The VIU Mariners expect to have an exciting team in a lot of ways this season. They have creative playmakers, they play an up-tempo style, and they plan to win most nights.
“We have explosive athletes, we have speed, we’ll have guys who really get out in transition and create a lot of exciting plays,” said Matt Kuzminski, VIU coach.
Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team is expected to be a contender again in the Pacific Western Athletic Association, but it’s a new team in a lot of ways.
Hot outside shooting was a hallmark of the Mariners in recent seasons. This year’s group can do that, too, plus a lot of other things.
“From an offensive standpoint, I think we’re a little different this year,” Kuzminski said. “We have more guys who can attack the basket, put pressure on the defence that way.”
New swingman Justin King emerged as the top scorer in the pre-season, and Kadeem Stewart, another newcomer, will be a major contributor at the guard position. Forward Jason Fortin and guard Harrison Stupich are two of the veteran leaders.
“I’m starting to see where our guys can have success, what kind of rotations we can go with, but at the same time there are still guys who are still figuring things out and can get better at what we’re doing, which will make us a better team,” Kuzminski said. “We have a ton of room to grow still … and that’s exciting.”
King said he thinks guys are jelling well, and he sees a deep team that likes to run and play hard.
“We play with a lot of energy and [we play] together,” he said. “It’s going to be an up-tempo game and we’re going to be fun to watch. I can’t wait.”
GAME ON … The VIU men tip off the season tonight (Oct. 30) versus the Camosun Chargers at 8 p.m. at the VIU gym. The Mariners women’s b-ball team takes on the Chargers at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, teens and alumni, $2 for kids and free for VIU students.