The University of B.C. Thunderbirds men’s basketball team might think about changing its name to the Marauders given how many former Pitt Meadows secondary students are playing for the team. This season there are three Pitt products playing for the T-Birds, with fifth-year player Dog Plumb and sophomore Mike Lewandowski joined by freshman Malcolm Williams.
Pitt Meadows basketball coach Rich Goulet said the trio rank among some of the best to have played at the high school, and handling the transition to university basketball quite nicely.
“Mike is just so big, and Malcolm looked very good for a freshman,” said Goulet, who has travelled out to UBC to see his ex-players play twice so far this year. “I expect all three could have very good seasons this year.”
Doug Plumb was a student at Pitt Meadows Grade 8 and 9 before moving to Minnesota. After a stint with the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades, Plumb joined the Thunderbirds last season.
At six-foot-four, Plumb will be one of the Thunderbirds starting guards this season.
“He’s a very good athlete, a very accomplished player,” says Goulet.
Lewandowski helped lead the Marauders to a fourth-place finish at provincials in his senior season two years ago. There he played along side Williams, both of whom will no doubt play big roles in the future of the Thunderbirds.
While the six-foot-seven Lewandowski has struggled with knee injuries over the past few years, Goulet says he looks be playing in good health, and it shows.
“He’s learning to be a lot more aggressive, and that’s good,” he said.
Williams, meanwhile, is showing steady improvement,
“He was our king last year,” said Goulet of Williams. “If there was a way to multiply him or get him even more minutes, we would have done it.”
The trio of Marauders played a big role in the Thunderbirds recent preseason series with the Santa Clara Broncos of the NCAA’s first division, Steve Nash’s alma mater.
On Sept. 8, the Thunderbirds beat the Broncos 98-85 in overtime, with Plumb picking up 16 points.
The T-Birds didn’t fare as well in the rematch on Sept. 11, however. UBC opened the game on a 15-0 run, powered by Plumb, who finished the first quarter with nine points.
“We were being really aggressive and we really dictating the tempo of the game on offence and defence,” said Plumb. “I felt we were the ones making scrappy plays and hustling after the loose balls, but as the game progressed, it kind of switched, where they were outworking us.”
Santa Clara slowly fought their way back, narrowing the gap to just 21-14. The Broncos continued their good play into the second and closed to within one just before halftime. Plumb responded with a coast-to-coast layup to end the half at 35-32 in favour of UBC.
The two teams kept the game close in the third. The score was tied on five occasions and the lead changed hands three times.
But in the fourth quarter, UBC couldn’t muster a consistent offensive threat and despite keeping Santa Clara within striking distance, UBC never saw the lead in the final period.
“I thought it was a very, very educational game for us,” said UBC head coach Kevin Hanson. “Now they see what they really have to work on, getting a shot off a little bit quicker to defending a little bit more aggressively.”
Hanson said that’s especially true with his young recruits, like Lewandowski and Williams.
“The minutes they played against the NCAA Division 1 will help them this year, but it will really help them in years three, four and five, so that bodes well for the future,” he said.