(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2014-15 AUS men's basketball all-stars and major award winners as selected by the conference's eight head coaches following regular season play.
Second-year UNB Varsity Reds guard Javon Masters of Kitchener, Ont. was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player at Friday's joint men's and women's basketball awards luncheon which was hosted by AUS at the Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax.
Other AUS major award winners announced during the banquet were Acadia's Ben Miller of Winnipeg, Man. who was named rookie of the year; Dalhousie's Ritchie Kanza Mata of Toronto, Ont. who was named defensive player of the year, Memorial's Noel Moffatt of St. John's, N.L. who received the student-athlete community service award; and UNB Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker who was named the AUS coach of the year.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Javon Masters, UNB
Javon Masters, a second-year arts student with the UNB Varsity Reds, is the Atlantic University Sport men's basketball most valuable player for the first time in his career.
A native of Kitchener, Ont., Masters finished first overall in both AUS and CIS scoring this season with an average of 25.1 points per game. He led the country in free throws made with 161 and finished second in the Atlantic conference in field goals made with 158.
He also finished third overall in the AUS in assists with 94.
In addition to being named AUS MVP, Masters was also named a 2014-15 AUS first team all-star.
In just his second year in the conference, he has already left his name in the AUS all-time record books. He holds the AUS record for the most free throws made in a single season (215 in 2013-14). He is tied for second for the most free throws made in a single game (20-of-26) and he has scored the second most points in a single season (547 in 2013-14).
Masters finished as the AUS and CIS scoring champion for the first time last season, averaging 27.4 points per game. He was named AUS and CIS rookie of the year, an AUS first team all-star and a CIS second team all-Canadian. He was also a member of the AUS and CIS all-rookie teams.
This season he led the Varsity Reds to a first-place finish in the AUS regular season standings – a feat UNB men's basketball had not accomplished since 1967.
"It's been no coincidence that UNB has steadily improved over the last two seasons since the arrival of Javon Masters," said Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker. "The Kitchener native's dynamic open court play and the ability to finish in traffic have garnered him the nation's scoring title in back-to-back years. Consistency is the hardest thing to achieve in sport and for Javon to produce as he does on a nightly basis is truly remarkable in itself. His off season work is what truly differentiates him from other players."
Masters will now be the AUS representative for the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding player in CIS basketball. The last Atlantic conference player to win the CIS award was William Njoku of the Saint Mary's Huskies in 1992-93.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Ben Miller, Acadia
Ben Miller, 6-foot-2 guard from Winnipeg, Man., is the first player from the Acadia Axemen to claim the AUS rookie of the year honour since the 2009-10 season when former Acadia standout and last year's AUS MVP Owen Klassen took home the honour.
Miller started in all 20 games for the Axemen this season. He finished fourth overall in the Atlantic conference in three-point shots made, sinking 42.
He averaged 9.3 points per game this season, 4.4 rebounds per game, and finished 10th overall in total assists with 61.
Miller was also named to the 2014-15 AUS all-rookie team at Friday's awards banquet.
"Ben Miller came to Acadia as a highly rated point guard, and he proved to be all that a more, continually exceeding the expectations of the Axemen coaching staff," said Axemen head coach Kevin Duffie. "He is a tremendous competitor with a day-to-day work ethic that is top notch. Ben has a great feel for the game and exceptional court vision, allowing him to make his teammates better. He has made a seamless transition from high school to the CIS and has had an impact on both sides of the ball all season long."
Miller will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Dr. Peter Mullins trophy. This award for CIS rookie of the year has been claimed by a player from the Atlantic conference for the past two seasons – UNB's Masters in 2013-14 and UPEI's Deontay Smith in 2012-13.
Dalhousie's Shawn Plancke is the only other AUS player to earn the honour. He was named CIS rookie of the year in 1992-93.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Ritchie Kanza Mata, Dalhousie
Dalhousie Tigers guard Ritchie Kanza Mata is the AUS defensive player of the year. He is the first-ever Dalhousie men's basketball player to earn the AUS honour since it was introduced in 2004-05.
The 5-foot-11 Toronto, Ont. native led the AUS in steals with 51. He also posted 61 defensive rebounds this season.
Kanza Mata also contributed 140 total assists this season, good for second overall in the Atlantic conference, and chipped in 185 total points for the Tigers.
"Ritchie has been our team leader, especially since the loss of our other co-captain, Devon Stedman," said Tigers head coach Rick Plato. "He loves the challenge of guarding the top guard on every team we face and when he is at this best, he truly embodies toughness, pressure and relentlessness on the defensive end which we have endeavored to make the identity of Dalhousie Basketball."
CBU's Phil Nkrumah and StFX's Garry Gallimore are the only AUS players to have been named CIS defensive player of the year since the inception of the award in 2004-05.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Brent Baker, UNB Varsity Reds
Brent Baker, in his seventh year at the helm of the UNB Varsity Reds program, becomes just the second UNB men's basketball coach to be named AUS coach of the year.
Former V-Reds head coach Thom Gillespie earned the honour in 2001-02 and again in 2003-04.
This year, Baker guided the Varsity Reds to a first-place finish in the Atlantic conference with a record of 16-4. It marked the first time UNB had finished first in the regular season standings since 1967.
Baker's Varsity Reds squad averaged 88.4 points per game while allowing only 77.6. Their team free throw percentage of 79.0 was the highest in the conference and they sunk the most three-point shots per game, making an average of 9.4.
Baker is an NCCP Level 3 certified coach. Prior to assuming his role with UNB, Baker coached at the high school level for 18 years and was the head coach the StFX X-Women's team. As a student-athlete, Baker played for the StFX X-Men.
"Coach Baker has reinvigorated our men's basketball team into a championship calibre program," said UNB athletic director John Richard. "With his commitment and tireless work ethic, our program continues to go north, and I have little doubt that trend will continue."
Baker will now represent the AUS as the nominee for CIS coach of the year. StFX's Steve Konchalski (2000-01) is the last Atlantic conference head coach to win the Stuart W. Aberdeen Trophy as the nation's top university coach.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Noel Moffatt, Memorial
Noel Moffatt of the Memorial Sea-Hawks is the 2015 recipient of the AUS student-athlete community service award and will be the Atlantic conference nominee for the prestigious Ken Shields Award.
A native of St. John's, N.L., the 6-foot-5 forward appeared in all 20 of the Sea-Hawks regular season games, starting in 19 of them and averaging 9.6 points per game.
Moffatt finished first overall in the AUS in defensive rebounds with 154. His 9.0 total rebounds per game average was the third highest in the Atlantic conference.
Successful in the classroom as well as on the court, Moffatt is a fourth-year business student with 3.8 GPA. He is also heavily involved in his community.
Moffatt started up an athletic clothing brand with a socially driven mission. The company name is Athlete Aid Apparel and it provides consumers with trendy, comfortable clothes that represent that athletic lifestyle.
At the end of every month, the company donates 10 per cent of their clothing sales to Kidsport NL. Kidsport is a national non-for-profit organization that helps fund equipment and registration fees for underprivileged children who are looking to get involved in sports.
Moffatt also helps lead the annual Terry Fox run every year at Quidi Vidi Lake. Members of the Memorial men's basketball team help participants register for the run as well as lead them in an active warm up before the run begins.
Additionally, he has volunteered in local half marathon runs such as the Huffin Puffin race as well as for the NeuroFit program - a community-based exercise program for people with neurological disabilities who are trying to become active again.
Moffatt has also been active as an assistant coach for a high school girls' basketball team and has worked as a volunteer referee for local, elementary and annual basketball tournaments for the past three years.
"Noel has been a fantastic contributor to our basketball team in many ways," said Sea-Hawks head coach Peter Benoite. "First of all, he defines the student-athlete. He is an academic all-Canadian, and has improved his game to the level to where he is one of the best rebounders in the league. Noel goes above and beyond for the team, taking in recruits and hosting them with his family and offering his house for team meals and pot lucks. Noel has been a true team player always maintaining his competitiveness and his drive to succeed. He is also a leader when it comes to volunteering activities, and his commitment to the community through his athletic clothing brand speaks to his philanthropy."
The last AUS player to win the CIS Ken Shields Award was former Saint Mary's standout Harry Ezenibe who earned the honour in 2013-14.
FIRST AND SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced Friday, along with this year's all-rookie team.
First team all-stars:
Javon Masters, UNB (2nd year – Kitchener, Ont.)
Tyler Scott, UPEI (3rd year - Halifax, N.S.)
Meshack Lufile, Cape Breton (4th year – Burlington, Ont.)
Kashrell Lawrence, Dalhousie (3rd year – Brampton, Ont.)
Vasilije Curcic, Memorial (3rd year – Kragujevac, Serbia)
Second team all-stars:
Osman Barrie, Saint Mary's (2nd year – Ottawa, Ont.)
Ellis Ffrench, UPEI (5th year – Wolfville, N.S.)
Marquis Clayton, Saint Mary's (3rd year – Halifax, N.S.)
Will McFee, UNB (5th year – Northbridge, Australia)
Caleb Gould, Memorial (4th year – Aurora, Ont.)
Ben Miller, Acadia (Winnipeg, Man.)
Milorad Sedlarević, UPEI (Vesenice, Slovenia)
Sean Dodds, Dalhousie (Ottawa, Ont.)
Kemar Alleyne, Saint Mary's (Toronto, Ont.)
Jesse Kendall, UNB (Guelph, Ont.)
The 2015 Subway Atlantic University Sport men's basketball championship runs Friday, Feb. 27, to Sunday, March 1 and is being hosted by the AUS at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
The championship schedule is as follows: (seeding in brackets)
Friday, Feb. 27
M-Quarterfinal #1: Dalhousie (5) vs. Cape Breton (4), 6 p.m.
M-Quarterfinal #2: Memorial (6) vs. Saint Mary`s (3), 8:15 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28
M-Semifinal #1: Winner QF#1 vs. UNB (1), 6 p.m.
M-Semifinal #2: Winner QF#2 vs. UPEI (2), 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, Mar. 1
M-Final: SF Winner vs. SF Winner, 4:30 p.m.
Final AUS standings: http://atlanticuniversitysport.com/sports/mbkb/2014-15/standings.
For more information on the 2015 Subway AUS men's basketball championship, visit the event website at: http://atlanticuniversitysport.com/sports/mbkb/2014-15/postseason/index.
Live webcasts of all five games of the championship will be available on Eastlink TV and at www.AUStv.ca.
The winner will be crowned the AUS champion and will advance to the 2015 ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS men's basketball Final 8 championship, March 12-15, hosted by Ryerson University in Toronto.
For more information on the CIS championship format, visit http://english.cis-sic.ca/championships/mbkb/index.
With files from Atlantic University Sport