Chaminade men’s basketball is back

Chaminade+men%27s+basketball+is+back

By Ryan Look, Staff Writer

Chaminade athletics main attraction, aka men’s basketball, is starting up the 2015-16 season with a two-game trip to Alaska to play against Alaska Anchorage and Alaska on Nov. 13 and 14 before heading over to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational where they will face the fourth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Nov. 23.

The Silverswords’ unofficial start to their season was against the University of Hawaii in an exhibition game at the Stan Sheriff Center in which the Rainbow Warriors were able to pull off a 101-96 victory in overtime.

Though the Swords nearly pulled off the upset over the Division I Rainbow Warriors, it was an encouraging performance for a team that will look different this season.

This year’s Chaminade team features eight new players on the team along with nine returnees from last season’s squad that went 12-14 and finished eighth in the PacWest Conference.

One challenge for the Swords this season will be its lack of height. The team has only one Silversword standing taller than 6-foot-6.

Also, this team will be without floor leader Lee Bailey, a four-year starter for the Swords who garnered all PacWest honors last year. Bailey is now a graduate assistant for fellow PacWest member Holy Names University.

But returning this year is the 1-2 punch in juniors Kiran Shastri and Kuany Kauny.

Shastri has led the team in 3-pointers in his first two seasons but went through a sophomore slump only making 66 3s compared to a school-record 93 in his freshman year.

Kuany led the team with 15.3 points per game, which was good for 11th in the conference. He was also named to the PacWest preseason First Team.

“I think we need to come together as a team, get everyone together on the same boat,” Kuany said. “I think personally as myself I need to get better as a leader and help lead the team in the right direction, whether by leading by example or just talking to the guys. One thing I focused on in the summer is getting stronger, getting faster, getting better with the ball, and I pretty much worked on all aspects of my game to get better overall.”

Chaminade head coach Eric Bovaird is in his fifth season at the helm and holds an overall record of 59-50 including a victory in the 2012 Maui Invitational against the Division I powerhouse Texas Longhorns. He has been to the NCAA tournament regionals twice and coached the team to the PacWest tournament title in 2014.

“I think we are much deeper than we’ve ever been,” Bovaird said. “Our key difference is hopefully not have key players get injured during key times of the year. I think that was one of the biggest factors for us last year was having injuries at inappropriate times. But this year we have the depth if one or two guys get injured then we should replace them and continue in our strong path.”

Sophomore center/forward Matt Southard pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies minor league system and tried out for the Silverswords over the summer and was granted a spot on the team by Bovaird.

Senior Kevin Hu has been with the team all four years and was second on the team with a 14.1 scoring average. Hu played a key role in the Texas win coming off the bench with 16 points.

After the Maui Invitational, the Silverswords play at home for the first time this season against Cal State San Marcos (Nov. 28). They will tipoff PacWest play against new league foe Concordia (Dec. 3) before taking on Holy Names (Dec. 5) and Hawaii-Hilo (Dec. 10).

 

  • Sophomore guard Dantlay Walker, a native of Nevada, served a two-year mission to the state of Washington before attending UNLV.
  • After high school, freshman Tyler Cartaino played at Basketball Training Institute during his “gap year” in Las Vegas to improve his skills.
  • The team features five international players, including three Australians (Kuany, Sam Daly and Chris Johnstone). Oscar Pedroso (Portugal) and Kevin Hu (Taiwan) round out the international roster.
  • “As a team we can get really up and down, I expect us to play pretty well and put up a lot of points,” Southard said. “It was a good experience (playing for the Phillies) I was very fortunate enough to get that opportunity, it was a good opportunity to know what it was like in the real world of business and playing professional sports.”