Simon Farine has some new sidekicks.
The Dalhousie Tigers star and reigning Atlantic University Sport men’s basketball playoff MVP has a new-look supporting cast as the club begins its championship defence.
Farine, a fourth-year guard, is adjusting to life after the premature loss of sharpshooter Josh Beattie, among others, but hopes a strong recruiting class will help ease the pain.
“We’re more talented, bigger and a more athletic team than we were last year,” Farine said. “It all comes down to how the new people fit into our structure and system. But we have the possibility of being a very good team.”
Beattie, a 6-foot-4 wing player, made a name for himself last season when he drained five three-pointers in a 3:30 span in the championship game. He left after two seasons to focus on academics. Fellow guard Yannick Walcott also left school early, while centre Germain Bendegue graduated.
Bedford’s Beattie, who was ninth in AUS scoring and nailed 47.6 per cent of his treys, will leave a gaping hole.
“He stepped up really big for us, especially in the playoffs, and he had a promising career ahead of him,” Farine said. “But we can’t think about that anymore. We have some players who can step in and do some of the things he couldn’t do.”
The Tigers expect three newcomers to fill in for Beattie. Mari Peoples-Wong, William Yengue and Chris Hunt are all capable of sliding into his spot. Meanwhile, 6-foot-9 Calgary Dinos transfer Joseph Schow and 6-foot-8 returnee Sandy Veit provide a strong presence in the paint at both ends.
Defence will again be a priority for the Tigers, who allowed an AUS-low 66 points per game last season.
Farine, who dominates possessions and is the centre of Dal’s offence, placed fourth in AUS scoring last season with 19.1 points per game and is a player-of-the-year candidate.
“I’d like to be AUS player of the year, but I’d much rather win a championship and go back to nationals,” he said.