The 2014-15 CIS silver medalist Gee-Gees continue to build toward sustainable success with the addition of two freshmen who head coach James Derouin describe as “major pieces for the future of this program.” With Calvin Epistola and Malick Turenne joining the likes of Brody Maracle, Ethan Degazio and last year’s recruiting class of Brandon Robinson and Mackenzie Morrison, the future of the uOttawa men’s basketball program looks to be in great hands.
Calvin Epistola, a 5-foot-9 Toronto native, is known as a floor general and has been a proven commodity on every team he’s played for. “I like to use my IQ of the game to get around the court. I know I’m not the tallest, strongest or fastest, but if I use what I have to the best of my ability I can make some plays,” explained Calvin, who will major in linguistics.
The Toronto Triple Threat product shows a high level of composure, possesses exceptional court vision, outstanding passing skills, a reliable jump shot and the ability to make the players around him better. Epistola is a Canada Games gold medalist with Team Ontario and an OFSAA Champion with Oakwood High School in Toronto.
Epistola was also recruited by Carleton University, but a strong coaching staff and the chance to learn from veteran leadership at the point guard position influenced his decision to take his talents downtown. “I felt like I had a good relationship with both Coach Jimmy and Coach Justin. The style of play, and the amount of learning I anticipated playing behind Mike [L’Africain] for a year was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Malick Turenne is a 6-foot-5 guard from Gatineau, Québec, and is described as the top shooter of the 2016 recruiting class by North Pole Hoops. The former Ottawa Guardsmen and CIA Bounce player enters the CIS with more experience than most of his peers, yet remains humble, observing that, “None of us rookies have ever played university basketball, so we’re all in the same boat. It’s going to be a good learning experience for all of us.”
Malick, who will major in biology at uOttawa, played on the 2014 Cadet Men’s National Team that competed at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for men, taking home the bronze. Turenne also participated in the Americas Team Camp presented by Nike in Toronto during the summer of 2014. The camp brought together 60 athletes from six countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico) to participate in drills and competition directed by NBA athletes and coaches.
“This year for me will be about adapting to the new level of basketball, learning from my older teammates and getting ready for when my turn comes. I'm looking up to guys like Mike and Caleb because they play a big role on this team; a role that I'll eventually be placed in.”