Every player except one on the Capilano University men's basketball team scored in an 85-53 home win over Quest Wednesday night to open the Pacwest season, showing off the depth that coach Jordan Yu hopes will bring them success all year.
The one who didn't score was no passenger either - starting guard Tyler Lutton, a former CIS player, didn't register a point but racked up five assists, four rebounds and two steals while only turning the ball over once in more than 23 minutes of court time.
"We've got the full deal this year," Yu said after the game. "We're very, very deep. I'm excited about it. I can't wait to see where we are by the end of the year."
The two most spectacular points came early in the second quarter when rookie Wes Dekleer, an Argyle grad, caught a lob pass from point guard James Lum and slammed home a monster dunk.
"That may have been the biggest alley-oop dunk I've ever seen in college," said Yu, himself a former standout point guard for Capilano and UBC. "His athleticism is second to none in our league - it's NBA athleticism and it's amazing to have."
Dekleer, a 6-4 guard, didn't start for the Blues but made his mark as soon as he came in with high-rising plays on both ends of the court.
"As a first-year you normally don't play much but he's going to play quality minutes for our team and he's doing it on the defensive end, which is great," said Yu, adding that Dekleer likely has a future in university ball if he chooses to go that route. "He's a - what do you call it? - utility man. We stick him inside, outside, he runs the floor hard, Ds up well against anyone, he's long, athletic, he can actually shoot it outside too. I'm looking to keep him for hopefully one year, move him on. If I get him for two years I'll be a happy, happy man."
While Dekleer led the way in jaw-dropping plays, it is likely the man who threw him the alley-oop who will have the biggest say in how far the team goes this year. Lum, a Sir Charles Tupper grad, was named league rookie of the year last season and came up huge in the provincial championships to help the Blues finish third.
"Leading our team to a third place finish in provincials was big for him," said Yu. "He worked really hard over the summertime and he wants to step into that role, he wants this to be his team. He's definitely one of the leaders, but I expect every one of my players to be a leader in his own right."
The Blues should not be lacking in the leadership department as they boast only three rookies and five players with at least three years of post-secondary experience - a rare feat for a program that used to see most players transfer out after a couple of seasons.
Starters Lutton and Omid Davani, a third-year wing player from Coquitlam, both have previous CIS experience while forward Rob Hougaard, a 6-7 forward also from Coquitlam, is the ripe old age of 26.
"He's actually only two years younger than myself," said Yu with a laugh, adding that experience is an invaluable commodity at this level.
"It's men amongst boys when you get to that 25-, 26-year-old level," he said. "They just have that experience. I don't know what it is - the more years you play, the older you get, the easier the game becomes and the smarter you become."
The team's two other starters - guard Lukas Wera and forward Mike Zayonc - are both in the fourth years with the Blues.
Though he plays centre, the 6-7 Zayonc is one of the quickest players on the floor, often beating the team's guards when they run sprints, said Yu.
"He's a real tough matchup, he's really strong, physical, aggressive, energetic and he doesn't bow down to anyone."
Wera, meanwhile, presents matchup headaches of his own for opposing coaches. "He knows basketball," said Yu. "He's a 6-6 shooting guard, which in our league is a pretty tough matchup."
There's a strong North Shore current running through the team as four Argyle grads are on the squad along with one each from Windsor, Handsworth and West Van. They all know how to play the game the right way, said Yu.
"I love them to death," he said of the North Shore links. "I can't say enough about the coaches in the high school programs on the North Shore that have done such a great job of developing players. It's made my job a lot easier and fun."
While the deep Blues were spreading the scoring around on Wednesday night, it was the other end of the floor that Yu was focused on as Capilano held Quest to 33 per cent shooting from the floor.
"That's our game, we love getting defensive stops and getting out running," he said. "Our team is solely defensively orientated, that's all we work on in practice. If you keep that as your goal all year you're going to be well off. . . . Sometimes a team will catch fire but most games in this league if you focus on defence you're going to do a pretty good job."
With depth and defence the key words Yu can see the path to success for this year's team, but he's not ready to make any predictions about how far they'll go.
"Our focus is just trying to be in the moment," he said. "We're not looking too far ahead but we know we have a pretty solid squad this year and our goal is just to continue to work hard."
The Blues will be back in action next weekend when they host Kwantlen Nov. 18 and Langara Nov. 19. Game times are 6 p.m. for the women and 8 p.m. for the men.