Hoop Kings make impression at basketball championships

The RDC Kings may not have won a medal at the Canadian colleges men’s basketball championships, but they made an impression.

The RDC Kings may not have won a medal at the Canadian colleges men’s basketball championships, but they made an impression.

The Kings who finished fourth, losing to St. Thomas University Tommies of Fredericton, N.B., in the bronze medal game, were embraced by the fans in Truro, N.S.

“We came in ranked eighth and became the Cinderella favourite . . . we had a lot of support,” said Kings head coach Clayton Pottinger. “I give the guys credit. After losing the first game, mainly because of nerves, they could have folded, but instead wanted to prove they belong.”

They did just that winning their next two games before running out of gas in the bronze medal contest against the Atlantic Coast champion Tommies.

The Kings received the Fair Play award for their performance and outstanding forward Rob Pierce was named to the first all-star team.

The Kings performance caught the attention of people across Canada.

“I’ve already received a number of calls from kids and their parents from across Canada about our program and the college,” said Pottinger. “They’re interested in our team and what we offer academically. Being at the Canadians and our showing certainly helps put us on the map.”

It was only the second time the Kings competed at the nationals and it was their best showing. In 1998 they finished seventh.

The Kings may well have won bronze if backup point guard Jamal Pryce hadn’t left just prior to the nationals because of personal reasons. As a result Lloyd Strickland was forced to play significant minutes each game and looked a bit wore out in the bronze medal contest.

“Maybe we would have pulled it out if he would have been there, but we wasn’t,” said Pottinger, who could have all but Sarain Soonias back next season.

“Sarain is the only one ineligible to come back, but there’s always changes,” he said, adding he’ll have meetings with all his players in the next while.

“I can’t say how many guys we’ll have back, but they got a taste of the nationals, so who knows.”

The Kings will have changes and although Pottinger won’t be holding a prospects camp, he will bring in players to work out with some of the veterans.

• It’s been a good year for RDC when it comes to competing at the nationals and it’s not over yet.

The Kings volleyball and basketball as well as the women’s doubles badminton team of Mary Smith and Mizuki Awai have had their turn representing the college, now it’s the men’s curling team, led by Shane Parcels.

Parcels, third Dawson Abraham, second Stephen Hood, lead Dylan Hoar and alternate Garrett Olson left for Peterorough, Ont., Tuesday and will open play today.

It’s the first CCAA nationals since 1990.

“It’s exciting to get a chance to compete at this level,” said Parcels, who won the ACAC championship, beating Augustana in the final.

Parcels is in his first year at the college, but is no stranger to provincial play, competing at the juvenile and junior level.

“I’ve had some success, but never competed at the nationals,” said the Red Deer native, who got involved in the sport at age seven.

“My dad (Michael) used to take me to the rink and eventually we started playing together,” Parcels explained.

Parcels and Hood have been together for several years, and the fact they knew RDC coach Brad Hamilton from when he coached them in juvenile, helped them make a decision to come to RDC.

“He asked me to come and once I saw he was the coach I jumped at the idea,” said Parcels.

Abraham is the only returnee from last year’s ACAC championship team, skipped by Evan Asmussen, who played third for world junior champion Brendan Bottcher this year. Olson, who played with the RDC mixed team, is also returning.

Parcels liked the way his team came together this season.

“We clicked, which was important having to come out of Alberta as it’s always a battle,” he said. “But that’s good it gets us ready.”

RDC takes on Humber College of Toronto and Fanshawe College of London, Ont., today.

They play a seven-game round-robin with the playoffs Saturday.

• Pierce was named the Boston Pizza RDC male athlete of the week.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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