VIU's champs look to future

At some point, a championship season ends, and the process begins anew.

A day after Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team returned to Nanaimo with a national championship, coach Matt Kuzminski said he found himself reflecting while doing housework.

“I’ve still got to clean up the yard and do the dishes and all that kind of stuff. Life goes on, right?” he asked. “We’re still going to enjoy the success and the championship and celebrate it … but you’ve got to continue to move forward.”

The Mariners announced two new recruits for next season, both big forwards. Seth Goodman, 6-foot-7, comes to VIU from South Carolina’s Southern Wesleyan University where he averaged 17 points and 17 rebounds per game. Jerod Dorby, from Duncan’s Cowichan Thunderbirds, is a 6-foot-8 provincial team player.

Goodman ran out of semesters of eligibility in the U.S., said Kuzminski, which is one of the reasons he’s coming to Canada.

“It seems like a great place to better myself in the sense of not only basketball but education,” Goodman said in a press release.

He said he can add scoring, rebounding, defence, toughness and energy.

Kuzminski said Goodman can play any of the forward positions because he has size, quickness and ball-handling ability.

“He’ll give us a lot of versatility … He looks like he’s going to be a big contributor for us right away,” said the Mariners’ coach.

Dorby seems like he’ll be a hard worker, said Kuzminski.

“He’s a very live, active, high-energy type player,” said the coach. “He’ll be big for us in helping fill the void of Tyler Olsen [graduating].”

Olsen is the only member of the Mariners men who is moving on for sure, so there isn’t necessarily much more to do as far as recruiting for 2013-14.

“You’ve got to always have your eyes open but I think we’re in a pretty good spot right now the way we are,” Kuzminski said.

Goodman and Dorby had committed to VIU before the team’s playoff run, but Bruce Hunter, VIU’s athletic director, said the national championship is sure to help with recruiting in future seasons.

“Good players want to play for good teams,” Hunter said. “And it also helps with getting the VIU name out and known across the country. When you win the national championship there’s a lot of press, there’s a lot of publicity around that and it really helps to build the VIU brand.”

Mariners best in classes, too

Almost all of Vancouver Island University’s sports teams were championship contenders this past season. What’s more, the players achieved their victories without sacrificing their studies.

For just the second time in school history, VIU led the Canadian Colleges’ Athletic Association in number of CCAA Academic All-Canadians.

“To me, that’s one of the crowning achievements of this year…” said Bruce Hunter, athletic director. “To have that many good athletes also be outstanding academic students is a remarkable feat.”

Academic all-Canadians include soccer players Stephen Ewashko, Matt Mehrassa and Samantha Rodgers; badminton players Melissa Liew and Pat Thompson; basketball player Shayna Worthington and volleyball players Leanna Gildersleeve and Tory Zaytsoff.

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