Most Valuable Player:
Kashrell Lawrence, F | Dalhousie Tigers
Stats: 20 GP, 15.2 PPG (12th), 50% FG, 67% FT, 6.8 RPG (8th), 1.9 SPG (3rd)
Some players may have had bigger numbers, but no one made a bigger impact and delivered more wins to his team this season than Kashrell Lawrence. The past two years Lawrence has saved his best performances for crunch time, winning back-to-back AUS Championship MVP’s. But this year ‘Kash Diesel’ delivered consistent dominance all season, leading Dalhousie to their second straight, first place finish. The 6’2 forward led the 16-4 Tigers in scoring, rebounding, and did a solid job anchoring Dalhousie’s defence, often shutting down opposing forwards who stand 4-5 inches taller than him. But the most impressive part of Lawrence’s senior season was his transformation at the free-throw line. Going into Christmas break, Lawrence was shooting 51% from the charity stripe and 58% for his career. In 13 games since the break, Kash shot 85% (68-80) from the line, and it is no coincidence the Tigers went 11-2 on their way to clinching first in the AUS.
Honourable Mention: Kevin Bercy F, St.FX, Marquis Clayton, G, SMU
Defensive Player Of the Year:
Ritchie Kanza-Mata, G | Dalhousie Tigers
Stats: 20 GP, 12.2 PPG, 35% 3PT, 76% FT, 5.9 APG (1st), 4.4 RPG, 2.4 SPG (1st)
The consummate floor general, fifth-year guard Ritchie Kanza Mata is the type of player that coaches and teammates love, and opposing point guards hate. The 6’1 Kanza Mata was instrumental in Dalhousie’s first place finish. It all starts on the defensive end, where the 2014-15 DPOY led the conference in steals, despite regularly being matched up with some of the toughest guards in U SPORTS (Javon Masters, Tyler Scott, Marquis Clayton, etc.). Kanza Mata also led the country with nearly six assists per game, and posted the most efficient shooting season of his career. He finishes his career in the AUS history books as the conference’s all-time assists leader (605 assists in 98 games, 70 more than second place). 1000 points, 600 assists, 200 steals in his career.
Honourable Mention: Erik Nissen, F, Acadia, Dut Dut, F, UPEI
Rookie of the Year:
Jamaal Potopsingh, F | UNB Varsity Reds
Stats: 18 GP, 12.8 PPG, 51% FG (6th), 44% 3PT (2nd), 81% FT (3rd), 6.6 RPG (12th),
Potopsingh led the 14-6 Varsity Reds in rebounds, was second in scoring and absolutely shot the lights out all season long (51/44/81). He’s listed as a first year, but there is some debate to that, as he spent last year with Sheridan College in the NJCAA, but didn’t post any stats. Either way, the 6’4” swingman has a bright future with UNB.
Honourable Mention: Chris Spurrell – G, UNB; Nathan Barker – G, Memorial
Coach of the Year:
Rick Plato, Dalhousie Tigers
Make it two straight Coach of the Year honours for Dalhousie’s Rick Plato. The Tigers weren’t quite as deep as they expected, as third year guard Cedric Sanogo missed the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, and sharpshooting top recruit Alex Carson only played six games before being shelved for the year with a groin injury. But Plato’s team won eight straight to finish off the regular season, clinching another quarter-final bye as they look to win their third consecutive AUS Championship, and go on to make some noise as the hosts of the U SPORTS Final 8.
Honourable Mentions: Brent Baker, UNB Varsity Reds;
Peter Benoite, Memorial Sea-Hawks
AUS First Team All-Stars:
Kashrell Lawrence, F | Dalhousie Tigers
20 GP, 15.2 PPG (12th), 50% FG, 67% FT, 6.8 RPG (8th), 1.9 SPG (3rd)
See MVP selection above.
Ritchie Kanza Mata, G | Dalhousie Tigers
20 GP, 12.2 PPG, 35% 3PT, 76% FT, 5.9 APG (1st), 4.4 RPG, 2.4 SPG (1st)
See DPOY selection above.
Kevin Bercy, F | StFX X-Men
20 GP, 19.8 PPG (4th), 59% FG (1st), 75% FT, 11.3 RPG (2nd)
Mr. Double-Double posted nine of them this year, and finished the season five points short of being the only player in the country to average 20 & 10. The 6’7 forward out of Kanata, Ontario posted career high numbers across the board, and carried the X-Men back to the AUS Playoffs. They have won as many games this year (9-11) as they had the previous two seasons combined (9-31).
Marquis Clayton, G | SMU Huskies
19 GP, 19.0 PPG (6th), 41% 3PT (5th), 80% FT (4th), 3.9 APG (4th) 1.6 SPG (6th)
The heart and soul of Saint Mary’s, Clayton may only stand 5’9, but he made a huge impact all year for the Huskies, bouncing back from an injury-plagued 2015-16. His stats dropped a little towards the end of the season, but he’ll finish top six in points, 3-point FG%, FT%, assists, and steals. He had multiple memorable moments in the clutch, and Saint Mary’s lost by 23 in the only game he missed this season.
Javon Masters, G | UNB Varsity Reds
17 GP, 19.6 PPG (5th), 38% 3PT, 84% FT (2nd), 5.8 APG (2nd), 2.2 SPG (2nd)
The two-time defending AUS MVP Javon Masters led a retooled UNB team with eight new players to a 14-6 record and a first-round bye. On a team full of new offensive weapons, Masters’ scoring dropped by more than eight points per game, but he posted career highs in rebounds, steals, and finished second in the nation in assists per game. Missing three games with an ankle injury hurts Masters chances to become a three-time MVP, but he still had an outstanding season, moving to second place in AUS all-time scoring with 1941 points over 77 games.
AUS Second Team All-Stars:
Tyler Scott, G | UPEI Panthers
19 GP, 21.5 PPG (1st), 80% FT (5th), 4.8 RPG, 2.6 APG
How many players could say they had an off year and still finish fourth in the nation in scoring? Well I know one who can, and that’s Tyler Scott. While his Panthers squad was decimated by injuries and players not returning, the 6’3 guard still put up a great individual season. More than just a scorer, Scott also led his team in assists and was tasked with shutting down the opposition’s best guard. He’ll finish his AUS career as the fourth all-time leading scorer in the conference (1706 points) and fifth in three-pointers made (197).
Erik Nissen, F | Acadia Axemen
20 GP, 18.1 PPG (7th), 51% FG (7th), 9.7 RPG (3rd), 2.1 BPG (1st)
The man-in-the-middle for the Acadia Axemen, Erik Nissen is a matchup nightmare for opposing big-men. The 6’10 forward scored in double figures in every regular season game, and led the AUS with 10 double-doubles.
Vasilije Curcic, F | Memorial Sea-Hawks
15 GP, 20.0 PPG (2nd), 33% 3PT, 8.1 RPG (6th), 2.5 APG, 0.7 BPG (5th)
Curcic was dominant this season, helping to lead the Sea-Hawks to their best record (12-8) in the past 20 years! His inside/outside game makes him an impossible matchup to defend, and he brings grit and toughness on the defensive end. But there’s one stat holding him back from a definite first team pick. Somehow, Memorial went 5-0 in games he missed, and finished with a losing record (7-8) with their star centre in the lineup.
Sven Stammberger, F | Dalhousie Tigers
19 GP, 14.3 PPG, 54% FG (4th), 40% 3PT (6th), 74% FT, 4.8 RPG, 1.1 SPG
Sven Stammberger is like a fine German wine—he just gets better with age. His jump shot was amazingly consistent this season (54% FG, 40% 3PT), but his biggest improvement this year was in his strength and athleticism, which led to a couple poster dunks and solid defensive play, often matched up against bigger forwards. The 6’5 forward may have been the third option on a stacked Tigers team, but ask any coach the key to slowing down the Tigers, and they’ll tell you how difficult it is to contain Employee Number Seven.
Kenny Jean-Louis, F | Cape Breton Capers
Stats: 20 GP, 19.9 PPG (3rd), 50% FG (8th), 79% FT (6th), 8.6 RPG (5th), 3.7 APG (5th)
So how can a guy whose team finished the season 0-20 make an all-star team? Nothing went right this season for the CBU Capers, but Killer Kenny stuffed the stat sheet each and every night, despite being the focus of every team’s scouting report. The 6’5 forward finished the season top five in AUS scoring, rebounding, and assists.
Ben Miller, G | Acadia Axemen – 13.7 PPG, 37% 3PT, 86% FT, 5.6 RPG, 4.7 APG
Theon Reefer, F | SMU Huskies – 17.5 PPG, 39% 3PT, 75% FT, 6.8 RPG, 1.3 SPG
Kyle Arsenault F | Acadia Axemen – 16.8 PPG, 39% 3PT, 81% FT, 5.9 RPG, 0.7 SPG
Dut Dut, F | UPEI Panthers – 15.1 PPG, 66% FT, 11.9 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 0.9 BPG
Brian Rouse, G | SMU Huskies – 15.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG
Jamaal Potopsingh, F | UNB Varsity Reds – 12.8 PPG, 51% FG, 44% 3PT, 6.6 RPG
Chris Spurrell, G | UNB Varsity Reds – 20 GP, 8.5 PPG, 38% 3PT, 2.2 RPG, 1.6 APG
Nathan Barker, G | Memorial Sea-Hawks – 20 GP, 8.4 PPG, 49% FG, 42% 3PT, 96% FT, 3.2 RPG
Justin Andrew, G | StFX X-Men – 20 GP, 6.1 PPG, 31% 3PT, 89% FT, 2.3 RPG, 2.2 APG
Jerome Mugambi, F | Acadia Axemen – 14 GP, 6.1 PPG, 53% 3PT, 70% FT, 3.7 RPG
All photos courtesy of Phinney Photography