Bolstered by transfers, Brock men return to gym
The Brock men’s basketball team made a welcome return to the gym Wednesday night.
The Badgers were easing back into things with non-contact drills and following return to play protocols.
“It has been a long summer of being patient and trying to keep ourselves engaged as best as we can,” Brock head coach Willy Manigat said.
That engagement continued despite pandemic restrictions.
“We have tried to be as innovative and imaginative as we can and most of the programs have probably done the same,” he said. “There is only so much we can do but the guys were super-excited to get back out there today.”
Brock will take a measured approach as it returns to the gym.
“We will ease into it and take the next few weeks to get guys back into playing shape while doing some skills and not putting too much stress on their bodies,” Manigat said. “It will be a shock to their bodies, for sure, after so many months without being on the floor or being coached.”
With no games on the horizon, he’s not worried about motivating players.
“We are obviously going to have to do something to keep them engaged and focused but at the same time if they are the players I think I recruited and kept on our team then I shouldn’t need to spend as much time to motivate them,” Manigat said. “I think we can all agree that in this age of basketball in Canada or in the world where we are at, if you are not motivated yourself and if it doesn’t come intrinsically, then you are going to have some struggles.
“I don’t think it will take too much motivation to keep them engaged. I am just going to have to keep reminding them what their team and personal goals are.”
Manigat will be looking to build on his first season as head coach. Most pundits agree that the rookie coach got all he could out of his roster in 2019-20, going 12-11 in Ontario University Athletics action and 14-12 overall.
“We have key guys coming back but I don’t think any one guy is any more key than anyone else,” he said. “If we are going to be a successful team, we have to be a pretty deep team.”
Manigat is delighted to have Emmanuel Owootoah and Kascius Small-Martin back from injuries.
“Having both of those guys healthy makes an immediate impact.”
He’s also hoping to see an immediate impact from four transfers.
Jesse Barnes is a 6-foot-8 transfer from the University of Victoria, who had 3.9 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10 games for UVic in 2018-19. Last season, Barnes red-shirted last year at Chadron State College, an NCAA Division 2 program.
Barnes adds size, rebounding and the ability to defend at his position.
“A mature transfer going into his fourth year is something we are looking forward to adding to our team,” Manigat said.
Joining Brock from NCAA Division 1 Binghamton is 6-foot-5 wing Jevon (J.J.) Brown. The Toronto native averaged 10 minutes and 3.8 points in conference play for Binghamton last season. He averaged 10.6 points and 5.7 rebounds for Western Texas College in 2018-19 after spending his freshman year at Ranger College in Texas.
“He is super athletic, has a high motor, is a great defender and a great communicator on the floor,” Manigat said.
“I have recruited him for quite some time and he has finally decided to leave the States to come home.”
Another D1 transfer coming to Brock is 6-foot-3 200-pound point guard Tyler Plummer. The Vaughan native redshirted last season after playing 22 games and starting four contests for Wagner in the 2018-19 season.
“He is tough, tenacious defensively and comes us to us with experience playing at a high level,” Manigat said. “With those three transfers, we have been able to add some high level depth and talent at those positions and who can make an impact right away.
“We are excited about the group that we have put together and more importantly is their character and their goals.”
Brock has also recruited guard McFadden John from Montreal.
“We think he is someone we will be able to find minutes for in his first year,” Manigat said.