For the past six seasons, Brian Jonker, head coach of the Mohawk Mountaineers men’s basketball team, has been on a mission.
That mission was to land one of the most sought-after players in the country.
This past summer, Jonker got his guy when the Mountaineers brought in Matt Fennell, a 6’5 point guard who has experience playing for both the Fanshawe Falcons and University of Prince Edward Island Panthers.
The Mohawk Mountaineers are once again a favourite to contend for another national title this season and Jonker is confident that Fennell will play a major role in the team’s success.
“Matt’s been a big presence for us and a great addition and it’s about time he came,” said Jonker with a smile. “He’s got three years of high-level experience already, when he left playing at Fanshawe he was already one of the best three or four players in the league.”
Despite Fennell’s exceptional shooting ability, Jonker believes his point guard’s overall game is what will be a challenge for opposing teams this season.
“I don’t know that there’s anybody else in our league that shoots it as well as he does from the perimeter,” said Jonker. “At the same time, his size and his strength allows him to be almost a constant mismatch for any guard that he plays against, so he’s a tough matchup all around.”
Fennell admitted that over the last three seasons, not all of his experiences have been positive, particularly while playing at the UPEI. Fennell is now relieved to be at Mohawk, and to be a part of a winning atmosphere.
“I’d say this is the strongest team in Canada,” said Fennell. “Jonker’s a great head coach, we have all the pieces to win a championship and I just want to be included in that.”
Fennell may not be the most vocal player on the court, but says that his ability to lead by example is something that some of the younger players can take note of.
“I don’t really talk too much, I just let my game do the talking for me,” said Fennell. “I just go out and be my best every day and try to help out the younger guys as much as I can.”
Second year shooting guard Patrick Iavarone says that Fennell’s commitment to the game is something that younger players like himself try to emulate in their own game.
“He is a role model for us,” said Iavarone. “We all do look up to him and see his work ethic and bring that to practices and games.”