Guards Shamar Burrows (left) and Tevaun Kokko (right) headline Head Coach Justin Serresse's first recruiting class
WATERLOO, Ont. (July 21, 2016) - The Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks men’s basketball team will have six new faces gracing their roster next season as head coach JUSTIN SERRESSE
announced his first recruiting class on Thursday.
The new Golden Hawks bench boss has brought in four guards and two forwards to bolster a group that finished third in the OUA West Division last year with a 9-11 record. The six players mark the first official recruiting class for the 10th head coach in the program’s history.
Headlining the class are a pair of talented guards, Shamar Burrows
and Tevaun Kokko
. Burrows, a combo guard who stands 6-3 and weighs 210 lbs, joins the purple and gold from Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ont. A member of the Bahamian National team, Burrows led Ridley College to a pair of championships during his tenure at the school, capturing the Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario Athletic Association (CISAA) Championship in 2016 while also winning gold in 2015 in the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) ‘A’ boys division.
“Since grade ten, Wilfrid Laurier University has always had a place in my heart and now today having the opportunity to be a part of the Golden Hawks and attend an excellent Business school feels amazing,” said Burrows of his decision to join the Hawks. “The connection I’ve had with Laurier during my recruitment process was second to none, and I felt at home as soon as I stepped foot on the campus.”
“Shamar is a very good athlete and we are very excited about his potential,” said Serresse. “He plays with so much passion and heart and this is definitely the type of player that fits my style of coaching. [Assistant Coach] James Campbell did a great job recruiting Shamar over the years.”
“On top of being a very talented basketball player, Shamar is a great student, well-spoken and an amazing leader on and off the floor,” added Serresse.
Kokko, a 5-11, 178 lbs. point guard, comes to Laurier from Newmarket SS where he was ranked as one of the top five players in the York Region Athletic Association (YRAA).
“I chose Laurier because it's a great school environment and a place I can see myself doing well academically,” stated Kokko on coming to Laurier. “In terms of basketball, Laurier has a young team with a lot of hard working guys who have the same goals as I do.”
“Tevaun is an elite scorer and his maturity and work ethic are very impressive,” said Serresse. “As a combo guard Tevaun can play both point guard and shooting guard which will give us a lot of flexibility in our line-ups. Finally his leadership skills and enthusiastic attitude are going to help us in years to come, him and Chuder [Teny] are going to be our vocal leaders but more importantly they will bring joy and passion each and every day which we all know we are going to be needed during our up and downs.”Matt Minutillo
(North Park Collegiate) and Ntore Habimana
(ESC Sainte-Famille) are the two other guards who will join Burrows and Kokko in the backcourt next season. Minutillo, a 6-0, 160 lbs. point guard led his school to the Brantford City Championship last season, while Habimana, who guided Saint-Famille to an undefeated season two years ago, is a 6-5, 170 lbs. combo guard.
“Both players have a bright future with our team,” said Serresse of the two players. “Matt is a very good shooter who possesses toughness and a strong work ethic while Ntore has a lot of potential thanks to his length and passing abilities.”
The final two members of the recruiting class are a pair of forwards, Nick Braody (West Vancouver SS) and Nirosan Surendran (Thornlea SS). Braody, who stands 6-6 and weighs 190 lbs. won a provincial championship with his high school in 2014 and was named a first team provincial all-star that same year. Nirosan will also add size to the Hawks as he comes to Laurier at 6-5 and weighing 215 lbs.
“Both Nick and Nirosan are players who can stretch the floor for us,” commented Serresse. “Nick needs to get stronger but with the help of our strength and conditioning staff, Taylor and Greg, we are confident he will be a strong contributor to our program. Nirosan also gives us another player who can create off the bounce.”
All six players will have plenty of opportunities to show Laurier’s new head coach their value as the Hawks will play 12 non-conference games before the regular season begins in November. The purple and gold will travel to North Bay, Winnipeg and Vancouver during the pre-season and will face a pair of teams who finished last season ranked in the Top 10 nationally, the UBC Thunderbirds (No. 6) and the Manitoba Bisons (No. 9).