He may have cut the afro, but the Raven’s starting point guard, Kaza Kajami-Keane, has more swagger than ever.
Kajami-Keane was selected to the All-Canadian Second team in his first season in the CIS, averaging 14.1 points and 6.6 assists on the season. He was the floor general for a Ravens team in a state of change, after the departures of not only the Scrubb Brothers, but coach Dave Smart, who took a sabbatical for the year.
“It’s something that a lot of people praise and whatnot, but for me, like I tell everybody, I didn’t come to Carleton to win individual awards.” said Kajami-Keane on his All-Canadian selection. “Individual awards are nice, and you put them up in your mom’s house” he chuckled, “but they don’t help you out much other than that.”
A transfer from Cleveland State University, Kajami-Keane played three years in the NCAA Division 1. In his fourth year, however, he chose to return to Canada. Born and raised in Ontario, Kajami-Keane opted for Carleton University, historically the most successful team in Canadian InterUniversity Sports (CIS).
“The NCAA is a lot slower, more methodical because of the 35 second shot clock. Things like the difference in free throws and media timeouts. I personally like the CIS rules better” said Kajami-Keane on the move from the NCAA.
When asked why he chose Carleton in particular, he responded by saying: “I came to play for the best coach, to compete, to get better and win basketball games. This program is historic for winning a lot of games, and the main thing for me is to play for a coach who will help me get better.”
Kaza put an emphasis on the quality of Carleton’s coaches, speaking about how both Dave and Rob Smart have helped him groom his game. “That’s why I came, that’s why I’m going to continue to play for these coaches, and continue to put Carleton on my chest, because these are the best coaches in the country.”
Hopes were high for a Ravens team that had won five national titles in a row, and Kajami-Keane had the unenviable job of replacing three-time CIS player of the year winner Philip Scrubb at point guard. “When you play for Carleton, you have high expectations for yourself and your team.” Said Kajami-Keane. He did a magnificent job, however, leading the Ravens to the OUA silver, and putting the Ravens in a position to win their sixth straight national title.
“I’m a guy who takes it day by day, gets better, so I see that the progress I’ve made this year, there’s nothing compared to it.” Said Kajami-Keane on his first season with the Ravens.
Some of Kajami-Keane’s biggest games this year were against Queens (Jan 30) where he scored 20 points along with ten assists and eight rebounds, and against Laurentian (Feb 26) when he dropped 13 dimes. His game goes beyond just numbers however, as he is the engine that gets the Ravens offense running.
Looking into next year, Kaza said there isn’t much to change. “We want to continue to get better, and keep putting ourselves in a position to win. We got good transfers coming in, and I don’t know any of the rookies yet, but knowing coach Dave, he’s going to get some good guys.”
“When this season is done, we’re going to be right back in the gym on monday and tuesday working on our game again. It’s kind of like a train, once one wheel gets going, the next takes off too.”
As for personal goals, Kajami-Keane keeps it simple. “We haven’t won a championship yet so I’d love to do that.”
Carleton Ravens set records in 129-44, 85-point beat-down of York Lions
The No. 1 ranked Carleton Ravens improved to 16-2 overall and 8-0 in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) conference action with a 129-44 — 85 point beat-down of the York Lions to set a modern-day U Sports men’s basketball record, for most points scored and the largest margin of victory in a OUA conference game.
The Ravens’ 129 points is the most points scored in a (OUA) game and the third highest scoring output in historic programs’ 58-year history. Carleton routed the Fleming Knights (CCAA/OCAA) 130-78 in non-conference win on October 3, 2009. The 85-point win is the second largest margin of victory in team’s history — including CIAU, CIS, OUA conference, non-conference and games against NCAA teams.
According to historic records, and stats guru Martin Timmerman, the Ravens’ also hold the bragging rights for the most points scored and largest margin of victory in Canadian university basketball history. The all-time mark dates back to the 1964-1965 season with the Ravens’ beating the Ottawa Gee-Gees 144-52 — a whooping 92 point victory in the old Ottawa-St. Lawrence Intercollegiate Association (IAA) conference which was part of the Canadian Interuniversity Athletics Union (CIAU).
The OUA was formed on July 1st of 1997 in a amalgamation of the both the Ontario Universities Athletic Association (OUAA) and the Ontario Women’s Interuniversity Athletic Association (OWIAA).
The previous largest OUA margin of victory stood firmly at 81, 77 points respectively, dating back to two occasions involving the same two teams. January 15, 2011 — the Ravens pounded the now defunct Royal Military College (RMC) men’s basketball program with a 121-40 win in Kingston, Ontario. Two weeks later, on January 28, in Ottawa, the Ravens’ won by a easy 77 points, in a 101-24 cake walk victory.
The York Lions (7-15, 1-10 OUA) never had a chance — trailing 32-7 after the first 10 minutes and down 64-21 at half-time. The Lions allowed the Ravens’ to outscored them 35-15 in the third-quarter and were limited to just 9 points in the final 10 minutes — while giving-up an another 35-point-quarter.
Stanley Mayambo 17 points, 4 rebounds paced seven Ravens’ players in double-figures. Lloyd Pandi added 14 points, 2 rebounds. Aiden Warnholtz played a game-high 28 minutes off the bench and contributed with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists. All of Carleton’s players scored at least five points and attempted at least five shots with only one bench player logging less then 10 minutes of playing time. None of the Carleton’s starting five logged more than 19 minutes of action.
Carleton knocked down 45-of-77 (58.4%) field-goals, made 15-of-32 (46.5%) three-pointers and connected on a healthy 24-30 (80%) from free-throws — while limiting the Lions to just 14-of-62 (22.6%), 4-of-20% (20%) from downtown and 12-of-23 (52%) free-throws.
Carleton, currently on a four-game home stretch will take on the Nipissing Lakers before closing out the first semester with a highly anticipated showdown against nationally ranked and cross-town rival Ottawa Gee-Gees.
Kadre Gray career-high 51 points keep Laurentian Voyageurs unbeaten
Kadre Gray scored a career-high 51 points as the Laurentian Voyageurs (4-0) stayed unbeaten with 107-77 win over the Algoma Thunderbirds. The reigning two-time U Sports Most Valuable Player (MVP) torched Algoma — shooting 17-for-24 (70.8%) from the floor and burying 9-of-15 (60%) triples including 8-of-12 (66%) from the foul line — adding 9 assists and 2 steals in 32 minutes.
Gray scored 14 points in the opening quarter and added 11 more in the second-quarter to finish the half with 25 points as Laurentian trailed the Thunderbirds 51-46. The former Rookie of the Year (2016-17) added to his count with 10 more in the middle frame helping Laurentian rally to take a 74-69 lead.
The Toronto, Ontario native doubled-up the Thunderbirds in the fourth quarter — scoring 16 points in 10 minutes as Laurentian outscored Algoma 33-8 to run away with the game.
Gray has been on a tear to start the 2019-2020 U Sports men’s basketball season pouring 40 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists in a win over the Bishop Gaiters just four days ago. The two-time first-team All-Canadian also racked-up 25 points against the Western Mustangs and 19 points in the preseason opener over the Waterloo Warriors.
Gray is currently averaging 33.7 points per game, slightly higher than the league-leading 31 points per game a year ago. Gray’s previous career-high was a 48-point game in 101-81 win over the Lakehead Thunderwolves on November 3rd 2018.
Kadre Gray on pace to become U Sports All-Time Scorer
With two years of eligibility remaining and currently sitting at 1549 career points the Laurentian guard is on pace to surpass UNB Reds standout Javon Masters to become the all-time greatest scorer in U Sports basketball men’s history.
Masters had 1608 entering his junior year and scored 799 in his final two campaigns to finish with 2407 career points — surpassing Ryerson’s Boris Bakovic’s 2319 total points. Kadre Gray scored 620 points in 20 regular season games last year alone and should he come anywhere near that pace this year and opt to return for a final fifth-year he could shatter the mark.
The four-year stand-out guard is coming off a stellar season and opted to declare for the 2019 NBA Draft and will once again look to make his mark on Canadian University basketball.
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