OLDS, Alta. — If you’re reading this, it’s not too late.
The 2019-20 basketball season is right around the corner, and we’re here to help you get set for what will surely be an incredible journey.
While we’re still looking back on an incredible 2018-19 season, one that saw two teams win their first-ever National Championships in school history, it’s also the perfect time to look ahead. The 2019-20 season promises to deliver a heightened level of excitement, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the new campaign.
To get fans across the country ready for the new season, we’ve taken on a challenge that hasn’t been done before. In the coming weeks, we will preview every team from coast to coast ahead of the 2019-20 season.
That’s 111 different programs, if you’re keeping a tally.
From August 8th through to October 6th, every team will be previewed in some capacity. For institutions that have both men’s and women’s basketball, a separate preview piece will be done for each team.
Rosters will be dissected and a look back at the year that was will help us determine what the team looks like this time around as every team begins with a blank slate in the standings.
Without further adieu, here is today’s preview on the Olds College Broncos men’s basketball program.
2018-19 in Review
Another year came and went, and the Olds College Broncos found themselves cropped out of the playoff picture.
The Broncos came into the year with a talented roster, one that they thought could potentially contend for a playoff spot in the always tough ACAC South Division. Instead, a lack of consistency across the board put the Broncos on the outside looking in when the regular season came to a close.
Olds College posted a record of 6-15 during the regular season, a record that earned them a tie for sixth-place in the South Division standings. The Broncos did have a three-game winning streak to their name during the month of January, picking up a pair of wins over the Briercrest College Clippers and a win over the previously-unbeaten SAIT Trojans.
“We were in most games but had small stretches where things got away and were not able to get back on track soon enough,” said Broncos Head Coach Mike Stevens. “To me, that comes with both a mental toughness and discipline to do the little things long before the lights come on.”
“To steal a cliche, ‘Bleed in battle so you don’t die in the war’”.
With at least three straight seasons without a playoff appearance (ACAC archives don’t go back that far), the Broncos will be looking to make it back to the ACAC Championship tournament in 2019-20. If they want to do so, they’ll have to do it without several big name players from last year’s team.
Simply put, the Broncos will have a vastly different look to them in 2019-20 than they did last season. Gone are there top two scorers, and five of their top six scorers overall. Their leading scorer transferred to another ACAC program, while another guard transferred with the hopes of playing NAIA in the United States.
The biggest loss for the Broncos was the transfer of guard Linden Jackson (Gary, Ind.). The Broncos’ leading scorer last season left some big shoes to fill in the back court. Jackson posted a team-best 16.4 points per game last season, while also chipping in with 5.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.9 steals. He had an impact on both ends of the court for the Broncos, and was widely regarded as one of the top players in the ACAC.
On January 25th, the Broncos handed the SAIT Trojans their only regular season loss of the year, 81-80. That night, Jackson went for 22 points in just 27 minutes of action to help Olds College pull off the upset, on the road no less.
Jackson transferred to the Ambrose University Lions, staying in the ACAC. Jackson and his new teammates will square off with the Broncos on November 16th.
Another significant loss, this one up front, is the departure of Jouvon Edison (Reno, Nev.). Edison was highly effective from the field last season, shooting an even 50% from the floor for the season. His 16.1 points per game ranked second on the team, trailing only Jackson. On the glass, Edison also ranked second on the team in rebounds per contest, averaging 6.9 rebounds. At 6’9”, Edison was a big body inside that required the attention of his opponents, regardless of the ball being in his hands or not.
Guard Logan Shaw (Reno, Nev.) had an impressive first season with the Broncos, but he opted to transfer with the hopes of playing Division II or NAIA basketball back home in the United States. The 6’3” guard averaged a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game, a number that ranked him fifth in the ACAC as a whole .When you add in his 9.7 points and 2.8 assists per game, Shaw had himself an impressive season and it’s something he could have built off in 2019-20, had he stayed at Olds.
The Broncos will also be without the services of Karan Gill (Calgary, Alta.) and Terence Crisostomo (Calgary, Alta.) from last year’s team.
While the Broncos lose their share of production, not all hope is lost. Head Coach Mike Stevens and his staff return a pair of second-year student-athletes, both of whom will look to build off successful individual first seasons in the ACAC in year two.
With all of the production that the Broncos lost after last season, there will be opportunities aplenty for the returning cast to take on expanded roles and make a name for themselves in the ACAC. A pair of players who enjoyed strong debut seasons in 2018-19 will be looked upon to take the next steps in their progression and help the Broncos inch closer to a playoff spot.
The team’s top returning scorer from last year’s roster is Muktar Mohamed (Ottawa, Ont.). Mohamed had a strong start to his freshman season, and he made sure to close out the year in similar fashion. He wasted little time before making an impact at Olds. In his first ACAC game, Mohamed posted 18 points against the Medicine Hat Rattlers. Then, he made sure to end his season on a high note. Against the Lethbridge College Kodiaks, Mohamed posted back-to-back 20+ point games. He dropped 28 points in the first game, and then followed that up with a 21-point performance to end his debut season.
For the year, Mohamed averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per contest. He shot 39.9% from the field and 30.0% from three-point range. Given the departures, especially in the back court, Mohamed will be looked upon to take on a starring role with the offense this season.
On the wing, forward Landon Parrington (Saskatoon, Sask.) has the potential to be a star in the ACAC this season. The 6’5” forward had himself an impressive first season on both ends of the floor, and as the season progressed, he became more of an offensive threat. Over his last eight games, Parrington recorded five double-digit scoring games and averaged 10.1 points per contest over the eight-game stretch.
On the glass, Parrington pulled down at least five rebounds on 11 different occasions. He would average 5.3 rebounds per game over the course of the year to go along with his 8.3 points.
With Mohamed in the back court and Parrington on the wing, the Broncos have an intriguing tandem on their hands. With only one season to look back on, it’s tough to forecast what could come from the pair this season, but all signs point to big steps being taken in their progression as they become the faces of the program this season.
“We are expecting big things from both Landon Parrington and Muktar Mohamed,” said Stevens. “Landon and Muktar showed signs of leadership last year and we will be looking for them to build on it.”
“I think we under-utilized Landon a bit last year and will be looking to get him more involved this year. If Muktar can focus on the moment, he will take big strides and be a problem for opponents.”
The likes of Richard Webb (Carrot Creek, Alta.) and Yallah Sumo (Medicine Hat, Alta.) will see an increase in minutes this season off the bench, and Coach Stevens will look to get significant contributions from the pair when they’re on the floor.
The Broncos have several holes across their roster that need to be filled, and while they have only announced two commitments thus far in the off-season, the roster is shaping up to be an intriguing one.
In terms of first-year players, the only player that has been announced by the Broncos thus far is sharp-shooting guard Ben Nelson (Okotoks, Alta.). In a back court rotation that has been depleted both by transfers and graduation, the 6’1” Nelson gives Olds College a scoring guard who can score at all three levels with his shooting stroke.
For Nelson, given all that the Broncos have lost from last year’s team, he couldn’t have found himself a better situation to come in and have an impact from day one.
The Broncos will also welcome back a familiar face in 2019-20, one that torched the ACAC for over 25 points per game back in 2016-17. Cody Bouchard (Quesnel, B.C.) will be back in the fold for Coach Stevens, giving the Broncos a veteran presence and someone who can carry the load on the offensive end of the floor. In nine games back in 2016-17, Bouchard averaged 25.3 points and 11.8 rebounds per game on 49.7% shooting from the floor and 45.5% from three-point range.
Coach Stevens has a few more recruits on the horizon, and when the announcements are made, we will update accordingly. However, what we can say is that the Broncos went into the off-season looking to address shooting and overall toughness. With their recruiting class, they did just that.
Olds College is an interesting situation this year.
They lose a ton of talent from last year’s team, which will in turn lower expectations surrounding the program. However, they have a pair of second-year players who could very well turn into stars this season, and first-year guard Ben Nelson has the potential to take the conference by storm in a perfect situation for his game.
Coach Stevens also welcomes back a veteran presence in Bouchard, a player who they hope will regain the form he had from a couple years back.
The Broncos could very well surprise some people this season if they get overlooked by some of the top contenders, but they have their share of question marks, and only time will provide us with clarity to those questions.
After being on the outside of the playoff picture last year, is this the year the Broncos get back into frame and give themselves a shot at the ACAC Championship?
Be sure to bookmark our 2019-20 Season Previews page to keep up with the previews as they are released online.
– T. Bennett