Basketball: Men's awards mega-post (or gosh, which Josh?)

Four of five precincts have reported with their men's basketball award selections, since the AUS still has to finish its regular season.

It might be best to list off the candidates from west to east, with a little commentary on who has a strong case, pending the AUS nominations.

Mike Moser Memorial Trophy (most valuable player): UBC guard Josh Whyte (19.1 points, 4.2 assists, 2.4 steals); McMaster forward Keenan Jeppesen (19.7 points, 8.6 rebounds); Ottawa guard Josh Gibson-Bascombe (20.1 points, 6.2 assists, 2.4 steals); McGill guard Matthew Thornhill (18.3 points, 4.9 rebounds).

It probably boils down to Joshua East and West (fist bump: the late Mordecai Richler), along with Christian Upshaw of No. 3 St. FX.

Gibson-Bascombe has been an iron man for No. 5 Ottawa, putting up 20 points a night, leading CIS in assists and being third nationally in steals. The argument for JGB basically boils down to picturing the Gee-Gees, who began the season outside of the top 10, without him. A small counter-point: he averaged 30.3 points in Ottawa's four games vs. York and Laurentian, the sixth- and seventh-place teams in the eight-team OUA East.

Whyte is a similar type of lead guard, who can get to the rim, distribute and defend, but the deeper Thunderbirds have the luxury of not having to lean on him as much as Ottawa rides its talismanic floor leader. Whyte has put up numbers when needed, such as when he had a 50-point weekend during the T-Birds' big southern Alberta swing in January, when they won at Lethbridge and Calgary.

One factor is the Moser often can be a senior award. Whyte is a fourth-year who played elsewhere, while JGB has been with the Gee-Gees for his whole five-year run.

Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy (coach of the year): Kevin Hanson, UBC; Scott Morrison, Lakehead; Dave DeAveiro, Ottawa; Olga Hrycak, UQAM.

Hanson, who won four seasons ago, has UBC's No. 1 ranking on his side. Morrison has turned around a losing Lakehead program, against the odds, but that doesn't always cut a lot of ice at the national level. (Current McGill coach Craig Norman, when he won with RMC in '03-04, was about the only example).

DeAveiro has a solid case. He's probably the most accomplished coach in the country who has never received the Stu Aberdeen award. It has gone to an OUA East coach five of the past nine seasons.

Defensive player of the year: Thompson Rivers centre Greg Stewart; Lakehead guard Greg Carter; Carleton guard-forward Cole Hobin; UQAM guard Éric Côté-Kougnima.

It would be disingenuous to weigh in on this as someone who's only seen one of the four (Hobin) play in person.

Stewart is an incredible story, becoming a solid CIS player while playing with a prosthetic left arm. The selectors do tend to see this in purely basketall terms, so it might come down to the two Ottawa-area products on ranked teams, Carter and Hobin. The scary thought is Carter is a second-year player and Hobin is only in his third.

Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy (rookie of the year): Alberta forward Jordan Baker (13.7 points, 9.1 boards); Brock swingman Clinton Springer-Williams (21.2 points, 6.2 rebounds); Laurentian guard Manny Pasquale (15.1 points, 3.3 assists); McGill guard Olivier Bouchard (9.9 points, 3.7 assists).

Please keep in mind it is who had the best season, not who is going to have the best career. Springer-Williams -- and how his game and presidential namesake haven't earned him the sobriquet of Slick Willie is, frankly astounding -- wins on the former count. Feel free to debate the latter. Baker almost averaged a double-double in his yearling campaign.

Ken Shields Award (outstanding humanitarian): Simon Fraser guard Kevin Shaw, Lakehead guard Jamie Searle, Queen's guard Baris Ondul

Here you thought Searle's team was a great group of dudes. (Various releases out of the QSSF have not listed a nominee.)

First-team forwards: Ross Bekkering, Calgary; Jacob Doerksen, Trinity Western; Keenan Jeppesen, McMaster; Andrew Wedemire, Western; Isaac Kuon Windsor; Boris Bakovic, Ryerson; Kevin McCleery, Carleton; Mitch Leger, Queen's; Evens Laroche, Concordia; Étienne Labrecque, Laval

Four of the five division/league MVPs are likely to be guards. One big should be selected so that the all-Canadian team conforms to the lineup of an actual basketball team. (Would six defensive backs and only two linebackers be named all-Canadian in football?)

It's a similar argument for both Bakovic (26.2, 9.6, 51.3% effecting shooting), the No. 2 scorer in the country, and Leger (21.4, 11.9, 51.5% effective shooting) is the only player to average 20 and 10 in 2010. Where do their teams finish without them?

Queen's assistant coach Duncan Cowan had a money quote about Leger following Queen's playoff loss to Ottawa last weekend:

"If this was his last game, he leaves as one of the best players in the country and easily one of the top players in our program’s history."
(The 20-and-10 argument might be a bit facetious, since Bakovic only needed a few more boards to get to double digits.)

McCleery (16.8, 5.1, 63.1% effective) plays on a top team and led CIS in field-goal percentage. Bekkering (19.0, 8.9, 55.8% effective) is the best man on a very good team.

First-team guards: Josh Whyte, UBC; Showron Glover, Saskatchewan; Zeon Gray, Fraser Valley; Jamie Searle, Lakehead; Clinton Springer-Williams, Brock; Josh Gibson-Bascombe, Ottawa; Nick Magalas, Toronto; Matt Thornhill, McGill; Onnex Blackwood, Bishop's.

Whyte, Gibson-Bascombe and Upshaw are probably the choices.
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  1. Don't go knocking Gibson-Bascombe's 30.6 against Laurentian/York. Had he not stepped up and knocked down 30 against LU in the 2nd of their games, I don't think Ottawa would have won. He made some difficult clutch shots in the dying minutes of that game.

    How about Manny Pasquale for ROY...While his brother Isiah was out, Manny stepped his game up big time, excluding a game against RMC, for obvious reasons, he averaged 20.2 ppg, 4.2 rbpg, 4 apg, and 2 stpg.

    And if you include everything from Jan 15 weekend on excluding York and RMC (the two lowest ranked teams other than LU in the East), his numbers look like: 21.3 ppg, 3.5 rbpg, 4.6 apg, 1.9 stpg.

    I'd say he certainly built his case in the 2nd half of the season.

  2. Idle thoughts:

    - If the Moser typically goes to a senior, isn't that ironic considering the origin of the award, and what happened to Mike Moser?

    - When Andrew was at the UBC-SFU game earlier this year, he noted how completely different the Thunderbirds were without Whyte in the lineup. I'm not generally a proponent of "take away this player"-type arguments, but if you are, that helps Whyte perhaps as much as it helps JGB.

    - I find the best way to look at "player of the year" is simple: who would you pick first for a real game if they were all lined up against the fence? (The MUBL picked Bakovic first, but that wasn't "real.") For me, based solely on the games I've seen, that's Josh Whyte. I could be convinced otherwise, though.

    - Is there an award for "regular humanitarian"?

    - Player rankings should be out by next week. The women are done, though, and I'll post that once I post this.

  3. Josh Whyte has been truly outstanding this year. Getting the Canada West nod over guys like Glover, Bekkering and Doerksen is something to note. From what I've been told Whyte, Bekkering and Doerksen were the top Canadian performers at the World Student Games last summer, which is some indication of their level.

  4. Without Josh Gibson-bascombe, the Gee Gees would not be 18-4, two games behind Carleton.
    Without JGB, the Ravens would have blown them out in both games.
    Without him, the Gee Gees are not a top 5 team, or even a top 15 team.
    I tell you what the Gee Gees will be next year without a world of hurt.
    Josh of the East is the Beast.

  5. Manny is a good rookie, and showed flashes of great games during the season, but I really think the "How bout..." should be food for thought, not to be taken seriously.

    If you look at those averages in the second half of the season, excluding the three games versus York/RMC for Manny (Even though the York games were important losses for LU and he played his season average of minutes in all three games), CSW still comes out on top.

    23ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.1apg 1.4spg, 2.6 topg all on 46.7% shooting

    21.3ppg, 3.5rbp, 4.6apg, 1.9spg, 3.6 topg all on 38.9% shooting

    It is close, but not enough to take away from the numbers CSW was putting up at the start of the year as well.

    If we look at stats versus the other's conference:

    13.6 ppg, 3rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.1 spg for Manny VS West

    22.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2 apg, 1.6 spg for CSW VS East

    Manny had a great year, and congratulations on the OUA East ROY, but CSW is the OUA's ROY. As far as National, I'm in no position as I've never seen Baker play, but if I had two cents to throw in, they'd be in CSW's well.

    CSW's scoring on his percentages from someone playing his game are worth more than those few extra boards from Baker's style (I understand he's a traditional 4) shooting the same percentages, IMO.

    And I'm all for C. Willie as a nickname.

  6. @ Anonymous March 5, 2010 3:11:00 PM EST
    "From what I've been told Whyte, Bekkering and Doerksen were the top Canadian performers at the World Student Games last summer, which is some indication of their level."
    That's not the complete picture ... in fact JGB received a All-World University Games Honorable Mention for those games. The only member of the team who did. So I would JGB was also one of the top Canadian performers at those games last summer.

  7. @ Anonymous March 5, 2010 3:11:00 PM EST
    World Student Games 2009 in Belgrade (Canada - 6 games)
    JGB = 11.7 ppg
    JW = 8.2 ppg
    JD = 12.0 ppg
    RB = 10.5 ppg
    I'd also say Josh Gibson-Bascombe was also one of the top Canadian performers. As you've noted this is some indication of his level!

  8. Anyone else think the coach of the year award is missing a key nominee. Dave Smart? He only got his team to the number one spot after losing 3 starters. One CIS defensive player of the year, the other two were all canadians who both won OUA player of the year and one of them was CIS player of the year. I dont know who lost more yet still remained the best team in the country.

  9. including winning 4 national championships... Dave Smart has the #1 team in the country a year after graduating arguably the best class in CIS history. #1... does that make Smart paranoid for thinking he was slighted or the only one paying attention?

  10. I am sorry to all the stat heads out their who don't actually watch games or understand what they see if they do. But points and rebounds isn't value. Backovic and Leger both made their teams worse. They killed the culture of their teams with selfish decisions on the court and Duncan's comments are reckless or stupid, or both. They got beat constantly on defense and on offense the flow of the game was stagnant when they touched the ball and teammates left frustrated as they took too many bad shots and refused to make easy passes.

    Did anyone see the way Gibson-Bascombe flamed out his career? Congrats on stepping up against Laurentien in January. What about against Carleton in 3 tries? or even against Lakehead? Nothing. He was the second or third best player on a three player team in their last 3 important games. It's sad that he might represent the CIS as it's best player

  11. Whyte won, and he had the highest PER of any nominee. So your fears did not come to pass.

    Your points have validity, but insinuating "stat heads" (and it's there, not their) don't watch the games is trite. You think someone who would go to the trouble of looking at advanced stats is so disinterested in CIS basketball that he wouldn't watch the games? Please.

    I'll share that with Rob on Saturday on press row.

    Queen's went 0 for the rest of the season when Leger went down last season. Perhaps both he and Bakovic's effectiveness was compromised by being on average teams.

  12. @sager ... don't pander to numb nuts who make unvalidated comments ... obviously that person doesn't watch games ... if he did he would not be so stupid as to make completely unfounded comments about Bakovic, Leger or JGB ... all one has to do is watch a few games to know that ... he's probably from UBC! LOL

  13. I guess Showron Collins for Kansas flamed out his career to? No @Anonymouns he's not from UBC he's from Laurentian ... a bit burned I guess! No haters allowed on this site!

  14. JGB deserved that award hands down! Bakovic and JGB are an example of players whose skills, as Sager put it, are 'comprimised' by being in an average league ... Average guys like Whyte are who seem to shine ... that's because Whyte and players like him have peaked in an average league!