Attention future female point guards: Simon Fraser’s Dani Langford is the ultimate role model. With two championships, one nicely tucked under each arm, the graduating All-Canadian captain from Abbotsford, British Columbia sets the standard for team leadership.
The Psychology/Kinesiology fifth-year student retired from the CIS after the SFU Clan ran a perfect season of 20-0 including the national championship with a 70-60 win over Winnipeg in the CIS final. After beginning this past year with back-to-back exhibition losses against US Division 1 Texas University, the Clan never lost another game, running a record of 38-2. When a team goes unbeaten for nearly six months of the season, the floor leader and team captain must be at the focal point of the team’s success.
Langford is the ultimate point guard on the court and on the stat sheet. She averaged 5.6 dimes per outing, which was good for third in the country, while dropping 12.6 points in 32 minutes of action, Langford shot 47% from the field while nailing 42% of her three-point attempts. The 5-7 point guard is the second all-time leader in assists at Simon Fraser and holds the record for most treys in a game, a season and a career. If you count all 40 games including league play, tournaments and exhibition games, the Heritage Park High School alumnus led the nation in three-point percentage with 37% and dropped more long bombs than some CIS team’s totals.
Like her stats, the awards for Langford have been piling up as well. This year, she was awarded player-of-the-year in British Columbia and was named the 2005 CIS championship MVP as well as a CIS Tournament All-Star. With her father Bruce Langford coaching her in high school and at Simon Fraser, Langford always kept her disciplined game at the top level. Coach Langford has been named Coach of the Year twice, and has a 121-19 record in four years.
“Dani has exceptional leadership skills as she leads, she makes others around her better and instills confidence in those she takes the floor with” commented Coach Langford, who hopes to have his daughter assist him on the Simon Fraser coaching staff. “With games on the line, Dani is a great clutch three-point shooter, has excellent court vision and is a creative no look passer.”
Dani Langford was playing basketball and working on her skills at the tender age of three. At her father’s practices, the young Langford would sit on the side and drill passes to herself, and became quite proficient with her skills. She was known to be on the court at half-time nailing shots as the real half-time show. Her skills began to fully develop in elementary school and received a major boost while playing with older players on the BC regional teams. She made the U-17 women’s provincial team as a 16 year old and played for the championship Canadian Junior National Team that went to Argentina.
At Heritage Park High School, twenty minutes from her hometown of Abbotsford, Langford was an Honor-Roll student winning multiple awards ranging from academics, to sports and community service. She won the Service and Millennium Scholarship and was named MVP at the AAA provincial level. When she’s not servicing her basketball team on the court, Langford offers up her time to volunteer and help students with special needs at Heritage High School.
When asked about her basketball role models, Dani is quick to come up with an answer. “I’ve always seen Andrea Schneider, as my role model” added a delighted Langford on her return from vacationing in Hawaii. “She was an all-time assists leader at SFU, and was a player that I tried to model myself after. She made everyone around her better and kept everyone happy with an even distribution of assists. And considering all the great influences I’ve had in my life, I only hope to do the same for these young girls that are coming up in the Canadian basketball system.”
Dave Smart steps down as Carleton men’s head coach after 14 national titles
It’s the end of an era at Carleton.
The school has announced that Dave Smart, who built a dynasty that dominated Canadian university sport for nearly 20 years, has stepped down.
Smart has accepted a new role as the university’s director of basketball operations, Carleton said in a news release.
He will be responsible for “developing the men’s and women’s basketball programs and continuing to build a culture of sport excellence,” the release said.
“Smart will provide operational support, mentorship and technical leadership to the coaching staff of both programs, and he will work with the Department of University Advancement in fundraising and community development.
“He’ll also provide mentorship to other U Sports coaches in Carleton Athletics.”
Taffe Charles, who coached Carleton’s women’s program for 12 years and won a national title in 2017-18 will succeed Smart as men’s team head coach.
“It’s been a great run,’’ said Smart in a statement.
“Coaching is my second love, my first being my wife and children. I am very thankful to the university and I am looking forward to my new role.
“This gives me an opportunity to stay involved in basketball while having more time to spend with my family.”
Smart’s 19-year tenure at Carleton was one of remarkable dominance, with 14 national championships.
He also won a record number of coaching awards and has been active as a coach with Canada Basketball.
“Dave’s success on the court has given Carleton great national visibility and we are sincerely grateful,” said Benoit-Antoine Bacon, president of Carleton University.
“I wish Dave all the best in his new role where he will share his ‘playbook’ with all our Ravens programs.”
Charles played on Carleton’s men’s team from 1990 to 1995 and began his coaching career as an assistant in 1995; he then served as an assistant with the men’s program from 1998 to 2007.
Since returning to the women’s program in 2007, Carleton won four U Sports Final 8 berths, four OUA East titles, and two OUA championships.
Carleton’s women’s national championship in 2018 was the first in school history.
“I am truly honoured to be entrusted as the next head coach of the Carleton University men’s basketball program,’’ said Charles in a statement.
“I look forward to the challenge of continuing the high standard of excellence that has been set by Coach Smart, his coaching staff and the players.’’
Carleton said it has launched a national search for a head coach of its women’s program.
Kadre Gray wins second consecutive U Sports MVP
Laurentian guard Kadre Gray took his game to another level this season.
That’s saying something.
A year ago, Gray was the top Canadian university male athlete in any sport, the first Laurentian student to win the honour.
He led the country in assists, narrowly missed a scoring title, and — perhaps by default — also won the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as men’s basketball player of the year.
“Kadre’s work ethic continues to shine bright,” said Laurentian head coach Shawn Swords in a statement.
“He is always looking for ways to improve and refine all aspects of the game.”
If there was any doubt, Gray stifled it in his junior season.
He averaged 31 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game en route to his second consecutive Moser trophy.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment to do it once,” said Swords.
“And now, to be named MVP twice, is truly a testament to his willingness to learn and improve.
“The Kadre effect has spread throughout our community as well. It is great to see him support our local youth and realize the positive impact he has on everyone.”
Gray received the 2019 Moser trophy Thursday at a gala in Halifax, N.S., ahead of the U Sports Men’s Final 8 tournament.
University of Calgary guard Mambi Diawara, Concordia guard Ricardo Monge and St. Mary’s University guard Kemar Alleyne were also finalists for the award.
Gray was simply a cut above. He posted gaudy stats with notable efficiency, shooting 48.8 per cent from the floor.
He was also a First Team All-Canadian and played with Canada’s national team in FIBA World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers against Venezuela and Brazil.
Gray was the only U Sports player to participate in the qualifiers.
Other award winners:
Rookie of the Year (Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy): Alix Lochard, UQAM.
Ken Shields Award for Student-Athlete Community Service: Tanner Graham, Queen’s.
Defensive Player of the Year: Marcus Anderson, Carleton.
Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy (Coach of the Year): Dan Vanhooren, Calgary.