Hanson ready to join UNBC squad
Among newcomers on the UNBC men’s basketball team next season, at least one will be a Prince George product.
Grade 12 guard Nolan Hanson, a standout with the College Heights Cougars, will suit up for the Northern Timberwolves in the fall. He committed to the program a couple of weeks ago.
Hanson hasn’t only been a force on the court locally. He’s also had duty with the B.C. provincial program.
“One of the big things we’re going to try to do is obviously keep our local talent here in Prince George and he’s a guy who was a prolific scorer at the high school level this year,” Timberwolves head coach Todd Jordan said. “He’s done some real good things for his high school program and we’re excited to add him to our program next season.”
At this point, Hanson is the only commitment. But on the other hand, forward Dennis Stark (played maximum five seasons) and guard Lucas Groot (university graduation) are the only members of this past season’s team who are sure bets not to be back. Everybody else on the 2011-12 active roster of 14 players is eligible to return.
But just being on this year’s team doesn’t guarantee a roster spot in the fall. Jordan said he’ll add three or four more players to the team, and will continue recruiting over the next few weeks.
“We’re definitely not done yet, but finding (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) level guys is a difficult task and we’re continuing to work at it.”
Having most of this past season’s lineup back should help ease UNBC’s transition into the Canada West Universities Athletic Association. Many of the players have natural chemistry with each other and experience at the post-secondary level.
The Timberwolves also carry the experience of four consecutive appearances at the men’s college basketball nationals, a run which includes winning the 2010 Canadian Colleges Athletic Association championship banner in Calgary.
As for the hopefuls for next season’s team, one is closely tied to a current Timberwolves member. Elliot Rowe, a Grade 12 graduating student at Victoria’s Mount Douglas Secondary, is the younger brother of UNBC guard Francis. A fourth-year player this past season, Francis will begin his final year competing for UNBC in the fall.
“I like him. He’s got a good feel for the game,” Jordan said of Elliot. “He sees the floor well, he’s a pretty good shooter. A lot of things that Francis does well, he does well as well, so we like a lot of the things that he does. To play at the next level, he’s going to need to put on a little bit more weight.”
Hanson and Elliot were among the players participating in the Timberwolves’ identification camp on the weekend. Sessions were held on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, offering interested newcomers an opportunity to see the program up close, and returning players a change to play with and against potential teammates.
“It’s always good to have some kids come up and take a look at our school,” Jordan said. “It’s good for the university to have those guys up and give our program some exposure, for sure.”
The other players on this past season’s active roster were: fourth-year guards Joel Rybachuk, Sam Raphael and Jose Araujo; third-year guard/forward Charles Barton and post Gabe Aubertin; second-year guard/forward Mike Conlin, guard/forward Dan Stark and post Kevan Madsen; and first-year guards Billy Cheng, Jai Kaushal and Josh Raphael.
Asked to offer a timeline on rounding out next year’s roster, Jordan couldn’t give a definitive answer.
“As soon as possible,” he said. “I’d like to have it done now if I possibly could, but it’s as long as it takes.”