Campbell reels in fab five

'New squad' ready to take on OUA - OUA Men's Basketball

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Coming off a breakout season in Ontario University Athletics competition, the Western Mustangs men’s basketball team has spent a busy off-season building a roster that could make even bigger strides next year.

University of Michigan pickup 6’2” guard Alex Brzozowicz became the third Mustangs recruit with NCAA Division I experience this month when he joined a class featuring 6’7” guard/forward Keenan Jeppesen (Brown University) and 6’10” forward Colin LaForme (Youngstown State), as well as Canadian high school standouts 5’10” guard Ryan Barbeau and 6’6” forward Garrett Olexiuk.

Head coach Brad Campbell is especially happy with the class’ physicality and talent.

“They bring us size, which is always nice in basketball, but they are also very skilled and able to play on the perimeter.”

LaForme talked about his reasons for leaving Youngstown State.

“We had a new coaching staff and we didn’t get along too well,” LaForme said. “Things weren’t working out, I guess you could say.”

LaForme chose Western largely because he liked what he saw on the Mustangs squad, including Campbell and former teammates Matt Curtis and Adam Ruickbie.

“I was coming back to Canada and it was a good fit just because I knew so many guys on the team,” he said. “I have friends that go [to Western], Brad Campbell took over as head coach this year and the team was up and coming " on the rebound. It was just a good situation for me to be a part of.”

Campbell agreed, excited about the chemistry between LaForme and the team.

“Colin fits in very well,” he said. “He’s a great character guy, he’s easy-going, he’s humorous, but he’s also a competitor once he starts practice.

“What you have, especially with Colin, who’s been able to practice with us since January, is a tremendous enthusiasm, as well as strong work ethic.”

While LaForme’s NCAA experience should prove valuable at Western, he expects just as high a level of competition in the OUA.

“Being down in the States, it was more competitive there to a certain extent when we’d play big [Division I] schools like Ohio State or Michigan,” he said. “But the level of competition down there and up here to me is actually not that much different.”

Olexiuk, a native of Burlington, ON, will make the jump from high school this season, but feels up to the challenge.

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous,” he said. “But at the same time I know there’s going to be a little bit of a transition period, I feel that [high school] has prepared me very well.”

While Olexiuk doesn’t know when he’ll be on the court, he’s eager to help the team.

“I just want to help any way I can,” he said. “If that means going out there and guarding a specific player or grabbing a rebound, just anything I can do to help the team win.”

“[Garrett] has tremendous potential and talent, and he is very mature for his age,” Campbell said. “We couldn’t be happier with Garrett and Colin joining our program.”

The ’Stangs have a team on the rise after securing their first playoff berth in five years with an 11-11 mark. With the additional talent acquired during the off-season, this trend should continue.

“I think we’ll be very strong,” Olexiuk said. “We have very high expectations for ourselves with such a strong incoming class.”

LaForme agreed.

“I think [the recruiting class] is going to change the play dramatically,” he said. “It’s just a whole new squad. We’re going to be up and down the floor, and we’re going to be a monster squad next year.”

Share this article on:

Facebook | DiggDigg |

Copyright © 2008 The Gazette