Champions attitude common thread for Mac cage recruits

mcmasterThe McMaster Men’s basketball team announced their 2009/2010 recruiting class at a media conference held as a part of their summer camp today.

The 2009-10 recruiting class includes Ryan Christie and Victor Raso, of Hamilton, and Paul Hart and Sean McGrattan, of Ancaster.

All four are members of the Hamilton Blessed Sacrament Club team, coached by McMaster basketball alumni Jeff Joseph, Manny Furtado and Justin Gunter. Their team captured the Basketball Ontario Provincial Championship in 2008 and finished the 2008-09 season with a 38-1 record, winning the highly competitive Jam Fest tournament in Pittsburgh, PA.

“This year’s class will be looked upon for instant help. Their training and ability should give them an advantage on most freshmen,” said McMaster head coach, Joe Raso.

Christie, at 6’7” has an even more impressive armspan of 6’11” . The 240-pound forward is a graduate of St. Thomas More high school. His basketball accomplishments include seven provincial championships and selection to the Junior National team final pool in 2008 and 2009. As a skilled football player he has been on provincial and national champion teams while collecting numerous high school honours.

Christie was recruited in Canada and the United States for basketball and football.

“Ryan is a tremendous athlete who has the ability and quickness and strength to guard all five positions on the court,” observed coach Raso. “This is a statement I’ve never made before about a recruit. Ryan just wins. Ryan’s rebounding and shot blocking will make a threat in the OUA.”

Hart, a 6-1 guard, from Bishop Tonnos HS, excelled academically as well as athletically as an Ontario Scholar. On the court he was a two-time provincial champion and High School Athlete of the Year. In addition to basketball, he was recruited as a football and soccer player.

Hart was an all-star on numerous occasions and an MVP in football. He led Bishop Tonnos to an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations appearance in football. His athletic abilities have been honed by McMaster CIS Player of the Year Steve Maga, brother of former McMaster CIS Defensive player of the year, Rachel Hart.

“Paul is a gifted athlete with incredible balance, speed, and power,” noted Raso. “Paul has the ability to play three varsity sports at the CIS level, an accomplishment that doesn’t fit today’s athlete. Paul will play football before joining the basketball Marauders.”

McGrattan, a 6-5 forward, was a teammate of Hart’s at Tonnos and scored Ontario Scholar status, too. He is a two-time provincial basketball champion and led his team to OFSAA.

His uncle, Don Hart, was an Ontario Colleges Athletic Association basketball all-star at Mohawk College and his cousin, Brian Hart, is a member of the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes.

“Sean is a versatile player who has the ability to play inside and out,” said his new coach. “Sean’s greatest strength is ability to adapt. He can shoot the ball very well and has the physical presence to bang inside.”

Guard Raso, at 6-3, also happens to be Coach Raso’s son but his athletic credentials brought him to the Marauders court. The grad of St. Thomas More high school, where he was an Ontario Scholar, is a two-time provincial basketball champion who earned an invite to the Junior National team’s camp. A High School City champion multiple times basketball and football

High School Athlete of the Year, he excels in football as well, playing on provincial and national championship teams. Raso is a member of Ontario’s provincial basketball team, and was an MVP in high school football.

“Victor is a driven athlete with incredible maturity and leadership,” said coach Raso. “Victor is an excellent shooter, who is one of the best rebounding guards in the province. Coaching your son is easier when he brings attributes like selflessness and excels in parts of the game like passing rebounding and defense.

“Victor enjoys and is passionate about being a quarterback in all his sports. His mental toughness and his dedication to preparation set him apart in every team he has been on.”

McMaster will begin training camp in the fall.