Basketball fans in the borough will be getting their first real look at the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team this weekend as the university hosts the 48th annual Concordia Nike Tournament.
It will be the team’s first pre-season action since playing a pair of exhibition games against NCAA teams during the last week of August, losing to Sacred Heart University 83-70 and then to Siena College, 80-70.
The tournament, held at Concordia University’s Concordia Gym, is one of the longest running basketball tournaments in the country.
The Stingers will hosts Memorial, Wilfrid Laurier and Laurentian University as the team looks to prepare for the beginning of the regular season on Nov. 7.
Concordia’s season came to a disappointing end last February when the team was bounced from the playoffs on the road in the semi-finals against the Bishop’s Gaiters, 70-63.
It was the first time since 2010 that the Stingers had not won the conference title and gone on to represent Quebec at the national championships.
Coming off a year in which the team led the league in scoring with 72.1 points per game, coach John Dore said fans can expect more of the same from this year’s squad despite losing leading scorer Evens Laroche to graduation.
“I think, with the way we want to play the game, we’ll have a chance to score a lot of points,” he said.
“But at the end of the day it all depends on the team’s chemistry.”
Someone who may be able to fill the scoring void left by Laroche’s departure is transfer Mukiya Post. Post averaged 11.3 points per game in his year of CIS play with the Bishop’s Gaiters.
“He’s a much different player than Evens, different dimensions, but he’s a very, very good shooter and can really score,” said Dore.
On a whole Dore said he thinks the team assembled this year has a chance to get back to where the coach wants it to be.
“We’re a little bit young but have a chance to be successful,” he said.
“We have a number of guys returning who should be ready to step up and play a bigger part than last year.”
In terms of rookies, Dore said he’s excited to see 5’11” guard Xander Jean develop with the Stingers, adding that he’s “someone who can sort of play a lot of positions for us.”
As for this weekend’s tournament, Dore is looking forward to the competition.
“Laurentian really came on late last year and ended up having a good year, Laurier was up and down. It should be a good test,” he said.
The Concordia Nike Tournament takes place on the weekend of Oct. 4 at the Concordia Gym on the university’s Loyola Campus.
The Stingers’ first game is at 6:00 p.m. on Friday against Memorial University.
Photo: Jesse Feith