Hoop Kings’ plate is full

It’s been a long season for RDC Kings basketball head coach Craig Behan and the schedule isn’t even close to getting underway.

Red Deer College Kings’ basketball coach Craig Behan works with athletes Sean Giscombe

It’s been a long season for RDC Kings basketball head coach Craig Behan and the schedule isn’t even close to getting underway.

“It seems like we’re at the end of November already,” he said with a laugh.

“But it’s been busy, especially considering we don’t have many guys returning and spent a lot of time recruiting.”

Behan has only three players back from last season — guards Ryan Wachter and Andrew Cassidy and six-foot-eight post player Adam Weir — to go with five players from Ontario, two from Vancouver, two from Calgary and point guard Lloyd Strickland from the provincial 4A high school champion Raymond Comets.

“Having so many first-year guys it takes time for everyone to get on the same page,” said Behan.

“With guys from different parts of the country they have different styles and different ways to play the game. The guys from Toronto have a different tempo than the guys from Vancouver, who play a more structured game. Then the Alberta kids are used to a different pace.

“But it’s interesting and we’re coming along. We’re not trying to push things, as long as we’re ready by the start of the regular season (Oct. 23 against Lethbridge). Right now we’re concentrating on schooling and making sure everyone is getting used to being here.”

Behan has four players out of Toronto and one — six-foot-six, 270-pound Keville Olivierre — from Ottawa. Olivierre brings college experience with him, having played two years with Algonquin College in Nepean, Ont.

The four from Toronto are six-foot-five power forward Terrell Campbell, six-foot-one guard Sean Giscombe, six-foot-three guard Jason David and power forward Eduardo Sanchez.

“I’ve been impressed with all four kids,” said Behan. “They’re athletic and fit into the program. It will just take them a little time to adjust to their new environment as it’s big change from Toronto to Red Deer.”

Both players out of Vancouver — six-foot-five Chris Portious and six-foot-three guard Graeme McCallum — have college experience.

Portious played with Capilano College while McCallum was the MVP at the national finals with Douglas College in 2008.

“Both are a little older and have excellent leadership qualities,” said Behan.

Six-foot-four Eric Bakker and guard Jordan Stevens, who will red shirt, come from Centennial High School in Calgary.

Behan will get a chance to see his troops in action this weekend in the RDC Sandman Hotel Fall Royality Classic tournament.

The Kings meet MacEwan College Friday at 9 p.m. and NAIT Saturday at 7 p.m. Other men’s games sees NAIT clash with SAIT at 3 p.m. Friday and MacEwan and SAIT meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday. All games are at RDC.

“We play two of the better teams out of the north,” said Behan. “But this league this year will be the toughest it’s been in years. We could have an outstanding team and be fighting for a playoff spot. This could be the best league in the country.”

On the women’s side the Queens meet Grande Prairie at 7 p.m. Friday and take on SAIT at 10:30 a.m. and MacEwan at 5 p.m. Saturday.

Other women’s games sees MacEwan clashing with SAIT at 5 p.m. Friday while on Saturday Grande Prairie and MacEwan meet at 10:30 a.m. at Lindsay Thurber, and Grande Prairie faces SAIT at 3 p.m. at RDC.

l Former King Randy Davis is playing with the University of Lethbridge . . . guard Adam Shaw decided not to play this season . . . Six-foot-nine Rae Salter of Israel signed a pro contract just before leaving to attend RDC . . . Former King Brett Gaudreau is attending MacEwan College . . . Kings will have Lee Sprunger and Tim McLenehan as assistant coaches.

drode@bprda.wpengine.com

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