Rebound season

Team looking to show rest of OUA potential 

Sammy Ayisi (#13) and the Gaels are looking to return to the playoffs.
Sammy Ayisi (#13) and the Gaels are looking to return to the playoffs.
Men’s basketball returns to the court this Saturday as hosts to the York Lions in their home opener. After a disappointing 5-14 season where they finished last in the OUA East, the team looks to start the year off with a win against the Lions, the division’s runners-up last season.
 
“Our goal for the season is not only to improve on last year, but to make it to the OUA Final Four, and even nationals,” forward Mike Shoveller said.
This year’s team will focus on continuing to develop their young core.
 
Shoveller, now in his third year, will likely continue as a team leader and threaten defences with his ability to score from the outside.
 
There are also a number of returning fourth years who will likely step into larger roles following the departure of All-Star guard Greg Faulkner. 
 
Forward Ryall Stroud, sharpshooting guard Patrick Street and guard Sukhpreet Singh hope to lead this young team to a playoff berth following last year’s post-season absence.
 
Shoveller knows the odds are stacked against the Gaels this season, but that hasn’t stopped them from setting their sights high.
 
“Not many people are giving us much of a chance to even make the playoffs,” he said.
 
With last year’s changes to the OUA structure, the top three teams from each division will advance to the playoffs. The Gaels will play each team from their division three times, and play the other teams in the OUA once in their 19-game schedule.
 
Shoveller said one of the Gaels’ biggest strengths comes from their camaraderie.
 
“There’s a really strong sense of togetherness within the team,” he said.
 
The team’s schedule will be highlighted by a stretch of seven road games from Nov. 27 to Jan. 30, which should prove a test for this young squad. Immediately following will be a four game homestand, before the Gaels round out the season with games against Toronto and Ryerson, who eliminated Queen’s in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.
 
“We all have a huge chip on our shoulders,” Shoveller said. “[Our aim is] to prove every single person who doubted or overlooked us wrong.”
 

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