Photo by Alex D'Addese

Rams tipoff new season Friday, looking to get back to national stage

By Luke Bellus

TORONTO - Coming off yet another historic season, the Ryerson Rams men’s basketball team will hit the court Friday, Oct. 26 when they face off against their downtown rivals the University of Toronto Varsity Blues.

Last season the Rams found themselves in the U SPORTS Final 8 championship tournament for the fourth year in a row. The season came to a heartbreaking end when the Calgary Dinos scored a last second basket to break the tie and win U SPORTS gold.

The loss for Ryerson marked back to back seasons ending with Ryerson falling just short of U SPORTS gold, a game that they will once again be trying to get back to in this 2018-2019 season.

If Ryerson hopes to get back to the U SPORTS Final 8 championship they will need to replace the offensive leadership from the graduating class of Ammanuel Diressa, Roshane Roberts, and Adam Voll.

Diressa’s 21.8 points per game were good for third in the OUA and eighth in the country, while Roberts and Voll both had a very steady and reliable on court presence with big game experience.  

Replacing graduating seniors is never easy, but for Ryerson their fifth-year senior group this season is spearheaded by the three-headed monster of Myles Charvis, Jean-Victor Mukama and Filip Vujadinovic.

Mukama and Vujadinovic have spent their entire U SPORTS careers at Ryerson helping contribute to the four consecutive national tournament appearances, both having their own signature moment.

It was a Mukama corner three against the UBC thunderbirds in 2016 that pushed Ryerson to overtime in their quarter-final win. And it a 16-point showing from Vujadinovic that helped power Ryerson past the Dalhousie Tigers in the 2017 semifinals.

Charvis spent two years with the Waterloo Warriors where he was named to the OUA West All-Rookie team in 2013-14. His first season with Ryerson in 2016-17, Charvis came in and found himself starting almost right away. And he averaged just under 12 points a game in the Rams latest run at nationals.

All three of these veteran players have shown that they can step up in the big games and moments, and they will need to do so this year to help Ryerson get to where they want to be.

The Rams will also be looking for big contributions from Keevon Small and Tanor Ngom. Small was named to the OUA All Rookie Team after an impressive 2016-17 season but was forced to miss the second half the 2017-18 season. Ngom is a 7-2 forward who has a big presence in the paint on both offence and defence. Ngom put himself on the Canadian national stage with a big highlight dunk when Ryerson played NCAA powerhouse Duke in an August exhibition game.

Another key to Ryerson’s success has been head coach Roy Rana. Since coming to Ryerson, Rana has helped coach the Rams to a 116-53 regular season record during his eight seasons as head coach.

With Rana once again calling the shots for Ryerson and another solid core of seniors, expect Ryerson to compete once again against everything the challenging OUA conference has to offer.

The season tips off at 8:00 p.m. on the Coca-Cola Court at the Mattamy Athletic Centre on Friday; be sure to come out and cheer them on. You can also follow live on Twitter and Instagram for all of the updates.

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