The defending MCAC men’s basketball champions from Red River College have always been a team deep at the guard position. This year saw two of their top guards, Kurtis Sansregret and Jonar Huertas, make a move to University Crescent to join the Bisons, but a new crop of backcourt talent has emerged to replace them on Notre Dame Avenue.
One of the talented guards is first-year Ramon Burke out of Daniel McIntire. The 5’10” 19-year-old had a breakout game on Friday, January 29 when the Rebels knocked off the previously undefeated CMU Blazers 75-71. The Jamaican-born Burke dropped two key free-throws late in the fourth quarter to give his team a 70-69 lead. He finished with 12 points, 2 rebounds, and a game-high 5 steals. He committed no fouls.
His shining defensive game definitely helped shut down the Blazer offense which is arguably the conferences most potent.
“Ramon came in and gave us big minutes,” said head coach Sukh Singh. “He stepped up and had a huge game for us. Huge.”
Big minutes weren’t always the case for Burke. At the start of the season the freshman struggled for playing time behind the other talented Rebel guards. With the more experienced Josh Olaes, Brad Naron, and Jason Malcolm, as well as 3-point specialist Brett Pruin, and Jeff Faschauner all competing for early season minutes, Burke has seen his court time steadily increase along with his improving all-around game.
“He’s one of those kids,” added Singh. “You give him a little confidence, and he’s going to be a really good player.”
Burke has found a fantastic time to step his game up. The Rebels (6-2) currently sit just one game behind the first place Blazers (7-1). They will attempt to even the season series at two-a-piece with CMU on Saturday, February 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Red River College. The game will be broadcast for Shaw television with five cameras and live play-by-play and colour commentary, and will stream live at http://www.rrc.mb.ca/mcacbasketball.
By Darrin Bauming