Burgess, Rosa Ready to Lead Rattlers on ACAC Championship Quest in 2019-20

Medicine Hat MBB
The Medicine Hat Rattlers will lean on their returning veterans and incoming recruits to fill the holes left by a large graduating class. (Source: CHAT News Today) (Header: Medicine Hat Rattlers)

MEDICINE HAT, 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.

We are attempting to preview each and every team from coast to coast ahead of the new season. Challenges have emerged as the months have gone on, but we’re still doing our best to get as many out as we can before conference play gets underway.

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 men’s basketball program for the Medicine Hat Rattlers.

2018-19 in Review

The 2018-19 season for the Medicine Hat Rattlers was book-ended by strong stretches of play with an up-and-down middle sandwiched in between.

Medicine Hat began the season with a 4-0 start, and they closed with seven wins over their final 10 games to finish the year with a 13-8 record overall. The Rattlers finished third in the tough ACAC South Division, earning themselves a spot at the 2019 ACAC Men’s Basketball Championship in the process.

At the ACAC Championship, the Rattlers picked up a 92-85 win over the Keyano College Huskies to advance to the Championship side of the bracket. In the semifinals, the Rattlers ran into the high-powered offense of the SAIT Trojans, and the Trojans rolled to the 112-96 win over the Rattlers on their way to winning their third straight ACAC title.

With the loss, Medicine Hat found themselves in the Bronze Medal game against the Alberta-Augustana Vikings. In a back-and-forth affair, one that needed overtime to decide a winner, the Rattlers dropped a 107-104 decision to finish fourth at the event.

Augustana led 52-43 after an exciting first half, but the Rattlers didn’t go away easily. Medicine Hat outscored the Vikings by a 32-21 margin in the third quarter to take a two-point lead into the fourth quarter. After Augustana tied things up ahead of the final buzzer, the Vikings carried their momentum into overtime and came away with their first-ever ACAC medal.

Looking ahead to the 2019-20 season, the Rattlers will look considerably different than they did last year. Several of their key pieces have graduated or moved on from the program, leaving holes up and down the lineup that Medicine Hat will need to fill.

Who’s Gone?

The Rattlers had their share of talent last season, but ultimately fell short of their goal in reaching the 2019 CCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. Medicine Hat’s roster featured seven players who averaged double-digit points per game, and while not all of them were regulars or played the full season, their impact was noticed on the program.

Heading into the new season, the Rattlers will be without several of those double-digit scorers. Here’s a look at some of the talent that Medicine Hat will be without as 2019-20 approaches.

Jaamel Slack (Victoria, BC)
17.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg; 47.5% FG, 36.0% 3PT, 71.4% FT

Jon Sappleton (Toronto, Ont.)
12.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 5.0 apg, 1.0 spg; 50.0% FG, 62.7% FT (13 GP, 10 Starts)

DeAngelo Ashley (Victorville, Calif.)
10.7 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.5 apg, 0.6 spg; 50.0% FG, 66.0% FT

Omon Edobar (Toronto, Ont.)
14.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, 0.8 spg; 37.1% FG, 31.0% 3PT, 80.0% FT (6 GP)

The Rattlers lose their share of talent and experience this season, with the losses of Slack, Sappleton, and others. Slack was a consistent presence for the Rattlers last season, and his ability to score at all three levels will be tough to replace.

Sappleton and Edobar weren’t in the lineup on a regular basis, but they had a big impact on the game when they were in the Rattlers’ lineup. Edobar ranked third on the team in overall points per game but was limited to just six games over the course of the season. Sappleton was one of the veterans that the team could lean on for guidance when times got tough, and that will be tough to replicate in 2019-20.

While the Rattlers lose their share of talent, they also welcome back some intriguing pieces. Their returning group includes a potential breakout player who closed the 2018-19 season with a monstrous performance, while Medicine Hat will also look to get a full year out of one of the country’s top forwards.

Who’s Back?

While the Rattlers lose a ton of offensive production from last year’s 13-win team, they still return some intriguing pieces who will look to lead the team on their quest for an ACAC Championship and a spot at Nationals. Headlined by one of the CCAA’s top forwards and a potential breakout star, the Rattlers have some experienced pieces back in the mix.

Here’s a look at the talent that Medicine Hat has back in 2019-20.

Kieron Burgess (Hamilton, Bermuda)
24.1 ppg, 18.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, 1.7 spg; 53.7% FG, 62.1% FT

Arthur Rosa (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
9.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.0 spg; 48.7% FG, 61.9% FT

Josh Magpanty (Winnipeg, Man.)
4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.0 spg; 28.3% FG, 28.8% 3PT, 68.4% FT

Nick Murschell (Medicine Hat, Alta.)
4.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.4 apg, 0.5 spg; 63.6% FG, 52.0% FT

Last season, Burgess put up a monster stat line despite playing in just 12 games, all of which came in the second half of the season. The native of Hamilton, Bermuda posted an average of 24.1 points and 18.3 rebounds per game, all while shooting just shy of 54% from the field.

Burgess was a consistent force on both ends of the court. He recorded a double-double in all 12 games last season, recording at least 12 points and 11 rebounds each time out. Burgess’ best game of the season came at the expense of the Ambrose Lions on January 26th. In the Rattlers’ 108-61 win over the Lions, Burgess recorded 41 points and 35 rebounds, setting the ACAC record for rebounds in a game in the process.

With Burgess in the lineup for a full season in 2019-20, only time will tell what type of production he can put up.

If his last game of 2018-19 is any precursor for what’s ahead, Arthur Rosa is a player who could be the breakout star of the ACAC in 2019-20. In the Rattlers’ loss to Augustana in the Bronze Medal game, Rosa went for a season-best 33 points to cap off what was a strong finish to the 2018-19 campaign.

Last season, Rosa averaged 9.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest despite coming off the bench more often than starting. Rosa saw the floor in 20 regular season games but made just eight starts. Six of Rosa’s starts came in succession to end the regular season, and he elevated his game with the opportunity. Rosa averaged 14.8 points per game over his six starts to close the regular season, setting himself up for an expanded role in 2019-20.

Medicine Hat will also see the likes of veterans Josh Magpanty and Nick Murschell return in 2019-20, and both will look to seize the opportunities put in front of them. With several key pieces having moved on from last season, Magpanty and Murschell will be looked upon to help carry the load on offense.

There will be opportunities aplenty for the returning Rattlers to take on new roles within the program and help the team contend atop the always-competitive ACAC South Division. An influx of new talent adds depth and talent up and down the roster, and the group of incoming recruits will also be looked upon to help shoulder the load.

Incoming Talent

The Rattlers have gone and added five first-year players ahead of the 2019-20 season, adding depth to all areas of their roster. With four guards, two forwards, and a center in the mix for the new season, Medicine Hat has set themselves up for future success.

Here are the seven players that the Rattlers have added for the 2019-20 season.

Eidan Jonker (Medicine Hat, Alta.)

Tyler Jones (Nanton, Alta.)

Bensen Young (Calgary, Alta.)

Zavier Croft (Brampton, Ont.)

Bith Chuol (Nair Sovh, Sudan)

Reece Mulder (Medicine Hat, Alta.)

Frederick Kabore (Medicine Hat, Alta.)

The Rattlers have added depth pieces to their roster with their seven-man recruiting class. Addressing all areas of their roster has allowed for Medicine Hat to fill in the cracks left by the departing players from last year’s team.

They’ve added size up front with the addition of Chuol in the middle, while Young adds more versatility to the lineup with his ability to play multiple positions. With their immediate strength being up front, the added depth at the guard spots bolsters the back-court rotation for years to come.

Medicine Hat’s recruiting class is an intriguing one to say the least, and the players they’ve added will be given the chance to shine from the outset of the season.

Heading into the new season, Medicine Hat will be without several key faces as they embark on their quest for an ACAC Championship. Fortunately for them, other top contenders in the South Division will be without several key pieces of their own.

The South Division will look considerably different this season, from top to bottom, and the Rattlers will look to be the team that puts and end to the three-year reign of the SAIT Trojans in the conference.

Led by one of the country’s top forwards and a potential breakout star in Rosa, the Rattlers will look to turn some heads in 2019-20. How quick players can step into their new roles and find their rhythm will determine the level of success for Medicine Hat this season.

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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