Q&A with Lien Phillip, reflects on Lancer career

Following their exit from the OUA Wilson Cup three weeks ago, a rightfully disappointed Lien Phillip took some time to reflect on his five years as a Lancer, as well as share his thoughts on the future of this basketball program.

Mike Specht

Sports Editor

Following their exit from the OUA Wilson Cup three weeks ago, a rightfully disappointed Lien Phillip took some time to reflect on his five years as a Lancer, as well as share his thoughts on the future of this basketball program.

Phillip, a CIS all-Canadian and two-time OUA all-star has piled up the individual accolades throughout his career, which also includes his second straight OUA West player of the year selection in 2013 to 2014.

For all of the personal praise the St. Marks, Grenada native has received, Phillip’s greatest strength was the steady leadership presence he has brought to the Lancers for a half decade.  His focus, like so many other great Lancer leaders of this generation is a total commitment to the team first philosophy.

Not only was he a team catalyst on the court averaging a double-double a game throughout his Lancer career, but off the court as well, helping to mentor young players; most notably first-year guard and gym partner Mike Rocca.

Perhaps that is why the sting will linger Phillip who’s Lancers fell just shy of reaching the national finals for the second season in a row with a 93-89 overtime loss to McMaster.

Mike Specht: What happened in the McMaster game? 

Lien Phillip: We blew it man, we had a chance, we were up by ten or eleven in the third.  And they came out excited we were trading buckets back and fourth and we couldn’t just pull away.  We made a lot of defensive mistakes as well. As you saw in the Carleton game, we lost that game because of defensive rotations.  Every time we made a mistake they made us pay.  That is what the top teams do, if you want to be successful in the CIS you have to limit your errors, limit your turnovers and you have got to rebound. Everyone can score you know? It all comes down to defence, and that is how Ottawa beat Carleton in the OUA Championship.

MS: I noticed that this season, you guys can play with anyone in the country.  But you just seemed to struggle pulling away from the elite teams. When you look back on this season in particular, what feelings come to mind? 

LP: It’s disappointing, but when you look at it and you say a couple of years from now did you give it all you can? And I would say yes, everybody fought and everybody gave their best effort.

MS: What does your basketball future look like?

LP: It’s looking like I will be playing professionally. After school talking to agents, trying to get into some Euro leagues, or NBA camps.  I want to play professional basketball and that is what I am looking forward to as far as the next step.

MS: How do you feel about this basketball program going forward? 

LP: The future, I think it’s bright man. I like that what the coach [Chris Oliver] does with players.  When you leave, you’re not only a better basketball player, but a better man you’re a better person. It’s good looking at the future for this team, there are some guys with experience.  And they saw the experience from the three guys who are leaving this year. So the new guys got a chance to experience what an OUA Final Four is like, and now all they have is motivation because they want to get back there next year.

MS: This is gonna be Evan Matthews’ team next year, how do you think he is prepared to handle that role? 

LP: He’s gonna be pumped because he wants to make it back to the Final Four next year.  And Evan is a beast man, there is no one in the CIS that can stop him.  You have to play like it, and he has to lead the guys, don’t be afraid to lead them.  A leadership role is always tough, but he is in business and he understands the ups and downs.

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