|California dreaming: Rams off to Golden State|
TORONTO - The Ryerson Rams men's basketball team will take off from Pearson Airport in Mississauga on Wednesday, as they head to San Francisco, CA to begin their pre-season road trip to the United States.
The six-day tour begins on Wednesday in the Pacific time zone, where the Rams will prepare for two games in the Golden State on November 4 and 5, and ends with a coast-to-coast trip to Rhode Island for their final non-conference match of the year on Monday, November 7.
The Rams, who finished fourth in the OUA East division last year and made it as far as the OUA Quarter-Finals, will be without 2010-11 CIS all-rookie selection and OUA all-star Jahmal Jones, who travelled with the Canadian men's national team to the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where they finished sixth overall.
The Rams will be led by 2010-11 OUA all-rookie selection Jordon Gauthier, who has had a hot start to the pre-season after putting together a solid campaign last year. Gauthier (Windsor, Ont.), who averaged 12.2 points per game and had five games with 20 points or more in his rookie campaign, dropped 15 points per game in three contests at the Naismith Classic in early October and was named to the tournament all-star team. In his last two preseason games, Gauthier has averaged 25.5 points per contest.
Others to watch on the tour include fourth-year guard Ola Adegboruwa, who became the Rams all-time leader in single-season steals in 2010-11, and rookie Aaron Best, a highly touted recruit out of Eastern Commerce C.I.
The Rams will play their first contest of the road trip against the Santa Clara Broncos on Friday evening at the Leavey Centre.
The Broncos are led by junior Kevin Foster, who was named to the 10-man West Coast Conference (WCC) Preseason Team on October 27. In 2010-11 Foster averaged 20.2 points per game and was named the WCC February and March Player of the Month after leading the league in points per game. He was ranked No. 1 in the NCAA in threes made per game and also set a WCC record for threes made in a season with 140.
Santa Clara's roster also includes two Canadians; Toronto native and former U18 national player Julian Clark, and senior forward Marc Trasolini of Vancouver who recorded his 1,000th career point for the Broncos in 2010-11.
The Broncos are coming off a 24-14 season after they won the CollegeInsider.com Post-Season Tournament with its final three victories coming on the road.
It is a quick turn-around for the Rams, as they will take on Stanford on Saturday night. The Cardinal finished 15-16 overall and 7-11 in the Pac-10 conference where they tied for seventh-place. Stanford has made the NCAA postseason tournament 16 times, including 11 consecutive appearances from 1995-2008. In 2008, the Cardinal made their first NCAA Final Four appearance. They have also been to the Sweet 16 four times since 2007.
Junior Jeremy Green earned a spot on the 10-member All-Pac-10 First Team while Josh Owens received Honorable Mention recognition, highlighting Stanford's selections last season. Rookies Anthony Brown and Toronto native Dwight Powell were named to the All-Freshman Team, giving Stanford four all-league selections in 2010-11. 6'11'' centre Stefan Nastic of Thornhill, Ont. rounds out the Canadian flavor on the Cardinal squad.
Stanford is projected to finish sixth in the 2011-12 PAC-12 men's basketball pre-season media poll.
The Rams will then board a flight for Providence, RI on Sunday morning, and will play their final contest of the tour against the Rhode Island Runnin' Rams on Monday night.
The Runnin' Rams were predicted to finish 10th out of 14 teams in the Atlantic 10 annual pre-season poll on October 13. Rhode Island registered its fourth consecutive 20-win season last year, finishing with a 20-14 mark and advancing to the second round of the College Basketball Invitational.
URI is led by junior forward Nikola Malesevic, who averaged 10.3 points per game while ranking 19th nationally in three-point field goal percentage last season.
Ryerson will return home on Tuesday afternoon just in time to rest up for their season opening contest against Wilfrid Laurier on Friday evening at Kerr Hall Gym.