Humber Athletics Reporter
Humber College is no longer the king of the court.
The Humber Hawks men’s basketball team has dropped from first to sixth place in the latest national rankings after suffering their first loss of the season to the Fanshawe Falcons.
Meanwhile, the Falcons have jumped from seventh to fourth place to rank as the highest OCAA team on the list. Despite Humber’s slide in the national rankings, the Hawks and Falcons share identical 8-1 records to lead the OCAA West Division.
The Hawks started the season with eight consecutive wins, but their streak came to a halt after losing 79-72 to the Falcons on Nov. 28 at Fanshawe College.
“We got off to a slow start and we never really bounced back from it,” said second-year point guard Zachary Fox-Tapper.
Despite losing their last regular season game before the holiday break, there were plenty of positives to take note of in the first half of the Hawks’ season.
The Hawks remain among Ontario’s top three on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court this season. Humber is averaging 87.6 points per game while giving up only 69.9 points per game from their opponents.
The squad’s success on the court can be attributed to a revamped team consisting of improved veterans and talented newcomers. Power forward Chad Bewley noted that every player has a unique skillset to provide Humber a stacked roster.
“There’s a lot more skill on this team (compared to last season),” noted Bewley, a second-year Hawk who previously played three seasons for the York University Lions.
Returning players from last year’s squad include Bewley; defensive anchor Tyrone Dickson; combo guards Gibson Eduful, Junior Davis, and Fox-Tapper and reigning OCAA Rookie of the Year RJ Ramirez.
“Last year, we had a brand new offense and it took us a long time to get it,” continued Bewley. “This year, a lot of those (returning players) already have key roles and they already know the system.”
Head coach Shawn Collins made several roster additions in centres Vule Grujic and Nerquaye Nettey; small forwards Brayden Gohn, Kenny Ejim and Matthew Bukovec and guards Curwin Elvis, Nykyle Williams-McIntosh, and Jonathan Fisher.
The Hawks will have a chance at redemption after the holiday break when they host the Falcons on Jan. 9. The rematch will alter the national rankings again and determine which team takes sole possession of first place in the West Division.
“I’m sure Coach (Collins) is going have his adjustments ready and we’re just going to have to work harder and prepare for that game,” said Fox-Tapper. “We’re definitely looking forward to it.”