Brett Parker and Brett Rouault have suddenly become very important to the TRU WolfPack men's basketball team, but they say they're ready for whatever is thrown at them.
The two Bretts - or Brett Squared, as they were called at a Wednesday practice - are rookie guards for the WolfPack, which is to kick off the second half of its Canada West schedule on Friday and Saturday against the Winnipeg Wesmen at the Tournament Capital Centre.
TRU (1-11) has 12 games remaining and will need a miracle to qualify for the postseason. As has been the case over the last five seasons - essentially since TRU entered Canada West - the WolfPack is playing for next season or seasons beyond that.
And that's where Parker and Rouault come in. Before Canada West took a month off for Christmas and exams, the freshmen were starting, eating up big minutes and playing well.
With TRU down to 11 players, both players will continue to see a lot of action.
It wasn't the way it was supposed to be when the players were recruited, but they certainly aren't complaining.
"I didn't expect to play this much, but I'm still thankful for the opportunity," said Parker, who has 35 points over his last three games, compared to 21 through his first nine games. "I'm hoping to make the best of it."
WolfPack head coach Scott Clark eased the players into their first season of post-secondary basketball, with neither getting much playing time early.
When guard Justin Riggins left the team due to poor grades in November, both players saw a big increase in their playing time, and they have responded well.
Their coming-out party was in an 85-81 loss to the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns on Nov. 20 - Rouault had 17 points in 32 minutes, while Parker ended with 11 points in 36 minutes.
"I'm starting to pick it up a bit," Rouault said. "You can always do better as a player . . . but I'm getting used to the league and the defensive pressure - that's a big thing."
Parker came back with 11- and 13-point games in losses to the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford on Nov. 26 and 27, while Rouault had games of seven and two points.
"It's way quicker and a much more physical game," Parker said. "Hopefully, in the second half, I can shake some of the nerves and come out stronger."
The Bretts share a number of similarities, not just in their first names.
Both players are 6-foot-4, and both came to TRU after successful high school careers - Rouault led his Vernon-Clarence Fulton Maroons to a third-place finish at AA provincials in 2010, while Parker's Langley-Walnut Grove Gators finished 14th in AAA.
And the teammates clicked right away - they do, after all, live together.
"It makes it easier - we talk all the time," Rouault said. "We're going through the same stuff, so having him her helps out."
"We're both rookies, we live together - we talk all the time and do shoots together," agreed Parker. "It's nice to have another guy around to do that with."
Friday's game is scheduled for 8 p.m., with Saturday's to start at 7 p.m.
The WolfPack's goals remain the same.
"As a team, we're just trying to get better every day," Parker said. "Our practices have been getting better and I think we're going in the right direction."
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he WolfPack women's basketball team also will start its second half Friday and Saturday at the TCC but, unlike its male counterpart, it is closing in on a playoff berth.
TRU (7-5) is scheduled to play the Wesmen on Friday, 6 p.m., and Saturday, 5 p.m. Winnipeg (8-2) was an honourable mention in the CIS rankings, and has won three straight.
TRU has lost back-to-back league games and also lost a pair of exhibition games to the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford after Christmas.
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he WolfPack men's volleyball team lost an exhibition game to a group of Fraser Valley alumni at a tournament in Langley on Wednesday.
TRU was beaten by the Fraser Valley Volleyball Club in three sets (25-22, 25-23, 25-23). WolfPack assistant coach Drew Venables played for FVVC, which was a team comprising mostly former Trinity Western Spartans players.
Ryan Talsma had six kills for the WolfPack.
TRU is scheduled to play a pair of home exhibition matches against the Dalhousie Tigers on Friday and Saturday. The Friday contest is scheduled to go at TRU Gym, with a Saturday rematch scheduled for the Tournament Capital Centre.
TRU will be without head coach Pat Hennelly, who will be in Winnipeg to attend the Saturday funeral for Stefan Savoie, who died suddenly on the weekend at the age of 21.
Savoie, a middle, played for the WolfPack in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and helped the team win bronze at the CIS championship in Laval, Que., in 2008.
Venables will run the bench in Hennelly's place.
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he WolfPack hockey team also will return to post-Christmas action Friday in Langley.
TRU (9-1-0) is scheduled to play Trinity Western on Friday, before heading west again on Jan. 16, for a game against the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford.
The WolfPack plays in the B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League.
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