Final Home BBall games of 2013/14 season

February 9th, 2014

VIU basketball season is coming to an end. Last two home take place this weekend versus Langara Falcons and the Douglas Royals. Our women's team remains undefeated and the men's team will face the top ranked Falcons on Friday.

Fifth year athletes will be recognized on Friday night ...

Read more in the Nanaimo Daily News

Aftre that,  one road game to Camosun and then the PACWEST Provincials at Douglas College in New Westminister.
Follow all the action via the PACWEST Provincials Bball website

http://www.pacwestbc.ca/2014basketball/

 

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M's trio set for home finale

Brandon Jones, Clayton Billett and Evan Verdel have all left a mark on Mariners

Josh Aldrich / Daily News
February 14, 2014

There is not much more that Brandon Jones could have done in his three years as a Vancouver Island University Mariner.

He's an all-Canadian. He's earned provincial and national championship MVP awards. He was a finalist for B.C. Basketball player of the year and has collected honours as VIU and Nanaimo male athlete of the year.

This weekend will be the final time, along with fifth-year seniors Clayton Billett and Evan Verdel, that he steps on VIU's court for a Pacific Western Athletic Association men's basketball game.

He does have one regret, however: "I wish I would have came sooner," said the Portland native, who transferred to the school after two years of junior college in the U.S. "The whole closeness that the teams have with each other. You get that in the states, but it's not like a brotherhood."

But he is focused on one thing this weekend, beating the Langara Falcons on Friday night at 8 p.m. Beating the defending provincial champions would all but lock up the No. 2 seed and a bye in the first round of the PacWest championships.

"I'm going to enjoy it, but I don't want it to take over this game, because this is a pretty big game for us," said Jones, who has been at his best when it has mattered most.

This year, Jones is averaging 19.50 points a game, six assists and 4.22 rebounds, putting him on pace to almost duplicate his career best numbers from last season: 19.43 points, 7.19 assists and 4.33 rebounds.

Head coach Matt Kuzminski has been a huge beneficiary of Jones on-court prowess since taking over before last season.

"Having a guy like (Jones) play for you makes coaching a lot easier," he said. "He's fearless, he makes big plays, he wants to make big plays and whenever you have Brandon on your team you always feel like you can win."

Billett and Verdel have had a much different existence at VIU than Jones.

They have played much of their careers in the shadow of other great players like Jones or Richard Townsend-Gant or Jacob Thom.

They spent much of their first three years at the school playing against some of the best players in the province and improving under then head coach Tony Bryce.

When Kuzminski came in with a new Princeton offence - a system based on options and outside shooting - the two guards came into their own.

Verdel is averaging a careerbest 6.22 points per game this year while Billett is just off the pace he set last year with 11 points per game.

"You get better every year, and when your time comes, you've got to take advantage of that situation," said Billett.

For Kuzminski, it's not so much what they have done on the court, but the contributions they've made to the team over five years at the school.

"Five-year players are something a good team needs to be successful," said Kuzminski. "You add in pieces. .. but the foundation of your team and the culture of your team needs to be built around these guys who are willing to stay for a bit and are willing to get better and are willing to be entrenched in the school."

Billett and Verdel's bond extends off the court.

When Verdel was had trouble finding a place to live last year, it was the Billett family - Clayton and his younger brother and teammate Connor Billett are both Dover Bay products - who opened up their house to him. He has lived with them since.

They are now brothers as much as they are teammates.

"You really get to know a person," said Verdel.

"When you can live with a person for a year and then say you want to go back and live with that person for another year, you can honestly say he's a great person all the way around, he's easy to get along with."

And with that relationship comes the same exchanges as with any brothers, jabs and all.

"He doesn't shut up, he's always cracking jokes," said Billett with a laugh. "He's a funny guy."

While they still have one more weekend and a post-season to contend with, Friday and Saturday does have an air of finality to it, and it is difficult for them to comprehend not playing games at VIU.

"It's been a pretty quick five years. I've had my ups and downs, but every minute was worth it and I enjoyed every minute," said Verdel.

"It made me the person I am, the five years.

"It's really weird to think about, I can't really see my life without basketball and seeing my teammates everyday, I can't wrap my mind around it."

- See more at: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/sports/m-s-trio-set-for-home-finale-1.853906#sthash.Qwt8DRIw.dpuf

There is not much more that Brandon Jones could have done in his three years as a Vancouver Island University Mariner.

He's an all-Canadian. He's earned provincial and national championship MVP awards. He was a finalist for B.C. Basketball player of the year and has collected honours as VIU and Nanaimo male athlete of the year.

This weekend will be the final time, along with fifth-year seniors Clayton Billett and Evan Verdel, that he steps on VIU's court for a Pacific Western Athletic Association men's basketball game.

He does have one regret, however: "I wish I would have came sooner," said the Portland native, who transferred to the school after two years of junior college in the U.S. "The whole closeness that the teams have with each other. You get that in the states, but it's not like a brotherhood."

But he is focused on one thing this weekend, beating the Langara Falcons on Friday night at 8 p.m. Beating the defending provincial champions would all but lock up the No. 2 seed and a bye in the first round of the PacWest championships.

"I'm going to enjoy it, but I don't want it to take over this game, because this is a pretty big game for us," said Jones, who has been at his best when it has mattered most.

This year, Jones is averaging 19.50 points a game, six assists and 4.22 rebounds, putting him on pace to almost duplicate his career best numbers from last season: 19.43 points, 7.19 assists and 4.33 rebounds.

Head coach Matt Kuzminski has been a huge beneficiary of Jones on-court prowess since taking over before last season.

"Having a guy like (Jones) play for you makes coaching a lot easier," he said. "He's fearless, he makes big plays, he wants to make big plays and whenever you have Brandon on your team you always feel like you can win."

Billett and Verdel have had a much different existence at VIU than Jones.

They have played much of their careers in the shadow of other great players like Jones or Richard Townsend-Gant or Jacob Thom.

They spent much of their first three years at the school playing against some of the best players in the province and improving under then head coach Tony Bryce.

When Kuzminski came in with a new Princeton offence - a system based on options and outside shooting - the two guards came into their own.

Verdel is averaging a careerbest 6.22 points per game this year while Billett is just off the pace he set last year with 11 points per game.

"You get better every year, and when your time comes, you've got to take advantage of that situation," said Billett.

For Kuzminski, it's not so much what they have done on the court, but the contributions they've made to the team over five years at the school.

"Five-year players are something a good team needs to be successful," said Kuzminski. "You add in pieces. .. but the foundation of your team and the culture of your team needs to be built around these guys who are willing to stay for a bit and are willing to get better and are willing to be entrenched in the school."

Billett and Verdel's bond extends off the court.

When Verdel was had trouble finding a place to live last year, it was the Billett family - Clayton and his younger brother and teammate Connor Billett are both Dover Bay products - who opened up their house to him. He has lived with them since.

They are now brothers as much as they are teammates.

"You really get to know a person," said Verdel.

"When you can live with a person for a year and then say you want to go back and live with that person for another year, you can honestly say he's a great person all the way around, he's easy to get along with."

And with that relationship comes the same exchanges as with any brothers, jabs and all.

"He doesn't shut up, he's always cracking jokes," said Billett with a laugh. "He's a funny guy."

While they still have one more weekend and a post-season to contend with, Friday and Saturday does have an air of finality to it, and it is difficult for them to comprehend not playing games at VIU.

"It's been a pretty quick five years. I've had my ups and downs, but every minute was worth it and I enjoyed every minute," said Verdel.

"It made me the person I am, the five years.

"It's really weird to think about, I can't really see my life without basketball and seeing my teammates everyday, I can't wrap my mind around it."