OTTAWA, ON – Tyson Hinz of Carleton University’s Men’s basketball team was recently awarded the overall CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) male athlete of the year, after having received the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as basketball’s CIS male athlete of the year nearly two months ago. Hinz’s reward is both a trophy, a $10,000 scholarship towards attending graduate school at a Canadian university, and the legacy of being one of the youngest recipients of the award at the age of 19.
“It starts in practice,” said Hinz. “if we’re going to stay motivated all season it has to start in practice,” which is indicative of Tyson’s mental approach to the game. Women’s CIS athlete of the year, Jessica Clemençon of Windsor, was also recognized for her contributions on the basketball court, marking the first time the CIS has awarded both male and female athlete of the year to basketball players.
An undefeated regular season record of 22-0 provoked great expectations for his Ravens squad, and Hinz delivered with a national championship, Carleton’s seventh in the last nine years.
After eschewing the thought of NCAA ball, Hinz decided on Carleton University over close runner-up McGill for his relationship with his hometown city of Ottawa, and the relationship with the coaching staff including Ravens head coach Dave Smart.
Hinz had always wanted to stay in Canada, where he felt his skill-set would have the most room to develop. Averaging 17.0 points per game (8th in the OUA) doesn’t sound impressive until you consider it was on 57.2% from the field, best of any player in the OUA. He also averaged a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game, and was second in team assists with 2.6 per game. The comparatively low point totals are a result of Tyson knowing his role on a balanced team, and are secondary to the ultimate goal for the Ravens year-in and year-out; to win a national title.
Tyson, or “Ty” as his teammates and coaches call him, possesses a quiet and unassuming demeanor and has referred to himself as “the awkward, skinny, lanky guy.” Under the microscope (okay magnifying glass, I guess) of CIS sports and the Carleton basketball dynasty, Hinz is asked after probably every game what he could improve on. His throwaway answer is “get bigger,” which is less a statement of his personal goals than it is an evaluation of his team’s needs. As for things Tyson actually has to improve upon, he is his own worst critic, something that comes from within, and is fueled by the intensity and nit-picking of coach Dave Smart. As far as improvement, Hinz cites that “there’s lots of stuff, our defense, executing on offense, just being tough and mentally prepared for the season because it’s a long road.”
Having beefed up slightly, Tyson is still listed as 6’7” (or 6’8” depending on who you ask) and 215 pounds, but on the court he is able to flip the figurative switch. His slight build belies his offensive awareness, teamwork, defensive tenacity, hustle, and embodiment of Carleton and coach Dave Smart’s winning philosophy. With length, passing ability, and a low-post game with more angles than a protractor, Hinz has found his niche and exploited it to great success. Now that he has completey finished his sophomore season at Carleton, halftime marks a period of reflection for Hinz. Having climbed the mountain to its highest peak, Hinz was presented with the Jack Donohue trophy, and named tournament MVP for the CIS basketball championships in Halifax after defeating the Trinity Western Spartans, 82-59. Would he have fared better south of the border, with more exposure, higher profile teams, and national schedules? Gordon Hayward is the easiest comparison to make here, a floppy-haired, modest kid that strikes it rich in the NCAA tournament, but Tyson Hinz is his own unique brand of basketball player, distinct from Hayward and any other awkwardly stereotyped white baller who gains national exposure. He is forming his own legacy, and promoting the strength of Canadian basketball in turn.
Hinz was not Carleton’s sole CIS award winner this season, joining freshman guard Phil Scrubb of Richmond, B.C., who received the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy as basketball’s Rookie of the Year, and Coach Dave Smart with his record-tying fourth Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as CIS basketball coach of the year. Carleton is a distinguished program, immersed in a decade-long dynasty, with a decorated and youthful core. Having recently recruited Ottawa-native Justin Shaver, Hinz and Carleton’s star shines as bright as ever. As Hinz and his fellow Ravens continue to “pound the rock” as the adage says, Tyson believes they can continue their winning ways over the rest of the teams in the CIS by “just keep on working them, keep the pressure on them and hopefully eventually they will break if we keep rebounding and keep defending.” Tyson’s tremendous work ethic will only lead to bigger things, and a bigger role on the Canadian hoops circuit and beyond.