CIS men’s basketball: Ottawa’s Berhanemeskel named player of the year

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Mar 11, 2015

Photo credit Richard A Whittaker

TORONTO (CIS) – Johnny Berhanemeskel, a fifth-year guard from the University of Ottawa, was named the CIS player of the year in men’s basketball, on Wednesday night.

A local product from Ottawa, Berhanemeskel became the first-ever Gee-Gee to claim the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy and the first player in school history to capture a national individual award in men’s basketball.

Other CIS award winners announced during the All-Canadian Awards Gala held at Uniun Nightclub in Toronto were Carleton wing-forward Thomas Scrubb, who was voted the defensive player of the year for a second straight season; Brock guard Johneil Simpson, who received the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy as rookie of the year; Ottawa’s James Derouin, who merited the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as the TIMEX coach of the year; as well as Memorial forward Noel Moffatt, who earned the Ken Shields Award in recognition of his excellence in basketball, academics and community involvement.

The ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS championship, hosted by Ryerson University, gets underway Thursday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre and culminates Sunday at 3 p.m. with the national final, live on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet ONE. Saturday’s semifinals are also live on Sportsnet 360 (6 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.), while all other games from the eight-team tournament are set to air on Rogers TV, Rogers TV Sports + and Super Sports Pak. All 11 contests will also be webcast on www.CIS-SIC.tv.

MIKE MOSER MEMORIAL TROPHY (player of the year): Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa

After being a walk-on to the Gee-Gees in his rookie season, Berhanemeskel flourished at uOttawa, quickly developing into an elite three-point shooter. He has since become one of the most complete players in the game, earning four consecutive OUA first-team all-star awards and now his second straight all-Canadian selection, following a second-team nod a year ago.

This year, the 6-foot-2 economics student led the OUA conference in scoring with 23.2 points per game, which ranked third nationally, although his extreme efficiency on offence lifted him to first in points per 40 minutes (30.9). In addition to his scoring, Berhanemeskel provided an extra weapon with his passing, dishing out 4.5 assists per game to tie for third in Ontario. His performances helped the Gee-Gees reach the top of the national rankings for the first time in program history and take first place overall in the ultra-competitive OUA conference with a CIS-best 18-1 record.

Berhanemeskel closes his career with 2000 regular season points – the third highest in OUA history and the most among guards. He played in every game over his five seasons and holds a career scoring average of 19.0 points per contest.

“Johnny has been an incredible player, leader and teammate for our program. He improved every single year that he has been with the team and has capped it off with a truly amazing season,” said head coach James Derouin. “We are lucky to have him and are thrilled that he was named the program’s first ever CIS player of the year.”

The other finalists were UNB guard Javon Masters, McGill forward François Bourque and Victoria forward Chris McLaughlin.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Thomas Scrubb, Carleton

Scrubb is the third back-to-back winner of the defensive MVP trophy since the award was first presented in 2005, following Greg Carter of Lakehead (2012-2013) and Garry Gallimore from StFX (2005-2006).

A three-time OUA all-star, the 6-foot-6 wing-forward hybrid from Richmond, B.C., was voted to the first all-Canadian team in his final season with the Ravens, the most productive of his five-year career. Averaging a team-leading 7.6 rebounds per game, Scrubb was the anchor of a defensive unit that ranked first in the country in fewest points allowed (56.4 per game) and rebound margin per contest (+14.3), second in opponents’ field goal percentage (34.2) and fifth in opponents’ three-point FG percentage (28.8). He also chipped in on offence with a team-high 17.2 points per game and a CIS-best 50% success rate from three-point range.

Currently completing his MBA at the Sprott School of Business, Scrubb was named to the Canadian senior national team in 2014. He has helped the Ravens capture the CIS title in each of his first four years with the team, including in 2013 when he was named MVP of the national tournament.

“Tommy’s drive and determination to shut down the best players each night is a testament to his discipline and work ethic,” said head coach Dave Smart. “Defence is his personal challenge in every game and every practice. On his worst day, Tommy is a solid and fundamental defender and on his best day, he is scary good, while still consistently producing on the offensive end.”

Guards Ritchie Kanza Mata of Dalhousie, Dele Ogundokun of McGill and Ben Baker of Saskatchewan were also in the running.

DR. PETER MULLINS TROPHY (rookie of the year): Johneil Simpson, Brock

Simpson, a product of Vaughan Road Academy in Toronto, is the third Brock player to receive the Mullins Trophy, joining Didi Mukendi (2009) and Clinton Springer Williams (2010).

In his rookie season, the 6-foot-5 guard from Toronto started in all 19 league contests while finishing sixth in OUA and 13th in CIS scoring with 19.2 points per game. The sport management student shot 39.6% from the field, including 36.0% from beyond the arc, and 84.7% from the charity stripe. He ranked among CIS rookie leaders in a multitude of other statistical categories, including points (364), minutes (634), minutes per game (33.4), field goals made (131), three-pointers made (41) and free throw percentage.

Simpson reached double figures in scoring in 17 of 19 games during the regular schedule, registering a season-high 33 points twice, versus Queen’s (Nov. 22) and Toronto (Feb. 14). He also collected 108 rebounds (5.7 per game), 27 assists (1.4), 22 steals (1.2) and eight blocks.

“Johneil had a very strong rookie season for us,” said head coach Charles Kissi. “He was a tough matchup for most opponents with his ability to create shots, score and just by his pure athleticism. It is going to be exciting to watch him help the program grow over the next four years. He is going to develop into one of the top players in CIS.”

Acadia guard Ben Miller, Laval wing Alexandre Leclerc and Calgary guard Lars Schlueter were the other nominees.

STUART W. ABERDEEN MEMORIAL TROPHY (TIMEX coach of the year): James Derouin, Ottawa

In his fifth season at the helm, Derouin became the first Gee-Gees head coach to claim the Aberdeen Trophy.

This year’s regular season record of 18-1 – good for first place in the ultra-competitive OUA North division – was the best winning percentage in uOttawa history and marked the team’s first OUA overall title since 1975. The Gee-Gees, who reached No. 1 in the national rankings for the first time in program history this season, were the best offensive team in the country in league play scoring 94.5 points per game, and also ranked first in field goal percentage (50.6) and turnovers ratio (+10.4 per game), second in three-point shooting (41.0%), while also maintaining the seventh best defensive record in CIS (69.2 ppg).

Under Derouin’s guidance, the Gee-Gees have moved from an 11-11 regular season record in his first year to being ranked third or better in the CIS Top 10 poll for 28 consecutive weeks, including four weeks at No. 1. The team has claimed an OUA championship and CIS silver and bronze medals along the way. The 39-year-old holds a career regular season record of 77-28 (.733) and became the fastest coach in uOttawa basketball history to reach 50 league wins. He was captain of the Gee-Gees for both the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons, and then spent six years on the garnet and grey sideline as an assistant coach before working with UBC until 2010.

“It is fantastic to see James recognised nationally,” said Colin Timm, interim Director of Sports Services. “In just five seasons as head coach, he has developed a culture of success both in the classroom and on the court that has developed some of the best talent in the country. His leadership and ability to recruit both the best coaches and student-athletes will ensure the stability and success of our program for the long-term.”

The other finalists were UNB’s Brent Baker, McGill’s David DeAveiro and Calgary’s Dan Vanhooren.

KEN SHIELDS AWARD (basketball, academics & community service): Noel Moffatt, Memorial

A native of St. John’s, Moffatt is the second Memorial player to merit the Ken Shields Award, joining 2007 recipient Justin Halleran.

In his fourth year of eligibility, the St. John’s native contributed to every Sea-Hawks game, starting all but one. The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 9.6 points per game and a league-best 154 defensive rebounds.

A 2013-14 CIS Academic All-Canadian, Moffatt is currently working on obtaining his Bachelor of Commerce degree while maintaining a GPA of 3.8. He is also a member of the Faculty of Business Administration’s Dean’s List.

Combining his academic work-term with his commitment to the community, Moffatt co-founded a clothing brand with a socially driven mission. Athlete Aid Apparel provides consumers with athletic apparel while donating 10 percent of sales to Kidsport NL, enabling local children who face financial challenges to access sport programs.

Moffatt has volunteered with NeuroFit, a community-based exercise program for people with neurological disabilities trying to become active again. While an active assistant coach for a high school girls’ basketball team, he has volunteered to referee a local elementary school’s tournament for the past three years.

In addition, Moffatt has volunteered as a member of the Sea-Hawks program with the Terry Fox run, basketball spring leagues, as well as clinics in St. John’s and rural Newfoundland.

“Noel has been a fantastic contributor to our basketball program and is a great example of the student-athlete,” said head coach Peter Benoite. “He is an Academic All-Canadian, and has improved his game to the level to where he is one of the best rebounders in the league. He is also a leader when it comes to volunteering activities, and his commitment to the community through his athletic clothing brand speaks to his philanthropy.”

Guards Mukiya Post of Concordia, Bjorn Michaelsen of Ryerson and Devin McMurtry of UNBC were also nominated.

ALL-CANADIAN TEAMS

The all-Canadian teams were also announced on Wednesday.

Joining major award winners Johnny Berhanemeskel and Thomas Scrubb on the first squad were conference MVPs Chris McLaughlin of Victoria (19.8 ppg / 10.0 rpg) and Javon Masters of UNB (25.1 ppg), as well as Carleton guard Philip Scrubb (16.6 ppg), who wraps up his sensational university career with a fourth consecutive selection on the top unit.

After being named the CIS rookie of the year back in 2011, Philip Scrubb claimed three straight Mike Moser Memorial Trophies from 2012 to 2014 to become the first three-time recipient of the award.

Masters had also been honoured by CIS a year ago, when he found a spot alongside Berhanemeskel on the second all-Canadian team in addition to being voted the rookie of the year.

The second CIS dream team for this season is comprised of Calgary guard Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (19.3 ppg), Ryerson guard Jahmal Jones (17.2 ppg), UPEI guard Tyler Scott (23.9 ppg), UBC forward Tommy Nixon (20.8 ppg), as well as the RSEQ MVP, McGill forward François Bourque (10.4 ppg / 8.9 rpg).

Of the group, only Jones had been honoured at the national level in the past, earning all-rookie status in 2011.

The first-year standouts joining Johneil Simpson as 2014-15 all-rookies are Acadia guard Ben Miller (9.3 ppg), Calgary guard Lars Schlueter (9.3 ppg), Laval wing Alexandre Leclerc (11.5 ppg) and Wilfrid Laurier wing Luke Allin (7.2 ppg).

2014-2015 CIS MEN’S BASKETBALL AWARDS & ALL-CANADIANS

Mike Moser Memorial Trophy (player of the year): Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa
Defensive player of the year: Thomas Scrubb, Carleton
Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy (rookie of the year): Johneil Simpson, Brock
Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy (TIMEX coach of the year): James Derouin, Ottawa
Ken Shields Award (basketball, academics & community service): Noel Moffatt, Memorial

First Team

Pos. – Athlete – University – Year – Hometown – Academic Program

G Johnny Berhanemeskel Ottawa 5 Ottawa, Ont. Economics
F Thomas Scrubb Carleton 5 Richmond, B.C. MBA
F Chris McLaughlin Victoria 5 Oakville, Ont. Social Sciences
G Javon Masters UNB 2 Kitchener, Ont. Arts
G Philip Scrubb Carleton 5 Richmond, B.C. Commerce

Second Team

G Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson Calgary 5 Winnipeg, Man. Arts
G Jahmal Jones Ryerson 5 Mississauga, Ont. Bus. Tech. Management
G Tyler Scott UPEI 3 Halifax, N.S. Business Admin.
F Tommy Nixon UBC 5 Vancouver, B.C. Kinesiology
F François Bourque McGill 2 Terrebonne, Que. Economics

All-Rookie Team

G Johneil Simpson Brock 1 Toronto, Ont. Sport Management
G Ben Miller Acadia 1 Winnipeg, Man. Arts
G Lars Schlueter Calgary 1 Ulm, Germany Arts
W Alexandre Leclerc Laval 1 Saguenay, Que. Recreation
W Luke Allin Wilfrid Laurier 1 Chatham, Ont. Arts

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