New Look Holland Hurricanes Eye Eighth Straight ACAA Championship

Colley, Jace (4)
Jace Colley, the reigning CCAA Player of the Year, is one of five double-digit scorers who won’t be with the Hurricanes in 2019-20. (Source: @JaceColley on Twitter) (Header: Holland College)

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI — 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 Holland Hurricanes men’s basketball program.

2018-19 in Review

For the seventh straight season, the Holland Hurricanes reigned supreme in the ACAA. While they ultimately fell short of their goal on a National level, the 2018-19 season was yet another successful one for the Hurricanes.

In the ACAA, they rolled through the competition in the regular season. Holland College posted an unblemished record in league play, finishing the year at 21-0 and comfortably in first place. They finished 12 points ahead of the second-place MSVU Mystics in the standings.

Their record proves that the Hurricanes were dominant in the league, but a deeper look into their schedule will show just how dominant they were. Over their 21 games against league foes, the Hurricanes won 19 of them by double-digits. One of their games that was decided by single-digits came in the regular season finale against the aforementioned Mystics.

Holland College came away with the 91-83 win to close the regular season. They also had a seven-point win over the Mount Allison Mounties in February, 84-77.

In the post-season, the Hurricanes cruised to their seventh-straight ACAA Championship. A convincing 94-66 win over the UNBSJ Seawolves in the semifinals propelled the Hurricanes into the title game. There, they pulled away from Mount Allison in the fourth quarter to pick up the 86-71 win.

With the win, the Hurricanes advanced to the 2019 CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championships. With their sights set on winning a National Championship, the Hurricanes came out on fire in their quarter-final contest.

Holland College opened the event against the host Langara Falcons. The home side was no match for the high-octane offense of the Hurricanes, and Holland College rolled to the 120-77 victory. With the win, it marked the fifth year in a row that the Hurricanes had advanced to the National Semi-Final.

In the semifinals, the Hurricanes squared off with the Sheridan Bruins. In a battle between two of the top offensive units in the country, the Bruins held off the Hurricanes to advance to the Championship. Sheridan came away with the 107-96 win, sending the Hurricanes into the bronze medal semifinals.

For the second game in a row, the Hurricanes found themselves in a contest against a high-powered team from the OCAA. The Hurricanes and Humber Hawks went toe-to-toe for a berth in the bronze medal game. For the second day in a row, Holland College came out on the wrong side of a close game, and their season came to an end with a 106-97 loss to the Hawks.

“We had a strong season last year, with a fairly veteran roster,” said Hurricanes Head Coach Josh Whitty. “Ultimately, we fell shy of our goal (a National Championship), but we had a terrific preseason, an undefeated regular season that ended with a Conference Championship.”

“We had a lot of positives throughout the year and we’re proud of what last year’s team accomplished overall.”

After last season, the Hurricanes will look considerably different this time around. The program will be without several star players from last year’s ACAA Championship team, giving the team a new look in 2019-20. With that said, the Hurricanes will be hungry to defend their league title and will be looking to get back to Nationals and make another run at the CCAA Gold Medal.

Who’s Gone?

Heading into the 2019-20 season, the Hurricanes will look considerably different than they did just one year ago. With many programs at Holland College being one or two years in length, there’s a higher turnover rate in terms of student-athletes. The Hurricanes lose five double-digit scorers from last year’s team, making their quest for an eighth straight ACAA Championship more challenging.

Jace Colley (North Preston, N.S.) has made the jump from the ACAA to the NCAA. Colley will suit up for the Chicago State Cougars in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). Last season, Colley capped off his career at Holland College with a CCAA Player of the Year award. He helped lead the Hurricanes to a perfect 21-0 record in the ACAA, a seventh-straight league title, and a fifth-straight appearance in the National Semifinals.

For the year, Colley averaged 23.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.0 blocked shots per game. He shot 61.3% from the field, 36.3% from three-point range, and 66.7% from the free throw line for the season. At 6’7’’, Colley brings a unique combination of size, athleticism, and quickness on both ends of the floor. Plus, his ability to stretch the floor with his shooting range makes him a tough match-up for any opponent.

[Check out some of the 2018-19 highlights from the reigning CCAA Player of the Year]

Roosevelt ‘Chicken’ Whyley (Nassau, Bahamas) is also gone from last year’s team, leaving a hole to fill in the front court. Whyley averaged a double-double per game last season, posting 21.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per contest while chipping in 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.5 blocks. He was one of the more effective players in Canada from the floor, shooting 69.1% from the field over the course of the season.

Whyley, Roosevelt
The loss of Roosevelt Whyley in the front court leaves a big pair of shoes to fill for the Hurricanes’ recruits in 2019-20. (Source: The Guardian)

Fellow forward Travis Adams (Halifax, N.S.) is also transferring from the program, but will remain north of the border. Adams has committed to play for the Saint Mary’s Huskies in the AUS next season. Last season with the Hurricanes, Adams played in 13 regular season contests, making four starts along the way. He posted 14.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting an even 50.0% from the floor.

Fifth year guard Connor Therrien (London, Ont.) started all 20 regular season games he appeared in last season. He was highly effective from all three levels on offense. Therrien shot 49.7% from the field, 47.5% from beyond the arc, and 89.5% from the free throw line. He ranked sixth on the team in scoring, averaging 12.7 points to go along with 3.6 assists per contest.

Rounding out the group of departing players who averaged double-digit points per game is Martin Campbell (Prince George’s County, Maryland). Campbell put together a well-rounded stat line to close out his collegiate career, averaging 14.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. He shot 53.5% from the field and 89.5% from the floor.

“We lose a lot from last year,” said Hurricanes Head Coach Josh Whitty. “So, we have some big shoes to fill.”

The Hurricanes will need players to step up and play big minutes with their departures. The five departing players accounted for an average of 86.5 points, 33.3 rebounds, 17.9 assists, and 7.6 steals per contest. Fortunately for the Hurricanes, they return the reigning ACAA Rookie of the Year, and he’ll be the undisputed leader in 2019-20.

Who’s Back?

The returning class for the Hurricanes could be rather small this season. With the school’s programs running one or two years in length, it’s tough to guess as to how many returnees they will have. Seven of their players last season were either in their first or second years of eligibility, meaning they could have as few as three players back this season.

One of their three first-year players back from last season is star point guard Jordan Holness (Toronto, Ont.). The Toronto native had himself a stellar debut season with the Hurricanes, establishing himself as arguably the next big star in the ACAA. Holness gives the Hurricanes a strong leader on the back end at the point guard spot, and he can run the offense while also having the offensive ability to score at will, himself.

Last season, Holness averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 3.6 steals per game. At year’s end, he was named both the ACAA Rookie of the Year and ACAA Defensive Player of the Year. Holness was also named to the ACAA All-Conference Second Team for his efforts.

“He is a terrific player,” said Whitty, when asked about his star point guard. “It was his rookie season last year and he showed very well.”

“I’m certain he’ll be ready to step up as our leader and look forward seeing what he can do in year two.”

Other first-year players who are expected back this season are Marc Hofer (Stuttgart, Germany) and Josh Bourque (Charlottetown, PEI). Both players averaged under five minutes of court time per outing last season. Hofer averaged 1.5 points per game over his 18 regular season appearances, while Bourque saw the floor in 19 games and posted 0.9 points per game.

From there, the rest of the returning class is up in the air. The Hurricanes had four players in their second year of eligibility last season, and it’s unclear right now as to whether or not they will return this season. If not, the Hurricanes will welcome the trio of Holness, Hofer, and Bourque back.

With such a high turnover from one season to the next, the incoming recruits for the Hurricanes have a big opportunity to come in and play big minutes from the start of their careers.

Incoming Talent

“Our recruiting class this year is huge,” said Whitty. “We have some quality athletes coming in who’ll be counted on right away.”

“Anytime you’ve got a recruiting class as big as ours is this year, many roles are up for grabs. So it’ll be interesting to see how the guys step up and perform.”

The Hurricanes have released the names of six recruits thus far ahead of the 2019-20 season. Whitty and his staff have added a pair of forwards and four guards to the mix, all of whom will compete for minutes off the top this season.

In the front court, the Hurricanes have added the likes of Nathan Anderson (Nassau, Bahamas) and hometown product Parker Roche (Charlottetown, PEI) to the roster. Anderson stands at 6’7’’, and he brings size and athleticism to the front court rotation. Roche is a 6’6’’ big who can stretch the floor and open up lanes for himself and teammates with his versatility.

The Hurricanes have bolstered their guard rotation with a pair of guards from both Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Logan McCallum (York, PEI) and Will Vidito (Charlottetown, PEI) will stay in their home province to begin their respective collegiate careers. McCallum is a point guard who prides himself on his court vision, passing abilities, and his work on the defensive end of the court. Vidito gives the Hurricanes a strong shooting option, especially from long range.

Coming to the Hurricanes from New Brunswick are Keighan Hamilton (Fredericton, NB) and Lucas Tompkins (Woodstock, NB). Hamilton is a 6’3’’ guard who shoots the ball well from all areas of the floor, and he has an overall good feel for the game. Tompkins gives the Hurricanes another strong option at he point guard spot with his high basketball I.Q. and playmaking abilities.

Heading into the new season, the newcomers will have ample opportunities to show what they are capable of. There will be a healthy amount of competition for minutes, and that’s never a bad thing to have in practice.

Despite the level of talent that they lost from last year’s team, the Hurricanes are still the team to beat in the ACAA, until proven otherwise.

The level of success that they’ve been able to maintain over the years has been impressive. While the results on the National level haven’t quite matched their league dominance in recent years, they are a mainstay on the National stage, and their time will come once mor.e

Since 2013, Head Coach Josh Whitty has amassed a regular season record of 109-13 against ACAA opponents, and that should improve again this year. With a star point guard leading the way, and a slew of new talent coming into the program, the Hurricanes have their sights set on an eighth-straight ACAA Championship in 2019-20.

Be sure to bookmark our 2019-20 Season Previews page to keep up with the previews as they are released online.

– T. Bennett

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