Brock men’s basketball adds assistant, still recruiting players
Brock men’s basketball coach Willy Manigat has gone with the familiar in hiring a lead assistant to help keep the Badgers among the elite teams in Ontario University Athletics play.
Brandon Edwards has coached with Manigat at the Ottawa prep school, Canada Topflight Academy, and at the elite level with the Ottawa Youth Basketball Association. Edwards was the head coach at Cegep Heritage College in Gatineau, Que., and led his team to a championship this past season.
“Him and I have worked closely together before and there is a huge trust factor there,” Manigat said. “He knows how I do things, he likes working with me and we like working with each other.
“I’m fortunate because he is a full-time teacher who is taking a leave of absence so he can be a part of growing this program.”
Manigat has also recruited Pat Sullivan for his staff. Sullivan is long-time high school coach, a founder and coach with the Niagara Tigers AAU program, a former assistant under Brock coach Charles Kissi and a Brock alumnus.
“He is going to be helping as much as he can but obviously as a teacher, he will be missing a lot of our practices,” he said. “I think Pat, who is a guy who has won here and a guy who is well-respected, wants to be part of it and you want guys who want to help the program in any way they can.”
As of now, Brock’s first game won’t be until Oct. 4 versus Windsor in the RBC Tournament, but Manigat has had his team working out for weeks.
“We’ve been training — I won’t call it practice — but not everyone is here and we still have some recruits coming from out of town that we will announce shortly once they are all official into school,” he said. “We are still going through that process but we’ve been training as team, definitely getting better and working on some skills and doing some scrimmages.”
He likes what he has seen so far.
“So far, so good,” the former Carleton assistant said. “The transition has been a good one in terms of the excitement in the gym and the guys working hard.”
He hasn’t needed much time to get familiar with his returning players.
“These guys, as well as the ones coming back, are guys I coached against, scouted against and I know their games.”
But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been doing his homework.
“Since I got the job, I have gone back and watched all of their games from last year and some of those games I have watched over and over just to understand all their strengths and weaknesses and how to make them better as a team.”
Last season, Brock had an 18-9 record and reached the OUA Wilson Cup Final Four for a second consecutive year.
“They did some good things and at the end of the day last year, this team was a top four team in the OUA,” Manigat said. “Our goal is to improve on that, but it is going to take a lot of work and some retooling.”
That retooling is an ongoing process that will take the 31-year-old Montreal native right up until classes start.
“If everything goes well and they can all get into school, we should have four or five and there is still one on the bubble” he said. “Hopefully I can get a confirmation from him but I know he is considering us and St. FX. We are still in the recruiting war part of it.”
It is not uncommon for this to come down to the final days.
“Nowadays, basketball players want to go to the NCAA so badly that we might get lucky and get some kids who don’t get that opportunity,” he said. “There is still some work to be done in that area, for sure, but we do have some pieces coming in.”
Manigat welcomed fourth-year point guard Tyler Brown back to the fold this week. Brown recently completed his season with the Canadian Elite Basketball League’s Niagara River Lions.
“The great thing about TB is that even though he hasn’t been here as much as the other guys, he has come in on his days off and kind of made himself part of the team and has done some of the workouts with the guys,” he said. “We are looking forward to him being a major contributor in the upcoming season.”