Alyosius Callaghan (left), Kyrin Cybenko and Gurman Banghu are among the new additions to the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s basketball program. -Image: Contributed

Heat men add size, experience

Two newcomers to the UBCO basketball program have post-secondary experience

Two transfers and a high school forward will add post secondary experience and size to the UBC Okanagan Heat men’s roster for the 2017-18 Canada West basketball season.

Transferring to Kelowna from the University of Calgary is Alyosius Callaghan, a 6-foot guard who always has been a top point getter wherever he has played.

The other transfer is Kyrin Cybenko, a 6-foot-6 forward from Saskatoon who has been playing at Lakeland College in Alberta for the past three seasons.

Gurman Bhangu, a 6-foot-7 forward, joins the Heat from Panorama Ridge Secondary in Surrey.

Bhangu and Cybenko join Owen Keyes (6-9 P, Kelowna), Amir Hajisafer (6-8 P, N. Vancouver-Handsworth), and Ben Kornelsen (6-7 P, Armstrong-Pleasant Valley, Briercrest College) as players on the Heat who are 6-foot-6 or taller.

Callaghan, a combo guard from Calgary, has some pro experience with Al Manama in Bahrain, part of the Pro A League in the Middle East. He has also played for SAIT, Mount Royal, and the University of Calgary and at all stops has shown a propensity for scoring.

Callaghan will study Management at UBCO as he works towards his degree. His is part of a strong athletic family, his sister, whom Alyosius calls “the cool one in the family” played NCAA Div. 1 tennis at St. Bonaventure University in New York.

“I choose UBCO because it is a great school and I have a great relationship with Pete (Guarasci) and Landry (Ndayitwayeko, assistant coach of the Heat). I’m in a great situation to show everyone what I can do.”

Heat coach Pete Guarsci welcomes Callaghan’s experience to the program.

“Aloysius comes to UBC Okanagan with plenty of post secondary experience,” Guarasci said of Callaghan. “He is a committed hard working student-athlete that we look forward to integrating into our systems. Offensively, he is very talented and we believe he’ll be a difficult match up for our Canada West opponents.”

Cybenko played for Lakeland College in Lloydminster, Alta. from 2014-17 and was the team captain in his second and third years. He ranked first in the CCAA with 92 offensive boards.

At Aden Bowman Collegiate, Cybenk was the team MVP in his senior season (2013-14), and he was named to the North Team at the Saskatchewan high school all-star game.

The 6-foot-6 post will be studying psychology this fall at UBCO while working towards his Bachelor of Arts degree.

“Kyrin is physically ready to make an impact at the U SPORTS level,” said Pete Guarasci. “We will look to Kyrin to provide strength and athleticism to our frontcourt on both sides of the ball. He’s capable of playing both inside and out and brings a mature presence to our locker room.”

Starting every game throughout his high school career, Bhangu possess a strong playing resume that includes a second place finish at the provincial championship in his junior season at Tamanawis Secondary.

In Grade 11, Bhangu’s team won the Fraser Valley Championship along with the prestigious and competitive RCMP annual tournament. Last season in his senior year he was the Belmont tournament MVP and earned an RCMP first team all-star.

At UBC Okanagan in the classroom, Banghu will begin his academic career in the Faculty of Arts with one of his goals academically is to find the balance between being a U SPORTS athlete and keeping up in the classroom.

“Gurman has a great feel for the game and an excellent skill set for his size,” said Heat coach Pete Guarasci. “He can score in the post and facing the basket but does so in the flow of the game. We’re excited to work with Gurman as we think he can develop into a standout U SPORTS athlete.”

The men’s basketball team will also add two players from the Junior Heat program to their roster in Penticton’s Jake Stokker and Mount Boucherie’s Sterling Paterson.

The team will start with their preseason schedule at home on September 21 when they host Vancouver Island University. The Canada West schedule sees UBCO open on the road in Victoria (Oct. 27-28). The home schedule begins Nov. 4-5 when the Heat host the Thompson Rivers WolfPack.

For the Heat’s full season schedule go to goheat.ca