Nowhere to go but up

Cape Bre­ton Ca­pers men’s bas­ket­ball team ‘very new’ this sea­son

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com Twit­ter: @CBPost_Jeremy

The Cape Bre­ton Ca­pers men’s bas­ket­ball team has had a rough cou­ple of sea­sons in the At­lantic Uni­ver­sity Sport.

The Cape Bre­ton squad has only won two games in the past two years, but Ca­pers head coach Matt Skinn isn’t look­ing at those num­bers this sea­son.

This year’s Ca­pers team will fea­ture many new faces with only three play­ers re­turn­ing from the 2017-18 sea­son, in­clud­ing guard Os­man Omar.

“We’re very new, we’re learn­ing off each other and the team is learn­ing how to play with each other and what it takes to be a com­pet­i­tive and po­ten­tially a cham­pi­onship-cal­i­bre team,” said Skinn, who was hired by the Ca­pers in April when the club parted ways with for­mer head coach David Petroziello.

“We have to do the right things day in and day out and they are the ba­sics that we’re try­ing to get to right now — we have a great group of guys who are ea­ger to learn.”

In 2016-17, the Ca­pers fin­ished last in the eight-team AUS stand­ings with an 0-20 record, while last sea­son, Cape Bre­ton also ended the year in last place with a 2-18 record.

“I think the wins and losses al­ways mat­ter be­cause when you take the floor you want to win,” said Skinn, who had pre­vi­ously coached the Ca­pers for four sea­sons, be­fore leav­ing two years ago to ac­cept an as­sis­tant coach­ing job in Western Canada.

“We’re try­ing to not make re­sults the end fo­cus and that goes down to ev­ery in­di­vid­ual player, not just games as well, so we’re just try­ing to im­prove on a day-to­day ba­sis and im­prove in all as­pects of the game.”

This year’s Ca­pers squad will have three Cape Bre­ton play­ers in its lineup in­clud­ing Syd­ney Academy grad­u­ates Ja­son Cal­laghan and Liam Mac­don­aldS­ta­ple­ton as well as Noah Dunn of Port Hood.

“Ja­son is a fresh­man for us and I think he’s go­ing to carve him­self a re­ally great role for our team this year and he’s go­ing

to be a great player for our pro­gram now and mov­ing for­ward,” said Skinn.

“It’s great to see peo­ple from Cape Bre­ton hav­ing suc­cess in bas­ket­ball and mov­ing on to this level and be­ing part of our pro­gram.”

Cape Bre­ton opened the sea­son last week­end with a pair of losses to the Dal­housie Tigers. The team was de­feated 85-65 on Satur­day, and 89-76 on Sun­day.

The Ca­pers will re­turn to the hard­wood to­day when they host the St. Fran­cis Xavier X-Men at 8 p.m. at Sullivan Field House in Syd­ney.

Skinn

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