One’s a bit of a trash talker, the other is a silent assassin.
While one is crashing the hoop, the other is chilling at the three-point line.
Cartiea French-Toney and Jose Colorado are different both on and off the court but combined, they just might be the best backcourt in the Pacwest.
The duo helped lead the Quest Kermodes men’s basketball team to a bronze medal and its best record in school history last season. With Quest hosting the CCAA Nationals in March, the pair has a great chance to add a banner or two to the rafters in the Kermode Kave.
The impact of French-Toney was delayed last year, as the Seattle native was ineligible to play until January. Colorado said once French-Toney hit the floor, it transformed the Kermodes.
“He was a great fit for our team because it’s the first time since I’ve been here that we’ve had a true point guard that can create shots for other people — it really changed our team dynamic,” he said. “He’s a playmaker and also embraced being a leader. He’s great at directing where everyone should be.”
For the first half of last season, French-Toney watched from the sidelines and knew he and Colorado would be a great match on the court.
“It works out good — when I penetrate I know that if I kick it to him and he shoots it — I expect it to go in every time,” he said. “Jose brings a lot of scoring and he proved it last year. He’s one of the best scorers in the country.”
Colorado said when the two are on the court together, it makes it difficult for the defence.
“Cartiea is a quick and penetrating guard and I complement in the sense that people can’t help off me because if they do, then when I get the ball I’m going to shoot it,” he said. “And if they don’t help then Cartiea is a quick guard and can get to the rim. It’s kind of a ‘pick your poison’ kind of thing.”
Quest men’s head coach Sean Shook agreed.
“They’re the exact opposite in what they do out there — which is a positive,” he said. “Cartiea is a guy that can get by people and get in the paint and Jose is a great catch-and-shoot player. They create a lot of space out there for other players.”
“We play off each other,” French-Toney said. “He shoots the ball really well and I attack the basket really well.”
But if the Kermodes want to excel, they’ll need more than just Colorado and French-Toney. Both players mentioned Mike Zayas-Duran, Mike Powell and Connor Heinrichs as keys to the team’s success. Newcomers Paul Getz, Shedrick Nelson and Noah DeRappard-Yuswack are also expected to help strengthen the team’s depth.
“We have more athletes than when I first came in,” Colorado said. “We play much more up tempo and get up and down the court quicker. It’s kind of night and day the way our philosophy has changed since I started here.”
It’s Colorado’s last year as a Kermode and he said he wants to make it a memorable one.
“My expectation is to get a banner,” he said. “Whether it’s Pacwest or Nationals, I want to leave some sort of lasting legacy here.”
French-Toney was more blunt in his goals.
“I want to win it all,” he said. “I feel we’re one of the best teams in the Pacwest if we come and play hard every night. We know Langara and VIU are going to be tough but in my opinion we’re the team to beat.”
Hosting the nationals is also on both players minds but they’re not looking too far ahead.
“It’s great to have them here and a great way for me to go out personally with my last games at home,” Colorado said. “We want to prove that we’re more than just a host team. We want to deserve to be there and hopefully we can make some noise.”
“I think we’re looking forward to nationals as a team but we have to focus on the league first,” French-Toney said. “If you look at our record last year, we were 8-2 at home — we’re a good home team and we want to prove that we belong. We don’t want people asking why we’re at the tournament.”
French-Toney said it would be nice to get more Squamish residents at Quest games and said the team should be fun to watch this year.
“Before, maybe we weren’t winning but now we’re winning and I feel we should get some more support,” he said. “If there’s nothing else to do on a Friday or Saturday night, bring your kids up and watch some basketball. We had a lot of families up during the soccer provincials last year and hopefully they can come support us too.”
Colorado, French-Toney and the Kermodes kick off the regular season against Capilano on Friday (Nov. 1) in North Vancouver. Home opener weekend hits the floor the following week with games on Nov. 8 and 9.
For more information on the teams, visit www.questkermodes.ca.