A pair of former Highland Raiders basketball players are now prowling the court for the Mount Royal Cougars in in Calgary.
Noah Lewis and good buddy Nick Tancon are gearing up for pre-season U Sports (formerly CIS) action this weekend (Oct. 28-29) at the University of Victoria – playing on the Island for the first time since 2014. The Cougars and the Vikes tip off at 8 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday.
Lewis played three years with the Cougars before sitting out last season after surgery on a broken wrist. He still has two years eligibility left. The six-foot-four guard has made Academic All-Canadian three times in four years and has been named captain the last two years.
Tancon, a six-foot-seven forward, is in his first year with the Cougars. He began his U Sports career with Trinity Western and took last year off to recover from some injuries of his own.
“It’s pretty tough to crack U Sports rosters, so kind of great that two Highland boys, and friends, are on the same U Sports team,” said Noah’s mother, Ann-Marie Lewis.
“Ryan and Scott MacKinnon have been huge mentors and supporters of these guys and Mac Bros basketball camps were a huge part of their development as players and as coaches,” she noted.
Mount Royal coach Marc Dobell is happy to have the two former Raiders healthy and ready to roll this season.
“Noah, in his fourth year now and a team captain, has a great work ethic, attitude and is a team-first guy,” Dobell said.
“He can shoot the ball when he gets going, and has improved his ball handling…a very positive person and positive addition to our program over his first four years,” the coach said.
“Nick is new this year to our program after taking a year off to recover from foot surgery. He’s a hard worker, physical presence, good finisher around the rim, and solid rebounder. We look for many good things from Nick as he works his way back into playing shape.”
Dobell said Lewis and Tancon will be regular rotation players and will be relied upon in order for the Cougars to be successful this season.
The Comox Connection is also happy that the Raider reunion happened.
“It’s great to be playing on a team with Noah again, he’s a great guy both on and off the court,” said Tancon. “We had a ton of fun on the Raiders back in the day and playing for the MRU Cougars is proving to be even better.
“I play the power forward here, being a stretch four who can also play with my back to the basket. My goal for the season is to go deep into the playoffs as I think our team is as good as anyone else in CanWest,” Tancon added.
“It’s a really cool experience playing with Nick again. When I see him on the court I get flashbacks to high school,” Lewis said. “What used to be glimpses of potential have turned into tons of talent.
“It’s also just really fun having a close friend from home here playing with me. Lots of history between us makes playing together even better.
“I am a small forward and my best strength is my shooting. I’m looking forward to the season because I think we have a lot of talent. We kept a strong core group of guys and added some new talent, including Nick. My goal for this season is for us to make playoffs and make a push for nationals.”
Recruited in 2012-13, Lewis added size and strength in the paint for the Cougars in their first season of U Sports competition, the Mount Royal website noted. He played in 12 of the team’s 22 games.
In his sophomore season, Lewis’ playing time jumped to 157 minutes in 18 games. He scored 43 points and pulled down 13 rebounds coming off the bench. He was named a 2013 Academic All-Canadian, the only player on his team to do so.
In 2014-15 Lewis set career highs in both games played (20) and points per game (4.0). He was electrifying against the Thompson Rivers University Wolfpack, nailing four three-pointers late in the game coming off the bench, leading the Cougars to a 78-70 victory. Lewis was named an Academic All-Canadian for the second straight season.
Lewis’ fourth season (2015-16) with Mount Royal was cut short after a hand injury in just the fourth game of the season. He was however granted a medical appeal to get his season back and is eligible for two more seasons of U Sports play.
Tancon joined Mount Royal after one season with the Trinity Western Spartans. In 2014-15, Tancon averaged 4.1 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 0.2 APG in 13.4 minutes of floor time.
Tancon was forced to sit out the 2015-16 season after transferring to Mount Royal from Trinity Western.