Hoops fans will get their first peek at the new-look MacEwan Griffins men's basketball team at home when they host the visiting Memorial University Seahawks on Thursday night (6 p.m., Atkinson Gym).
The St. John's, N.L.-based squad will give the Griffins their fourth preseason test after they travelled to Waterloo's Naismith Tournament last weekend.
A season after losing five seniors and their leading scorer, the Griffins have seven new players on their active roster. Although they lost all their matches at the Naismith Tournament to three Ontario University Association teams – 95-76 to Waterloo, 99-51 to Ottawa and 91-60 to Laurier – head coach Eric Magdanz is focusing on the process.
"The trip was perfect for us. We needed to experience U Sports competition and we played against some great teams," he said. "I expect Ottawa to be in the (U Sports) top 10 for most of the season and for us to see that level of play was huge.
"We played 12 players, seven of which were in their first action for us at MacEwan," he added. "That experience was invaluable. We're just hoping to take the lessons we learned last weekend and apply them to our home games this week."
After hosting Memorial on Thursday, the Griffins will get ready to welcome Toronto's York University on Sunday (1 p.m., Atkinson Gym).
"For us, it's just one step at a time," said Magdanz. "We wanted to make small improvements in every single game last weekend. We made those improvements.
"Moving forward into this week, we want to continue that level of development and prepare ourselves for conference play."
The Griffins will open their Canada West regular season slate on the road in Kamloops, B.C. against Thompson Rivers University on Oct. 27-28. Their home-opening weekend is set for Nov. 3-4 vs. Lethbridge.