The 2013-14 CIS Men’s Basketball season is off to a flying start and with teams and players across country taking their annual holiday break its the perfect time to dig deep and take a closer look at the Top 10 candidates who are early favorites to take home the 2013-14 Mike Moser Trophy, awarded annual to the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the country.
1. Philip Scrubb – Carleton Ravens – OUA
Hard to disagree about who is the top player in the league. The Carleton Ravens are undefeated at 9-0 in conference play and junior standout guard Phil Scrubb is well on his way to making CIS Basketball history by becoming the first-ever player to win back-to-back-to-back Mike Moser trophies. The two-MVP winner is averaging a modest 20.2 points per game, good for sixth in the country and ranks in the top 10 in three-point accuracy at 52.6% (5th) and free-throws at 88% (10th) despite playing limited minutes per game. Scrubb exploded for career-high 44 points in the first-semester, torching the McMaster Marauders in one of the few contests the Ravens needed their star guard to go the distance. If Phil indeed does win the MVP he will become the first player in the league history to win the award three straight years.
Numbers: 27.3 MPG, 20.2 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 3.7 APG, 1 SPG, 1.8 TPG, 56.7 FG%, 52.6 3P%, 88.0 FT%
2. Johnny Berhanemeskel – Ottawa Gee-Gees – OUA
Ottawa native Johnny Berhanemeskel has climbed the ladder to success much faster than expected, now in his fourth-year with the Gee-Gees, Berhanemeskel has his sights focused on a National championship and some major individual hardware. The 6’2 lbs. shooting guard out of Lester B. Pearson High School has been light-outs since scoring 16 points in his debut on September 5th 2010 against the Cincinnati Bears. A serious threat to become the school’s first ever Mike Moser winner, his 24.4 points per game are good for fourth overall and he ranks amongst the leaders behind the arc (41.7%) and at the free throw-line (89.2%). Berhanemeskel also had a career-night against the McMaster Marauders pouring in 38 points in a key road win. The Gee-Gees are having their best season in team history and the MVP trophy could very well come down to the two Junior guards from the Nations capital.
Numbers: 31.2 MPG, 24.4 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1 SPG, 1.8 TPG, 53.6 FG%, 41.7 3P%, 89.2 FT%
3. Javon Masters – UNB Varsity Reds – AUS
The biggest story in the first half of the CIS season is definitely Javon Masters. The UNB Varsity Reds freshmen guard is a serious threat to win both the Rookie and Player of the year awards, an unprecedented feat at any level of basketball. The Kitchener, Ontario combo guard leads the country in scoring with a rarely seen 32.1 points per game (highest in the last 10 years) and is shooting 54.3% from the floor, 51.4 from deep and 83.5% at the foul line – all while leading the country in free-throw attempts on nightly basis. Masters has pretty much secured the ROY award and the only thing that needs to be determined is if he will be able to become the first player in league history to earn both coveted trophies. Masters’ impressive first semester has propelled the Varsity Reds a top of the AUS standings with a 6-1 AUS record and a Top 10 National ranking. With two 40-point games already (44 against UPEI & 42 on the road at Acadia) to his collegiate resume its only a matter of time before Javon Masters’ name is etched all over the CIS records books.
Numbers: 37 MPG , 32.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1 SPG, 1.8 TPG, 54.3 FG%, 51.4.7 3P%, 83.5 FT%
4. Jordan Baker – Alberta Golden Bears – CW
The ultimate utility guy. The last of the dying breed. Jordan Baker has been amongst the top players in the country for the past three seasons, a dynamic and diverse threat on nightly basis and a previous All-Canadian, he ranks third in double-doubles in Canada West history with 35. With his name already sprinkled across Canada West record books for points, rebounds, steals, free-throws made Baker is looking to wrap up his collegiate career with a trip to the Final 8. Alberta 9-1 in Canada West and 19-3 overall has lost all three of their games by a combined six points and along with the Saskatchewan Huskies and Victoria Vikes appearance to be the favorites in a conference looking for their first player of the year since Josh Whyte won the award in 2009-10.
Numbers: 27.9 MPG , 18.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 2.6 APG, 2.7 SPG, 2.7 TPG, 52.1 FG%, 39.1 3P%, 67.6 FT%
5. Stephon Lamar – Saskatchewan Huskies – CW
Keeping the tradition alive that sparked the Saskatchewan Huskies first National championship in 2009-2010 is Stephon Lamar, a talented 6’1 point guard from San Diego, California who is following in the footsteps of other American players who have found success in Saskatoon. Much like Showron Glover (2010, 28 PPG) and Jamelle Barrett (2011, 25 PPG), Lamar has been tearing up the Canada West for the past two seasons and heading into his senior season he has a garnered enough buzz to be a potential Moser winner. The Huskies are rolling so far this year with a 9-1 conference start, 14-2 overall record and look like the top contenders to represent the conference in Ottawa come March 2014. Lamar is coming off a season where he was named Canada West play of the year, and once again ranks at the top of the national scoring list (5th) with 20.1 points per game (22.9 PPG in 2012-13) in less just 29 minutes per game. The turnovers and low shooting percentages must improve but as long as the Huskies keep on winning Lamar’s name will keep on rising up the list and the Huskies American pipeline will continue to grow. With a 75-21 record since their national glory days they have established themselves as an annual contender in a conference usually dominated by their pacific rivals.
Numbers: 29.7 MPG , 20.1 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.6 SPG, 3.7 TPG, 42.3 FG%, 39.1 3P%, 67.6 FT%
6. Owen Klassen – Acadia Axemen – AUS
Late to the MVP conversation is Owen Klassen, labelled “the toughest match-up in the country” the 6’10 stud representing Canada’s East Coast he comes in as the only player in the country to average a 20-and-10 double-double. Klassen missed three conference games due to injury and has been unstoppable since his return including a season high 34-points and 14 rebounds performance to hand Javon Masters’ and the UNB Varsity Reds their only loss of the regular season.
Numbers: 32.2 MPG , 23.8 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.6 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 61.7 FG%, 72.5 FT%
7. Terrell Evans – Victoria Vikes – CW
Terrell Evans a hybrid guard/forward from Las Vegas, Nevada is not afraid to mix it up on both ends of the floor, Evans is the main reason why the Victoria Vikes reached the Final 8 last year. With 9-1 conference record at the break, and an overall record of 14-3 which includes loses to (Carleton, Pacific Warner & TWU) the Vikes are poised to return to Nationals for the second straight year. At 6’5, 205 lbs Evans has the ability to lock down both guards and forwards and one is a match-up nightmare on the offensive end, averaging 18.1 points and shooting a healthy 57.4 from the field and 50% from downtown all while pulling down 6.8 rebounds.
Numbers: 32.3 MPG , 18.1 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 2.2 SPG, 1.7 TPG, 57.4 FG%, 50.0 3P%, 74.4 FT%
8. Jahmal Jones – Ryerson Rams – OUA
Jahmal Jones has established himself as a household name across CIS circles with his all-around game, impressive speed and ability to break down defenses on his way to the basket. The fourth-year guard was slowed down by injuries to begin the season. The former OUA All-Rookie team member has the Ryerson Rams right where he and head coach Roy Rana wants them to be. At 8-1 Ryerson will head into the second half-with everything to play for and with match-ups against the Ottawa Gee-Gees and Carleton Ravens on deck they will need major performances from Jones to challenge for a conference title and a return to the Final 8 in Ottawa. Jones is averaging 18.8 points and ranks fourth in assists at 5.2 per game.
Numbers: 31.3 MPG , 18.8 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.7 TPG, 46.1 FG%, 47.1 3P%, 81.0 FT%
9. Alex Ratte – Laurentian Voyageurs – OUA
Numbers do not lie and Alex Ratte has been putting work since his career began with the Voyageurs in 2011. As a freshman he adjusted to the physicality of the CIS and averaged 14.6 points per game, now in his fourth-year the 6’3 guard out from Ottawa has been lights out and ranks amongst the top players in the country. Ratte is averaging 26.7 points, good for second in the country, while also putting up a league high 21.2 shot attempts per game. Ratte poured in a CIS and career-best 48 points in a tough loss against the Windsor Lancers. The Voyageurs are hovering near the Top 10 with a solid 7-2, 11-2 overall record and we can expect Laurentian and Ratte to continue to challenge for a top finish in an OUA East conference that makes a strong case for the best in the country, with 6-of-8 teams posting winning records.
Numbers: 31.4 MPG , 26.7 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.8 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.7 TPG, 47.1 FG%, 36.0 3P%, 91.7 FT%
10. Tyson Hinz – Carleton Ravens – OUA
Looking at numbers alone doesn’t justify Tyson Hinz’s selection. No doubt the stats are relatively down since the former rookie and national player of the year first entered the scene in 2010. Quietly the Ottawa native has taken other meaningful roles within the team and despite Phil Scrubb’s dominance over the past two years it is Hinz who Dave Smart counts on during the key games that have come to define the Ravens legacy during his five year tenure. Now in his final chapter, and his legacy well placed in Carleton’s Basketball history, he continues to effectively battle down low and is equally comfortable knocking down threes, as displayed in the recent match-up between the #2 nationally ranked Ottawa Gee-Gees. Hinz poured in a season high 32 points including 6-of-9 three-pointers to lead the #1 Ravens past their crosstown rivals. Despite limited minutes the 6’5, 210 lbs forward is putting up career numbers in field goal percentage and three-pointers (64.7% 1st in the country)
Numbers: 23.3 MPG , 14.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.8 SPG, 2.7 TPG, 61.2 FG%, 65.5 3P%, 65.5 FT%