The uOttawa Gee-Gees men’s basketball program has filled some needs this off season with the acquisition of some major talent and athleticism. The 2014 recruiting class will provide Gee-Gees nation with five new athletes who will be looking to make an impact with the already dynamic group.
Atop the recruiting class is the country’s third best scorer last season, Alex Ratte. His decision to come back to his hometown to complete his two year master’s degree and his final years of CIS eligibility is a tremendous gain for uOttawa, which will be a favourite to compete for a championship again this season.
“Since we got news that Alex [Ratte] was coming here we were thrilled. His up-tempo style of play will fit in perfectly with the team that we have here. But most importantly, we are happy about not having to play him any more because he is a menace to go up against offensively,” said head coach James Derouin.
With leading scorer Terry Thomas departing to pursue his career at the pro level, the addition of Ratte cannot be understated. Thomas played a big role on the team last season and Ratte is expected to be a perfect fit to replace those shoes for the Gee-Gees. The Ottawa native was an OUA all-star for Laurentian last season and averaged 24.5 points per contest.
Next on the list of off-season additions is Barrie, Ontario native Mackenzie Morrison, who has spent the past two years at a prep high school in the U.S. (Salisbury). He is a former Team Ontario and CIA Bounce player who has had great experience in his secondary career.
Despite contemplating some offers from NCAA teams, Morrison decided to return north of the border to compete in the CIS and for the Gee-Gees. The 6-foot-6 forward is described as an excellent three-point shooter and overall gifted athlete with tremendous leaping ability. He will be looking to have an immediate impact with the Gee-Gees this fall.
“Mackenzie [Morrison] is an awesome kid and great team guy. We are really impressed with what we have seen from him so far and are thrilled about him as piece of this program moving forward,” said Derouin.
The Gee-Gees will also be welcoming two Dawson College graduates who will be taking their game to the university level this upcoming season. The first to commit was Brandon Robinson, a first team collegiate all-star in Quebec last season and the league’s third highest point getter, averaging 16.1 points per game.
The second product of Dawson to be added to the Gee-Gees roster is big man Kiari Gerba, who should help address the Gee-Gees’ need for size and rebounding. He was fourth on Dawson in scoring last season, averaging 10.5 points per game. The important aspect of his game to take note of however is Gerba’s rebounding numbers as he pulled down 7.4 boards per game for for his team last season.
uOttawa will also be adding more size with 6-foot-7 forward Noel Jones who will be joining the ranks. Jones attended Syracuse University for two years before earning a spot on the team as a walk-on in 2012. The Halifax native played limited minutes for the Orange but brings size and experience to a Gee-Gees team looking to add players at the post position.
Lastly, the Gee-Gees will also be receiving guard Hamid Nessek, a transfer from McMaster University. The Hamilton native appeared in six games for McMaster in 2013-14 and will need to complete his mandatory transfer year before being eligible to suiting up for the garnet and grey.
It is safe to say that uOttawa has made good strides, not only as a team last season, but in bringing talent for the future this off-season. Gee-Gees nation has major reasons excitement with the pre-season now less than two months away.