The PacWest basketball season doesn't tip off for another six months, but Dave Martens feels he's already ahead of the game.
It was one year ago this week that Martens was announced as the new head coach of the Columbia Bible College men's basketball team. But recruiting season was already well underway at that point, and Martens had to scramble put together a roster for the 2011-12 season.
In the end, the youthful Bearcats took their lumps in the PacWest, posting a 1-15 record.
Heading into Martens's sophomore campaign at the helm, the fact he's been able to get a running start at recruiting season bodes well. This week, he secured commitments from a pair of promising perimeter players – Mackenzie Thompson of Abbotsford's W.J. Mouat Secondary, and Taylor Friesen out of Winnipeg's Vincent Massey Collegiate.
"We're already leaps and bounds ahead of where we were last year," said Martens, noting that the Bearcats are building on a solid core of returnees, led by all-star point guard Kevin Ford.
Thompson, a 6'4" shooting guard, matured into a solid contributor for Mouat last season.
"He brings a lot of the intangibles that we think we were missing a bit this year," Martens said. "He has a confident yet humble demeanor. He really understands his role in the game and what he has to offer, and he does those things well.
"We're looking for him to be aggressive offensively, to get in the paint and score, but he also does so many intangibles well. He gets on the floor after loose balls, he tips passes, he gets after rebounds at both ends."
Thompson said he picked CBC because it's close to home, and because he has a good chance of earning playing time as a freshman.
To ease his transition to the college level, he's been scrimmaging with the Bearcats' veterans on Tuesday nights.
"At first, there were a few nerves, but I'm adjusting to that level of play," he said.