Basketball Weekend

November 25th, 2012

After several weekends on the road our VIU Basketball teams are back playing on their home court this weekend. Friday the CBC Bearcats will battle our Mariners at 6/8pm, then on Saturday the Kwantlen Eagles take to the court at 1/3pm.

Read more in the NNB

The VIU Men's Basketball team have just moved up to #2 in the CCAA national rankings!!

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Rookie making early impact
VIU Mariners freshman Jon Bethell is leading the team in assists and floor time
Josh Aldrich
Daily News


Jon Bethell is not playing like an inexperienced rookie.

The Vancouver Island University Mariners men's basketball point guard has already evolved into a leader on the floor despite being an 18year-old freshman, straight out of Dover Bay.

Bethell has continued to show his growing maturity and good decision making as VIU's starting point guard, helping to lead the Mariners to an impressive 5-1 mark following a 90-76 win over the Camosun Chargers on Friday last week.

The M's have two home games remaining in their Pacific Western Athletic Association schedule before they break for Christmas this weekend and they are hoping to end on a high note.

"Throughout the season we've got a lot better," said Bethell.

"We're 5-1 and we deserve to be. We train hard and we practice hard and it we're going to keep getting better and better."

Bethell has made an immediate impact after being a two-sport star with the Dover Bay Dolphins, also excelling on the soccer pitch and helping the school to their first ever Island championship.

But he chose basketball and has stepped into the VIU starting lineup as one of their minute leaders and with the best assists stats on the team with 3.17 a game, good enough for a tie for sixth in the PacWest with Jeff Chu of the Langara Falcons. VIU guard Brandon Jones is next on that list with 3.0 a game.

"When Jon's out on the court, everything seems to run smoother and there's a confidence in you have in him that he is not always going to give you a flashy play, but he's going to give you the steady play," said head coach Matt Kuzminski. "He's definitely a team first point guard at this stage of his career."

Bethell's strength is as a distributor of the ball, he fits the roll of quarterback well for the multi-facetted offence VIU is running this year well.

Jones will also play point in Kuzminski's system, but he is more aggressive than Bethell and will take more opportunities to shoot the ball. He's a fastball to Bethell's changeup. Jones currently leads the Mariners in scoring with 16.50 points a game, good enough for third in the PacWest.

It is a side that the coach is hoping to see more of in Bethell's game.

"This year he hasn't really shot the ball all that well," said Kuzminski. "It's a different level with the speed, so getting his shot off consistently while having bigger players guard him, he's got to get more comfortable with that." It hasn't been all easy for the five-foot-10, 180-pound guard.

Making the jump from high school to college was a big step for the hometown product.

Everyone at the PacWest level is bigger, faster and more skilled than what he was used to facing the last few years.

"In high school I used to just be able to drive and not even think about getting blocked, but now there's a lot bigger guys in the lane so I have to change my shots and be a more conscious player," said Bethell.

The Mariners are hoping his game continues to evolve this weekend when they host the Columbia Bible College Bearcats (06) on Friday at 8 p.m. - women play at 6 p.m. - and then the Kwantlen Eagles (3-3) on Saturday at 3 p.m. - women at 1 p.m.

"All of the stuff we did in the summer has paid off," said Kuzminski. "Guys are buying into the team style we want to play and that is buying us some success.

"If we can finish with two wins here, we'll be pretty happy with that heading into the break."