OSBA Pre-Season Preview: FATHER HENRY CARR
The Crusaders finished last season with a 6-16 regular season record, but shocked Southwest Academy in the first round with a 116-74 upset victory before losing to eventual champs Orangeville Prep in the quarter finals.
When asked about the team’s overall performance during the previous OSBA season, head coach Paul Melnik said: “2016-2017 was an up, down and up season for the Crusaders. We had good early season results, faltered badly in the second half of the regular season, but performed very well in the playoffs. The season was plagued by nagging injuries which hurt our continuity and consistency.”
The team will look to pick up where they left off last season but it won’t be an easy task. The Crusaders part ways with more than half of their 2016-17 season roster and add several unfamiliar faces to their program. Key performers/ seniors from this past year that have parted ways with the program include: Denier Campbell (6’2 G) who is currently playing in his rookie season at Lake Region State College in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, Shae Linton-Brown (6’1 G) who is playing in his rookie season at Georgia Highlands College in Rome, Georgia, Mychael Paulo (6’4 G) who is playing in his rookie season at Williston State College in North Dakota, Brendan Sackey (6’7 F) who is playing in his rookie season at Midland College in Midland, Texas, Clythus Griffith (6’0 G) who is playing in his rookie season at Monroe College in Bronx, NY, Anthony McNish Jr (6’4 F) who is playing in his rookie season at University of British Columbia (UBC), Chaquan Clarke (6’5 F) who has decided to now attend CBA Academy in North Carolina, and John Akende (6’1 G) who has decided to transfer and play for RISE Prep.
With the loss of numerous standout players, the Crusaders will turn to their high-profile recruiting class to rejuvenate the program. “With an almost entirely new roster, we hope to limit our injuries, be a little more consistent and peak at the right time,” adds Melnik. Key additions who will have an immediate opportunity to make an impact on the OSBA include:
Dominic Bakuteka (North Albion, CI) brings intensity, defense and scoring
Jamani Barrett (St Marguerite d’Youville CS) adds size, athleticism and rebounding
Samuel Campbell (GTA Prep) provides size, power, rebounding and inside presence
Dale Edwards (St. Thomas Aquinas CS) provides size, athleticism and scoring
Yannick Fallermann (St Laurence College, Australia) brings finesse, size and scoring
Illia Goloschapov (Cushing Academy) brings size, power, rebounding and inside presence
Kajon Gordon-Stephens (RISE Prep) provides athleticism, scoring and highlight dunks
Markus Harding (Weston, CI) brings size, length, rebounding and inside presence to the program
Josh Morgan (St. Augustine) brings immediate leadership, scoring and steady play
Zion Ngonadi (Father Henry Carr CS, Senior B) provides athleticism, grit and scoring
The Crusaders welcome back four players from last season who they will depend on to step up and have big seasons. These four key returnees are class of 2019 Marlon Beckford (6’7 C), class of 2019 Jalen Menzies (5’9 G), class of 2019 Tadre Morse (6’4 F), and class of 2019 Michael Green (6’6 F).
This upcoming season will be a test for the new look Henry Carr Crusaders. With an almost entirely new roster and a few key sophomores who helped the team make a playoff run in the 2016-17 OSBA Championships, the program will definitely be looking to prove they are a playoff caliber team.