Saturday, September 4, 2010

Guest Contributor: Mark Wacyk -- About the CIS

Mark Wacyk, a resident of Ontario Province Canada, created the CIS Blogs where he writes about Canadian intercollegiate basketball. I asked Mark about the CIS organization and Canadian basketball, and he was kind enough to provide this background for USA fans who may be following their team on a Canadian tour...

Canadian Basketball and the CIS
by Mark Wacyk

Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) is Canada's equivalent to the NCAA and member institutions Varsity sports programs compete for national championships in basketball and several other sports. The top CIS basketball teams are roughly competitive to low D1 programs while most other programs could compete in mid-D2 and DIII. CIS programs cannot offer full athletic scholarships, primarily due to resource constraints so most quality Canadian high school kids rarely stay home, instead playing NCAA basketball. Still, Carleton Ravens, the top program in Canada over the past decade with six national championships over the past 8 seasons, have 5 graduates who play professionally in Europe including 6'7" Aaron Doornekamp, who plays in Italy's Seria A (top league) where he starts and averages about 28 mpg. Usually, there are 8-10 players across the country in any year on CIS rosters who could play Division 1 basketball and make an impact but choose to stay home for various reasons. Conversely, probably 50-60 kids or more annually go south either to D1, JUCO, D2, DIII or prep school.

My opinion, validated through discussions with numerous U.S. coaches who have made the trip north to play Canadian teams, is that our best coaches are as sound technically and with in-game coaching as any in the U.S. however our programs are severely resource-constrained. Most Canadian kids still dream of playing NCAA D1 basketball but those who stay in the correct situation learn to play and can move on to play professionally. When CIS teams meet NCAA D1 teams from the best conferences, usually games remain close early until the sheer athleticism and depth of the U.S. teams take over. McGill was in the game for the first 17 minutes of play before Cincy started trapping, switching screens, running and jumping and basically their length and athleticism took over. Hope this helps.

I'll be going to Cincy/Carleton tonight.

And I will look for Mark's recap at CIS -- greyCat.

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