Old Faces in New Places, Part One: Nine Basketball Student-Athletes That Are Shining With Their New Programs

Veteran forward Megan Looney is having herself a career-year with the Thunderbirds, averaging a double-double through Algoma’s first six games of the season. (Photo retrieved from the Algoma Thunderbirds Athletics Website) (Header: Photo retrieved from the Brock Badgers Athletics Website)

SARNIA, ON — Given the lengthy layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was bound to be some roster shake-ups across Canada when sport returned.

Across the board, there are a LOT of old(er) faces in new(er) places. Some student-athletes have been with their respective programs since 2020, but had yet to play in a game due to seasons and sports being cancelled across the board. Some student-athletes transferred this summer ahead of their return to competition.

Long story short, there was a lot of movement across Canada when it comes to transfers. We’ve done our best to keep up with who moved where and what they’re up to, which is why we’ve started our ‘Old Faces in New Places’ features.

We start on the basketball court for Part One, taking a look at just a handful of players who have moved onto new places and are having an immediate impact with their new program.

Disclaimer: this list is by no means complete, as there’s a plethora of transfer players on the court doing big things with their respective programs. We had to cut the list somewhere, and this is our ‘somewhere’ …

Let us know in the comments, or on social media, if there’s another old(er) face in a new(er) place that deserves some more love!

Tajinder Lall, Brock Badgers

2021-22 Stat Line: 22.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apg; 52.2% FG, 44.0% 3PT, 73.7% FT

Formerly of the Carleton Ravens, Cambridge native TJ Lall is no stranger to success in the OUA and across U SPORTS. Now a member of the Brock Badgers, the fifth-year guard/forward is having an immediate impact with his new team, and the Badgers are one of the nation’s top teams with Lall in the mix.

Lall is averaging a team-high 22.5 points per game through his first six appearances with the Badgers, shooting 52.2% from the field and 44.0% from three-point range along the way. Lall ranks fourth in the OUA in scoring, trailing guards Omar Shiddo, Ali Sow, and Jordan Henry. He also ranks eighth in the conference in field goal percentage and 20th in free throw percentage,

November 6th was when Lall made his Brock debut, and he made a statement right away. In just 16 minutes of floor time against the Laurier Golden Hawks, Lall went for a season-best 31 points, on 11-of-18 shooting from the field, to go along with five rebounds in the 95-74 win. He followed that up with 28 points in Brock’s next outing against the Lakehead Thunderwolves, and has recorded at least 14 points in all six games this season.

As the case has been throughout his collegiate career, Lall is as consistent as they come. In addition to his scoring numbers, he has shot 50% or better from the field four times this season while recording multiple assists on four occasions. Add in the fact that he has at least four rebounds in each game and it’s easy to see why Lall has been one of the OUA’s best players throughout his career.

Now, he’s one of several weapons that Head Coach Willy Manigat has on the Brock roster, and the Badgers are reaping the rewards early on in 2021-22. At 7-0, the Badgers are ranked fifth in the country ahead of what is sure to be an exciting race towards the Wilson Cup and the U SPORTS National Championships.

Given his experience on the biggest stage in Canadian University basketball and his talents on both ends of the floor, Lall is having a major impact with his new program in more ways than one in 2021-22.

The addition of guard Chloe Scaber has given Head Coach Tony Bryce and the VIU Mariners yet another weapon as they gear up to host the 2022 CCAA Women’s Basketball National Championships. (Photo retrieved from the VIU Mariners Facebook Page).

Chloe Scaber, VIU Mariners

2021-22 Stat Line: 11.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.3 apg; 39.6% FG, 36.4% 3PT, 64.7% FT

Coming into the 2021-22 season, Chloe Scaber was one of those players who was poised for a breakout season. Scaber joined the Mariners after a stint with the Camosun Chargers, and she has given Head Coach Tony Bryce yet another weapon on what is a balanced yet immensely talented roster for the CCAA Women’s Basketball National Championship hosts.

Through eight games, Scaber is one of four Mariners to average double-digit points per game, and all four VIU players rank inside the top 13 in the PACWEST. Scaber is averaging 11.9 points per game on 39.6% shooting from the field, 36.4% from three-point range, and 64.7% from the free throw line. In addition, Scaber is averaging 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists per contest while averaging just over 20 minutes of floor time per outing.

Per 40 minutes, Scaber is averaging 23.2 points per game.

Scaber has recorded double-digit points in six of her eight games so far this season, including twice against her former team as the Mariners went on the road to take on the Chargers to open the regular season at the start of November. In the first meeting, Scaber recorded 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting in VIU’s 79-50 win. The next night, Scaber chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and two steals to help the Mariners complete the weekend sweep with a 75-40 victory.

The third-year guard from Victoria has played a key role for the Mariners thus far in 2021-22, giving the team quality production when she’s in the starting lineup or coming off the bench. Scaber has performed well through the first half of the year, and is showing no signs of slowing down heading into 2022 for the undefeated Mariners.

Sean Michael-Clancey, Keyano College Huskies

2021-22 Stat Line: 20.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 3.2 apg; 43.1% FG, 87.1% FT

On the heels of a 2019-20 season that resulted in him being named the ACAC North Division Player of the Year award and a CCAA All-Canadian, fourth-year guard Sean Michael-Clancey is showing once again why he’s one of Canada’s best players in 2021-22 with the Keyano College Huskies.

The native of Las Vegas excelled in 2019-20 as a member of the NAIT Ooks, leading the ACAC with an average of 26.6 points per contest, en route to the Player of the Year and All-Canadian accolades. Fast forward to 2021-22, and even though he’s switched jerseys, Michael-Clancey is still wreaking havoc on the ACAC, and the Huskies are now reaping the benefits of having him on their bench as opposed to facing him.

Through six games, Michael-Clancey is tied for seventh in the league in scoring, averaging 20.3 points per contest on 43.1% shooting from the field and 87.1% from the free throw line. In terms of the divisional ranks, Michael-Clancey is second in the North Division in scoring. He’s also among the conference leaders in rebounding, sitting in a tie for eighth with an average of 7.8 rebounds per game.

Michael-Clancey made his Keyano debut on November 12th against The King’s University Eagles, and he proceeded to go for 20 points on 53.8% shooting in the Huskies’ 45-point win. The next night, Michael-Clancey recorded his first double-double of the season, notching 17 points and 12 rebounds in the 99-77 win over the Eagles. He also added five assists and four steals to complete the all-round performance.

As was the case when he was a member of the Ooks, where he recorded 10+ points in all 22 regular season games, Michael-Clancey is off to yet another hot start. He has recorded at least 14 points in all six games thus far in 2021-22, and looks to be on pace for another stellar season.

Keyano finds themselves atop the ACAC North Division standings with an unblemished 6-0 record at the break, and they will look to continue that level of play into the second half of the season.

Aliyah Johnson, NAIT Ooks

2021-22 Stat Line: 17.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.4 apg; 46.8% FG, 81.8% FT

As we go from a former member of the Ooks to the Huskies, we now take a look at a player who joined NAIT this season after transferring from Keyano College. Guard Aliyah Johnson was one of the ACAC’s top guards when she was a member of the Huskies in 2019-20, and that statement still rings true this season with the Ooks.

Through five games this season, Johnson ranks sixth in the conference with an average of 17.4 points per contest, a number that also ranks second in the North Division (CUE Thunder guard Kaelyn Bryks leads the conference with 21.5 ppg). Johnson is shooting 46.8% from the field and 81.8% from the free throw line, while chipping in 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest.

Johnson’s 2021-22 numbers on offense have her on pace for new career-high marks, besting her 2019-20 numbers of 15.3 points per game and 42.3% shooting from the field.

Despite the lengthy layoff due to the pandemic, Johnson has shown little to no rust on offense, recording at least 10 points in all five games. She opened her NAIT regular season career with 22 points against the Augustana Vikings on November 19th in a 72-64 loss. The next night, the Ooks exacted some revenge on the Vikings, picking up their first win by flipping the script and notching their own 72-64 win.

The race for the North Division scoring title is going to be a fun one. Against the Thunder on the weekend of November 26-27, both Johnson and Bryks carried their teams to a road victory. On the 26th, Bryks racked up 36 points to Johnson’s 13 points, leading the Thunder to the six-point win. The next night, Johnson went for a season-best 29 points, while the Ooks held Byrks to just 12 points, leading NAIT to the eight-point, come-from-behind victory.

After a strong four-year run with the Huskies, Johnson has seemingly saved her best season for last, and the Ooks are right in the thick of things in the race for the ACAC North Division title.

Brett Curtis, Crandall Chargers

2021-22 Stat Line: 16.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.3 apg; 46.8% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 64.3% FT

The start of the 2021-22 season has seen the Crandall Chargers race out to a 5-2 record at the break, and transfer guard Brett Curtis has played a key role in the Chargers’ strong play. To put things in perspective, it took the Chargers until February 9th, 2020 to notch their fifth win in their 14th contest.

Curtis joined the Chargers after transferring from the Mount Allison Mounties, where he won an ACAA Championship in 2020 and was set to appear at the CCAA National Championships before they were ultimately cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Curtis and the Chargers sit in a tie for second place in the ACAA standings through seven games, six points behind the Holland Hurricanes.

Through seven games, Curtis is one of four Crandall players averaging double-digit points per game, and he sits second on the team in scoring with an average of 16.0 points per contest on 46.8% shooting from the field and 41.7% from behind the arc. He’s also averaging 4.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

Curtis closed the first semester with at least 13 points in five straight games, a streak that was started by a 23-point outing against his former team. On November 5th, Curtis and the Chargers went on the road to Mount Allison and came away with a two-point win, 78-76. Curtis went for 23 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the win.

Then, to cap off his strong start to the season, Curtis did this against the UKC Blue Devils on November 27th.

Brett Curtis called game, nailing a buzzer beater to upend the UKC Blue Devils and push Crandall’s record to 5-2.

Curtis and the Chargers find themselves in the thick of the ACAA playoff race, a position that hasn’t been too familiar in recent years. With a balanced offensive attack and a renewed sense of confidence surrounding the program, Crandall is one of the better surprises through the first half of the season.

Megan Looney, Algoma Thunderbirds

2021-22 Stat Line: 12.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 0.3 apg; 43.1% FG, 52.0% FT

Putting the record for the Algoma Thunderbirds aside for a minute, transfer forward Megan Looney is having herself a career year in 2021-22.

Looney joined the Thunderbirds program after a stint with the Lakehead Thunderwolves, and has quickly emerged as the team’s leading option on offense. The fifth-year forward from Buckeye is putting up her best numbers this season for a young Algoma team that features a total of 10 first-year student-athletes.

Through six games, Looney is averaging 12.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game while shooting 43.1% from the field. She ranks 15th in the OUA in scoring to start the year, and is one of four players averaging a double-double through the first half (Julia Chadwick, Sam Keltos, and Cyanna King being the others).

Looney has recorded three double-doubles over her first six games, and flirted with two more. Against the Western Mustangs on November 6th, Looney went for a season-high 20 points while pulling down 13 rebounds for her first double-double of the year. She would follow that up with an 18-point, 12-rebound outing against the McMaster Marauders after Algoma’s bye week.

While Algoma’s record is still without a win, Looney has put up some impressive numbers against some of the OUA’s top teams. After coming off the bench in the first game of the season against Western, Looney has been a regular fixture in the starting five ever since, and has backed up her position with strong play on both ends of the floor while serving as a veteran leader for Head Coach Ryan Vetrie and the younger Thunderbirds on the roster.

Julian Hinckson Jr., George Brown Huskies

2021-22 Stat Line: 13.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg; 58.1% FG, 70.8% FT (Exhibition Play)

For the George Brown Huskies, their 2021-22 roster will look considerably different to the one that secured the 2020 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Some big names are missing from their title-winning squad, but they have also added some talented pieces to the mix as they look to defend their crown.

One name that the Huskies have added to the mix is fourth-year forward Julian Hinckson, Jr., formerly of the Durham Lords. The Ajax, Ontario product last played for the Lords during the 2018-19 season where he was named an East Division First Team All-Star after averaging 13.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game on 58.7% shooting.

While the OCAA has yet to begin their 2022 regular season, various teams have been taking part in exhibition contests since mid-October and the Huskies are no exception. Through four games, the Huskies are 3-1 and Hinckson Jr. has given the team quality production off the bench. Over four appearances, Hinckson Jr. is averaging 13.3 points and 7.0 rebounds per game while shooting over 58% from the field and 70% from the free throw line.

Hinckson Jr. has recorded double-digit points in all four games during George Brown’s exhibition schedule, and he’s racked up a pair of double-doubles. Against the Niagara Knights on November 18th, his first action with the Huskies, Hinckson Jr. recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds in George Brown’s 82-78 road win. He would later record an identical double-double against the Redeemer Royals on November 27th in a seven-point home loss.

The games may not matter at this point in terms of overall record or season-long statistics, but the Huskies have to be pleased with what they’ve seen from Hinckson Jr. through four games as they gear up to defend their OCAA Championship. He’s given the Huskies consistent production while averaging a shade over 21 minutes per game in a reserve role.

Keylyn Filewich, Winnipeg Wesmen

2021-22 Stat Line: 20.1 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 2.3 apg; 59.0% FG, 60.7% FT

Death. Taxes. Keylyn Filewich recording double-doubles.

Some things in life are guaranteed, and for one of the newest members of the Winnipeg Wesmen, it’s business as usual.

When Filewich transferred to the Wesmen in the summer, it was a move that should have sent shockwaves across the U SPORTS landscape, but otherwise fell on deaf ears (that’s an article and/or argument for another day). Filewich was consistently one of the best players in Canada during her time with the UBC Thunderbirds, and she hasn’t missed a beat this season while playing back in her hometown to close her collegiate career.

Filewich ranks third in the Canada West in scoring and fourth in rebounding, averaging 20.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per contest for the undefeated Wesmen. Filewich is also shooting 59.0% from the field, a mark that’s good enough for the second-best mark in the league.

Known as arguably the most consistent player during her career, Filewich hasn’t missed a beat in 2021-22. She has recorded double-digit points in all eight regular season games this season, and has at least nine rebounds in each game. Filewich has recorded a total of five double-doubles, including four straight to close the fall semester.

On November 11th against the visiting Brandon Bobcats, Filewich recorded a season-high 27 points and 17 rebounds in the 93-59 win for the Wesmen. She went 13-for-20 (65.0%) from the field in the win, marking one of the six times she finished a game with a shooting percentage of at least 50% from the field.

Filewich, who was the 2019-20 Canada West Player of the Year and a First Team All-Canadian, has been on some type of roll since joining the Wesmen, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given her track record in the Canada West. Filewich and the Wesmen are rolling into the Christmas Break, and they will look to ride their wave of momentum into the second half as one of the nation’s top teams sets their sights on big things in 2022.

Harry Liu, Capilano Blues

2021-22 Stat Line: 15.7 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.9 apg; 53.2% FG, 35.5% 3PT, 77.8% FT

From a new Head Coach to roster moves, the 2021-22 season has brought forth several changes for the Capilano Blues. One move that stands out has been the addition of transfer guard Harry Liu. Making his return to the PACWEST after stints with the Cape Breton Capers and the Langara Falcons, Liu has made an immediate impact with the Blues this season.

Over the first nine games of the season, Liu is averaging a team-best 15.7 points per game while shooting 53.2% from the field, 35.5% from three-point range, and 77.8% from the free throw line. Liu ranks seventh in the PACWEST in points per game while leading the league in total points (141).

Liu finds himself inside the top 10 in a handful of other statistical categories. He ranks second in total rebounds (80), third in offensive rebounds (27), third in defensive rebounds (53), sixth in rebounds per game (8.9 rpg), seventh in field goal percentage (53.2%), and ninth in total assists (17).

In his PACWEST return, Liu has opened the season by reaching double-digit points in all nine games. He recorded 19 points in the season-opener, a 107-93 road win over Langara. Liu pulled down 11 rebounds in the win for the first of his three double-doubles in the first half of the season.

Against the Douglas College Royals on November 14th, Liu recorded a season-high 22 points on 9-of-13 (69.2%) shooting from the field in the Blues’ 106-82 win.

Liu is one of six Capilano players averaging double-digit points through the first half of the season. At 6-3, the Blues sit second in the PACWEST standings behind the VIU Mariners. Their three losses have all been by single digits, including an eight-point loss to VIU, showing that the Blues can hang with the best of the best in the league.

Liu has made an immediate impact at Capilano, and he will look to continue his strong play in the second half of the year.

  • T. Bennett

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