The most highly anticipated pre-season game is just around the corner. The University of Ottawa Gee-Gees men’s basketball team will host the Syracuse Orangemen this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Montpetit Hall. The Orange will end their Canadian trip with the Gee-Gees, having also visited McGill, Bishop’s and Carleton. This will also be the last NCAA game of the pre-season for the Gee-Gees, who are 1-1.
“We are thrilled and excited to be hosting Syracuse,” said Gee-Gees head coach James Derouin. “To have them play at Montpetit is surreal.”
Coached by the legendary Jim Boeheim, SU finished off their 2012-2013 season with a record of 30-10, losing in the Final Four at the NCAA Tournament to tournament finalists from University of Michigan. This was the fourth time any NCAA coach guided a team to the Final Four in four different decades.
Boeheim graduated from Syracuse University and has been coaching at his alma mater for 34 years, making 27 appearances into the NCAA Tournament, including an NCAA Championship in 2003. He served as an assistant coach for Team USA in the 2012 Olympics, bringing home the gold medal.
Known for his renowned zone defense, Boeheim brought his expertise to the Olympics and will be bringing it to Montpetit Hall on Saturday. “It will definitely be a big test for us to be able to handle their zone, because we don’t see a lot of it in our league,” Coach Derouin said.
With the departure of NBA first-round draft pick, guard Michael Carter-Williams, the Orange welcome Canadian point guard Tyler Ennis, who will be entering his freshmen year University, adding a Canadian element to trip for the Orange. Ennis comes from Brampton, Ontario and is projected to be a top NCAA player.
Other SU players to look out for are seniors C.J. Fair and Rakeem Christmas. Fair, a 6-foot-8 guard-forward combo player averaged 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game in 2012-2013, shooting 47 per cent from the field and 46.9 per cent from behind the arc. Christmas, a 6-foot-9 forward scored 5.1 ppg and picked up 4.6 rpg, shooting 53 per cent from the field. Both averaged over 20 minutes of play per game in 2012-2013.
There has been strong basketball connection between Syracuse and Ottawa, according to Derouin. “Being an Ottawa native, I have always supported and gone to watch Syracuse play. To have a team who usually plays in front of thirty thousand fans come here and play in front of our nine hundred fans is a dream come true,” Derouin explained. “It is everybody’s dream to play Syracuse. This is a chance of lifetime to play against some of the best.”
Tickets for Saturday’s game are still available. Purchase your tickets in advance online through Capital Tickets or by phoning the Gee-Gees box office at 613-562-5800 extension 4337.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m., August 24th at Montpetit Hall. Fans can watch the game online at SSN Canada.