Week three of the BasketballBuzz Top 10 CIS performers is here, sit back, relax and get familiar with the top players across the country putting work!
Tyler Scott (G 6’2″, 185 lbs, 2nd year) – UPEI Panthers
Tyler Scott took his game to another level as the UPEI Panthers swept the nationally ranked Cape Breton Capers at home. Scott poured in a season-high and CIS-best 38 points in the opener and hit the winning free-throw in the 107-106 win. The Halifax guard shot 63% (23/36) over the weekend and buried a total of ten (10) triples on the Capers. Scott currently leads the country in scoring with his 28.8 points per game average.
Nov 14. vs. Cape Breton Capers W, 93-85: 38 points (13/21 FG, 5/9 3PT 5/6 FT), 8 rebounds, 3 assists
Nov 15. vs. Cape Breton Capers W, 107-106: 28 points (10/15 FG, 5/6 3PT, 3/4 FT), 2 rebounds, 4 assists
Rotimi Osuntola Jr. (G 6’5”, 175 lbs, 4th year) – Windsor Lancers.
Make that four straight double-doubles for Osuntola Jr.! The Windsor Lancers forward leads the league in rebounding with 12.8 boards per game to go along with his 20 points per game average.
Matt Marshall (G 6’6″, 210 lbs, 4th year) – Brock Badgers
Matt Marshall came up a rebound shy of a rare 20-20 double-double in the Badgers lone game of the week.
Nov 14. vs. Algoma Thunderbirds W, 97-68: 24 points (8/15 FG, 8/10 FT), 19 rebounds, 2 assists
Jelane Pryce (G 6’7″, 200 lbs, 4th year) – Winnipeg Wesmen
The former Ryerson Rams (2010-12) was given the starting nod this weekend and was a catalyst in Winnipeg’s 17-point win over the Saskatchewan Huskies. With two double-doubles under his belt, Pryce and his athletic 6’7 frame will look to continue to provide consistent scoring and rebounding for the Wesmen.
Nov 14. @ Sasktchewan Huskies W, 84-67: 25 points (9/16 FG, 3/7 3FG, 4/5 FT) 14 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists
Nov 15. @ Sasktchewan Huskies L, 71-68: 16 points (6/13 FG, 1/3 3FG, 3/3 FT) 11 rebounds, 2 assists
Jonathan Tull (F 6’4″, 195 lbs, 4th year) – Regina Cougars
Jonathan Tull makes his second appearance in the Top 10 with another outstanding weekend as Regina handed the nationally ranked Calgary Dinos an 85-76 loss. Tull shot a total of 33 free throws over the weekend to extended his league-leading 64 attempts in six games.
Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson (PG 5’9″, 160 lbs, 4th year) – Calgary Dinos
We are all waiting for the triple-double. Ogungbemi-Jackson once again flirted with a with the rare feat against the Regina Cougars and is averaging 17 points per game, 8.3 rebounds and 6 assists thus far. The 5’9 guard has now pulled down 10-plus rebounds in three-straight games and ranks fifth in the country in total rebounds.
Nov 14. @ Regina Cougars L, 85-76: 26 points (8/13 FG, 3/7 3FG, 7/9 FT) 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 turnover
Nov 15. @ Regina Cougars W, 70-62: 17 points (4/10 FG, 1/4 3FG, 8/8 FT) 10 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers
Johnny Berhanemeskel (G 6’3″, 175 lbs, 5th year) – Ottawa Gee-Gees
Berhanemeskel quietly went about his business with another back-to-back 20-point outing in limited minutes. The Gee-Gees beat the Voyageurs by 30 points and newcomers Nipissing Lakers by 51 points. “Johnny Basketball” is shooting 62.7 % from the field, 43.8 % from downtown and 90.9% from the charity stripe while dishing out over six (6) dimes per contest.
Javon Masters (G 6’3″, 190 lbs, 2nd year) – UNB Varsity Reds
Just another weekend for the former CIS rookie of the year. The Varsity Reds were tested on the road and responded with two quality W’s over quality opposition. Javon Masters went a perfect 23-for-23 from the foul line over the weekend.
Joel Friesen (PG 6’5″, 185 lbs, 5th year) – Alberta Golden Bears
Friesen drilled seven (7) three-pointers on the Thunderbirds as the Golden Bears split the weekend series against UBC. The fifth-year captain is avaeraging 21.5 PPG and is shooting a scorching hot 56.8% from the field and 51.1 from downtown.
Nov 14. vs. UBC Thunderbirds, W, 90-65: 33 points (10/16 FG, 7/12 3FG, 6/6 FT), 6 rebounds, 4 assists
Nov 15. vs. UBC Thunderbirds, L, 89-84: 23 points (8/10 FG, 4/6 3FG, 3/5 FT), 7 rebounds, 2 assists
Amarjit Basi (G 6’0″, 165 lbs, 2nd year) – Manitoba Bisons
If the CIS had a sixth man of the year award there wouldn’t be any that Amarjit Basi would be the leading candidate for the hardware. Basi came off the bench once again and torched the Brandon Bobcats on both occasions drilling three-pointer after three-pointer as Manitoba swept Brandon. The junior guard continues to lead the Bisons in scoring (19.9 PPG) despite coming off the bench and playing under 30 minutes per game.
Aaron Best (G 6’4″, 183lbs, 4th year) – Ryerson Rams
Aaron Best came-up four points shy of his career-high (34) with a 30-point, 10 rebound double-double to hand the Windsor Lancers their first loss of the season.
Omar Shiddo: Soft-spoken assassin
It’s around 8:30 p.m. on a frigid Wednesday in the dead of winter, and Omar Shiddo is having one of his worst games of the season.
The fourth-year Western Mustangs guard, who has drawn comparisons to Damian Lillard for his clutch shooting, has just five points in the first half of a tight game against the Guelph Gryphons.
In the second half his game marginally improves, but there are a series of missteps — layups that don’t go down, jump shots that rim out and an occasional lack of motion without the ball.
Shiddo also gets hit with a technical foul after a physical bucket he felt should have resulted in an and-one, clapping back at two Guelph players who allegedly chirped at him during the play.
This is a far cry from the kinds of performance Shiddo is known for, and light years away from the 35-point outburst he had four days earlier in an 84-79 win over rival McMaster.
It doesn’t matter — not even remotely.
Western clamps down on defence in the second half and several teammates make big shots. Shiddo helps neutralize Guelph guard Malcolm Glanville, who had 11 first-half points and showed signs of catching fire.
Shiddo finishes with 12 points on 4-15 shooting, his second-lowest total of the year. Five other Mustang players players score in double-digits, including 27 points from sharp-shooting guard Eriq Jenkins.
Western pulls away and cruises to a 94-73 victory that’s as ugly as it is decisive.
“That’s a win, boys!” someone shouts emphatically as the team gathers for a post-game huddle in the cavernous, mostly-empty Alumni Hall in London, Ont. — Western’s home court.
“Guys on my team stepped up,” said Shiddo minutes later in an interview, his soft-spoken analysis tumbling out as quickly as he jukes opponents, like water over Niagara Falls.
“The second half was more of other guys doing their thing and me not having to do as much scoring, which I love to do. It’s all about team … we got a big win.”
Shiddo is unquestionably a leader — and on most nights, the most effective offensive weapon — on a Western team loaded with potential.
In his tenure, the Mustangs have been as good as they have been in a decade, with a legitimate chance to challenge for a berth in the U Sports Final 8 — Canada’s version of March Madness — in Ottawa.
“That’s our goal from the beginning of the year — trying to get to nationals,” said Shiddo, who grew up in Brampton, Ont., a hotbed that has produced several NBA players, including Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson and former No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett.
“We think we’re a top-five team in the country,” said Shiddo. “We’ve just need to continue to play like it.”
Western is ranked outside the Top 10 nationally, but has the second-best record in the Ontario University Athletics (OUA), four points behind the Carleton Ravens.
They’re also first in the OUA West division, with a roster that skews relatively young: Seven of the 12 players are freshmen or sophomores.
Nikola Farkic, a 6-foot point guard from Waterloo, is team captain and Jenkins (Windsor, Ont.) is arguably its most reliable three-point threat. Veteran forward Julian Walker (Barrie, Ont.) anchors a front court with considerable promise, thanks in large part to lean, athletic second-year players Aaron Tennant (London, Ont.) and Ukasha Khan (Brampton, Ont.).
“A lot of stuff goes unnoticed on the stat sheet,” said Shiddo. “But we’ve got a full team and we’re 10 deep. Everybody plays their role. We’re not a team where it’s one guy.”
He’s right. This win over Guelph is proof enough of that. And yet in crunch time, Shiddo has a penchant for taking over games, Lillard-style, and making big shots.
It has become part of Western lore.
When Lillard puts a team on his back and wills it to victory in the fourth quarter, fans and media call it Dame Time. When Shiddo does this, it’s #Omellytime.
Shiddo showed hints of his #Omelly mentality early against Guelph. After Western fell behind 10-2 in the first quarter, his demeanor shifted from deferential to aggressive, pushing the ball up the floor and calmly making a mid-range jumper to cut the lead to six.
Minutes later, he drilled a three-pointer to make it 12-7, and attacked the basket for a layup that lingered on the rim but didn’t fall. His teammates took their cue and soon Western had its first lead of the game.
At the end of the first quarter the score was 28-28. At halftime Western led 47-46, and they never looked back.
“I’m not the rah rah type of — football type of leader,” said Shiddo. “I try to lead by example.
“Say what has to be said, and other than that just lead by example. It’s not how much you say, it’s about what you say.”
In U Sports, most teams are at the mercy of a Carleton dynasty that has won 14 of the last 17 national championships.
Western is a long shot to come anywhere near the title game this season, and Carleton is favoured to win it. When the teams meet for a regular-season tilt at Alumni Hall on Jan. 31, it will likely be for the last time.
Shiddo is nobody’s fool. He knows the odds are stacked against his team, even if he’s at his best and #Omellytime is in full effect.
His confidence is tempered with realism, but it’s still there.
“Against a team like that we’re not going to be up by one at half — we’ll probably be down by 20,” he said. “We have to play our perfect game.”
They will almost certainly not be perfect. They will almost certainly lose. And yet Omar Shiddo, the soft-spoken assassin, has a question for you.
“Why not shock the country,” he said, “and beat the No. 1 team?”
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.