The Heat broke their franchise record by starting off the Canada West Conference with four straights wins.
The Heat men’s basketball have never started the season with four straight victories before. Previously, the Heat have won four games out of a season of forty games, and yet they have started off with four wins this season.
There are three major changes that transformed the Heat to become one of the tough contenders in Canada West. Firstly, a new head coach, Ken Olynyk, has joined the team. Secondly, there are general improvements in the performance of several of the players. Thirdly, a new point guard, freshman Hafith Moallin, joined the team.
Coach Olynyk, recognized the team’s weakness due to the lack of tall players in the roster. However, he utilized that disadvantage by guiding the team members to play in a small ball offence. The small ball offence has helped the Heat to increase the flow and pace of ball movement, creating space for our shooters to drop some damages behind the arc.
With more scoring opportunities available for shooters, several key players, such as Triston Matthews and Philip Okanlawon, have improved their scoring stats. Sophomore starting guard, Triston Matthews, has improved his points per game (PPG) from 12.1 in the last season to 19.2 in his recent six games. Junior starting guard, Philip Okanlawon, has improved his PPG from his rookie year 5.8 last season to 14.8.
For the past two seasons, the Heat did lacked a point guard on the court. Heat captain Aldrich Berrios had to play the role of a point guard, which reduced his potential to score as a shooting guard. Thus, the addition of Hafith Moallin as a point guard has also helped the team this year.
Currently, Moallin an average assist rate of 4.5 per game.
“I think Coach Ken and Coach Thom have done a great job this year of preparing us in practices and putting us in a position to win on Friday and Saturday night. There’s a confidence in the locker room and a vibe amongst the guys that I haven’t felt since my second year here when we went 8-12,” said veteran Heat captain, Aldrich Berrios.
The Heat are currently standing in the fifth position in the Canada West Conference (5-3) along with Regina Cougars and Alberta Golden Bears. They will be travelling to Kamloops this weekend to play their rival team, the TRU Wolfpack, on Friday at 12:45 PM, and Saturday, at 2:45 PM.