Hoop Kings want hardware

RDC Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger isn’t just satisfied to go to the Canadian Colleges men’s basketball championships, he would like nothing better than to play for a medal.

RDC Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger isn’t just satisfied to go to the Canadian Colleges men’s basketball championships, he would like nothing better than to play for a medal.

“Obviously we would like to win gold, but we definitely want to be in the medals,” said Pottinger prior to leaving for Truro, N.S. Tuesday morning.

The Kings won’t have an easy time of it as they go in ranked eighth and meet the No. 1-ranked University of Northern B.C. Timberwolves at 10 a.m. (MDT) Thursday.

It wasn’t the ranking Pottinger had hoped for.

“But to be honest we would probably have drawn them regardless where we would have been placed,” he said.

“I expected Mount Royal would be ranked No. 1, and they probably deserved to be as the teams ranked ahead of them at the end of the season all lost. But it was unlikely we’d meet them in the first round, so they set it up this way, which is fine.”

Pottinger, who coached last season in the B.C. league with Douglas College of New Westminster, knows a thing or two about the Timberwolves.

“I’m certainly familiar with their style of play. They’re a high-powered offensive team with good three-point shooters. They have a six-foot-nine big man who is mobile and some tough forwards. They’re also deep, so we’ll have to do a good job defensively.”

The Kings don’t kind going into the championships as underdogs.

“We’ve been there before, several times this season, and we’ve performed well, outside of the ACAC final (against MRU),” added Pottinger, who feels the Kings are ready.

“We had a great week of practice. They guys are looking forward to the challenge and we want to go out this season with a bang.”

No matter what the Kings do at the nationals, Pottinger is proud of their accomplishments.

“This is only the second time the Kings have competed at the nationals, which is great, but to the guys credit they’re not satisfied just to be there.”

The last time the Kings reached the finals was in 1998 when they won the ACAC title, led by outstanding guard Derek Zaharko. They Kings posted a 1-2 record, beating the St. Thomas University Tommies of Fredericton, N.B., in the seventh-place game.

Mount Royal meets the Mount St. Vincent University Mystics of Halifax while Quebec champion Ahuntsic of Montreal meets St. Thomas U and Ontario champion Mohawk College of Hamilton clashes with Montreal’s Vanier Cheetahs.

• Kings volleyball head coach Aaron Schulha announced his first signing for next season in six-foot-eight Phoenix, Ariz., native Chris Osborn.

Osborn first played basketball at the University of California Irvine and the Air Force Academy as a shooting guard. He switched to volleyball with UC Irvine and was a member of their national championship team in 2007.

He moved to the University of Manitoba in 2009 as a middle blocker before playing in Korea as a right-side hitter.

Last season he played for Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops before deciding to attend RDC to work on his outside hitting and to pursue his studies in French.

“His athletic ability and size will be a huge advantage to the Kings,” said Schulha in a news release.

“At six-foot-eight and a great jump he will be among the most physical athletes to play in the ACAC in recent years. His maturity and experience will add to an already solid core of student athletes.”

• Two members of the volleyball Kings — libero Matt Saunders and outside hitter Quentin Schmidt — and cross-country runner Jodi Sanguin received the Boston Pizza RDC athlete of the week awards.

Saunders and Schmidt turned in solid performances at the Canadian finals in Abbotsford and were named to the second all-star team.

Sanguin, who was the Red Deer open female athlete of the year for 2011, won the ACAC women’s 3,000-metre title at the indoor championships last weekend and finished second in the open class.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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