The value of versatility

Graduating forward Ken Beaulieu describes himself as an unselfish player

A basketball player capable of performing every aspect of the game, and doing so admirably, is hard to come by. Most players tend to specialize in one or two areas—some are dominating rebounders and defenders, others excel at the three-point shot, and some are gifted at playmaking and setting up teammates.

Rarely does a player come along who can seemingly do it all, and this type of versatility has established Ken Beaulieu, a forward on the Concordia Stingers men’s basketball team, as a star and a leader.

Ken Beaulieu is known for his dunking. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

When asked about his adaptability, Beaulieu came off as a highly coachable and open-minded player. “In my second year, I was scoring more, but this year my coaches want me to focus more on defence and rebounding, so I’ve been working more on that,” said Beaulieu, a fourth-year player.

Beaulieu’s aptitude for all aspects of basketball helped him become one of the most heavily-recruited players coming out of CEGEP in 2014. After being named a first-team all-star in 2014 playing for Cégep Édouard-Montpetit in his hometown of Longueuil, almost every team in the Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec (RSEQ) was after Beaulieu. This forced him to choose between Université de Laval, Bishop’s, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and Concordia.

Beaulieu said his admiration for the coaching style of former coach John Dore, whom he only played under for his first year, influenced his decision to play for the Stingers. Current head coach Rastko Popovic was an assistant under Dore, which helped make Popovic’s transition to head coach in 2015 easy for Beaulieu.

Beaulieu is certainly making it look easy, as his name is all over the RSEQ individual stats leaderboards this season. He ranks seventh in the conference in scoring at 12.5 points per game, third in rebounding with 7.7 per game, sixth in steals with 1.7 per game and seventh in assists with 2.4 per game. He has achieved these numbers while shooting at an impressive 61 field goal percentage. These stats illustrate just how multi-dimensional he is, while also being extremely efficient.

His athleticism permits him to be all over the place on the court.

One of the challenges that comes with being capable in every facet of the game is that, as a player, he doesn’t always get to utilize all his talents.

Ken Beaulieu said he is not a vocal leader, but would rather lead by example. Photo by Alex Hutchins.

“My coaches right now want me to drive the basket a lot more this season, to get layups and post up, so my shot has gotten worse because I don’t practice it as much,” Beaulieu said. “It can be frustrating.”

Beaulieu said his mid-range shot is currently “nowhere to be found” and that he takes considerably fewer three-point shots, which has made his shooting a little rusty. Yet, this does not create tension between Beaulieu and his coaches, as he is happy to do whatever is asked of him.

“I’m not a selfish player. I don’t come in looking to score 30 a night; some nights it’s more about rebounding and defence,” Beaulieu said. He added how much he trusts his teammates, which makes passing a pleasure for him. “If you’re on my team and you’re open, I don’t care who you are, I’m passing the ball.”

Beaulieu said when he misses his first couple of shots, it can ruin his momentum for the whole game and affect him mentally. He was quick to acknowledge this is the biggest hurdle he is working to overcome.

“The mental [aspect] is something I’ve struggled with probably my whole career,” Beaulieu said.

Although he is not very vocal, Beaulieu is aware of his responsibility to lead his team by example. He sees a correlation between his energy and his team’s, which is why he wants to stay positive around the team on and off the court. When asked how he’s attempting to improve his mentality, Beaulieu said he reminds himself of two words he hears from his teammates and coaches all the time: “next play.”

“When you miss a shot, you can’t take it back. All you can do is focus on what’s next,” he said.

Beaulieu hopes what comes next is success in the playoffs, where he said he thinks the Stingers have a good chance of winning the championship. “We’ve beat every other team [in the conference] so far, so we know we can win,” he said.

Recently, Beaulieu was named the Concordia male athlete of the week. His performances against the UQAM Citadins on Feb. 1 and 3 helped the Stingers sweep a two-game series. He had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds in the first game, and was one point shy of another double-double in the second. These impressive stat sheets Beaulieu continues to produce prove why he is the Stingers’s human Swiss army knife, and why they love having him in their back pocket.

Main photo by Alex Hutchins.


Stingers drop doubleheader at home against McGill

Women lose halftime lead, while men fall short in tight game

The new year has yet to be good to Concordia’s basketball teams, as the Stingers lost both games in their doubleheader at home against McGill on Jan. 11.

Women’s game

The Concordia Stingers women’s basketball team lost to the McGill Martlets by a score of 70-55. The game was tight in the first half, going back and forth with not much ground given on either side. Concordia went into halftime leading 34-31.

In the second half, the Martlets erased the deficit and slowly built up their lead. When asked about the most prominent factor in losing this game, head coach Tenicha Gittens was critical of her team’s rebounding effort. “We have to be better on the boards,” she said, adding that they have to “find a body and box out.”

The Martlets won the game by out-hustling the Stingers on rebounds, especially at the offensive end, where they secured 19 offensive rebounds, many of which led to second-chance points. Gittens explained that, when her players don’t secure rebounds, it makes it tough for them to get in transition and use their speed, limiting most of their offensive talent.

Guard Aurelie d’Anjou Drouin led the team in scoring with 10 points coming off the bench, while guards Caroline Task and Sabrina Stambouli each scored nine points.

Forward Marvia Dean shoots a free-throw against the McGill Martlets on Jan. 11. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

Men’s game

The men’s team played the second game of the doubleheader, and again weren’t able to stop McGill, as they lost to the Redmen by a score of 88-81.

The game was back and forth to say the least, with eight lead changes and four ties throughout. The Stingers looked best in the first half when, at one point, they were leading by 13 points. Eventually, McGill began to pressure the Stingers in Concordia’s half of the court, hoping to create turnovers and close the gap. The plan worked. Soon enough, Concordia’s lead was gone, and they were instead playing catch-up.

Guard Ken Beaulieu made a valiant effort to help the Stingers complete a comeback, leading the team with 24 points—14 coming in the fourth quarter alone—and adding seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block.

The Redmen were proficient in the paint, scoring 52 points within close range, compared to 38 from the Stingers. The abundance of high percentage shots and a couple of timely threes by guard Dele Ogundokun of the Redmen in the fourth were enough to put the nail in Concordia’s proverbial coffin.

Both Concordia Stingers basketball teams will get their shot at redemption against McGill. They play a doubleheader at McGill on Jan. 13, with the women playing at 4 p.m. and the men at 6 p.m.


Stingers basketball teams dominate Gaiters in home opener

Aurélie d’Anjou Drouin, Ricardo Monge finish as leading scorers in their games

The Concordia Stingers men’s and women’s basketball teams opened up the regular season at home on Nov. 9, and both came away with wins against the Bishop’s Gaiters. The women won 82-59, and the men won 88-71.

Women’s basketball

The women’s team set the tone for a winning season this year. It was a tight first quarter, ending with the Stingers up 19-18, but that was the last time the score was close. Guards Caroline Task and Aurélie d’Anjou Drouin got off to very hot starts, both scoring early and often. Task finished the game with 26 points, and d’Anjou Drouin scored 30 points.

On the other end of the court, the team’s defence was ferocious, forcing the Gaiters into a total of 20 turnovers. Forward Ashley Moss led the way on the defensive end, finishing the game with 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.

By the end of the first half, the Stingers were up 45-40. Task and d’Anjou Drouin continued their strong performances in the third quarter, and were able to stretch the lead to as much as 36 points. The Stingers ended up beating the Gaiters by a score of 82-59.

Guard Caroline Task looks for an in-bound pass in the Stingers home-opener on Nov. 9. Photo by Kirubel Mehari.

It felt good to come out with a bang,” said Task after the game. “We trained all summer, and it’s good to see hard work pay off.” When asked about her individual performance, she kept it simple: “My shot was dropping, and I had a lot of energy.”

In addition to her 26 points, Task had two rebounds, three assists and four steals. Along with d’Anjou Drouin, Jazlin Barker was the third guard to hit double digits with 13 points. It was an all-around dominant performance for the women’s team, one they can build on moving forward.


Men’s basketball

The first half of the men’s game was a dogfight, with the Stingers and Gaiters matching each other on every possession. It was a gritty, low-scoring half which ended tied at 33.

In the second half, the Stingers really kicked into gear. Midway through the third quarter, they began putting tremendous pressure on the Gaiters, creating steals and defending their basket to generate blocks. Six of Bishop’s 15 turnovers came in the third quarter alone.

The Stingers defensive pressure led to the play of the game, when Concordia forward Ken Beaulieu soared to catch an alley-oop pass from guard Nicholas Noble, and threw it down for a reckless slam dunk. This put the Stingers up by 12, and seemed to kill whatever drive the Gaiters had left.
The dynamic defensive play by the Stingers guards is what sparked their offence. Guard Ricardo Monge played a very efficient game offensively, as he went 3/4 in three-point shooting, and finished with a team-leading 23 points. Guard Jonathan Koud scored 19 points coming off the bench, and was a nightmare for Gaiters defenders, using his speed to attack the rim. Stingers forward Olivier Simon and Noble each scored 10 points.
The Stingers men’s and women’s teams will be going on the road to take on the Laval Rouge et Or on Nov. 12.

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