With a new coach and a young roster, the men’s basketball team wasn’t expected to win many games this year. And that’s exactly what happened.
After two preseason wins over the St. Lawrence College Vikings and the Royal Military College Paladins in early October, the Gaels went on a four-month, 25-game losing streak. They finished the season at 2-20, with both wins coming against the 0-24 Paladins.
The Gaels were the OUA East’s youngest team this season — forward and captain Bernard Burgesson was the only fourth-year player on the 13-man roster, while second-year guard Ryan Golden, the other captain, was one of 10 players in their first or second year of eligibility.
Golden, who played a team-high 31 minutes per game, should be the Gaels’ offensive anchor for in the coming seasons.
Forward Mackenzie Simpson, a third-year transfer student from St. Lawrence College, led the Gaels in scoring with 12.7 points per game, largely because of strong shooting — he made a team-high 39 three-point shots. Simpson was also the team’s most consistent scorer, posting over 10 points in all but five games.
The Gaels couldn’t compete physically this season — perimeter players Simpson and Golden led the team with 4.7 and 3.9 rebounds per game respectively. But 6’7 rookie centre John Lenz will be useful next season if he can adjust to the speed and physicality of the OUA.
If second-year forward Nikola Misljencevic — who averaged 11.4 points per game and shot 42 per cent from the three-point line this season — can start scoring consistently, the Gaels should improve on their 63.6 points per game average, the second lowest in the OUA this season.
This summer will be head coach Stephen Barrie’s first official recruiting period at Queen’s. With experience playing and coaching in Toronto and London, he has networks to find good talent.
Despite going 2-20, this season wasn’t a waste — with the talented younger players having earned valuable experience, the Gaels will be playoff contenders next year.
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