
“He’s a very good shooter and a very good player. He killed us for a few threes this (last) game and during provincials he averaged double digits in points, so he’s a solid player. Those are two big pickups that’ll help us replace a guy like (graduated guard) Jay (Gladish) and I think if we can keep grabbing players like that, I think we’ll be much better off next year.”
Playing host to the Canadian Colleges Athletic Association national championship in a year is a card Robison can pull to recruit talented players this offseason. This past season, the Northern Timberwolves’ men’s squad fell short of playing in provincials at the NSC, finishing with a record of 5-11, one win short of a playoff spot in the nine-team BCCAA men’s division.
Bron and Mills, who agree that getting an automatic berth to nationals influenced their decision to visit the university, were scheduled to fly back to the Lower Mainland on Monday after meeting with UNBC president Don Cozzetto.
“The Chris Laurie’s, Jarett (Borsoi) and Dennis (Stark) are all those sort of athletic six-five, six-six players and we’re hoping to bring in those type of players, and build a team like that,” Robison said. “Joel has obviously had three years of experience and is a very solid player, so hopefully I think it looks pretty good and I think they’re impressed with the team and the facility and I think academically it’s a good fit for them.”