Basketball: T-Birds fly high as Hanson, Whyte named Canada's best

UBC's Josh Whyte and Kevin Hanson picked up the hardware tonight, as they set out to get the one trophy which has eluded the Thunderbirds for nigh on four decades.

Debate away: Whyte (19.1 points and 4.6 assists in 28.8 minutes) took home the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as player of the year. He had the highest PER of any nominee and his team was No. 1 or No. 2 all season. The counter is that Whyte was fifth in PER behind two Canada West counterparts from the Prairie Division's Saskatchewan guard Showron Glover (the CIS scoring leader) and Calgary forward Ross Bekkering (third).

That being said, take nothing away from Whyte. Hanson, who's skipped UBC to a 23-2 record this season and earned his 500th career win, earned the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as coach of the year for the second time.

Hanson joins Carleton's Dave Smart and Brock's Ken Murray as the only active coaches to have won more than once.

Other award winners:
  • Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy (rookie of the year): Clinton Springer-Williams, Brock swingman. A little bit of history, as Springer-Williams and Badgers guard Didi Mukendi, the '08-09 winner, are the first teammates to win in consecutive seasons.

  • Defensive player of the year: Phillip Nkrumah, Cape Breton combo forward. Second-time nominee who defends all five positions, led the AUS in steals (no mean feat for a forward), led his team in rebounding and assists and averaged a blocked shot per game despite the fact he's a 6-foot-4 player often giving up a couple inches in height.

  • Ken Shields Award (outstanding student-athlete/community service): Andrew Sullivan, Dalhousie guard. He is a Rhodes Scholar candidate who's on the dean's list in engineering at Dal. That says it all.

  • First team all-Canadians: UBC guard Josh Whyte, Saskatchewan guard Showron Glover, St. Francis Xavier guard Christian "T-Bear" Upshaw, Ottawa guard Josh Gibson-Bascombe, McMaster forward Keenan Jeppesen.

  • Second team all-Canadians: McGill guard Matt Thornhill, Carleton forward Kevin McCleery, Calgary forward Ross Bekkering, Saint Mary’s guard Joey Haywood, Western forward Andrew Wedemire.

  • Rookie all-Canadians: Brock swingman Clinton Springer-Williams, Acadia forward Owen Klassen, Alberta forward Jordan Baker, McGill guard Olivier Bouchard, Laurentian guard Manny Pasquale.
There's plenty to chew over. Glover got richly deserved first-team recognition, even if that mean four guards were honoured. Meantime, three forwards among the top 10 players in PER, Ryerson forward Boris Bakovic (second), Queen's forward Mitch Leger (seventh) and Trinity Western's Jacob Doerksen (ninth; he won the Moser in '09) didn't rate a second-team spot. Carleton's Tyson Hinz (11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 55.6% effective shooting) put up comparable numbers with Klassen (10.5, 7.6, 56.1%).

That being said, full value to the honourees.

This T-Bird Rules (Ottawa Citizen)
T-Birds' work under wake-up call, now ready for nationals as Hanson, Whyte scoop major CIS honours (Howard Tsumura, Vancouver Province)

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  1. Here is my comment and it has nothing to do with Lakehead...I said it last year and I say it again this year; the fact that Boris Backovic of Ryerson is not an All Canadian is a crime...what does the guy have to do?...Shame on the voters...

    Mike Aylward

  2. Snubbing Boris Bakovic again of all-canadian status...even Mitch Leger, what a crying shame and Tyson Hinz not even in the rookie awards (notice how the rookies are the winners of their respective conference...seems like there wasn't much thought into those awards) (now I read the last paragraph...oops)

    back to Bakovic...if anyone saw the overtime win vs. Laurentian , forget the may or may not miss calls including him "stomping" (stepping) on an LU players head, where he should have fouled out...look at the way he led his team, emotionally and throughout the overtime, just single handily taking over the game, and take a look ( at about 1:50:50 as he takes the ball up and scores what I would say is probably the CIS shot of the he is not an All-Canadian, absolutely baffles my mind.

    The other thing I want to harp on is coach of the year. Yes Kevin Hanson did a phenomenal job coaching UBC to a 23-2 record. Yes he did it (if you look at the PER rankings) with not much "support" outside of Josh Whyte, but how much of UBC's success is attributed to Whyte's skill vs. Hanson's coaching (I can't answer that, but maybe after watching this weekend I could).

    Scott Morrison on the other hand, although I cannot say I particularly like him, but to take a team from 6-16 to 17-5. I would like to see the what if the roles were reversed and Morrison was at UBC and Hanson was at Lakehead. I was completely shocked that Morrison didn't win coach of the year let alone run away with it.

  3. I totally agree Scott Morrison got ripped off for COY.
    No disrespect for Norm Peterson, er, Kevin Hanson but come on.
    All Morrison did was take LU to their first final 8 in 33 years after an 11 game improvement.
    Like that happens everyday.

  4. Boris is not an All Canadian (again - second year) because his team is no good. Carry his team to the top 6 in the OUA then maybe he'd have a chance. Take his team to the OUA East Finals, then maybe he'll have a chance. But as long as they are a bad team, he will continue to put up great numbers on a bad team. In every basketball league, voters tend to pick players from winning teams. Kevin Durant last year, wasn't an all star because his team stunk. Go back throughout the years, in every league, great numbers on a bad team does not warrent an individual honor.

  5. Same thing with Winnipeg's Erfan Najaspour...never had a hope in hell
    of getting any hardware because the Wesmen sucked.
    Of course, now he's gone,they REALLY suck.

  6. Also shocked to see Boris off this list.

    I'm not a Ryerson fan at all - but caught a few of his games when teams I wanted to see were in town.

    The guy completely dominated everyone and was head and shoulders the best player on the court – every single time.

    He always guards the opposing team’s best player and generally does a pretty good job.

    I don't care if they lose every game....he's one of the top players in the country.

    Morrison not winning is also a joke.

    I figured he would get every single first place vote in the country.....


  7. I think Smart will thank the voters for more motivation this weekend. One second team all-star spot for the #1 team in the nation is going to be played as a massive snub in the Carleton dressing room. Rightfully so, IMO.

    McCleery, who many argued was the most dominant player in the CIS this year, should have been on the 1st all-star team at the very least.

    Hinz should have been on the rookie all-star team. Starting much of the season and being a key contributor for the top team in the nation is far more impressive then racking up a couple of more points per game on a terrible team simply because someone has to score and there is no one else to give the ball.

    Also, the fact that Smart was not at least a finalist for coach of the year when this was supposed to be a massive rebuilding year was ridiculous. OUA champions and #1 in the nation is quite the rebuilding if you ask me. I guess it happened all by itself.

    Oh well, at least my belief that Carleton will probably win has turned into a belief that they will definitely win.

  8. Smart doesn't need a closet full of trophies to prove he is the best by a mile.
    Over 300 wins in his first 10 seasons?
    That's stupid.
    His WORST season in the last ten years was 19-3...that's a dream season for most coaches.
    If the Ravens weren't already motivated enough...already the best prepared team, now they'll be pissed.

  9. Anon 9:54 -

    I can't disagree with you more. There were a few games this year in which I would have expected McCleery to play like a 5th year experienced player. Instead he played like a rookie getting himself into foul trouble.

    For instance (just one example), against Laurentian, he picked up 2 fouls within I believe in the first 2.5 minutes and had 4 fouls in something like 19 minutes played. Sorry, but when your the biggest guy on the court by 2 inches and 20lbs over the largest LU player and you play such undisciplined ball against a team that cannot match up against you...and you call that being a first team all-CIS...thats laughable.

    At the same time, this also should reflect Dave Smart's coaching. Your going to tell me that he should be COY when he can't even get his veteran players to play some simple, basic, disciplined basketball against a tremendously less superior basketball team. Ok, even with that aside, look at the other two coaches. Dave Deaveiro with Ottawa led a team with no real front court threat (after the loss of Dax) and the loss of Josh Wright and Jacob Gibson-Bascombe, he still pulled out an 18-4 record. But forget that, what Scott Morrison did up at Lakehead, I don't even think the great Dave Smart could have pulled that out. Forget that 6-16 to 17-5 turn around.

    Look at the number of times Lakehead was losing going into the fourth quarter or the game was close and then look at the come from behind victories + the times they pulled away from close games. I think that clearly defines Scott Morrison as a coach and why he should have got COY

    Anonymous 8:30 - "Boris is not an All Canadian (again - second year) because his team is no good."

    Explain to me how Andrew Wedemire makes the all CIS team again?

    Western = 12-10 (4th)
    Ryerson = 10-12 (5th)

    Western = losing in the first round at home by 19 points (Wedemire goes 22 & 9)
    Ryerson = losing in the first round away by 3 points (Bakovic goes 28 & 15)

    Wedemire - 19.2 (12th) & 7.8 (Tie 16th) (49.6% FG)
    Bakovic - 26.2 (2nd) & 9.6 (3rd) (47.6% FG)

    Bakovic got to the line a lot more, and hit more three's.

    Please tell me something that make Wedemire more of an all-CIS than Bakovic?

  10. Anon 2:20 AM - nice, classy comment. Bet you wouldn't say that to his face. Debate the merits of the COY winner all you want, but personal insults and belittling comments are offside.

    If you'd like Kevin's phone number so you can repeat those comments to him personally, just let me know.

  11. CoY always seems to be the trophy that gets awarded to the guy who deserves it not just for the year but for body of work.

    What Morrison did at Lakehead was probably the single best coaching performance from August to February but Hanson earned this award because of stats like he is 96-11 in conference play in the last five years, UBC finally dethroned Carleton as the no. 1 rated team for a season (in terms of overall weeks) which has been virtually impossible for the last 3-4 years, and the fact he lost three fifth-years who started every single game last year.

    He definitely had help from a great player in Whyte making that transition easier but honestly I don't think anyone thought UBC would be as good as they were during regular season based on just some speed bumps after losing three starters.

    Also a note on Hanson's success as a coach this season - there was a stetch where UBC trailed at the half in like a half-dozen or so games including double digits to Calgary, among others, but came back to win them all except one which they lost to SFU by a bucket.

    Morrison had a case for CoY no doubt but unfortunately, he will probably have to do it again for another year or two before he gets rewarded. Not necessarily right but pretty standard for CoY winners.

  12. In case you haven't noticed there is a very socialist approach to CIS awards in all sports. Every region has to be represented and players are ranked by their own conferences before they are submitted for national voting but other coaches. Without hating on the kid, there is no way Thornhill from McGill can compare with Bakovic or Leger or Doerksen, but there had to be someone from QSSF on the list of AC's, so there you go. Bakovic was also likely only the third or fourth highest ranked player in his own league behind JGB and McCleery, and coaches are not likely to vote for more than two from any one conference other than their own. Wedemire was the second-ranked player from his conference and that's likely why he got more votes than Bakovic, who likely had to share consideration with Leger and McCleery behind JGB. If you also notice, the all-rookie team is made up of the rookies of the year from the five regions, which is, again, very socialistic. If Hinz wasn't the ROY in OUA East, there was likely no way he could make the CIS All-Rookie team. Personally, I don't believe in socialism, but democracy has its flaws also as Canada West is notorious for block voting its conference reps and as a result, wins most of the awards.

  13. Which again bring back a point I made in a previous blog that the voting should be split between coaches, media, and fan vote...1/3 each...

    Also, Backovic has played for a decent team each year, a playoff team so I don't agree with the bad team argument; he is the best player in the CIS without a doubt....

    Mike Aylward

  14. Brad hit it on the head. Boris was considered the 3rd best player in the confrence behind McCleary and Gibson Bascomb. The other two made the AC team, and you can't add a 3rd from the same conference.
    Block voting sucks, because that's how the west rolls. Is White REALLY the best player in the Country? Hell no.
    I stand by the statement - Ryerson as a team was terrible. They need to win for Boris to be considered anything other then a good player putting up great numbers on a bad team. The CIS is full of them, as is every league.

  15. Morrison not getting COY is just wrong. Lakehead went from being last in the conference, to sharing the conference title, beating a #1 ranked team, top 10 for the majority of the year and making a national appearance. The people who voted got this totally wrong IMO. Not that hanson isn't a deserving coach but the improvement and bodybofnworo compared to last yr is not comparable. UBCt is an experienced team and were in the national final last year.

  16. Lets also check the team budgets for Lakehead vs. UBC when considering the job done this year.

    UBC has a full-time assistant that likely makes more than Morrison at Lakehead.

    Despite the loss today, Lakehead will be a team to be looking out for as a favorite next year. They do not lose one guy on paper.

  17. Morrison, despite the location was able to recruit quality, impact players. I would bet that Morrison will have another recruiting class the will be tops in the CIS next year.

    He was definitely done wrong by not winning COY. Hanson and UBC had a great year but the entire country would have had them winning the conference. Lakehead on the other hand, was barely a play-off team in the pre-season. I would say that what Morrison did this year is deserving of this award.

  18. Interesting results in today's CoY match-up. Definitely doesn't prove one way or another who should have gotten it but Hanson's job at rallying the troops was nothing short of impressive.

    Obviously UBC is better than Lakehead in terms of personnel but based on first half performance, UBC did some good coaching at the half to come out with that performance.

    Lakehead should be very good again next season but they need to add a legit scorer and/or have someone step up. It's hard to be a top-tier team by gutting out each win. They need a game breaker. Also, they will have a big target on their backs next season which will make it even tougher to get back to final 8.

  19. The CIS is a joke ... UBC doesn't deserve those awards and everyone knows it ... thats why the whole country is watching the NCAA tournament! Until this country legitimizes itself it will never be able to be considered beyond its own borders! Lets not forget the streak of number one ranks going to the nationals that UBC had when they were smoked in the first round! If this is the result of block voting don't they see how its cramping international recognition of the real talent in this country! Sorry but JGB deserved that title as did the coach of Lakehead. I am also no fan of Boris but who can deny that he is legitimate ... Sorry but Whyte has not proven himself!

  20. Scott Morrison, deserves COY. It is COY not, coach of last 5 yrs, UBC was a national runner up last yr, and are there again. That is tremendous, and you must applaud the job done there. But losing POSEY, the schools all time leading scorer, and OUA 2nd all time leading scorer(til boris broke i this yr) and piling up 17 wins!!?? What more can a guy do?! Lakehead won 22 reg seasongames in the preveious 4 yrs! They almost matched that this season! Morrison must be really disappointed in his peers for that result. I'd love to see the ballots.

    Also, anyone who watched UBC win today might have noticed the player of the game/POY, Josh Whyte held to 11pts, 2 asst, 2 to's by greg carter, another one of Lakeheads awards losers. That is the second consecutive player (JGB) that was a canidate for POY that Carter shut down.

  21. The CIS and their posturing and awards are a travesty! Really its laughable ... To all those players, coaches and fans who love the game ... keep on keeping on because it is you who will eventually change things!

  22. Basically the coaches in Canada West will always block vote for all these awards, but the other regions don't unless there is ab absolute obvious choice. Brock got the ROY two years in a row because Springer-Williams and Mukendi had the best numbers. COY could be a little different because nobody wants to give the competition an edge in things like recruiting so it's no big surprise that OUA coaches might not vote for Morrison.

  23. No coach will admit it but Morrison isn't well liked amongst the other coaches in the OUA. You can bet that his brothers in the OUA didn't help him out in the COY voting when the phone calls around the country were made.

  24. @prizby

    What a ridiculous way to try and question McCleery. Any player can be trashed through selective use of examples. I notice you didn't use any from the playoffs or any of Carleton's games against the top contenders in the OUA. Just a reminder: Anecdotal evidence is anything but.

    I won't even bother with your continued use of the same ridiculous reasoning to question Smart.

    I will point out that I never wrote that he should have won but I certainly think he should have been the OUA east rep. Regardless of Ottawa's performance this year, Carleton was heads and tails ahead of them (3-0 head to head) and the Ravens lost their top two players and 3 of 5 starters; some would argue their top 3 players last year. (You know, the final 8 MVP, a former national player of the year, and the CIS's top defender...but I guess those aren't significant losses, eh?)

    Could Smart have pulled out what Morrison did? I guess Carleton was always a powerhouse, right? I guess Smart didn't take a moribund program and win the consolation title at the CIS final 8 in his second year and the national title in his fourth?

  25. I don't know if any of the OUA West coaches really 'like' each other - maybe other than a couple. There are always people killing Raso, Kieswater(sp)takes his fair shares of criticism, and Oliver hasn't been at a coaches meeting in 3 years which I know has caused some issues with the other coaches. That's a bold statement to make that about Morrison.

  26. Sean...
    I wasn't dissing Kevin Hanson when I made the "Norm" reference.
    He's a great coach obviously, and for all I know a really great guy.
    But he really does bear an uncanny resemblance to George Wendt, aka Norm from Cheers.
    At least George Wendt is one of the best comic actors in the world.
    Hey, it's better to look like good old lovable Norm than
    poor Stan Van Gundy's supposed celebrity doppelganger...and I think you know who THAT is.

    Anon 2:20

  27. Anon 12:45

    So just because he can get it done against contenders means he is excused when he plays a much weaker team where he should be dominating the match up, he gets into foul trouble.

    Shouldn't All-Canadians play well everygame?

    Another example against; Ryerson, 19 minutes, 5 fouls

    Point was not to take away from his All-Canadian status, i agree he should be one, but my point was to diffute the person who thought he should be on the first team at the very least

  28. The statement wasn't a slag towards Morrison - just a note that other OUA coaches aren't that fond of him and that politics unfortunately comes into play when the award season comes around.

  29. ^this i can agree with and attest to...i have seen him (Morrison) chirping fans of opposing teams' fans instead of concentrating on the game when he has been on road games

  30. Well, put a name to it, then.

  31. Lakehead's road record this year prior to the play-offs was 16-2.

    I guess those were the two games Morrison wasn't concentrating.......

    He is also the youngest coach in the CIS if i am not mistaken.

    Great job by the whole Lakehead staff this year, hope they can keep it going next season.

  32. for all those from thunder bay we know about morrison. he doesn't have a very good reputation withing the city and basketball community. we all remember him throwing the chair and any fan sitting withing 30 feet of him in the stands regularily hear strings of vulgarity come from his mouth. it's no surprise that his peers (coaches) would also think low of him, people arent going to vote for someone they don't like.

  33. Don't be airing dirty laundry anonymously unless there's some context. Morrison is still a relatively young coach ... and it takes time to figure out how to channel emotion.

  34. Morrisons' relationship with the city is much different now than when he got the job (when he was 26). People in Thunder Bay were not use to that style of coaching and although they are great fans, the majority of them have no clue about basketball. Using vulgarity? There are a ton of NCAA coaches that use that language.

  35. The Finals certainly must not have showcased Josh Whyte's worth. I did not come away all that impressed with his game.