Kings lose Lolik but add pair of talented players
The RDC Kings knew heading into the Alberta Colleges Men’s Basketball League season there was a good chance Sam Lolik wouldn’t be around come the second half.
Because of family commitments, the Kings lost the six-foot-eight Lolik, who was second on the team in scoring (13.2 points-per-game) and rebounds (8.1 rpg).
However, they appear to have filled the void nicely with the addition of six-foot-seven Damaine Nelson and six-foot-two guard Mari Peoples-Wong, both from Ajax, Ont.
Nelson spent the last two seasons with Keyano College in Fort McMurray were he averaged over 11 points per game and eight rebounds per start.
“We faced him last year in the playoffs and he impressed me with his rebounding,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “He’s strong defensively and plays with a lot of energy. When we got the opportunity to add him to the roster we jumped at it.”
Nelson didn’t play the first half of the season, spending some time in Red Deer working out with the Kings. The same for Peoples-Wong, who was on hand prior to the start of the season but couldn’t get into the trades program he wanted.
“He was on the waiting list, but when he didn’t get in he went back to work and got in the second semester,” explained Pottinger, who has been trying to add the impressive shooting guard for the last three years.
“My last year at Douglas (College in New Westminster) I tried to get him and last year here,” he said. “He’s a talented swing man who reminds me some of Eric Bakker . . . he can do it all.”
Peoples-Wong, who played two years in the States, showed some of his scoring ability last weekend when the Kings downed Lakeland College 89-65 in a practice scrimmage at RDC.
“We didn’t keep stats, but he had around 25 points,” said Pottinger, who knows both new players will take some pressure off star forward Robert Pierce, who is averaging 19.7 points and 13.2 rebounds per game. He’s second in the country in rebounds.
“The two new guys certainly add depth to the lineup, which only helps Robert,” said Pottinger, who would have liked to have seen Lolik stick around, but understood his leaving.
“Because of his family, I understand,” he said.
But with Lolik gone the Kings will revert back to a high-tempo style of play, which Pottinger likes to play.
“We’ll get back to our style a bit more, high-paced basketball.”
Outside of Lolik the Kings didn’t come close to losing any of the roster because of academic standings. In fact Pottinger couldn’t be happier with the marks.
“We had six guys with a 3.0 grade point average and above,” he said. “That’s something with the program. We want guys who are top competitors and athletes, who couple that with academics. They go hand in hand and you see that in the rankings.”
The Kings, who sport a 9-1 record, are ranked No. 2 in Canada back of Langara College of Vancouver.
The Kings return to league action this weekend as they entertain Lethbridge College Kodiaks Friday and Saturday. The women tip off at 6 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday with the men to follow.
The Kodiaks are ranked 13th in the nation.
“They had several games during the break and should be sharp while we had a couple of practices and one scrimmage,” said Pottinger. “We have to use this week’s practices to make sure we’re in top form.”
Both the RDC Queens and Lethbridge women are both sitting at 0-10.
• The hockey Queens return to action for the second half of the season with a home-and-home series against the SAIT Trojans — Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Arena and Friday at SAIT.
The Queens are second in the league, one point back of NAIT and seven ahead of SAIT.
• The volleyball squads are on the road at Grande Prairie where they play Friday and Saturday.
The Kings went into the Christmas break ranked No. 1 in Canada and have slipped to second with the Queens ranked seventh.