Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chaminade Hosts UCLA in Maui Opener

By Bruin Basketball Report

The Chaminade Silver Swords play host to the No. 6 ranked UCLA Bruins tonight in a first round match up of the EA Sport Maui Invitational tournament.  Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 PM Pacific and will be televised on ESPN2.

It will be the first game of the season for Chaminade which is coming off a successful 2005-06 campaign.  Last season, the Silver Swords won the Pacific West Conference with a 19-9 overall and 9-3 conference record, and earned a bid to the NCAA Division II post-season tournament.

After leading his team to its highest victory total in 17 years, Chaminade Head Coach Matt Mahar was voted Pacific West Conference Coach of the Year.

However with the loss of five seniors including leading scorer and Pacific West Conference Player of the Year, Chris Reeves, 2006-07 looks to be a rebuilding year for Chaminade. The Silver Swords return only three players who saw significant action last season.

The Silver Sword's best player and floor leader is All-Pacific West point-guard Zack Whiting. (6'3, 205) from Chico, California.  A Bob Cousy Award nominee, Whiting averaged 14.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 5 rebounds last season and is the only senior on the squad.

Whiting considers himself an "old school" type player, while coaches comment on his excellent court vision and ability to get the job done on both ends of the court.

Junior wingman Stewart Kussler (6'5, 215) from Santa Maria started in 23 games last season averaging 7.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 19 minutes of play per game.  He is a hard-nosed player and shot an impressive 61% from the field.

Chaminade has 7'0 230 lb Marko Kolaric from Serbia in the middle.  The junior averaged 5.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and shot 53% from the field.  In a NCAA post season Division II game against Alaska Anchorage last season, Kolaric recorded career-highs of 21 points and 16 rebounds.

In last year's Maui Tournament, the Chaminade squad went 0-3 losing by an average of 33 points to Michigan St, Maryland, and Kansas.

With respects given to the ghosts of Chaminade victories over Virginia and Ralph Sampson, and later Villanova, the Bruins should easily win and advance to the second-round game on Tuesday against the winner of the Kentucky and DePaul match-up

Both UCLA's Arron Afflalo and Josh Shipp are expected to play tonight against the Silver Swords.  Afflalo bruised his knee in the game against BYU but MRI tests were negative.  Shipp was sore after a fall on his surgically repaired hip but reports he is ready to play. 

BBR Notes:  Adidas recently informed us of a basketball shoe the company created specifically for the UCLA team to wear at the EA Sports Maui Invitational.  Only 125 pairs are for sale and can only be purchased at the Footlocker store on Maui or from the Adidas online store:

(photo credit: Honolulu Star-Bulletin)



Post a Comment

<< Back To Bruin Basketball Report Home