Comeback campaign

All-Star newcomers jumpstart rebuild for talented Gaels team

Guard Sukhpreet Singh was named to the OUA East All-Rookie Team after averaging 12.2 points and 3.8 assists per game.
Guard Sukhpreet Singh was named to the OUA East All-Rookie Team after averaging 12.2 points and 3.8 assists per game.
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Men’s basketball had nowhere to go but up, and a radically revamped roster delivered just that.

With 10 new faces on the Gaels’ roster, it was hard to know what to expect from the team this season — only that it couldn’t be worse than their 2-20 campaign in 2011-12.

Head coach Stephan Barrie’s recruiting efforts last summer ultimately paid off. Several impressive rookies joined former Carleton Ravens guard Greg Faulkner to lead the Gaels to a 10-10 regular season record and their first playoff berth in three years.

Playing a team-high 31.8 minutes per game, Faulkner was named to the OUA East Second All-Star Team. He led the Gaels with 19.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game — ranking among the OUA’s top five in both categories.

After Faulkner suffered a concussion in late January, the Gaels struggled on both ends of the court, winning just one of six games in his absence. Faulkner returned to score 26 points in the Gaels’ OUA East quarterfinal loss to the Laurentian Voyageurs, with all signs pointing to a full recovery.

With a variety of injuries limiting third-year point guard Ryan Golden to just five games this season, rookies Sukhpreet Singh and Roshane Roberts played heavy minutes for the Gaels and proved themselves capable of excelling at the CIS level.

Both Singh and Roberts were selected to the OUA East All-Rookie Team. Singh’s 3.8 assists per game ranked sixth in the OUA, while Roberts chipped in 3.6. If Golden can stay healthy next year, the Gaels could have three of the OUA’s best point guards.

Dynamic third-year forward Nikola Misljencevic was sixth in the CIS in three-point shooting and 10th in field goal percentage. If he can repeat his 28-point performance he earned against the York Lions, Misljencevic could become among the OUA’s most dangerous offensive threats.

With James Asefa as the Gaels’ only graduating player, there will be a lot of familiar faces in the lineup next year. The proven first-year crop should benefit from their first round of off-season training, and return bigger, stronger and ready to propel the Gaels into the second round of the playoffs.

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