Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
EDMONTON – So hungry is the MacEwan Griffins men's basketball team for game action right now, you could serve the boys backboard glass for breakfast and they'd probably partake.
Seven weeks of practice together on the court without facing any foes makes for a group eagerly anticipating its first taste of the preseason this weekend.
The Griffins will travel to Kamloops, B.C. to take on Thompson Rivers University on Friday (5 p.m. MT) before visiting UBC-Okanagan in Kelowna on Saturday (4:30 p.m. MT).
"We've been going for almost a month and a half now, just practicing and preparing ourselves for some game play," said head coach Eric Magdanz. "This is a great opportunity for us.
"We have a relatively young team this year, so getting a little extra time in the gym to work on technique and systems has been very good for us, but I think everybody's champing at the bit, looking to get competitive."
TRU was a Canada West playoff team last season, while UBCO traditionally gives the Griffins a good test, so it's a great way to kick things off.
With seven players in their first year of eligibility this season, the opportunity is a good one for a young team to learn what it takes to win at the university level.
"I think we just want to use preseason as a gauge for us in where we are now and somewhat where we think we can be this year," said Magdanz. "We're playing two very good teams who are very well coached, and they'll throw a number of different systems at us that we'll have to adapt to.
"So, for us, it will be a challenge seeing how we respond going from a practice scenario to a competitive scenario."
MacEwan will head to a non-conference tournament in Saskatoon Oct. 18-20, playing games against Nipissing, Saskatchewan and Trinity Western in their final tune-up before the Canada West regular season begins.
The Griffins will kick off the campaign on Oct. 25 at cross-town rival Alberta (8 p.m., Saville Centre) before hosting the Golden Bears in their home opener on Oct. 27 (2 p.m., David Atkinson Gym).