Metro Vancouver…..The KPU Eagles men’s basketball program began a new chapter in 2014/15 with the appointment of first-year head coach Vladimir Nikić and the addition of eight first-year student-athletes to the eleven-player roster. The Eagles finished the regular season in seventh-place in the PACWEST with a 2-19 record.
"This year was a great learning experience for both the players and the coaching staff. At the end of the season, we came to understanding on what needs to be done in the future to be a successful university team,” reflected Coach Nikić, “We were the youngest team in our league and had the pleasure of seeing players like Matt Cooley, Nick Smith, and Trevor Schulz develop their basketball skills to become effective players at the university level. In addition to being the only team in the PACWEST that started five freshmen in league games, we had two first-year conference leaders amongst us.”
KPU Eagles and Cooley versus the Capilano University Blues
First-year power forward Cooley was named to the 2014/15 PACWEST All-Rookie team. Effective on both ends of the court, Cooley posted seven double-double games, and led KPU (1st), the PACWEST (1st), and the CCAA (tied 15th) in rebounds with 194 for an average of 9.7 per game. In scoring first-year guard Brenden Bailey led KPU (1st) the PACWEST (2nd), and the CCAA (23rd) with 361 points and an average of 19 points per game.
Coach Nikić focused on developing his player’s skills and game this year, and among the season’s highlights were two separate clinics for the team by former Olympic SWNT Coaches Allison and Mike McNeill in the Eagles’ Nest. The Eagles defensive tune-up in the Fall and Winter semesters gave both new and veteran players valuable insight into the game.
“Allison’s input definitely built our confidence and provided guidance in development of our program,” stated Coach Nikić, “With the support of Allison and Mike McNeill, we are able to continue our path in establishing a winning culture and build on our character at KPU.”
Eagles (LtoR) battle hard during the McNeill's winter clinic:
Nick Smith, Navdeep Brar, Timmie Choi, Trevor Schulz
As the Eagles strategize during the off-season, Coach Nikić continues to recruit strong academic and athletic players who are the ideal fit for his program’s vision. The 2015/2016 recruiting class is already off to a stellar start with two confirmed Eagles announced, and more on the way. KPU welcomes Delview Raiders star point guard Wowie (Wayne) Untalan, North Delta, BC and TWU Spartans transfer shooting guard Vartan Tanielian, White Rock, BC to the Eagles’ Nest.
“The additions of Wowie Untalan and Vartan Tanielian, coupled with the return of key veteran players, are already making our next year’s team better. We strongly believe in the character of these three student athletes and their ability to lead our team into the playoffs next year,” said Coach Nikić, “These guys will not only make us more fundamentally sound, but also more mature and mentally tough next year. Their work ethic and determination is impeccable. Their ability to connect with teammates and play FOR the team is truly amazing. I am really looking forward to our training camp in the off season”
Coach Nikić and the Eagles on the road versus the VIU Mariners
The KPU Eagles 2015 Men’s Basketball Player Identification Camp recently met its maximum quota of 35 participants. The Camp is to be held on April 16th from 5:00pm-8:00pm in the Eagles’ Nest on the Surrey Campus. A second camp has yet to be confirmed, but players who are still interested in the program may contact Coach Nikić at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the signing of Wowie Untalan to the Eagles, please visit: http://www.kpu.ca/news/kpu-eagles-men%E2%80%99s-basketball-sign-untalan-first-student-athlete-201516-recruiting-class
For more information on the signing of Vartan Tanielian to the Eagles, please visit: http://www.kpu.ca/news/kpu-eagles-mens-basketball-sign-canada-west-cis-shooting-guard-tanielian
Photo Credit: KPU Sports Information
For more information on the Department of Athletics & Recreation, please contact Junelle Mah, sports information and marketing, at 604-786-0804 or at email@example.com.
The KPU Eagles Department of Athletics & Recreation enters its 14th season of interuniversity competition. The Eagles are members of the PACWEST conference and play in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) with 100 student-athletes participating on eight varsity teams in men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, badminton and golf. KPU athletics plays its home games at the Eagles’ Nest (Surrey Campus), Northview Golf & Country Club, Newton Athletic Park, all located in Surrey, BC and the Ace Badminton Centre in Richmond, BC. The Eagles are active in the conference with staff members on various advisory committees and competing to host both provincial and national championships. The student-athletes are mainly from the lower mainland but KPU’s rosters have included student-athletes from North America, South America, Asia and Europe.