Defensive player of the year — Robert Saunders, guard, Carleton (Kingston, Ont.). The best defender on arguably the country's best defensive team, and he's an effective shooter and slasher on offence. The 6-foot-1 Saunders wasn't as long as his former teammate Ryan Bell, but his effort and intelligence made him a worthy inheritor of Bell's mantle.
Dr. Peter Mullins trophy (rookie of the year) — Didi Mukendi, guard, Brock Badgers (St. Catharines, Ont.). The St. Catharines Standard already has a feature posted on Mukendi, who averaged 16 points and five rebounds for his hometown Badgers despite a hernia injury that will require surgery. Ontario readers might be interested to note that Mukendi pointed out that staying in high school a fifth year helped him as a player, even though he missed Brock's run to the national title.
"That one year I really matured," he said. "All the players from last year’s championship team always say I could have been on that team and rub it in, but I’m glad I stayed back."It is worth noting that, if memory serves, four of Carleton's starters spent an extra year in high school (Doornekamp, Saunders and Turnbull were in the first class that didn't have OAC and were affected by the double cohort).
"I wasn’t ready to go to university after my 12th year."
Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy (coach of the year): Dave Smart, Carleton Ravens. Carleton is 33-1 this season and 7-0 vs. tournament teams, so it's Dave's due.
Ken Shields award (outstanding student-athlete): Jérôme Turcotte-Routhier, guard, Laval Rouge et Or. Schoolmate Benoit Groulx became the first player from a francophone school to win football's Hec Crighton Trophy last fall and Turcotte-Routhier became the first player from any Quebec school to win the outstanding student-athlete award. He made his impact all over the stats sheet (11.5 points, 7.3 boards, 4.0 assists) and off of it, has a 3.50 grade-point average (out of 4.33) and is involved with Lawyers Without Borders. (They do a lot a pro bono work. Where were they back in the summer of 2007?)
First team — Doerksen, F, TWU; Greg Surmacz, F-C, Windsor (Peterborough, Ont.); Damian Buckley, PG, Concordia (Montreal); Stu Turnbull, SG, Carleton (Kingston, Ont.); Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw, PG, St. Francis Xavier (Halifax).
Basically, the five conference MVPs make up the all-Canadian team, but acknowleding that takes out some of the suspense.
Second team — Dany Charlery, G, Brandon (Montreal); Josh Gibson-Bascombe, G, Ottawa (Toronto); Phillip Nkrumah, G, Cape Breton (Brampton, Ont.); Ross Bekkering, F, Calgary (Taber, Alta.); Aaron Doornekamp, F, Carleton (Odessa, Ont.).
Doornekamp is the only fifth-year player on the second team.
All-rookie team — Mukendi, G, Brock; Casey Fox, G, Acadia (Halifax, N.S.); Sam Freeman, G, Fraser Valley (Burnaby, B.C.); Gregory St-Amand, G, UQAM (Laval, Que.); David Tyndale, G, York (Mississauga).
Badgers' Mukendi named CIS basketball rookie of the year (Bernie Pulchaski, St. Catharines Standard)