When you think CIS basketball, you automatically think of the great teams that have made their mark year after year in basketball history. If you’re from the east coast or you’ve ever taken a stroll down to the Metro Centre to watch the CIS Nationals then you’re familiar with StFX.
One name comes to mind when you think of ‘the main man’ in university basketball and that honor goes to Coach Steve Konchalski, the head coach of the St. Francis Xavier X-Men.
‘Coach K’ as he’s known throughout the halls of StFX, has created some of the most electrifying teams in Canadian basketball history. Whether you’re talking about Wade Smith, Randy Nohr, Jordan Croucher or Christian Upshaw, the list never stops. Knochalski has brought in talent every year of his tenure.
Now with a rebuilding team, he’ll look to make magic happen again.
After losing six great players to graduation, you’d expect any team to have a rough time rebuilding and developing into a contender again. Regardless of what school you talk about, that transition happens at one point.
The X-Men have lost their backcourt of Christian “T-Bear” Upshaw and William Silver, both AUS all-stars for the past two seasons.
Along with the two heralded stars, the X-Men lose big men Alberto Rodriguez and Dwayne Johnson, along with the sharp shooting Charlie Spurr and Chad Warren.
Thankfully for the X-Men, things may be brighter than expected.
Coming in at the point guard position is transfer student Tyrell Vernon. Vernon, a solid guard out of McMaster University will be looked at to make an immediate impact at the point guard position and handle the role of distributer. With a young supporting cast around him, his job only gets easier.
“I’m excited, Im coming into a new school, and ill be away from home for the first time,” said Vernon. “I loved the campus and loved the atmosphere in Antigonish. Everyone there is very passionate about their sports programs. Coach K gave StFX a great reputation Nation wide and I am honored that I will be apart of his legacy.”
Vernon was a member of the 2008 OUA All-Rookie team, along with being a member of the Canadian Jr. National program and an Adidas All-Canadian in 2007.
After spending the past few months tearing it up in Ontario, Carvery decided to follow his family – Upshaw – and set his path towards StFX. Marquis is a great guard who’s been on a winning program everywhere he’s attended. Given high praise by Coach K, the sky’s the limit for the kid with huge potential.
Kong’s been on the X-radar for a long time now and has given a commitment to pull on the blue and white for September. At 6’7 Kong would be seen as a big man in the CIS, yet he’s an athletic wing who can score at will and match up with any guard on the floor.
Finally rounding out the list of recruits to date will be Jacob Simmons of PEI. The developing big man has a knack for attacking the rim and has proved that he can bang with anyone in the country. His ability to battle down low will be crucial for the X-Men as they’ll need a collective effort next season to pick up from their recent success.
While there’s still four months until the next school year and anything can happen, one thing’s for sure, come September first, there’ll be quite the team on the floor of the StFX Oland Centre.