Trio of recruits add talent, athleticism to Griffins MBB ranks

Griffins men's basketball recruits Dawson Smadis, left, Abiel Tabufor and Griffin Lorenz will join MacEwan for the 2018-19 Canada West season.
Griffins men's basketball recruits Dawson Smadis, left, Abiel Tabufor and Griffin Lorenz will join MacEwan for the 2018-19 Canada West season.

Jefferson Hagen / MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – Athletic pedigree runs strong among the latest additions in MacEwan Griffins men's basketball head coach Eric Magdanz's 2018 recruiting class.

Griffin Lorenz is the son of former UAlberta-Augustana men's basketball head coach Stacy Lorenz.

Abiel Tabufor has natural athletic ability in his DNA that should help him adjust quickly to the Canada West level.

And Dawson Smadis' father Darren Smadis played 58 games as a goaltender in the Western Hockey League.

Magdanz's latest three recruits, announced Thursday, add to a 2018 recruiting class that already includes 2017 Team Alberta leading rebounder Alex Jap.

"Over our transition into Canada West, we've had the ability to reach out to athletes who can make an impact to not only our program but across the conference," said Magdanz. "This group is no different. They come with the attributes that we strive for in our student-athletes – high academic pedigree, an athletic background and a goal to excel in both of those ways.

"We're very excited about this group. Adding it to Alex Jap, who has already committed, makes this our strongest recruiting class yet."

That's huge for the future of a program that is striving to get back to the playoffs. Magdanz's young Griffins team manufactured a 5-15 record last season, but had moments when they challenged the best squads in the conference.

Lorenz, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Camrose, led his Camrose Composite High School team to back-to-back Alberta 3A high school provincial finals and comes with the added sports pedigree of also being a very good southpaw baseball pitcher. He is entering MacEwan's Commerce program.

"Griffin is a dynamic guard who can impact the game in a number of ways," said Magdanz of Lorenz, whose father coached the UAA men's basketball team until 2004 and is works as a professor there. "He is a smart player who can fit well into our system. He does a little bit of everything offensively with the ability to both score and create for his teammates.

"As a lefty he brings a different style of play that challenges defences to adapt. I believe Griffin can develop into a key player in our program."

Tabufor, a 6-foot-3 wing out of St. Joes high school in Grande Prairie, was a teammate of Jap's on Team Alberta that won a silver medal at the 2017 Canada Summer Games. More recently, he led his high school team to the 4A provincials.

The natural athlete, who is entering MacEwan's Science program, was born in Dallas, Texas, but lived part of his youth in Cameroon.

"Abiel is a remarkable athlete with the skills to compete at the U SPORTS level," said Magdanz. "His athleticism puts him in a rare category that will allow him to compete in Canada West right away. As he gets used to the speed of play and improves some of the finer points of his game, he will become a major contributor in our program."

Smadis, whose father played two seasons in the WHL with Saskatoon, Spokane, Brandon and Lethbridge, comes out of Archbishop Jordan in Sherwood Park. The 6-foot-5 forward was originally a football player, who converted to basketball in Grade 10 and has since honed his hardcourt skills with the GOOD Basketball club program.

He plans to enter a Bachelor of Science program at MacEwan.

"Dawson has the attributes we look for in a student-athlete," said Magdanz. "He is a strong student with remarkable athleticism.

"He is relatively new to basketball and will take a bit of time to adjust to the level of speed and skill within the Canada West. As Dawson gets more comfortable with the speed of play, he has the ability to excel. We are really looking forward to working with Dawson over his career."