Dinos ball against U.S. best

CAM MAXWELL, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

Dan Vanhooren hasn't seen the University of Wyoming Cowboys in person but he knows they're big -- very big.

The U of C Dinos men's basketball coach, whose club will play two exhibition games against the NCAA Div. 1 school tonight and tomorrow (Jack Simpson Gymnasium, 7 p.m.), likened the Cowboys to an NBA team.

"They're NBA in size. Their average height is six-foot-eight," said Dan Vanhooren, whose young squad averages 6 ft. 5 in.

It's the first time an NCAA hoops team has played in Calgary against the Dinos and the Cowboys came within one basket of getting into last year's NCAA championship tournament.

NCAA teams travel internationally every four years, usually, and most in the northwest or central U.S. go to Vancouver, where they can stay in one place and play four teams.

But there wasn't a chance for the Cowboys to play on the West Coast, so Calgary turned out to be the next best stop.

"We got a phone call from a New Jersey Nets assistant coach who knew of a team that would be interested in coming up if we could put together three or four games for them," said Vanhooren. "So we gave it a whirl and got that done."

In the past, the Dinos have played NCAA teams on the road with mixed success but to expect the Calgary club to beat Wyoming is a bit of a stretch, at least for this year's squad.

"Some of these teams are beatable by our Canada West teams but ours is just a little young right now for that to happen," said Vanhooren.

The Cowboys are led by 6-ft. 2-in. guard Brandon Ewing, who was the team's leading scorer last year as a freshman, averaging 13.2 points per game.

DINOS KICK OFF: The all-new, overhauled Dinos football team plays its first conference game today under new head coach Blake Nill.

Nill will be at the helm when the Dinos open the season at UBC with rookie quarterback Dalin Tollestrup leading the offence -- the first time in school history a freshman has started a regular season contest.

Last season, the 6-ft. 2-in. pivot led the Raymond Comets to the 4A high school provincial championship, so it'll be interesting to see how he handles the next level.


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