The CBG Bunch: Johnny Berhane, Owen Klassen, Javon Masters +more!
Welcome to The CBG Bunch, a specialized column dedicated to the CIS season. Every week, Charles Blouin-Gascon parses through the CIS box scores over Sunday brunch while looking for #TheCBGBunch, a group of the top performers of the weekend’s action.
This week in #badpuns, we select the very first all-star team of the very first edition of the most powerful CIS player recap in the history of mankind. Think of this as a sort of Academy Awards Ceremony in written form—which is to say, minus all the best and worst dressed. Meh.
First, a word or two on the method to this madness. This edition of #TheCBGBunch will select its #AllStars from the all-conference players of the CIS—that’s the first criterion. The second will be the #statistics that each player has put up this season. And the third will be the #punability of a player’s name.
So please, if you feel like you’ve been snubbed but haven’t made your conference all-star team, understand that it’s not because I don’t love you. It’s because your own conference doesn’t love you. (HA!) Apologies to Theon Reefer, Alexandre Bernard and Terrell Evans, who just misses out on his first appearance. You three were the hardest cuts. #ThereCanOnlyBeTen
Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa Gee-Gees: 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists (First team all-OUA East)
Johnny B Goode be smiling. He makes his way to the court after the timeout. He can see them all in the stands, people with whistles and cowbells, people with signs with numbers and words on them—SEVEN YEARS AND COUNTING! Another one reads OLD MAN, YOU CAN’T EVEN DUNK! ‘It’s funny, my man managed to get the punctuation correct with the comma,’ that’s what Johnny B Goode be thinking at that point. He’s standing near the basket and can hear everyone screaming “DE-FENSE!” Just before the referee hands the ball to teammate Mehdi Tihani for the inbounds play, a voice stands out. That woman is full of it, Johnny B Goode be thinking. She’s wearing Carleton Ravens’ war paint on her face, with a raven beak. “BOOOO OTTAWA! YOUR TIM HORTON’S COFFEE TASTES LIKE DUNKIN DONUTS!” She’s trying to insult me, but she can’t even be mean properly—such a typical Canadian, Johnny B Goode be thinking.
That’s why Johnny B Goode be smiling, because the joke’s on her—he loves Dunkin. Mehdi has the ball now, and he passes it to Johnny B Goode. He’s dribbling right, then left again. He’s smiling, visualizing the shot in his mind over and over again. He doesn’t have his headphones on, but no worries. He still hears it. “I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man.”
Vince Dufort, McGill Redmen: 12.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists (First team all-RSEQ)
I know what you’ll say—that the RSEQ is a small conference, that the competition is incomparable to other CIS conferences and that a conference title in La belle province means next to nothing. That’s not all you’ll say, either—you’ll mention that Vince Dufort’s statistics seem a tad pedestrian compared to other worthy candidates. I’ll acknowledge that this may be true, but I’ll ask you where is your most valuable player award.
You can’t explain Kraft Dinner as simply the mixture of butter, milk, noodles and orange/yellow powder. It’s more than that, and the McGill head chef Vince Dufort sure knows it. In the same way, you can’t look at strictly the stats when you look at Dufort, because you don’t know everything that the chef is doing at the sink in his kitchen—the stats don’t tell the whole tale for him. #GetTheManOnMasterChef
Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, Calgary Dinos: 20.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists (Second team all-Canada West)
And yet, sometimes the stats do tell the whole tale. The tale for Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson is that the fourth-year guard, a second team all-Canada West, is underrated. While Calgary finished with a disappointing 7-15 record, OJ has perhaps the best statistics of any player in the CIS—first in minutes and minutes per game, third in free throw percentage, ninth in defensive rebounds, third in steals, fifth in points per game…You name it, OJ has it!
Speaking of OJ, something terrible is happening to our Southern neighbours. Tragically, the Americans appear to have fallen out of love with their orange juice. This is sad and speaks to a decline of American culture—it’s like the invention of the cronut burger, only the exact opposite. Canadians, let’s all make sure this never happens to us. Often, Canada grows up to be like the United States, but this would symbolize the decline of the Canadian way of life. Americans don’t love their OJ, but we always will. And so will our Dinos.
Philip Scrubb, Carleton Ravens: 18.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists (First team all-OUA East)
It’s easy to take him for granted, and maybe the best way to ensure that no one ever does is to coin his new nickname. Point God plays point guard on Dave Smart’s team. He came to Ottawa almost four years ago now, not from Texas (Point Guard = Point God…anyone?), but from Richmond, B.C. Point God has been the best player in the country for about three years now, winning no fewer than two CIS player of the year awards (i.e. with maybe another on the way!) and three national championships (i.e. ditto!) since first flapping his wings in the Ravens’ Nest.
Point Guard doesn’t set the world on fire at first sight, because that’s not who Carleton needs. Smart needs a player who can steadily push shooting percentages of 50/45/90 in a season so that’s what Point God gives him. Smart needs a player who can steadily but surely be wandering above the clouds and high enough to touch the sky before pouncing on every one of your mistakes. That’s what Point God does for Carleton.
He’s not a God, but the point is that he may be.
Dani Elgadi, Brock Badgers: 19.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists (Second team all-OUA West)
I suggest you call him Wilt. Because in his freshman season, Elgadi has lived by three words, one motto—“Be Like Wilt.” There are plenty of reasons for the Wilt monicker. Let’s start with the grown-man hair (i.e. flat-top ish). Or the grown-man number on the jersey (i.e. No. 13). Or the fact that he’s shot the ball extremely well (i.e. 49 per cent from the field, and 46 per cent from deep) and rebounded (i.e. third in the country) and scored (i.e. eighth in the country) as well as anyone in the CIS. Let’s mention, also, that Elgadi has a little bit of Chamberlain in him. In the same way that Wilt once led the NBA in assists seemingly for the lone reason that he could, Elgadi this year became the most decorated player of #TheCBGBunch—because, why not?
Now, I’m not sure that it’s true and that he actually is the most decorated player in the inaugural season of this column, because I haven’t counted, nor looked at the previous editions, I’m lazy, etc., etc., but I’d like to think that it is.
Owen Klassen, Acadia Axemen: 20.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists (First team all-AUS)
And yet, it may well be the classman himself who has the greatest nickname of this inaugural season—because donning him with the “20 and 10” nickname is brilliant. It’s the end of the run for Klassen, and he’ll be missed. While he didn’t get the sendoff that he had hoped for, with Acadia burying the war axe much too early against St. FX, Klassen is still that dude.
Today, it’s the entire CIS that’s likely happy to see him move on to a fruitful professional playing career, finally being able to exhale and not look over their head at the axe of Klassen that had been constantly threatening to fall down on their necks. (Wait, I have one more pun.) He’s a prototype, and there’s nobody else like him. Every team that played Acadia had to keep in mind Owen’s razor. (And no, not because the man is always so clean-shaven!) Owen’s razor is a distant cousin of Occam’s razor in that it dictates that on a basketball court Owen will get 20 and 10. You can scheme and prepare all you want, but it’s simple—twenty and ten. #GetYoursBigMan
Ta’Quan Zimmerman, Thompson Rivers WolfPack: 19.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists (First team all-Canada West)
Ta’Quan Zimmerman has an Instagram profile where he recently posted a selfie—come on, EVERYONE does selfies, even you do—with the caption If I wrote you a love letter would you write back? Well, I’ll skip that first step. I’ll preemptively write you back and maybe one day you’ll write me that letter. Now, it doesn’t have to be a love letter either, just so we’re clear.
Tootie is a bad man, but he’s not the bad man we need right now. He’s the bad man we deserve. He joined the WolfPack when he arrived from Connecticut—that is, in the United States—after a stint in junior college. He conquered the CIS in much the same way he had Monroe Community College. In his first regular season game, he dropped 33. Boom! For the season, only twice did he score fewer than 10 points, and both times the WolfPack still won the game. Boom! Boom! It didn’t matter that Thompson Rivers had never gone to the playoffs, because “deserve got nothing to do with it.” And because it doesn’t, the playoffs are right where Tootie led the WolfPack. It was the WolfPack’s time is all. Tootie shot the ball extremely well (almost 49 and 45 per cent from the field and downtown, respectively)—and, well, he won’t hesitate to let you know that he did make the shot.
For making the playoffs for the first time in its history, the WolfPack does deserve that someone pat them on the back. Instead, it gets Tootie. That’s whom it needs.
Javon Masters, UNB Varsity Reds: 27.4 points, 3.6, rebounds, 3.2 assists (First team all-AUS)
The first chapter in the legend of Icarus is complete, and what a first chapter this was! Young Javon Masters had a freshman season like first-year players aren’t supposed to have, but even writing that is selling it short—because early on in the CIS season, it seemed like it was the entire book of the CIS that would need to be rewritten. Consider that this season he had more games with at least 30 points than games where he scored less than 20—isn’t there a difference between high school and the CIS? It’s like Masters was the living embodiment of Marc Jackson’s catchy “hand down, man down” shtick.
That’s what he may have thought at first. With the very first ray of sunshine, Icarus soared high. He didn’t wait for the second or the third ray, because Icarus loves the sun too much to wait. He loves the sun—pardon, the Sun, with the capital S—and that’s why he soared. But the sun is treacherous and humbling, and it pushed Icarus back down. He fell down not all the way to the ground, but just a little closer back to Earth. There was more fright than hurt, and Icarus still has his wings. He still loves the Sun, and he’ll manage to go even closer the next time. Click here for more https://nationalpardon.org/
Terry Thomas, Ottawa Gee-Gees: 22.4 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists (Second team all-OUA East)
We have breaking news: Terry Thomas is a very nice dude. While Tweeds is known as a bad, bad man, it turns out that he may not fully live up to the name when the game clock hits 00:00. We spoke after the 2014 Wilson Cup final, and I even asked him the tough questions about whether he felt like tweets such as this one were warranted, and Tweeds handled it like a pro. He explained that he had put his troubles behind him but knows that his reputation will always precede him. And he’s fine with it. The Tweeds stands alone.
His selection to this list is perhaps the most controversial, as the bad man only played 14 regular season games this season. But in those 14 games, the Gee-Gees have become Ottawa and Ontario champions. In those 14 games, Tweeds has managed to outscore a man who has his own commercial in Johnny B Goode. In those 14 games, the Gee-Gees have scored like madmen—or wait, there’s a better pun here. They’ve scored more than Don Draper. (Yeah, much better and more subtle pun. Also, highly inappropriate.)
When Tweeds goes back to his old stomping ground this weekend for the CIS Final 8, he’ll don the Gee-Gees colours, but he’ll be the bad man just the same as he was with St. FX once upon a time. Bad man, nice dude (i.e. Drake should make that the name of his next album!). More importantly, he’s an honourary captain of the #myguyyy list of CIS players. Uncle Jimmy was wrong!
Jordan Baker, Alberta Golden Bears: 17.6 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists (First team all-Canada West)
Jordan Baker always had a routine. Every morning, he would wake up. He would wake up, and he would eat honey. On the off days, he actually drank juice too—apple, not orange—and he would get dressed. He would wear his nice shirt, a leaf green, with shorts of the same colour, and he would then comb his hair. It’s only then that he did it. He would look into the mirror and he would say it.
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who in the CIS is the golden-most bear of them all?
-You, my bear, are golden, it is true, but the walls speak of another bear, golden-er than all, and a thousand times golden-er than you.
And Baker would rue these walls. He would think that the mirror and those walls were lying, but he knew they wouldn’t be. He would use it as motivation. He would use it as motivation, training and working on his handles, or his defense, or his shooting, at the gym at all hours of the day after his routine. And another day would come, with another question to the mirror, another deception and another motivation. Until one day, he heard what he needed. “You my bear, are the golden-most bear of them all.” He smiled. And still, he trained harder.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops