This is a big year for Ryerson Rams basketball.
Between hosting the Canadian Interuniversity Sport men’s Final 8 championship in March and a fresh recruiting class on the women’s side, it’s an exciting year for Rams fans.
Both teams opened up their seasons by beating Waterloo and Laurier last week, with the men dominating in both games.
Led by head coach Carly Clarke, the women are off to a 2-0 start for the first time in 10 years. The wheels fell off for the Rams after their 3-0 start a decade ago, losing their next 12 straight games.
This year’s squad has a different air, one that should keep them from tumbling into a deep slide like their counterparts 10 years ago. There’s optimism rookies, like forward Sofia Paska and guard Cara Tiemens, can carry the team deep into games. Both have shown promising signs so far, with Paska shooting 66.7 per cent, ranking her fifth in the CIS in shooting percentage for players who have played two or more games. Tiemens has averaged eight points per game and will fit nicely beside Mariah Nunes. Last year’s team MVP, Keneca Pingue-Giles, is also set for another solid season.
The men’s team will have the spotlight on them all season long. They opened the season at a No. 3 ranking, which was ironic as the CIS Final 8 selection committee last year passed them up for the final wild card spot.
Fans have their calendar circled for the Nov. 28 weekend when the team travels to Ottawa to face the Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens. How Roy Rana’s team can perform against the top two CIS teams will be a measuring stick for where they’re at in their development.
The team is automatically secured a spot in the Final 8.
Their starting five of Jahmal Jones, Aaron Best, Bjorn Michaelsen, Kadeem Green and Adika Peter-McNeilly, when healthy, can outshoot any team in the country. The Rams’ biggest advantage is their depth, however. Coming off the bench are guys like Jordan Gauthier, 2013-14 OUA East rookie of the year Jean-Victor Mukama, 2012-13 Ryerson rookie of the year Juwon Ogunaike-Grannum and Filip Vujadinovic, to name a few.
It will be an exciting year for Ryerson basketball fans with both teams on pace for solid seasons.