VIU basketball gets premier games

Two NCAA Div. 1 opponents will play exhibition games against Nanaimo's Vancouver Island University this August.

The VIU Mariners have a couple of wonderful opportunities, and at the same time, significant challenges.

Vancouver Island University’s men’s basketball team has scheduled exhibition games against two NCAA Div. 1 opponents in August, with the Northwestern State University Demons and the Cal State Northridge Matadors visiting the VIU gym.

“It’s awesome. It’s just a great chance for us to get to play earlier in the year than we normally start our exhibition season,” said Matt Kuzminski, coach of the VIU men. “It’s also a real good test for our guys.”

The Mariners have been working out informally this summer and won’t have had any full practices before the August games.

“We’re not necessarily going into these games with our goal being to win the game, we’re going in there to compete hard and see how we can play against some high-level talent,” Kuzminski said. “They might be a little bit bigger and more athletic than us, but we’ll have to see if we can hang in there in some other ways.”

The new coach said he will also use the games to evaluate his guys.

“[It’s] a chance to kind of see which guys are willing to be leaders on this team and maybe for some of the guys who are kind of fighting for a position, to see how they play in a high-intensity game situation.”

Northwestern State visits the VIU gym Aug. 14 and Northridge comes to town Aug. 22. Both games will be 6 p.m. tipoffs.

COURT SHORTS … VIU athletics is looking for participants for its summer youth basketball camps Aug. 7-10 and Aug. 13-17. For more information, please visit www.gomariners.ca.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com