The York Lions men’s basketball team now has four new reasons to look forward to the 2005-2006 season: four top high-school recruits who have chosen York for their studies.
Lions’ head coach Bob Bain (right) confirmed the commitment of power forward Wes Anderson of Mississauga, shooting guard Zack Friedmann of Waterloo, point guard Josh Ross of Barrie and power forward Azaz Awan of Maple.
“The recruiting class is very diverse from the standpoint of its positions, skill levels and experience,” said Bain, a two-time Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) Coach of the Year, who returns after a year on sabbatical.
Wes Anderson is one of the top-ranked big men from Ontario high schools. The six-foot-eight power forward averaged 19 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game in his final year at Mississauga’s Lorne Park Secondary School. Anderson is an offensive threat in the low post and strong on the boards. He is looking forward to playing at York adding, “I think we’ve got a good chance at making the national championships in the next three years.”
Zack Friedmann, a 6-3 shooting guard, led Kitchener’s Rockway Mennonite College to the provincial championship last season. As a District-8 all-star, Friedmann averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists per game. He adds depth at outside scoring, shooting 49 per cent from the three-point line in 45 games last year. In addition to his shooting abilities, Friedmann also takes pride in his defence and says he will help the team in any way he can.
Josh Ross is ranked ninth in Ontario for his age at the point guard position by independent basketball Web site hooplife.ca. Last year at Barrie’s Bear Creek Secondary School, the 6-1 Ross posted solid numbers, averaging 17 points, seven assists, three rebounds and three steals per game. On his club team in Barrie, Ross averaged 15 points per game. Coming off the bench, Ross adds speed and quickness behind CIS Rookie of the Year Tut Ruach and has all the tools needed to play the point. He handles the ball well, can shoot three-pointers, drive the lane and is a dedicated and hard worker.
Maple High School standout Azaz Awan is excited and looking forward to playing at York. Although he played centre in high school, 6-8 Awan will be playing power forward for the Lions. The regional all-star averaged 15 points, 14 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game in the regular season in 2004-2005. Awan recorded two triple-doubles last year and came within two steals of posting a quadruple-double in one game. Awan’s strengths lie in his low-post defence, his rebounding ability and mid-range scoring.
“Although we only lost one player from last year’s team, we have strengthened our team considerably through these recruits,” Bain said. In addition to the four rookies, the Lions will also be strengthened by Brock transfer Rohan Steen. Bain said he is very optimistic about the 2005-2006 season adding, “We will be bigger, stronger and more experienced than last year. Our future looks very bright.”
The Lions, who finished second in the OUA East Division in 2004-2005 with a record of 16-6, begin the season at home Nov. 3 against the Laurentian Voyageurs.
For more information on the York Lion’s men’s interuniversty basketball team, visit the Sport York Web site.
This article was submitted to YFile by Stephen Reid, sport & recreation information assistant for York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science.