Print Edition: January 30, 2013
The UFV men’s basketball team dismantled a talented but shaky UNBC Timberwolves squad over the weekend, taking the two games 88–65 and 88–70 respectively. As the Timberwolves just made the jump to CIS this year, the outcome is no surprise, although the Timberwolves put up more fight than they could have (or perhaps should have, the Cascades are missing several key players). On Friday, guard Sam Freeman (27 points) seemed on pace for another 40-point night until an aggravated injury at the end of the second put him off his game, and success story Nathan Kendal (19 points, nine rebounds) continued to channel his inner big-man as power forward.
Yet the major surprise was a trimmed 12-man UFV roster that lacked a certain, bouncy second-year guard. Not only was that certain guard missing from the roster, he was missing from the bench as well.
“Jordan [Blackman] is no longer with us … no comment,” said head coach Adam Friesen after the game. Other sources confirmed that Blackman and the Cascades parted ways earlier this week after the team returned from a two-game weekend road trip in Alberta.
Blackman, who joined the team last year out of Yale Secondary, has shown flashes of brilliance this year, including a 30-point effort against the Eastern Washington Eagles in a preseason meeting last September. Many considered him to be the spiritual protégé of controversial guard Joel Friesen, who followed former UFV coach Barnaby Craddock to play for the University of Alberta during the summer.
The Cascades were also missing fifth-year forward Kyle Grewal due to lingering injury. Friday’s game was the first UFV has won without Grewal since he was sidelined before Christmas, and improves the team’s record to 9–7 on the season.
Coach Friesen admitted Grewal’s absence has affected his team’s game-plan. “It’s changed almost everything we do,” he said. “We had to basically change our offence. He was a big part of what we did, and a big post presence for us.”
The Cascades will travel to UBC-O this weekend, and continue the struggle to break back into the national top 10 despite the recent challenges.