TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams will welcome schools from across the province of Ontario, the Maritimes and the United States to Kerr Hall Gym for the Ryerson University National Invitational Tournament (RNIT) December 28-30.
There are six teams from Ontario, including four from Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and two from the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association (OCAA). Rounding out the tournament bracket are the UNB Varsity Reds from Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and the Walsh University Cavaliers of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) division II league south of the border.
The tournament host Rams head into the holiday invitational with a 2-6 regular season record, and will look to the RNIT as an opportunity to gain momentum heading into the second half of the campaign. Rookie Jahmal Jones (Mississauga, Ont.) is fifth in OUA scoring with a team-leading 18.8 points per game. Jones has been supported by Ola Adegboruwa (Toronto), a Lake Region College transfer who has close to 15 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Jordon Gauthier (Windsor, Ont.) is also having a strong start to his university career, tallying 13.8 points per game in his first eight contests.
The Toronto Varsity Blues are the only nationally-ranked team competing in the RNIT, making them one of the tournament favourites. The Blues held a 6-2 record through the first half of regular season play, currently sitting second in the East division, and are the No. 9-ranked team in the country. Cornell transfer Alex Hill (Toronto) has led a solid offence which averages over 87 points per game, the highest in the OUA. Hill is seventh in conference scoring with close to 18 points per contest. Fourth-year veteran Drazen Glisic (Sarejevo, BIH) has also chipped in with 15.4 points per game, and is the team's top rebounder with an average of nine boards each night.
Also representing the OUA are the Waterloo Warriors, who are tied for sixth in the West division with a 4-4 record. Kitchener, Ont. product Cam McIntyre is having another all-star worthy season, leading the Warriors with 19.6 points per game. The 2009-10 second team OUA West all-star ranks third in the province in scoring. Third-year Brendan Smith (Kamloops, B.C.) is the team's leading rebounder, pulling down nine boards per game. He has also added an average of seven points per game. Wayne Bridge (North York, ONt.) and Adam Goodhoofd (Oakville, Ont.) have made up the secondary scoring behind McIntyre, each tallying just over 10 points each night.
The York Lions have posted a 3-6 record in their first nine matches of the season, and come into the holidays fourth in the OUA East. Third-year guard and second team OUA East all-star David Tyndale is averaging close to 20 points per contest to lead the Lions offence. The Mississauga native has played a critical role in the Lions success this season, nailing a game-winning shot against formerly ranked Western Ontario in their second game of the season. London, Ont. product Dejan Kravic has also put forth a strong first half, averaging a 17-point, 8.8-rebound performance each game. Kravic has recorded five double-doubles so far in the year.
The Walsh Cavaliers are ranked No. 1 in Division II NAIA heading into the holidays, posting an unblemished 7-0 record and averaging a formidable 98 points per game. They will be another strong contender for the tournament title. First-team All-AMC and third-team NAIA All-American Jeremy Shardo (Willodell, Ohio) is currently second in the American Mideast Conference (AMC) with 19 points per game. Fellow teammates Lamar Skeeter (Dayton, Ohio) and Kenny Kornowski (Mashallville, Ohio) top the AMC with 58.0 and 56.1 field goal percentages respectively.
The Varsity Reds from New Brunswick bring the AUS's second-best defence to the RNIT. They have managed a 3-3 record, placing them sixth in the conference. Fourth-year guard Alex DesRoches of Dieppe, New Brunswick is third on the Atlantic leader board with 8.7 rebounds per game. William McFee from Northbridge, Australia is averaging a team-high 14.5 points per game.
The Algoma Thunderbirds and Mohawk Moutaineers will make the jump to university basketball after closing out the first half of their respective seasons in the OCAA. While the Thunderbirds have gone just 4-5 at the mid-way point, the Mountaineers have had a strong start to the year, posting a 6-3 record. Algoma's Patrick Murray (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) is currently ranked third in the OCAA with 18.9 points per game and has a team-high 17 steals. Mohawk is led offensively by Aminu Bello (Hamilton, Ont.), who has tallied 17.6 points per game in eight contests. Former Ryerson Ram Matt Cupido has played in eight games for Mohawk this season.
The RNIT gets underway on Tuesday, December 28. The tournament opener pits the Varsity Blues against the Mohawk Mountaineers with a 1:00 p.m. start time. The host Ryerson Rams will take on Algoma at 7:30 p.m.
2010 Ryerson University National Invitational Tournament
Tuesday, December 28
Game 1: 1:00 p.m. Toronto vs. Mohawk
Game 2: 3:00 p.m. York vs. Walsh
Game 3: 5:30 p.m. Waterloo vs. New Brunswick
Game 4: 7:30 p.m. Ryerson vs. Algoma
Wednesday, December 29
Game 5: 1:00 p.m. Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 6: 3:00 p.m. Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 7: 5:30 p.m. Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 8: 7:30 p.m. Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4
Thursday, December 30
Game 9: 11:30 a.m. Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6
Game 10: 1:30 p.m. Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Game 11: 4:00 p.m. Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8 - 3rd Place
Game 12: 6:00 p.m. Winner Game 7 vs. Winner 8 - Championship
Group rate options (see form attached)
5 to 10 people: $6 per person per day
11 to 20 people: $3 per person per day
21+ people: FREE