Dan Vanhooren is a happy man, all things considered. After a season riddled with injuries and bad luck, the second-year Dinos’ mens basketball Head Coach has a couple of highly-touted new recruits joining the fold next season.
Calgary native Chris Wright, a forward from William Aberhart High School, and Mark Gillirie, a guard from Ladysmith, British Columbia by way of Malaspina College in Nanaimo, bolster the Dinos’ depth and increase their versatility immensely.
"Both these guys are great additions," said Vanhooren. "They give us a lot of options and the ability to try a variety of looks."
The six-foot-seven Wright is fresh off a dominant career in the Calgary high school program, winning back-to-back city championships while averaging 23.5 points and 14 rebounds per game in his final year with the Trojans. Wright was described as a "first-class competitor" and a "pure athlete" by his coach of the past two years, Wayne Thomas.
"He is one of the most competitive players I’ve ever seen," said Thomas. "He wants to win and he’ll do whatever is required to succeed. He is by far the best rebounder I’ve ever coached."
"I’m looking forward to watching his career develop," adds Vanhooren. "He brings energy, enthusiasm and a nose for the ball. I could definitely see him challenging our older guys as early as January. He is going to be invaluable to our program."
Though he will be a first year Dino, Gillirie already has a year of college basketball experience. At six foot five, he provides great height in the back court and has tremendous ball-handling skills.
"It’s not every day you get the chance to add a point guard who already has a year experience, especially one who’s that tall," explained Vanhooren. "On top of that, his athleticism and ball handling ability give him a lot of weapons at both ends of the court."
With guard Kurt Schoendorfer and big-man Chris Harris questionable for the start of the year, both Wright and Gillirie will have ample opportunity to get a feel for Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union-level basketball. And they’ll have the chance to show us all what they can do.