© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
Donathan (Donnie) Moss slams the ball during UPEI Panthers practice on Monday.
Some young members of the UPEI Panthers men’s basketball team will get extended minutes this week in exhibition play in Halifax.
The Panthers are playing in the Rod Shoveller Memorial tournament at Dalhousie University.
While the outcome doesn’t count in the standings, coach Tim Kendrick said there are many benefits from the six-team tournament.
“I want to win every single game,” he said, but “It does give you a chance to experiment without any real penalty or consequences.”
Joining the Panthers will be fellow Atlantic University Sport (AUS) teams Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, Acadia and St. F.X. as well as the Bishop’s Gaiters from Sherbrooke, Que.
The Panthers are a bit banged up with starting point guard Ellis Ffrench out this week with a knee injury. Other Panthers are also questionable heading into the tournament.
The Panthers will have rookie Jayden Skinner-Nordin in the lineup and the Halifax native might even find himself starting in Ffrench’s absence during the tournament.
“Jayden’s back issues look to be better. He should be ready to go,” Kendrick said. “He’ll obviously have a big part to play now.”
Stefan Vujisic, a six-foot-nine forward from Serbia, is also expected to get more minutes this week. He is one of four first-year Panthers.
“It’s a little bit of a test,” Kendrick said, and an opportunity for the young players to answer the question, “How far have you come in the first half?”
The Panthers (3-5) are in fifth-place in the eight-team AUS. They return to conference play Jan. 10 when they host the sixth-place Cape Breton Capers (3-4) at 8 p.m.
“That’s a four-point game,” Kendrick said. “Our guys are aware that Friday night game against Cape Breton is a big one.”
The Panthers beat the Capers by four points in Sydney, N.S., on Nov. 29 in the only other meeting this season. It was part of a three-game winning streak that ended at St. F.X. on Nov. 30.
Kendrick is hoping to pick up the momentum the team had during the three wins.
“We had a nice stretch at the end (of the first semester). We need to start from that stretch and go forward.”
When They Play
The UPEI Panthers men’s basketball team is playing in the Rodd Shoveller memorial tournament at Dalhousie University in Halifax. The following is their schedule.
6 p.m. – UPEI vs. St. F.X.
8 p.m. – UPEI vs. Dalhousie
5 p.m. – UPEI vs. Saint Mary’s