Lambton Lions Bolster Roster Ahead of Hosting 2020 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship

Hegedus - Layup
Denes Hegedus and the Lambton Lions have the bulk of their roster back from last season, and they’ve added a slew of talent ahead of the 2019-20 season, one in which they will serve as the host institution for the 2020 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. (Source: Lambton College Athletics) (Header: Lambton College Athletics)

SARNIA, Ont. — 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 Lambton Lions.

2018-19 in Review

Despite their .500 record and early exit at the 2019 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, the 2018-19 season was a statement year for the Lambton Lions.

It marked the first season without Branden Padgett on the roster, and they proved that they could still compete in the OCAA without him. It was an up-and-down season, but it was one that showed the team a lot about themselves.

Lambton went 10-10 in the regular season, finishing in a tie for sixth-place in the tough West Division with the St. Clair Saints. During the regular season, Lambton was unable to sustain any positive momentum in terms of stringing wins together, as they were unable to win more than two games in succession all season.

As a result of finishing sixth, the Lions went on the road for their OCAA Crossover Game. There, they took on the high-powered George Brown Huskies on their home floor. Despite coming in as the underdogs, Lambton made a statement with a 78-71 win to punch their ticket to the 2019 OCAA Championship tournament in Barrie.

Once there, the Lions’ post-season luck ran its course. Two losses ended any hopes of a medal for the Lions. Lambton dropped a 96-81 decision to the Niagara Knights in the quarter-finals, and then fell to the host Georgian Grizzlies in the consolation semifinals, 110-94.

Defense was the Lions’ downfall throughout the regular season. On offense, they were among the league’s best, averaging 89.7 points per game themselves. However, they allowed their opponents to record an average of 86.8 points per contest, giving them a point differential of +2.9.

If the Lions are able to fix their defensive issues in 2019-20, there’s no reason why they can’t win it all and represent the OCAA at the 2020 CCAA National Championships with the host Humber Hawks. With the bulk of last year’s team back for redemption, only time will tell how it all plays out.

Who’s Gone?

The Lions have big aspirations heading into the 2019-20 season. Serving as the host institution for the 2020 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, their spot in the event is already secured. However, the Lions want to earn their spot throughout the season and prove that they belong there. Lambton enters the season with the bulk of their roster back from last year, as they lose just three players who played significant minutes.

Here’s a look at who the Lions will be without from last season’s team.

Keith Laryea (Rexdale, Ont.)
10.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.4 spg; 38.7% FG, 28.1% 3PT, 71.1% FT

Dwayne Lambert-Cadore (Etobicoke, Ont.)
3.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.4 apg, 0.9 spg; 34.2% FG, 33.3% 3PT, 73.7% FT

Deshaun Kelley (St. Clair, Mich.)
3.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 1.3 apg, 0.3 spg; 28.6% FG, 18.4% 3PT, 80.0% FT

Lambton’s biggest loss in terms of on-court production is Laryea. The Rexdale native ranked fourth on the team in scoring while appearing in 18 games throughout the regular season. He had double-digit points on 10 occasions, but he was also limited to five or fewer points on five occasions.

The departures of both Kelley and Lambert-Cadore hinder the overall depth of the team, but in terms of production on the floor, both aren’t significant losses. Lambert-Cadore traded in his basketball shoes for soccer cleats, as he played for the Lions men’s soccer team this fall.

Lambton’s returning group will be loaded with experience this season, and the bulk of their offensive production is back for another run at the OCAA Championship after falling short last season.

Who’s Back?

Equipped with their top three scorers from last year and a large supporting cast, the Lions are hoping that the 2019-20 season is their year. Nine players from last year’s team are back for another run at the title, giving the roster a wealth of experience.

Here’s who the Lions welcome back for the 2019-20 season.

Tyvell Peters (Toronto, Ont.)
21.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.8 apg, 1.9 spg; 49.2% FG, 38.8% 3PT, 61.5% FT

Jason Watts (Detroit, Mich.)
15.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.7 spg; 49.4% FG, 38.3% 3PT, 71.4% FT

Kardon Edwards (Brampton, Ont.)
14.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.4 spg; 37.8% FG, 31.2% 3PT, 89.3% FT

Deiondre Reid (Scarborough, Ont.)
9.8 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.2 spg; 42.9% FG, 20.4% 3PT, 69.8% FT

Journee Joseph (Brampton, Ont.)
8.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.5 spg; 47.6% FG, 33.3% 3PT, 65.8% FT

Denes Hegedus (Debrecen, Hungary)
4.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.6 apg, 0.4 spg; 41.1% FG, 23.1% 3PT, 52.9% FT

Shakur Seymour (Brampton, Ont.)
2.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg; 47.6% FG, 69.2% FT

Tyler Grevers (Woodstock, Ont.)
13 GP in 2018-19; 4.6 mpg, 2.2 rpg

Mason Hyde (Petrolia, Ont.)
2 GP in 2018-19; added to roster in the second half

The offense starts with Peters on the back end. Last season, the Toronto native finished the year ranked 10th in the OCAA with an average of 21.5 points per game. He earned himself a spot on the All-OCAA West Division Second Team for his efforts.

Peters was consistent on offense throughout the 2018-19 season, recording at least 20 points on 12 occasions. He started out the season strong, posting at least 20 points in the first seven games of the year from October 24th through to November 21st. In addition to his point production, Peters was also effective from the field. He shot 40% or better from the field on 13 occasions throughout the season.

Joining Peters in the back court for the 2019-20 season is one of the OCAA’s top rookies from last season. Kardon Edwards earned a spot on the OCAA All-Rookie Team at year’s end after averaging 14.1 points and 3.5 assists per game, which was tied for the team high.

Down the stretch, Edwards showcased what he can do on the offensive end of the floor. Edwards recorded double-digit points in each of his final eight regular season appearances, and he added another two double-digit efforts in the post-season. On the heels of a successful debut season, Edwards will look to build off that momentum in year two.

Up front, the Lions missed the presence of Jason Watts at times last season. The native of Detroit, Michigan missed six games due to injury, and it would have been seven if he hadn’t played in the team’s final home game against the Fanshawe Falcons. Still, he finished second on the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.3 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

Watts recorded double-digit points on 13 occasions when in the lineup last season, and he added three double-doubles over the year, all despite averaging just 23.7 minutes per contest. Average that out over a full game, and Watts averaged 25.8 points per 40 minutes.

From there, the rotation is strong but also have something to prove. Up front, the likes of Deiondre Reid will be looking to build off a strong 2018-19 season, one that saw him nearly average a double-double. Hungarian Denes Hegedus will look to become more of an impact player in his second season with the team.

With nine guys back from last year’s team, the chemistry within the team will be high from the start. Add in 11 newcomers to the mix, and that’s where things get interesting. Finding minutes for everyone may be Lambton’s biggest issue this season, especially if players don’t take to their new roles right away.

Incoming Talent

Lambton’s roster is rather large this season as 20 names are on the list when you factor in their incoming recruits. With 11 of those 20 names new to the program this season, 55% of the roster wasn’t there last season, which could lead to some growing pains as people get acclimated to their new surroundings.

Here’s a list of the Lions’ newest recruits.

Tyler Van Dyke (Mississauga, Ont.)
6’0” Guard

Kam David (Brampton, Ont.)
5’11” Guard

Kaeshawn Legall (Brampton, Ont.)
6’0” Guard

Calvin Chad (Fredericton, NB)
6’0” Guard

Roshane Taylor (Mississauga, Ont.)
6’0” Guard

Tyrelle Miller (Brampton, Ont.)
5’10” Guard

Maleek Ekumba (Ottawa, Ont.)
6’2” Guard from La Cite Coyotes

Darrius Canty (Detroit, Mich.)
6’6” Forward

Spencer Baillie (Sarnia, Ont.)
6’9” Forward

Byanungu Ngakira (London, Ont.)
6’2” Guard

Gabe Namink (Wallaceburg, Ont.)
6’6” Forward (Injured; ACL)

The Lions have added depth pieces up and down their roster, and they’ve added players who can help right away. The additions of Canty in the front court and Ekumba in the back court add more experience to the mix, and that will help the younger players get acclimated to the game at the OCAA level.

Ekumba comes to the Lions after spending time with the La Cite Coyotes in the OCAA East Division, and his experience within the conference will help make the transition a seamless one. He gives the team another deep threat with his shooting ability from beyond the arc.

In the court, Sarnia product Spencer Baillie has the potential to be a game changer. Maybe not this season, but as his career unfolds, the tools are there for him to be successful at the next level. He has the height and athleticism off the hop, but throw muscle on him and he has the potential to be a steal.

Point guard Kam David has excelled with his quickness and ball handling in exhibition play, and while’s he is still prone to rookie mistakes here and there, much like the rest of the newcomers, his talents are second to none.

Lambton’s recruiting class for the 2019-20 season has a little bit of everything, from athleticism and shooting ability to veteran experience and a ton of upside. Again, Lambton’s biggest problem will be finding minutes for everyone throughout the season. As new players settle into their roles with the team, which may be easier said than done.

As the host institution for the 2020 OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship, the Lions have their spot in the field locked up. They want to prove to the rest of the OCAA that they deserve to be there just as much as the other seven teams, and that has put an extra chip on their shoulders.

Equipped with a roster that features a healthy combination of veteran experience and youth exuberance, expectations are high surrounding the Lions this season. On the heels of a perfect preseason, Lambton’s confidence is at an all-time high heading into a new season.

The Lions will be looking to use the OCAA Men’s Basketball Championship as motivation for a strong regular season, and they will look to build up a ton of momentum ahead of competing for a provincial championship on their home floor.

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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