McMaster men’s basketball has plenty to be happy about with last year’s fifth-place national finish. But they have three more reasons to be optimistic about the future of the program.
July 8 marked the annual tradition of the recruit welcome press conference, recognizing Connor Gilmore, Marko Grahovac and Dave McCulloch for opting to wear the Maroon and Grey for the next stage in their basketball careers.
When asked about why they went to McMaster, all three recruits pointed to the university’s academic standing as well as housing one of the best basketball programs in the country.
Gilmore, a New England prep school recruit, already has the size to compete at the CIS level, coming in at 6’ 7” and 215 lbs. He can stretch the floor with his shooting, as well as battle for boards.
“I think I fit into the team great so far. I see myself making a big impact on the team from the start of the year,” Gilmore said.
The Toronto, Ont. native said he’s looking forward to playing with Taylor Black, who has a comparable game. At the time of the initial recruit announcement, head coach Amos Connolly said, “it’s reassuring to know the future at our forward position is in good hands.”
Dave McCulloch is one of two Cardinal Newman products joining Mac next year. The strong Kinesiology department at McMaster caught his eye.
“I’ve heard so many good things about the Kinesiology program, and the team is up-and-coming – very good. Came fifth in the country last year and I think we can do even better this year, and further years to come,” McCulloch said.
Connolly can use the hometown recruit as a “3-and-D” player, using McCulloch’s shooting to stretch the floor and his height to guard multiple positions.
McCulloch is eager to get in the gym and compete with some of Mac’s elite talent.
“I’m looking forward to learning from Adam Presutti … looking forward to playing with Connor [Gilmore]. Played against him basically since grade 8. And Taylor Black, another Hamilton product, won a crazy amount of awards, everyone respects him,” said McCulloch.
Marko Grahovac, another Cardinal Newman graduate, is a wing player, capable of shooting from the perimeter and ready to make his mark on the defensive end.
“Me and David [McCulloch] are very defensive-minded so we can fit in with the rotations and know the defensive principles to fit right away,” said Grahovac.
Mac has retooled for the future of the program, but also took the time to adjust the titles of some current staff members.
Rod Bynum has been named General Manager of the team to more accurately reflect his role. With the program since 1994, Bynum had served in a General Manager position for quite a while – the naming accurately reflects his countless contributions to the program.
Justin Gunter, former-player-turned-coach, has been named associate head coach of the team.
Going forward, the team will continue to practice throughout the summer and prepare for an oft-stated team goal: winning a national championship.