Huskie Men Top Canada West Basketball Awards

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(ISN) – University of Saskatchewan men’s basketball athletes Jamelle Barrett and Michael Lieffers were honoured by the Canada West Thursday with major awards.

Barrett, a fourth-year point guard from Rancho Cordova, California, was named the Canada West Most Valuable Player, while Lieffers, a fifth-year forward from Saskatoon, was handed the Canada West Top Defensive Player award.

Barrett once again was a highlight reel player for the Canada West leading the conference in assists with 124 and sitting second in scoring with 21 points per game. He finished second in the country in assists per game with 6.9 and sixth in the CIS in scoring. He was also named a Canada West First Team All-Star for his efforts.

Hampered by nagging injuries, the fourth year Arts & Science student from Rancho Cordova, California, scored 20 or more points in eight of the 18 games he played this year including a 40-point night in the regular season and a 41-point night in playoffs. Barrett had four double-doubles this season with points and assists.

“In spite of having to battle through two injuries, Jamelle has still demonstrated he is the most dynamic player in the Canada West and probably the entire country,” said Huskie head coach Barry Rawlyk. “He has strung together a series of phenomenal performances, emerging as a dominating factor in every game that he has played. While his scoring has been instrumental to our success, his ability to distribute the ball to his teammates has been equally remarkable. He has emerged as a strong leader on our team and makes everyone around him better.”

Barrett has led the Huskies to an 18-4 conference record and the top offence (89.2 points per game) and field goal percentage (.497) in the Canada West.

It is the second straight season Barrett has been named MVP.

Forward Michael Lieffers made a big impact for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in his final season being named the Canada West Defensive Player of the Year and a Canada West Second Team All-Star.

Helping the No. 3 ranked Huskies to a 10 game winning streak and an 18-4 record, the Graduate Studies student led the Canada West and sat second in the CIS with 223 total rebounds. The 6-8 Saskatoon native accumulated a CIS-leading 84 offensive rebounds and 139 defensive rebounds. He added 17 blocks and 37 steals on the season. He also helped the Huskies hold opponents to averaging just 73.1 points per game.

Also a threat to score, Lieffers averaged 13 points per game.

“While Michael is probably most recognized for his rebounding and dynamic finishes at the offensive end of the court, it is his defensive presence that has been so critical to the success of our team this season,” said head coach Barry Rawlyk. “His ability to control opposing inside players one-on-one, along with his ability to force opponents to alter shots in the paint have been a critical part of our team’s defensive scheme. Michael’s tremendous athletic ability has allowed us a great deal of flexibility as a team.”

Lieffers won a silver medal with Canada at the 2011 Summer Universiade in China and represented Canada at the Pan-American Games in Mexico in September. He sits fourth all-time in conference rebounding with 933 boards in his career.

Both Barrett and Lieffers are in the running for the awards at the CIS level. Barrett is also now eligible to be named a CIS All-Canadian. Both will be announced at the CIS awards ceremony on March 8.

This Friday and Saturday, the Canada West Final Four goes in Saskatoon, where the host Saskatchewan Huskies battle the Alberta Golden Bears in one semifinal, while the Fraser Valley Cascades and Victoria Vikes hook up in the other. Semifinal winners will qualify for Nationals and tip-off on Saturday night for conference supremacy. All game can be seen live on www.canadawest.tv.

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