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The Gryphons men's basketball team's 2014-2015 season opener is scheduled for Nov. 7, when they visit Western.

Cager comes home

By Ned Bekavac
Guelph Tribune

Michael Friesen is returning to home court and to home cookin’.

The local baller, who spent last season with the McGill Redmen men’s basketball team, is back in town and is suiting up for the University of Guelph Gryphons.

While the bright lights and big city of Montreal might be a huge draw for a fellah from the comparably wee Royal City, Friesen found out he prefers the latter.

“I don’t really like the big city, it’s not really for me,” he says during a recent phone chat in Guelph. “I like it here – it’s home.”

The sweet-shooting 6-foot-3 guard, who was a District 10 all-star with the John F. Ross Royals during his high school playing days, says his move to the U of G was largely based on academics.

He was a phys-ed student at McGill and, in the big picture, he thought it might limit him post-graduation.

“I felt it kind of pigeon-holed me. It puts you in a bit of a corner,” Friesen said.

At the U of G, he’ll be majoring in biological science with a minor in biotechnology.

Friesen, who has been working out with the Gryphons, will be eligible to play OUA ball in the 2015 portion of the upcoming 2014-2015 schedule.

The Gryphons team he’s been training with is quite young – only one player, Michel Clark, is a fifth-year guy – but he likes what he sees so far.

“We’re all trying to achieve the same thing – and that’s to just keep getting better,” said Friesen, adding that a particular thing he digs about his hometown university is all the upgrades that are in store for the school’s athletic facilities.

While the Gryphons were an option for him coming out of high school, Friesen doesn’t regret picking McGill.

“I learned a lot, school-wise, basketball-wise and life-wise. I have no complaints,” he says.

A few years ago, Friesen had a team-high 16 points in the District 10 finals as the Ross Royals repeated as champions in a win that took place at the U of G gym. That court is home for him now, and he says he’s pumped to again be playing in town.

“I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun, playing in front of people I know,” he says.

He pauses, and adds: “It’s cool to be home.”

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