The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Atlantic University Sport (AUS) and U Sports to cancel all fall activities and jeopardizes upcoming winter ones.
At the moment, winter competition is set to start in early January 2021. This remains subject to change. All the updates on sports action later this year will correspond with the presence of the virus.
However, preparation for the Dalhousie University Tigers men’s basketball team’s upcoming season has begun.
A successful 2019-2020 season saw the Tigers once again triumph in the AUS championship and bring home a silver medal from the U Sports Final 8 basketball championships. All players are set to return except graduates Sascha Kappos, Jordan Wilson, Brent Martindale and Matt McVeigh.
One of the returning players is Keevan Veinot, who will be one of the leaders of this year’s Tigers squad.
“This year, we lost Sascha [Kappos] who was a leader on our team for the last few years, at least since I’ve been at Dalhousie,” Veinot said. “What guys can expect from me is vocal leadership, leadership both on and off the floor by setting good examples, bringing the effort every day and holding each other accountable to what we should do as a team.”
A season for the ages
The fourth-year guard had a tremendous year with the Tigers in the 2019-2020 season. With the banner and a national silver medal, Veinot was named AUS men’s basketball’s Most Valuable Player, AUS Male Athlete of the Year and a finalist for U Sports’ Lieutenant GovernorAward as U Sports’ athlete of the year.
He was also on U Sports’ All-Canadian and Academic All-Canadian teams, and exemplifies what a true student-athlete looks like.
Looking to the future by remembering the past
Veinot credits former and current teammates with helping him succeed throughout his Dal tenure. One former teammate that comes to mind is Sven Stammberger.
“When I came to Dalhousie as a rookie, [Stammberger] was a fifth-year and the leader that I looked up to,” said Veinot. “He was a great player on and off the court. He embodied what it meant to be a Dalhousie Tiger. Time has gone on, and now my role is reversed. I’m kind of the guy that I hope rookies will look up to.”
Now, in his fourth year, Veinot has the same goal in mind: to inspire the upcoming rookie class to achieve great things.
“I’m really excited because I hope I can help them achieve within the Dalhousie Tigers basketball culture and show them what it means to excel both on and off the floor,” Veinot said.
COVID-19 and competition
There are a lot of uncertainties with the basketball season, but the goal to win remains, whether the season tips off or not.
“Something that we can do is stay focused,” Veinot said. “AUS is such a competitive league. You have to bring it every night. The fact that this season is shortened or condensed is not going to change that fact because anyone can beat anyone on any given night.”
Players are currently allowed to use training facilities on campus including Dalplex and Studley Gym. The team has the chance to work out, practice together and work toward their goals.