Men's Basketball: Looking at the 2011-12 player rankings

With the major CIS men's basketball awards set to come out tomorrow, today we'll look at the best players in the country — by the numbers. Our player rankings are now out, ranking every player in the CIS this season based on a combination of Player Efficiency Rating (above replacement-level) and minutes played.

The full stats are here, along with explanations and prior years' numbers.

Here are the top 10 of those rankings and how they got there this year.

  1. Phil Scrubb, Carleton Ravens (38.6 PER, 517 minutes played, 252 Value Above Replacement)

    Scrubb's relatively unimpressive per game stats (16.2 points, 3.3 assists, 2.5 rebounds) belie the incredible year the second-year guard and odds-on favorite for Player of the Year has had. The reason? It only takes about a quarter and a half for the Ravens to lock up a win, and by the second half Scrubb's found a nice seat on the bench. He averages just 23.5 minutes per game.

    But Scrubb's efficiency has been marvelous this year. He shoots 57 per cent from three ... on nearly five attempts per game! That's absurd, and it reflects how Scrubb can get his shots off in a number of ways. He's great at breaking down defenders off the dribble, has a mean setback jump shot and is also great in catch-and-shoot situations, something that happens a lot in Dave Smart's offense.

    With great speed and long arms, Scrubb is also a great defender. His PER of 38.6 is nearly three points higher than the next best by a men's player (Showron Glover's 35.8 in 2009-10) since we started measuring the stat in '08-09.

  2. James Dorsey, Cape Breton Capers (33.1 PER, 615 minutes, 249 VAR)

    Dorsey's 49 points in a win over Acadia on Feb. 12 gave him the CIS season high. He's an explosive scorer (22.8 points per game) with a hot hand from beyond the arc, having hit five or more threes in a game on seven separate occasions this year, and excels at getting to the charity stripe, leading the league at 7.1 free throws attempted per game (while shooting 83.5 per cent).

    But his rating is also so high because he led the league in assists per game (8.8) by almost two full assists over the next best guy (Saskatchewan's Jamelle Barrett at 6.9 per game). Granted, this is because he got to play in front of the notoriously generous AUS scorekeepers (and CBU and Memorial have generally been the most generous of those), but Dorsey is a proven distributor and the key part of Cape Breton's offence.

  3. Ryan MacKinnon, Victoria Vikes (33.8 PER, 595 minutes, 247 VAR)

    The fifth-year guard had a career season in leading the Vikes back to national prominence. Though they were ousted in a nailbiter by UFV in the Canada West semi-final, Victoria was one of the best teams in the country all season and it was largely thanks to MacKinnon's shooting and scoring ability.

    His 19.9 points per game were seventh in the league, but it was his ability to space the floor with his strong three point shooting (45.8 per cent) that really set up the Vikes offense. He also contributed a pretty solid 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

  4. Ryan Barbeau, Western Mustangs (28.7 PER, 718 minutes played, 243 VAR)

    Barbeau is the last remaining member of the stacked '08-09 Western team that featured Brad Smith, Matt Curtis and Keenan Jeppesen (and Andrew Wedemire as a sixth man!) and was only stopped by Stu Turnbull's infamous buzzer-beater. He was the only player with more than one year of experience on his whole team this season. Everyone else who played this year was in second- or first-year.

    Translation: aside from second-year forward Peter Scholtes, Barbeau WAS the Western Mustangs this year.

    His 18 field goal attempts per game were the second highest in the CIS, as were his 24.2 points per game (both behind the man who's No. 7 on this list). And despite being leaned on heavily all year, Barbeau was fairly consistent. Barbeau scored fewer than 12 points in just one game this year and that was against Carleton. He scored 20 points or more in 16 of his 22 games and had the second-largest scoring game of the season with a 46-point outburst against Waterloo, a game that included eight threes.

    The funny part about Barbeau's scoring consistency is that he spent much of third- and fourth-year working pretty hard to become a point guard after Curtis left. He averaged 4.6 assists per game, good for 14th in the CIS and not bad considering he had few viable options to pass to. But with injuries to Adam Jespersen and Garrett Olexiuk, he had to carry the scoring load.

    And really, he ended up doing a pretty good job.

  5. Jordan Baker, Alberta Golden Bears (30.4 PER, 654 minutes, 238 VAR)

    Baker didn't have any 30-point, 30-rebound games like last year, but he did play a huge role on a team that has a very good shot to play for the national championship this Sunday. He's the ultimate CIS fantasy player, ranking 10th in league scoring at 19.1 points per game and fourth in rebounds at 10.4 per game, while adding 3.3 assists per contest and all sorts of blocks and steals.

    Baker's also arguably the toughest big man to match up with in the entire CIS, with a legitimate perimeter game and a semi weird-looking left handed shot, which I assume throws off defenders all the time.

  6. Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa Gee-Gees (28.0 PER, 699 minutes, 230 Value Above Replacement)

    Another three-point marksman, Berhanemeskel was key in keeping the Gee-Gees competitive this year after star guard Warren Ward went down with a season-ending injury. He benefited from moving to the shooting guard spot as rookie Mike L'Africain took over the point duties, and it showed with his 44.9 per cent mark from long range in 127 attempts.

    The season ended on a sour note for Johnny B as he went 10/31 in two losses to Ryerson and Toronto to end the regular season and lose home court advantage. The Rams would end up with that home-court advantage in their playoff win over Ottawa and, as you know, they went on to beat Lakehead to earn a spot for nationals. If Berhanemeskel didn't have a brutal weekend against the two Toronto teams it might have never happened.

  7. Manny Pasquale, Laurentian Voyageurs (36.8 PER, 466 minutes, 214 VAR)

    Some of you are probably asking 'who?' despite the fact that Pasquale led the CIS in scoring this year (and had the second-highest PER to Scrubb). But Pasquale is arguably the best pure scorer in the country, putting up a ridiculous 26.3 points per game and 33.9 points per 40 minutes.

    He shoots a very high percentage (49.1 per cent) for a volume shooter, gets to the free throw line well and has unlimited range, going 45.7 per cent from beyond the arc this year.

    Pasquale would be higher on this list if not for seven missed games to injury this year, having played the fewest minutes of anyone in the top-20, thus hurting his Value Above Replacement. With his older brother Isaiah moving on from Laurentian next year, there will be more shots for this Pasquale to take, and presumably more points to add to his boxscores.

  8. Terry Thomas, St. FX X-Men (30.9 PER, 569 minutes, 211 VAR)

    Thomas is the most consistent option on a very good X team this year, and his 55.9 per cent mark on field goals is exceptional for a player who takes as many shots as he does. He had a pair of 11-for-12 games this year and just two games where he shot worse than 40 per cent from the field, while averaging 8.1 rebounds and proving to be a solid shot blocker (1.1 blocks per game). He was also fourth in the league in steals (50).

    Not a bad fantasy team player, and a pretty good scoring forward for a Final 8 team, too.

  9. Jamelle Barrett, Saskatchewan Huskies (31.8 PER, 549 minutes, 211 VAR)

    Only 9th? Not the same production level this time out for Barrett (he was ranked second in '10-11), partly because of a broken hand which was cured by ice, Ibuprofen and physiotherapy (we don't understand that either, don't worry), and partly due to "a knee problem."

    If not for the lowered playing time, he'd be way higher, with a PER two points higher than it was last year. He was still a huge part of the Huskies' offence, using up almost a third of Saskatchewan's plays while he was on the court: his 32.7% usage rate was third in Canada behind Manny Pasquale and an RMC player. He also had more assists per game than anyone, non-AUS division. He's virtually impossible to defend in the open floor.

    No Saskatchewan at the Final 8 of course means no Barrett, which would have put five of these top 10 players on the Halifax Metro Centre floor on the same day. He was phenomenal to watch there in 2011.

  10. Jahmal Jones, Ryerson Rams (24.8 PER, 749 minutes, 210 VAR)

    Jones is really fast. This allows him to get to places on the court faster than his opponents. This makes him good at basketball.

    You get the drift. Jones is one of those players that has an extra gear for speed and is a nightmare to play against because the entire opposing team has to know where he is at all times. His 15.5 points, 4.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game are all largely thanks due to his incredible speed. He gets into the lane with the ball easily, has solid court vision and can sneak up on unsuspecting post players for steals.

    He got some solid experience with the national team this summer and was second in Ontario in minutes per game (behind Western's one-man offence up there at No. 4), which for a second-year player means he'll likely be one of the mainstay names on this list for a while.


NOTABLE TOP-10 OMISSIONS (ranking in parentheses):

Daniel Ferguson, Alberta (11)
Tyson Hinz, Carleton (12)
Justin King, Thompson Rivers (13)
Michael Lieffers, Saskatchewan (14)
Max Allin, Laurier (17)



G - Phil Scrubb, Carleton
G - Ryan MacKinnon, Victoria
G - James Dorsey, Cape Breton
F - Jordan Baker, Alberta
F - Tyson Hinz, Carleton

G - Jamelle Barrett, Saskatchewan
G - Manny Pasquale, Laurentian
F - Terry Thomas, St. FX
F - Justin King, Thompson Rivers
F - Michael Lieffers, Saskatchewan
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1 comment:

  1. Did you make up the All-Brian teams before the release went out? You have 4/5 right on first team and 1/5 right on second team; seven of 10 overall (with Barrett/MacKinnon flipped). Not bad.