It’s almost a two-hour drive, but traveling to Bangor/Brewer has been well worth the trip for Bates College men’s basketball head coach Jon Furbush the last three years.
The Bobcats have mined a wealth of talent from Bangor and Brewer High School, and the most recent nuggets are Brewer’s Chris Wilson and Bangor’s Ryan Weston and Alex Gallant.
Wilson recently led Bates to the Paul Bunyan Classic title at Husson University in Bangor and was named tournament MVP.
“It’s just a great homecoming every time we play Husson,” Wilson said. “It’s only the second time for me, but we get jacked up because we know we’ll get a lot of fans out from Brewer and Bangor.”
Wilson, who’s leading the 5-2 Bobcats with 29 assists while scoring 13.0 points per game, says it’s fun playing with former opponents.
“I always looked up to those guys in high school,” he said. “I wish I had some big guys like that [at Brewer], but it’s great being able to have the opportunity to play with them now.”
Weston has just started getting his basketball legs under him after playing football for the Bobcats. He starts while Gallant comes off a very deep bench.
“I played with Alex for two years, battled Wilson his senior year, and played against Philly [Kyle Philbrook] my senior year and I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a lot more fun playing with Wilson and Philly than against them,” Weston.
Gallant has started two of his seven games, averaging 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds.
“I feel like when you come home, any time, you just want to play to the best of your ability,” Weston said of his Husson homecoming. “The hardest thing is being able to settle yourself down and play within yourself.”
Weston, a former three-sport athlete for Bangor, recently joined Bates varsity basketball team after playing his second season of football last fall.
“It’s been great coming in after football,” said the sophomore. “I’m a couple weeks behind, but a couple of the older players have been helping me get settled in and teaching me the system.”
Weston has played in four games, starting two. He’s averaging 4.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
“It’s tough, but with teammates and coaches that support and help you, you can do it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” said Weston.
In the fall, he played in all eight games at tight end. He had four receptions for one touchdown and 29 total yards. He also made one tackle on defense.
His schedule puts free time at a premium.
“It’s a little time-consuming, but you learn to budget it well between school and basketball, and football,” he said. “It’s a stretch, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
Thomas hosts Ryan Invitational
Thomas College will host the Charlie Ryan Invitational men’s basketball tournament at Mahaney Gymnasium in Waterville Friday and Saturday.
The four-team tourney will include Anna Maria College, Daniel Webster College, University of Maine-Machias and the Thomas Terriers.
Anna Maria will tip off against Daniel Webster Friday at 5:30 and UMM-Thomas will follow at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s consolation and championship games will start at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively.
The tourney is named in honor Thomas alumnus and athletic hall of fame member Charles “Charlie” Ryan, who was a standout basketball player from 1972 to 1976. He was an NAIA All-American, a four-time All-District Five selection, and three-time All-Northeast College Conference pick before finishing with 1,298 career points. Ryan, who earned a degree in business teacher education in 1977, died in 1995.
Maine-UMPI men postponed
Wednesday night’s game between the University of Maine-Presque Isle and the University of Maine men at Memorial Gym in Orono was postponed a day by Wednesday’s snow storm.
The UMPI Owls and Black Bears will tip off at 7 tonight at the Pit.