(VANCOUVER, BC) Javon Masters may have played his last basketball game as a Varsity Red, but he’s not finished representing UNB.
In his last ‘official’ duty as a member of the Varsity Reds, Masters is the Atlantic University Sport male nominee for the 2018 BLG Awards, which recognize the top male and female university athletes in Canada. They’ll be presented Monday night, in Vancouver.
“It’s humbling,” said Masters, on Sunday. “Just knowing that I’m one of the four best male university athletes in Canada, selected by each conference, out of a total of about twelve-thousand… I can’t really put it into words.”
Masters has joined Francis Carter, a wrestler from Concordia University, and fellow basketball player Kadre Gray, from Laurentian University, in Vancouver. They’re the nominees from the RSEQ and OUA, respectively. Ed Ilnicki, a football player from the University of Alberta, and Canada West’s nominee, is not in Vancouver as he’s attending training camp with the CFL’s Ottawa Redblacks.
“All the hard work, and not just myself, but all the athletes across the country, just to be selected is super humbling and I’m honoured to be representing the conference and UNB,” said Masters.
While Masters had an incredible five-year career with the Varsity Reds, the trustees of the Canadian Athletic Foundation, the group deciding the BLG Award winners, will only look at what the nominees did in their most recent seasons.
That’s okay for Masters.
In 2017-18 he was a dominant force, leading the country in scoring. He scored 30 or more points six times while averaging almost 25 points per game. He earned AUS MVP and 1st Team All-Canadian honours. He led the Varsity Reds to their first AUS championship since 1967, earning tournament MVP honours along the way, and Masters was named UNB’s male athlete of the year.
Let’s not forget that Masters also became U SPORTS all-time leading scorer. While that mark was assembled over five seasons, the standout guard established the new mark in the season being recognized.
“I think it should factor a bit, a good amount,” said Masters, when asked how the trustees might see the all-time scoring record.
But Masters believes his body of work in 2017-18 speaks for itself.
“Just what we were able to accomplish this year. Winning the first AUS title for men’s basketball in 51 years, the province, the school, everyone was aware of it and everyone was starving for one, and for us to able to accomplish that, in my final year especially, and for me to get MVP, it means a lot,” said Masters. “What my teammates were able to do for me, kept us even keel, and Coach Baker and the staff. It(the nomination) recognizes all the time and effort I’ve put in to trying to perfect my craft and trying to be the best basketball player I can be. I couldn’t do that, obviously, without my parents too and the support system I have at UNB. Everyone has been phenomenal.”
This is the third consecutive year that the Varsity Reds have been represented at the prestigious BLG Awards.
In 2016, men’s hockey player Jordan Murray was the AUS’ male nominee. In 2017, Murray’s teammate Phil Maillet represented the AUS and became just the second UNB student-athlete to win a BLG. Rob Hennigar, the current associate coach of the Varsity Reds men’s hockey team, won UNB’s first BLG in 2008.
The 2018 BLG Awards will be presented in a ceremony at the Chan Centre, on the campus of the University of British Columbia, on Monday night(7:00pm Pac./11:00pm Atl.)
The ceremony will be live streamed via the U SPORTS web site:
Masters knows he’s one of four worthy nominees in the 2018 BLG class.
He feels that hearing his name on Monday night would be recognition of not just his efforts, but his team’s efforts.
“All the times I’ve been on my driveway, all the times I’ve been in the gym, being at UNB, all the games I’ve played, just trying to get to the point of winning a title,” he said. “It would mean everything to me, and it would be a culmination of the five years of sacrifice that we’ve made… myself, my teammates, the coaching staff, UNB as a whole… it would be a big payoff if I was to hear my name at the BLG Awards.”