VANCOUVER (CIS) – Mike L'Africain, a fifth-year guard from the University of Ottawa, was named the CIS player of the year in men's basketball, on Wednesday night.
L'Africain, a communications student from Oakville, Ont., became the second straight Gee-Gee to claim the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy after former teammate guard Johnny Berhanemeskel, who was the program's first-ever recipient in 2015.
Other CIS award winners announced during the All-Canadian Awards Gala held at the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver were fellow Ottawa guard Caleb Agada, who was voted the defensive player of the year; Windsor guard Isiah Osborne, who received the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy as rookie of the year; Ryerson sideline boss Patrick Tatham, who merited the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as the TIMEX coach of the year; as well as McGill guard Vincent Dufort, who earned the Ken Shields Award in recognition of his excellence in basketball, academics and community involvement.
The ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS championship, hosted by the University of British Columbia, gets under way Thursday at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre and culminates Sunday at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (8:30 p.m. Eastern) with the national final, live on Sportsnet 360. Saturday's semifinals are also live on Sportsnet 360 (3 p.m. & 5:30 p.m. Pacific), while all 11 games from the eight-team tournament will be streamed on www.CIS-SIC.tv.
MIKE MOSER MEMORIAL TROPHY (player of the year): Mike L'Africain, Ottawa
L'Africain has led Ottawa's rise during his five years in garnet and grey, orchestrating a potent and efficient offensive attack from the point guard position to bring the Gee-Gees to the CIS tournament each of the last four seasons, including back-to-back appearances in the national final in 2014 and 2015.
This season the 6-foot-1 senior demonstrated the full range of his abilities by leading his team in points (20.4) and assists (5.3) per game, which were both career highs and ranked him fifth and third in the OUA conference, respectively. He also led the Gee-Gees in minutes (31.4 per game), three-pointers made (51 - 41.8%) and free throws made (67 - 85.9%), and added 36 steals at the defensive end over the course of a CIS-best 17-2 regular season.
The backbone of the nation's fifth most potent offence this season (86.9), L'Africain leaves uOttawa as the program's all-time leader in assists (406) and fourth in career points (1272). He was the OUA East rookie of the year and was named to the CIS all-rookie team back in 2011-12,
"A coach will always tell a point guard that he is responsible for one thing only and that's the team winning. Mike has made that happen for his whole career and it is a testament to his work ethic and his love for the game," said head coach James Derouin. "Players love to play with Mike and he's always been a team-first guy, so to see him get this recognition is really special."
The other nominees were guards Javon Masters of UNB, Kewyn Blain of UQAM and Thomas Cooper of Calgary.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Caleb Agada, Ottawa
Agada is the first uOttawa recipient of the defensive player of the year award since its inception in 2005.
The 6-foot-4 guard's quickness and strength make him an imposing presence both on the perimeter and on the glass. The economics student from Burlington, Ont., pulled down a team-high 8.6 rebounds per game in league play, good for third place in the OUA, and picked up 2.7 steals per contest, which ranked third in Ontario and fifth in the country. He played a key role in the Gee-Gees ranking among the top five in the nation in a number of defensive categories, including points allowed (66.5), rebounding (34.7) and rebound margin (+ 6.1) per game, as well as opponents' field goal percentage (36.6).
A first-team OUA all-star each of the past two years, Agada's defensive prowess didn't take away from his offensive production as he also contributed 15.8 points per outing this season. He was a member of Canada's development national team at the 2015 Summer Universiade in Gwangu, South Korea.
"Caleb has built a lot of respect as a defender over his career," said coach James Derouin. "He's an on-the-ball defender, shoots gaps extremely well, and in particular his defensive rebounding as a guard is incredible. He's always guarding the best perimeter player and he's a game-changing defender when he's on the floor."
The other nominees were forward Meshack Lufile of Cape Breton, guard Dele Ogundokun of McGill and guard Kevin Parchment of Fraser Valley.
DR. PETER MULLINS TROPHY (rookie of the year): Isiah Osborne, Windsor
A native of Windsor, Osborne became the first Lancer to merit the Mullins Trophy since it was first presented back in 1988.
Osborne's outstanding talent has been showcased through much of his rookie season as his size and skill have made him one of the toughest match-ups in the country. A starter in 19 of 20 league games, the 6-foot-5 human kinetics student was second on the team in minutes played (32.5 per game) and scoring (15.0), while also contributing 4.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals per contest to help the Lancers finish first in the OUA West division with a 14-6 record and their fourth consecutive trip to the OUA Final Four.
"Isiah has exceeded our expectations as coaches, and continues to improve every day in practice and games. His hard work and competitiveness has propelled him into a top player at the CIS level, in only his first year," said head coach Ryan Steer. "He was asked to step into a major role for us and is always up to the challenge. With team success come individual awards, and this recognition as CIS rookie of the year proves that as his game has elevated throughout the season, so has our team's play and success. I am proud of Isiah as a basketball player, student-athlete and an all-around great person."
The other nominees were guard Jordan Aquino-Serjue of Dalhousie, forward Abdul Kamane of Bishop's and forward Brody Clarke of Alberta.
STUART W. ABERDEEN MEMORIAL TROPHY (TIMEX coach of the year): Patrick Tatham, Ryerson
In his first season at the helm of the Rams, Tatham had a heck of a debut and becomes the first Ryerson coach to claim the Aberdeen Trophy. After spending five campaigns as an assistant to Roy Rana, he assumed head coaching duties on an interim basis this year and took the program to unprecedented territory.
Thanks to the country's third best offence (89.3 points per game) and the OUA's sixth stingiest defence (73.8), the Rams tied their program best 17-win plateau with a second straight 17-2 regular season and finished atop the OUA overall standings for the first time, tied with Ottawa.
In late January, the Rams made school history by becoming the first Ryerson team in any sport to earn the No. 1 national ranking. They achieved the feat after defeating perennial powerhouses Ottawa and Carleton on back-to-back nights. Tatham and his troops went on to capture the program's first OUA title thanks to a 73-68 defeat of reigning five-time CIS champion Carleton in the Wilson Cup final.
"I am so pleased for Patrick and his team," said athletic director Ivan Joseph. "Patrick has always been about relationships. His players are inspired to play for him because they care about him and believe in the vision of the program. This is a great tribute to be recognized by his peers for the work he has accomplished this year."
The other nominees were Rick Plato of Dalhousie, David DeAveiro of McGill and Scott Clark of Thompson Rivers.
KEN SHIELDS AWARD (basketball, academics & community service): Vincent Dufort, McGill
Dufort, a four-time all-star from Smiths Falls, Ont., becomes the first McGill player and only the third from the RSEQ conference to receive the Ken Shields Award, presented since 1994.
The 6-foot-4 shooting-guard, who was voted the conference MVP two years ago, averaged 10.0 points and 8.1 rebounds per game this season. A team captain for the past three campaigns, the fifth-year physical education senior has earned a 3.34 grade-point average. In the community, he has served three years on the McGill Varsity Council and assists in various community service initiatives, including an annual Christmas food drive for the Sun Youth organization that helps feed the needy. He has also volunteered to speak and present basketball clinics at multiple schools, in both Quebec and Ontario.
"Vince has done everything humanly possible that a player can possibly do for our program," said head coach David DeAveiro, who convinced Dufort to choose McGill over offers from Carleton and Queen's. "He's an amazing young man that we've asked to do almost everything for us and he embraces every challenge. We've asked him to fill in at various positions, including point-guard and he says 'Whatever you want me to do coach, I'll do it.' That's his attitude since he's been here. He's a great player and a true leader but more than that, he's also an unbelievable competitor."
The other nominees were guard Shaquille Smith of Acadia, forward Sam Hirst of Laurentian and forward Jared Baker of Lethbridge.
The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.
Joining CIS MVP Mike L'Africain of Ottawa on the top unit were forward Dani Elgadi of Brock (19.9 points & 11.7 rebounds per game), as well as guards Thomas Cooper of Calgary (25.8 ppg), Javon Masters of UNB (28.0 ppg) and Kewyn Blain of UQAM (17.5 ppg).
Masters has claimed the CIS scoring title in each of his three campaigns with the Varsity Reds. He received the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy and was named a second-team all-Canadian in his university debut in 2014, before meriting first-team status for the first time a year ago.
The second CIS dream squad for 2015-16 is comprised of five guards, including Aaron Best of Ryerson, Tyler Scott of UPEI, Kevon Parchment of Fraser Valley, Kaza Kajami-Keane of Carleton and Jordan Jensen-Whyte of UBC.
It marked Scott's second straight selection to the second group.
The first-year standouts joining Isiah Osborne of Windsor on this season's all-rookie squad are guards Jordan Aquino-Serjue of Dalhousie and Chan De Ciman of Saskatchewan, along with forwards Brody Clarke of Alberta and Abdul Kamane of Bishop's.
2015-2016 CIS MEN'S BASKETBALL AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS
Mike Moser Memorial Trophy (player of the year): Mike L'Africain, Ottawa
Defensive player of the year: Caleb Agada, Ottawa
Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy (rookie of the year): Isiah Osborne, Windsor
Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy (TIMEX coach of the year): Patrick Tatham, Ryerson
Ken Shields Award (basketball, academics & community service): Vincent Dufort, McGill
Pos. - Athlete - University - Year - Hometown - Academic Program
G - Michael L'Africain - Ottawa - 5 - Oakville, Ont. - Communications
G - Thomas Cooper - Calgary - 4 - Chattanooga, Tenn. Social Sciences
G - Javon Masters - UNB - 3 - Kitchener, Ont. - Arts
G - Kewyn Blain - UQAM - 3 - Saint-Léonard, Que. - Physical Education
F - Dani Elgadi - Brock - 3 - Waterloo, Ont. - Undeclared Arts
G - Aaron Best - Ryerson - 5 - Scarborough, Ont. - Business Management
G - Tyler Scott - UPEI - 4 - Halifax, N.S. - Arts
G - Kevon Parchment - Fraser Valley - 5 - Scarborough, Ont. - Kinesiology & Phy. Ed.
G - Kaza Kajami-Keane - Carleton - 4 - Ajax, Ont. - Communications
G - Jordan Jensen-Whyte - UBC - 4 - Calgary, Alta. - Arts
G - Isiah Osborne - Windsor - 1 - Windsor, Ont. - Human Kinetics
F - Brody Clarke - Alberta - 1 - Toronto, Ont. - Engineering
F - Abdul Kamane - Bishop's - 1 - Montreal, Que. - Sociology
G - Jordan Aquino-Serjue - Dalhousie 1 - Montreal, Que. - Kinesiology
G - Chan De Ciman - Saskatchewan - 1 Regina, Sask. - Engineering