Thursday July 31, 2014






Pribilsky has made big impression during short TRU career

Hugo Yuen

Kevin Pribilsky (7) always gets to the dirty areas for the TRU WolfPack.

Scott Clark, like any basketball coach, can answer a question without really answering the question.

A question about an injured player may result in a meandering, non-committal response from the head coach of the TRU WolfPack men's basketball team.

Give Clark a question about fifth-year guard Kevin Pribilsky, however, and he'll get right to the point.

"Kevin, he's an unbelievable guy, he's a great ambassador for the university and the basketball program," Clark said Saturday, after the WolfPack lost 80-65 to the Victoria Vikes at the Tournament Capital Centre.

"He's an unbelievably likeable guy within our department and our athletic program."

Pribilsky, 22, is getting ready to suit up for his final home games with the WolfPack - TRU will play host to the Trinity Western Spartans today and Friday at the TCC. Both games are at 8 p.m.

He came to TRU from Simon Fraser, following Clark, whom the WolfPack hired prior to the 2010-11 season. Pribilsky, a 5-foot-11 guard originally from Victoria, brought an energetic game to the WolfPack immediately, and has been a leader since Day 1.

These days, he's the elder statesman of a team that features one fourth-year player, two third-years and a whole bunch of freshmen and sophomores.

"It's been a fun experience," Pribilsky says. "Myself, when I was in my first or second year, I took direction from some of the older guys - not only in basketball, but in school. I've tried to take wisdom from some of those guys and help point these guys in the right direction."

Pribilsky is second on the WolfPack in scoring, with 14.4 points per game. He also leads the team in minutes (509), three-pointers made (35) and assists (45).

He probably also leads the team in bruises, although Akeem Pierre - he's the WolfPack's fourth-year player - may be giving him a run for that title. Pribilsky often hits the floor hard during games, doing the things coaches love to see from a player, especially a fifth-year player.

"My parents helped me out with my work ethic," Pribilsky says of Todd and Sue, who are to attend this weekend along with Kevin's brother, Reece. "They taught me and instilled that work ethic . . . at a young age.

"But it's easy - well, easier - to work hard on something you love."

He even set a Canada West record during his time with the WolfPack. In 2010-11, when the conference played 24 games, Pribilsky played 843 minutes, five more than Lethbridge's Allen Kadima did over 22 games in 2008-09, and 10 more than his WolfPack teammate Chas Kok in the same season.

Kok and Pribilsky transferred to TRU from SFU at the same time - Kok now is an assistant coach to Clark.

Any athlete playing at home for the last time would love to win, but Pribilsky knows the WolfPack needs - desperately - to win these games against Trinity Western.

TRU has never made the playoffs in men's basketball - the only sport to have been shut out thus far - and is right on the heels of the Spartans for the last playoff spot in Canada West's Pacific Division.

As of today, the Spartans (7-9) are fourth, with the WolfPack (6-11) fifth.

"These are big games, and that's more what I'm trying to focus on," Pribilsky says. "I'm not really worried about it being my last home game - I don't want to get sidetracked."

* * *

Will Ondrik, the WolfPack's leading scorer, is questionable for the weekend's games.

Ondrik injured a knee over Christmas, and hasn't played since. He was at practice on Wednesday.

* * *

With a playoff spot already clinched, the WolfPack women's basketball team will look to move up the Pacific Division standings.

The WolfPack (12-5) is set to play host to the Spartans (5-11) today and Thursday, 6 p.m., at the TCC.

TRU clinched a playoff spot last weekend, but would love to finish in the top two in the division, and play host to a first-round playoff series. Two victories this weekend would help, as the WolfPack is off to Abbotsford to play the first-place Fraser Valley Cascades (13-3) on Feb. 8-9.

* * *

It will be a busy weekend for the WolfPack athletic department, as both volleyball teams also will be playing at the TCC.

The WolfPack is to welcome the Mount Royal Cougars to the TCC on Saturday and Sunday.

The WolfPack women (0-18) are looking for their first victory of the season against the first-year Mount Royal program (12-6), while TRU's men are trying to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The WolfPack men (6-12) have to beat the Cougars (7-11) and then sweep the Winnipeg Wesmen (8-10) on Feb. 8-9 to make the postseason.

Saturday's doubleheader features games at 5 and 6:30 p.m., with Sunday's matches to start at 2 and 3:30 p.m.

* * *

TRU's hockey team will take its three-game winning streak into a tough Friday B.C. Intercollegiate League game at Memorial Arena.

TRU (7-8-0-1) is to play host to the Selkirk Saints (14-1-0-0), who are first in the six-team league. The WolfPack is third. Game time is 8:30 p.m.

mhunter@kamloopsnews.ca


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