Dufort and Charest named MVP at basketball awards gala

Vincent Dufort (left) and Francoise Charest

Vincent Dufort (left) and Francoise Charest

MONTREAL — Vincent Dufort of Smiths Falls, Ont., and Francoise Charest of Quebec City were named as the most valuable players of the McGill Redmen and Martlets, respectively, at the annual Friends of McGill Basketball awards gala, held Saturday, at the Holiday Inn Midtown hotel.

Dufort, a 6-foot-4 forward, was named most valuable player in the Quebec-based RSEQ conference and earned CIS all-Canadian second-team status. He was fifth among league scoring leaders and sixth in rebounding. The 21-year-old physical education junior averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 rebounds over his 16 league games played. He ranked third among league leaders in three-point shooting (39%), seventh in free-throw shooting (75%) and had the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3).

Charest, a 5-foot-6 all-conference point-guard, also received the Martlet Award, presented to the woman who best characterizes the pursuit of excellence on and off the court. The fifth-year industrial relations senior averaged 30.5 minutes of court time in 19 contests overall. She tallied 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, shooting 31.6 per cent from the field, 37.9 from three-point range and 70.2 from the line.

Among other awards dished out by Redmen head coach David DeAveiro and Martlets bench boss Ryan Thorne, the most outstanding defensive player honours went to Francois Bourque of Terrebonne, Que., and Mariam Sylla of Conakry, Guinea. Rookie-of-the-year awards were presented to Dele Ogundokun of Hamilton, Ont., and Jennifer Silver of Montreal. Most improved player honours were bestowed upon Michael Peterkin of Toronto and Helene Bibeau of St. Bruno, Que.

Finally, the Gerardo Rojas Him Memorial Award, presented to a member of the Martlets who displays courage, dedication and commitment to the program through adversity, went to Valerie L’Ecuyer of Mirabel, Que. The 6-foot-2 forward overcame a plethora of injuries, including a late-season knee sprain and still managed to contribute off the bench at Nationals.

Emotional tributes were paid to five graduating seniors, including Simon Bibeau of St. Bruno on the men’s side, as well as his aforementioned sister Helene, along with Charest, L’Ecuyer and Marie-Pier Bastrash, a medical student from Trois-Rivieres, Que.

The evening was capped off by the presentation of the latest inductees to the McGill Basketball Wall of Honour, including Charlie Galbraith, Joey Farroba, Dr. John Naponick and Atanas (Nasko) Golomeev, in addition to builder David Kassie and the 1971-72 QUAA conference championship team.

Galbraith and Farroba both achieved the rare feat of teammates earning CIAU All Canadian first-team status during the same season. They guided the 1976-77 Redmen to the QUAA championship, a No.1 national ranking and a berth at the national championship. Galbraith, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound centre from King’s College, Penn., averaged 23.5 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, shooting 56 per cent from the floor and 72 per cent from the foul-line. Farroba, a 6-foot-1, 160-pound forward from Provincetown, Mass., averaged 20 points per outing while shooting 52 per cent from the field and 71 per cent from the line.

Naponick studied medicine at McGill after earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. The 6-foot-10, 335-pound centre from Irwin, Penn., led the league in both scoring and rebounding in 1971-72, averaging a “double-double”, with 25.9 points and 17.9 rebounds over his 25 league games played. Decades later, Naponick still owns 15 of the top 20 McGill single-game rebounding totals. He was voted team MVP and a QUAA conference all-star. At the nationals, he led the tourney in rebounding and was the co-leader in scoring.

Golomeev set a CIAU single-season scoring record with 900 points in 24 league games during the 1968-69 season. The Bulgarian native averaged a “double-double” over the entire season, finishing with an incredible average of 37.5 points and 18.8 rebounds per game. A 6-foot-8, 220-pound centre, he established single-game school records for both points (56 vs. Queen’s, Feb. 7/69) and rebounds (30 vs. Windsor, Feb. 28/69). He was named team MVP, an OQAA all-star and an All-Canadian en route to claiming the Forbes Trophy as McGill’s male athlete of the year. Upon his return to Bulgaria, Golomeev went on to an extended international career and in 1991, was named as one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players of all time.

Kassie played three seasons at McGill during the mid-1970s and was a member of the 1976-77 QUAA championship team. His generous gift to the program led to the refurbishing of the team’s present-day locker room, which now ranks among the best in the country.

The 1971-72 squad was led by head coach Sam Wimisner and assistant coach Ira Turetsky, who rallied to save the program which did not exist when the academic year began after being dropped from University funding. It was through the coaches efforts that a shoe-string budget of only $1,200 allowed the team to compete in league and playoffs. With limited funding, the team did not participate in any non-conference games, yet still went on to capture the conference title and represent McGill at the national championship. They posted an 18-7 record overall, including a 16-5 mark in regular season play, where they finished second. In the playoffs, they defeated Macdonald College 79-76 in a semifinal, then upset division-leading Loyola 73-71 to capture the Quebec banner and qualify for the Nationals in Vancouver, where they lost 84-67 to defending champion Acadia in a semifinal, then lost 87-84 to Windsor in the consolation round.


Earl Zukerman
Sports Info Office
McGill University

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