CIS Rookie Race – Freshman of the Year Candidates
By Chad Mallory
We’re coming down the stretch of the regular season for CIS basketball, so it seems like an appropriate time to open up the discussion on who the most impressive freshman have been this year.
This is about recognizing the top performing players in their first year of CIS eligibility, and this ranking will be based on a variety of factors. Of course the on court output is important, but it’s about more than just putting up numbers. Efficiency is key and having the trust of the coaching staff to play big minutes and contribute to team success as a freshman isn’t easy to do, so it deserves some serious notice.
Here are the top 10 performing freshman in the CIS right now.
Honourable Mention – Brett Layton, Forward, Mount Royal
Per Game Statistics: 27.9 MIN, 17 PTS, 10.3 REB, 1.5 AST, 1.5 STL, 2 TOV, 59.1 TS%
While ineligible for the CIS rookie of the year award due to his age (24), there is no doubt that Brett Layton has been the best first year player. The 6’8” forward has even been one of the better players in all of CIS. He’s shown he’s an efficient scorer with his 17 points per game on 58.1% shooting from the field. His 10.3 rebounds per game ranks third among all CIS players and he also leads all CIS players in blocks per game by a sizeable margin with 2.7 per game. It’s been an impactful first season on both ends of the floor for Layton.
- Dylan Phillips, Guard, Waterloo
Per Game Statistics: 31.6 MIN, 10.8 PTS, 2.9 REB, 1.8 AST, 0.9 STL, 2.6 TOV, 48.1 TS%
Dylan Phillips is a redshirt freshman starting for the Waterloo Warriors, and although it’s been a down year for Waterloo they have reason to be impressed with his scoring ability. He’s been able to put 10.8 points per game that includes a solid 35.3% mark from beyond the arc, although his overall mark from the field could stand to improve.
- Tyler Brown, Point Guard, Brock
Per Game Statistics: 23.3 MIN, 5.8 PTS, 2.1 REB, 2.9 AST, 1.5 STL, 1.6 TOV, 44.5 TS%
The 5’11” starting point guard has been a steady contributor for one of the best teams in the country the number four ranked Brock Badgers.
Brock head coach Charles Kissi has been very impressed by his freshman’s play and said that Brown was a big part of, “leading our team to national status.”
- Anthony Iacoe, Guard, Laurentian
Per Game Statistics: 32.4 MIN, 13.8 PTS, 2.9 REB, 1.2 AST, 0.9 STL, 2.3 TOV, 45.3 TS%
A redshirt freshman that came over to Laurentian from Carleton last year, Iacoe has been looked upon to play a big role in the offense early in his CIS career. He’s having to take a lot of shots and he’s put up a solid amount of points, but his efficiency has suffered as a result. This has also resulted in recording nearly 2 times as many turnovers as assists, something he’ll need to improve. Laurentian head coach Shawn Swords has been impressed with his shot making ability this year, saying, “He puts himself in good spots to be able to catch and shoot. Regardless of the moment of the game he is ready to make a play.”
- Devin Williams, Guard, Toronto
Per Game Statistics: 25.8 MIN, 11.1 PTS, 2.7 REB, 2.3 AST, 0.9 STL. 2.3 TOV, 51 TS%
Starting for the Toronto Varsity Blues in his first season with the team, Williams has shown reason to be optimistic about his future.
He’s shown the ability to be an all-around presence on the court with his rebounding and facilitating while scoring 11.1 points per game on solid efficiency.
- Simon Mikre, Point Guard, Wilfrid Laurier
Per Game Statistics: 33.9 MIN, 8.1 PTS, 5.4 REB, 4.4 AST, 1.3 STL, 2.9 TOV, 45.6 TS%
Simon Mikre has been called upon to play a big role for the Golden Hawks in his initial season, starting and playing 33.9 minutes per game.
In that time, he’s proven to be a very well rounded player in terms of his rebounding, passing and defense with only his lacking field goal percentage of 37.5% holding him back.
- Schneiders Suffard, Forward, Concordia
Per Game Statistics: 30.8 MIN, 10.1 PTS, 4.5 REB, 1.8 AST, 0.4 STL, 37.5 TS%
The 6’5” forward for the Concordia Stingers has been getting big minutes and has shown off some impressive physical ability in those minutes. Other teams have been taking notice, Queen’s basketball head coach Stephan Barrie had this to say about him:
The top freshman we have seen this year is Schneiders Suffrard from Concordia. He is physically mature which is why I feel he stood out the most. There was no adjustment for him physically which is rare. He is also a strong blend of athletic and skilled. He can play multiple positions as well.
His biggest need for improvement now will be his shooting.
- Jauquin Bennett-Boire, Guard, Saskatchewan
Per Game Statistics: 30.5 MIN, 13.2 PTS, 2.5 REB, 3.1 AST, 0.5 STL, 3.8 TOV 48.6 TS%
*As of January, JBB is no longer with the Saskatchewan Huskies*
The first of two impressive freshman guards for the Saskatchewan Huskies. Bennett-Boire has started every game he’s played and is averaging an impressive 13.2 points per game which is among the leaders for freshman players.
He hasn’t been all that efficient though, needing 12.7 shots per game to reach that number. He’ll also need to cut down on his turnovers, his 3.8 per game are the most of anyone on this list.
- Chan De Ciman, Guard, Saskatchewan
Per Game Statistics: 26.5 MIN, 12.5 PTS, 4.4 REB, 2.8 AST, 1.6 STL, 3 TOV, 52.8 TS%
The next freshman in the Saskatchewan Huskies starting backcourt, Chan De Ciman has just been a little steadier than his teammate this season.
His superior efficiency comes from his ability to drive to the rim and draw contact to get to the free throw line, where he’s shooting a solid 76.9%.
- Colby Jackson, Point Guard, Alberta
Per Game Statistics: 26.4 MIN, 9.3 PTS, 2 REB, 4.9 AST, 1.4 STL, 2.9 TOV, 53.2 TS%
Despite his 5’8” frame, the undersized starting point guard for the Alberta Golden Bears plays tough.
He’s having an impressive freshman campaign highlighted by his abilities to get his teammates involved as a distributor, his 4.9 assists per game leads all freshman.
- William Sesay, Guard, Winnipeg
Per Game Statistics: 27.2 MIN, 9.2 PTS, 7.1 REB, 2.4 AST, 1.5 STL, 2.4 TOV, 53.9 TS%
Starting in the backcourt for the 9-6 Winnipeg Wesman, William Sesay has not only been one of the more efficient freshman but one of the best rebounders.
Despite standing at just 6’3”, Sesay is averaging an impressive 7.1 rebounds per game.
- Abdul Kamane, Forward, Bishop’s
Per Game Statistics: 31.4 MIN, 13.3 PTS, 7.5 REB, 0.9 AST, 1.6 STL, 3.4 TOV, 51.7 TS%
Although it’s been a rough season for the Bishop’s Gaiters as they currently sit at the bottom of the RSEQ conference, Abdul Kamane has to be seen as a bright spot for them.
His 13.3 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game both rank second among the players on this list. The biggest thing he’ll need to work on is his facilitating, as he currently records nearly four times as many turnovers as assists.
- Brody Clarke, Forward, Alberta
Per Game Statistics: 25.1 MIN, 10.8 PTS, 6.6 REB, 1.1 AST, 0.7 STL, 3.2 TOV, 52.2 TS%
Redshirt freshman Brody Clarke took last season to rehabilitate a knee injury he suffered and it appears to be paying dividends. The starting forward for Alberta is shooting 47% from the floor to go along with his very solid marks of 10.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
To continue to get better he’ll need to improve his 21.2% three point shooting and take care of the ball more, as he’s averaging nearly 3 times as many turnovers as assists.
- Isiah Osborne, Guard, Windsor
Per Game Statistics: 31.3 MIN, 13.9 PTS, 5 REB, 1.8 AST, 1.1 STL, 2.3 TOV, 50.8 TS%
The number one freshman in CIS basketball this season. Windsor guard Isiah Osborne has been impressing a lot of people this season, #5-ranked Brock Badgers head coach Charles Kissi being one of them.
He said Osborne is, “A very talented guard, could be CIS rookie of the year.” Osborne has been a key contributor for a very solid Windsor team that currently sits at the top of the OUA West division. His 13.9 points per game ranks first among all qualified first year players.