By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications
April 23, 2013, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The University of Victoria Vikes men's basketball team are on the heels of a successful 2012-13 campaign that saw the Victoria side qualify for the CIS Final 8 national championship for the first time since 2006.
Four-time Canada West Coach of the Year Craig Beaucamp, along with his experienced coaching staff of Craig Behan and Phil Ohl, are looking to continue their success and will do so with the help of three freshmen.
Joining the Vikes for the start of the 2013-14 season will be first years Jordan Charles, from Brentwood Bay, Pat Pilato, from St. Catherine's, Ont., and Junior Sesay, from Winnipeg, Man.
Jordan Charles, 6'4" (Brentwood High School - Brentwood Bay, B.C.)
Charles, a six-foot-four guard and soon-to-be Brentwood Bay graduate, brings a large amount of competition experience, having played with B.C. provincial teams for his Under 15, 16 and 17 career. In his final year with Brentwood, he was named a AA Island All-Star, a AA Provincial All-Star and deemed the AA Senior Boys Island Most Valuable Player. In the classroom, Charles boasts an 86 per cent average and as such, was awarded the University of Victoria's prestigious President's Entrance Scholarship.
"Jordan's physical size and development will enable him to compete right away," said Vikes head coach Beaucamp. "He is a very smart player and he can really shoot the ball. Jordan had some great coaching in high school that has prepared him well for his university career."
Pat Pilato, 6'2" (St. Francis Secondary - St. Catherine's, Ont.)
Ontario native Pilato is a former national champion with the Ontario provincial team and a two-time Mr. Niagara Basketball award winner, an honour given to the top high school boys basketball player in Niagara. The six-foot-two guard gained an additional year of high school basketball experience, returning to high school for his 5th year. This past year Pilato averaged 27 points, eight rebounds and 10 assists per game.
"With that extra year of high school play, Pat is going to be ready and physically mature for University basketball," said Beaucamp. "Pat brings a variety of skills to the table and I look forward to seeing him perform as a Vike. He brings a maturity both on and off the court that you don't often see in a high school player."
Junior Sesay, 6'3" (Oak Park High School - Winnipeg, Man.)
Sesay will come to the Vikes as a two-time First Team All-Canadian at the Under 15 and Under 17 level. Sesay helped the Manitoba U-17 provincial team to a silver medal at this year's national tournament and he holds two provincial titles with the Oak Park Raiders high school team. A decorated player with four years of high school ball to his name, Sesay was recently named Manitoba Basketball High School Player of the Year. In his senior year with the Raiders, Sesay averaged 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists per game.
"What I really like about Junior is his competitiveness and his ability to defend the ball," said Beaucamp. "Junior is a special player and most importantly he is a great kid. He will make a great addition to the Vikes basketball program."
All three recruits will begin their post-secondary campaign with the Vikes this summer as the team begins preparation for their 2013-14 Canada West and CIS season.
Notes: The UVic Vikes men's basketball team has a lengthy tradition of excellence, dating back to the 1980s in which four-time CIS Coach of the Year Ken Shields led the team to seven straight CIS championships. In 1997, under the tutelage of Guy Vetrie, the Vikes laid claim to their eighth national title. Current head coach Beaucamp has an overall conference record of 145-66, has taken his team to three CIS Championships (2004-05, 2005-05, 2012-13) and has been named Canada West Coach of the Year four times.