Volume 91, Issue 83

Friday, March 6, 1998

100 bottles of beer


Dingle is shooting for nationals

©Tom Baumgartner/Gazette
THAT DINGLE'S A GREAT INSIDE SHOOTER. Western's Jonathan Dingle appears unfazed as he takes a three-point shot over the outstretched hand of Guelph's Charles Yearwood.

By Alex Chiang

Gazette Staff

Just call him the Lone Ranger. Mustang basketball co-captain Jonathan Dingle stands out on this year's Western men's basketball roster as the only returning player from last season's starting line-up.

The fifth-year shooting guard made the decision to return shortly after last year's disappointing loss to the Guelph Gryphons in the Ontario West semifinal. Dingle, who has never been to the Canadian championship tournament, wants desperately to come away from this weekend's Wild West playoff shootout in Waterloo with an invitation to the national tournament.

"I felt like I owed something to the program, the coach and to myself," Dingle said when asked why he chose to play out his final year of eligibility. "I knew Micah [Bourdeau] was coming in, but I didn't know about Nat [Graham] until afterwards. I knew that we would have a good team."

Looking back on his five-year career with Western, the Rhodes Scholar candidate said what he will remember most are the relationships he has developed over that time.

"They're more of a highlight right now than any one game or on-court occurrence for me," Dingle said. "I hope this weekend will become a highlight of my career."

This year Dingle is third in team scoring – averaging 12.8 points per game – and has turned the ball over only 19 times in 14 games.

"He's been one of our most consistent players," Mustang head coach Craig Boydell said. "He sets a great example to the young players with his effort."

In addition to being Western's primary three-point threat, Dingle has been extremely effective on defence. To shut down their competition, Boydell pairs Dingle with the opponent's best offensive guard and Dingle's defensive prowess has frustrated many of the best scorers in the country.

The sharp-shooter knows this will be his last shot at gaining a berth in the nationals to be held this year in Halifax which has eluded him thus far.

"I'm banking a lot on this weekend and it means a lot to me being a senior," he said. "We have to execute our game plan and it'll take a determined effort on defence and intelligence on offence for us to be successful."

If Western is to win the West, the Mustangs will more than likely be forced to go through the top-ranked McMaster Marauders.

Ironically, Dingle, a native of Hamilton, grew up cheering for the Marauders when he was younger and his father is a biology professor at the university. If that's not twisted enough, Dingle has applied for enrollment in medicine at McMaster for the upcoming school year. But make no mistake, right now Dingle bleeds purple and his loyalties are 100 per cent Western.

"Some people think that we've overachieved this year and some people in the media are surprised to see us doing so well," Dingle said. "But when I look at this team, I see a team that has balanced scoring, plays solid defence and gets guys contributing off the bench."

The quest for a national title begins tonight when the Mustangs take on the Waterloo Warriors in one of the Ontario West semifinals.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998