Volume 93, Issue 50

November 26, 1999


Team in the zone against Brock

Munro swims in the purple waters

Western basketballers meet the next generation

Western basketballers meet the next generation

By Michael Murphy
Gazette Staff

Those who crave basketball action will have no excuse for going hungry this weekend, as Western will be hosting a 16 team high school tournament and two university games.

In an informal address to those assembled at a press conferenece yesterday, Western head coach Craig Boydell expressed his enthusiasm about the tournament.

"This is an opportunity that we really didn't want to pass on," he affirmed. "When we have opportunities to showcase our talent, we need to take them and hopefully undermine those myths," he said.

In what will be its inaugural run, the Prep Stars Canada Adidas Ontario Classic will feature the province's best high school boys' teams, some of which will travel to London from as far away as Windsor and Ottawa.

The top four finishers this weekend will advance to a North American tournament to be held in January, in which they'll have the dubious pleasure of facing powerhouse American teams.

"The purpose of this event is to showcase the top 16 teams in Ontario and to bring elite basketball to London," said Chris Van Zyl, president of Prep Stars Canada, the company who approached Western about holding the tournament on campus.

"We think this partnership between Prep Stars Canada and the Western Mustangs can be a very productive one," he said.

Boydell added the event would help broaden the basketball horizons of the high school players and show them just how much basketball talent is really out there. "Hopefully, that will give them incentive to work harder and improve their skills," he added.

The tournament could also be a useful recruiting tool for the Mustangs' basketball program, Boydell said. "If you bring kids to an exciting tournament and they like the university and the program they see, [then] they see that the community supports basketball – it leaves a positive taste."

Micah Bourdeau, current co-captain of Western's men's team, also endorsed the tournament. "I think it's a great idea and I've always thought London can support this kind of event," he said.

Bourdeau, whose high school career was spent at John Paul II Secondary School in London, said the tournament would fill a gap. "I wish something like this was available to me when I was in high school."

This weekend will also offer two collegiate hoops contests, as Western's men's and women's teams square off against the University of Guelph, on Friday and Saturday nights respectively.

Going into Friday night's game, the men's team has an 8-1 pre-season record and are ranked as the number one team in Canada. "We're expecting a good game," Boydell said. "I can't remember ever having an easy game with Guelph, regardless of where each team has been ranked."

Boydell added the matchup would be a good test of his team's depth, since they'll be without the services of injured starting forward Chris Brown.

The women's team, who are now four games into their regular season, will be hoping to improve their record to 4-1 on Saturday.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999