The CBG Bunch: Johnny Berhane Breaks Record + Nicknames Galore!
Welcome to the second season of The CBG Bunch, a specialized column dedicated to the CIS. Every week, CBG parses through the CIS box scores over Sunday brunch while looking for #TheCBGBunch, a group of the top performers from the week’s action.
We start season two of #badpuns this week because, while the 2014-2015 season technically started last week with the Canada West Conference, I believe in a CIS that is all inclusive. In a CIS where players in every conference can wake up and hope to see their name included on this list. For that reason, I am overlooking all games played over Halloween weekend.
Apologies to Ryerson’s Jahmal Jones, UBC Okanagan’s David Manshreck and Dalhousie’s Kashrell Lawrence. The heart was in it, but the body just didn’t want to. Once again, these honourable mentions reflect more poorly on myself than anything the players could have done.
Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa Gee-Gees VS Brock Badgers: 28 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block
It would be silly to start elsewhere, because the weekend belonged to Johnny Berhanemeskel. Captain of the “Players whose name seems so complicated to spell that it becomes easy to do it” team, Johnny Basketball became the all-time leader for points in the history of the Gee-Gees. Think of any name in the storied history of Ottawa—especially recently, with Warren Ward and Josh Gibson-Bascombe—and it’s Johnny Buckets who sits atop everyone.
It couldn’t have happened to a humbler, or better, individual than Johnny B Goode. Last time I discussed the shooting guard’s prowess, I gave him his own Beats by Dre commercial. Soon, he’ll have his own movie, something like Johnny B Goode Be Smiling. Always, he’ll be smiling.
(Johnny, if you happen to read this I’m serious. Let’s do a video feature of sorts for your final CIS season. The NPH Diary is good, but having the NPH Diary and a video feature is better.)
Philip Scrubb, Carleton Ravens VS McMaster Marauders: 32 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal
What do you say about the one player on whom so much has been said already? About the player who’s garnered much warranted NBA hype (exhibits a, b, c and d)? About the man’s who’s living proof that LeBron James wasn’t crazy when he spoke of winning “…not two, not three, not four…” but five national championships in as many seasons? About the man who makes everything on a basketball court look so effortlessly? You give him a nickname—because that’s the only thing he doesn’t really have yet—and you settle on Point God.
Except, you realize that you have already given him this nickname. You could say that Philip Scrubb definitely is “No Scrub”—except that this joke has been played out for about 15 years now. All you have is a lame pun, and the Ravens’ leader deserves better. So you say nothing, because that’s what your mother taught you.
Chris McLaughlin, Victoria Vikes at UBC Thunderbirds: 31 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
This will start rather poorly, but I swear I’ll try to make it up to Chris McLaughlin by the time I’m done…The Victoria Vikes enter the 2014-2015 season with high hopes and if the team has visions of grandeur it might be because it has this fifth-year player. The Vikes have swept both UBC and Regina, and McLaughlin has played an integral role in the team’s successes with four double-digit scoring efforts, and—
And yet, that’s what not strikes me first. Because I’m (admittedly) weird, I first see McLaughlin’s name and, though I know he’s not remotely close to sharing the name, think of a great Canadian poet of our time. Sarah McLachlan. Yep. It’s probably because, again, I’m admittedly weird and because I had overlooked the big man up until this point. No more, Chris—from now on, I will remember you.
Now please, please, give the man a follow on Twitter @posterizeee. He deserves it after this.
Thibaud Dezutter, Laval Rouge et Or VS UQAM Citadins: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
Thibaud Dezutter appeared last year in #TheCBGBunch and, regrettably but unsurprisingly, I went for the lame pun of calling him the Belgian knife of the ‘Q. Let’s remedy this. Let’s say that the fourth-year player will be among the most important players for the Rouge et Or, a team that seems to be on the upswing this year.
But that’s not all. I’ll also say that we should all aim to be a little more like Dezutter. It’s unconfirmed that he truly went for the “quality ‘stache” look for his player profile picture because of the ongoing Movember movement, but let’s at least celebrate him for his participation once upon a time in the Leucan Shaved Head Challenge.
Jarred Reid, Dalhousie Tigers VS UPEI Panthers: 31 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
Over the past few years, basketball has discovered a newfound respect and affinity for analytics and advanced statistics. The reason is fairly simple, too—if the aim of any game is to score more points than another, then we should look into what can facilitate 1) your own ability, as a team, to score points and 2) hinder your opponents’ ability to do the same.
I get that and, by and large, I do agree with the utility of advanced statistics. Winning is important, so taking every possible step to ensure that you are well prepared for any game is also important. But so is knowing that often, the sport is simple. Sometimes, you just feed the hot hand. The unapologetic gunner. The guy who can give you over a point per minute. Sometimes, you just give the ball to Jarred Reid.
Javon Masters, UNB Varsity Reds VS Acadia Axemen: 34 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals
Javon Masters had a historic rookie season last year for the Varsity Reds to the point where the only nickname that felt right was Icarus. From the very first game on, Icarus soared high and high and reached for the Sun, because anything else would have been foolish. Would have been too small.
And that’s what I think is so great about Masters’s rookie season—he now gets to write the sequel that he wants. When the Greeks wrote the Icarus myth, they thought they had plenty of material, but Masters went through the whole gamut a year ago. He soared and soared, then got pushed back by the Sun as if he were a mere mosquito. Icarus now has carte blanche for what comes next and his resolve knows no boundaries. Maybe this season, he’ll decide he ought to aim higher. Higher than the Sun, yes.
Mamadou Gueye, Alberta Golden Bears at Trinity Western Spartans: 25 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks
In his transition to a new province, a senior-laden team and a new language, Mamadou Gueye fared well, but that’s like saying (golden) bears like honey. (No, I like honey. They love it.) The NPH Quebec Showcase MVP (circa 2012) received the Can West Rookie of the Year award, and he’s off to a scorching start this season.
The Golden Bears roster is different this season, with a healthy mix of the young and the less young. They need to replace the golden-most bear of them all, which is a tall order—but hey, Gueye is tall (ish) at six-foot-seven. Here’s a tip, Mamadou. To replace Jordan Baker, start by following his routine—everything else should fall into place.
Devin Johnson, Toronto Varsity Blues at Waterloo Warriors: 24 points, 18 rebounds, 2 assists
The University of Toronto is as fine an establishment as there is in our fine country (and the world), so much so that they have taken the liberty of giving us player nicknames for the entire varsity team. Meet Devin Johnson, aka Dev (meh), aka The Mayor (much better).
In lieu of a #badpun, I’ll retort to a quote. Two of our smartest minds have made note that, “You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take,” and The Mayor lived by the credo against the Warriors. Sure, the third-year player only made six of his 21 shots but that’s equivalent to 28.5 per cent—now you tell me what’s worse, 100 or 72.5? Besides, what’s the harm in missing all these shots if you grab all these rebounds? Don’t look now, but this Devin Johnson performance might have been this week’s “Man Game.”
Josh Wolfram, Thompson Rivers WolfPack VS UNBC Timberwolves: 30 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks
Josh Wolfram’s stat line will say that he had himself a day against the Timberwolves, but let’s not sell him short. The man was a bad man, no less. Thirty points and 15 rebounds are great, but better is how the fourth-year forward put the team on his back—Thompson Rivers may be a wolf pack, but Wolfram led the way in this game. When his team trailed by 9 points midway through the third quarter, it’s he who scored 10 points to spearhead a 19-5 run.
That’s what a bad man does. A bad man scoffs at your feeble efforts. A bad man thinks it’s cute you cut the lead to 2 points with 4 minutes to play, because it makes his three-pointer that much more crushing. The bad man ices it with a layup. Then he ices it again with two free throws.
Will Tallman, Regina Cougars VS Manitoba Bisons: 18 points, 12 rebounds, 2 steals
I’m well aware that #TheCBGBunch readers are a smart… bunch. (HA!) You could argue that they may not be that smart, because they (semi) willingly withstand bad pun after bad pun in this space but I won’t do that—because it would make me look bad and I prefer to focus on the positive.
Look, the readers are a thoughtful group. Aficionados, even. And I know what the readers will tell me. They’ll tell me that the reasons against Will Tallman’s candidacy are plenty. They’ll say that the fourth-year wasn’t especially dominant, nor flashy, against Manitoba. Not only that, but they’ll also say that his Cougars lost the game against the Bisons.
I’ll listen and I’ll nod. I’ll even tell them that they are not wrong. But what’s that expression, readers? The one about the low hanging fruit? I’ll tell them that I saw the low hanging fruit and, tried as I might, I simply couldn’t stop my hand from reaching for it. And once the fruit is in your hand, what else can you do but eat it? You’re not throwing it away, after all.
Against Manitoba, Will Tallman played like, yep, a tall man. I’m a believer. And his name is his name.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops