The agony of defeat.
This simple statement sums up the Dinosaurs men's basketball season last year. After suffering numerous injuries to key experienced players and being forced to field many new and inexperienced young men, the Dinos played their season out to a final record of four wins and 16 losses.
This record is less than flattering. Yet, despite their win/loss ration, the young club refused to give up.
"I don't think the guys really enjoyed the season," commented Head Coach Cory Russell. "But at the same time they rose to the challenge; none of them gave up."
Since the end of last season, the team has trained furiously for this year. In preparation, they traveled north to Edmonton last Friday, where they played an exhibition game against the University of Alberta Golden Bears. The game was less than optimal, with the Dinos giving up nearly 20 turnovers. Their play was reflected in the 94-66 Golden Bears victory.
Once again, this score cannot accurately reflect the effort and determination shown by the Dinos, who refused to give up even when down by more than 34 points. During the last 10 minutes of the game, the squad made a comeback, clawing to within 20 points of U of A. This effort was led by second-year guard Troy Gedlaman, who made a series of stunning three-point shots to rally the team. Unfortunately, this effort ultimately proved to be ineffective against the Golden Bears' relentless offence, which steadily widened the point spread back to 28 points.
"We had our moments, we just didn't have enough of them," said Russell.
Another problem faced by the Dinos was their work under the basket. Despite having several large and skilled forwards, the team was simply overpowered by the Bears.
"We have the size, but we are not playing like it yet," said Russell.
And what impression did the Dinos leave in Edmonton?
"From what I saw of Calgary tonight, I think they'll have an impact on the league," stated U of A's Head Coach Don Horwood, impressed by the tenacity of the team.
Obviously, the Dinos have their work cut out for them. The regular season is still in the future and there is time to prepare. Refusing to be discouraged, Russell offered some insight into the team.