The CBG Bunch: Mukiya Post, Stephon Lamar, Ritchie Kanza Mata +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 The CBG Bunch, a group of the top performers of the weekend’s action.
This week in #badpuns, we love orange juice, examine the definition of the triple-double and wonder just what is brewing at Memorial. As always, there are far too many qualified candidates for the 10 actual spots, but there’s nothing I can do. (Well alright, there are things I could do, just none that I would do.)
But before we can give the people what they want, we must first give two players what they deserve. Apologies to Nick Tufegdzich, the York Lions’ big man who somehow unearthed the most underappreciated 36-point and 20-rebound game in history. That’s a tuf break, Nick. I apologize! (There, you receive the dumbest pun of the week. That has to mean something, right?)
And finally, we tip our virtual hat to Alex Hill, who scored 35 and 26 on the last regular season games of his CIS career. It took me a long time to realize it, but Alex Hill is a performance artist—every week, he repeats his routine of draining shots that hadn’t even registered in your mind as possibilities. Let’s not mince words, here—while Hill may have used his remaining years of eligibility playing for struggling UofT teams, sometimes you need to look at bad teams to see a good man. Have a good one, Alex. You’re certainly not over the hill yet.
(And yes, this means that I’ve essentially made this edition of #TheCBGBunch one with 12 players. Deal with it.)
Mukiya Post, Concordia Stingers at Laval Rouge et Or: 40 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
This is a momentous event. For the very first time in the history of #TheCBGBunch, I’m so amazed at a player’s performance that 1) I’m not sure quite how to explain it, and 2) I doubt that my punning ability would help me in the task.
Where do you start? You start with the ending. You start with a team that had suffered a setback (i.e. three losses in a row) seemingly right after it was supposed to have asserted itself (i.e. six wins in a row). You start with a guy with solid statistics who decided that he would go HAM. You start with the fourth-year player with fairly decent numbers for the season and who decided that he would be top dog. You start with the guy who scores 19 of his 33 points one night, then 12 of his 40 another night, in the fourth quarter. You start with the fact that fourth quarters are when great players step up, but that this is wrong—it’s the fourth quarters that step up for great players.
There might not be anyone all season who has had a better 48 hours than Mukiya did against UQAM and then the Rouge et Or. In fact you might want to switch your initials around, Mukiya. You should be PM. Prime Minister.
Denny McDonald, Trinity Western Spartans at UFV Cascades: 30 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
It was all over. The Spartans knew it, that this time the bloodied bodies—some of them, corpses—told the tale and that the tale couldn’t be clearer. Couldn’t be darker. There was no mistaken. This was Sparta, still, but there was no more excitement. No more fire. No more life. The Spartans felt compelled to speak in the past, for this battle was over and so was this entire war. They had lost, incredibly. The Sparta they had built had been destroyed, shattered, and rendered worthless. Their treasures and their villages had been raided and burned down. A new Sparta would be rebuilt, but it wouldn’t be Sparta.
The enemies had come from all sides, and the outnumbered Spartans held them off as much as they could—until they couldn’t. They had fought until they couldn’t fight anymore. That band of brothers was now broken. Lying face-first on the burning ground, fourth-year Denny McDonald mustered every ounce of strength to pull his torso up. He was bleeding and turning his head hurt more than words could describe, but turning his head he would. He had caught a glimpse of something, out there, not over the rainbow but in the crack of the burn and the ashes. He saw something. It was a flower, and right then he knew. The Spartans hadn’t won this fight for Supreme Power, but soon enough there would be a new one. “This is the seed we need,” he said. “That breeze will become a wind.”
Davion Parnsalu, Memorial Sea-Hawks VS UPEI Panthers: 32 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, 1 steal, 1 block
The rookie season of this young man had been a work in progress up to that point, but he might have just finished the preliminary steps now. Against the UPEI Panthers, Parnsalu managed 32 points, by far his best game yet.
I looked at his Twitter profile, and I liked that all signs point to him being a pragmatic kind of guy. His Twitter handle is @Davion, because that’s his name, and his bio reads, “Just an 19 year old University ball player” because that’s what he is. I like that Parnsalu used that pragmatism against UPEI to come to the conclusion that the charity stripe has its name for a reason, and so he ventured all of 21 times to the free throw line. What’s next for him? To get better—he’s a pragmatic kind of guy, I tell you.
(Well, he’s also a young kind of guy. Young people make typos in their Twitter bios—A, not An… I don’t mean to call you out, Davion. I’m the old fart, here!)
Richard Addai, UQAM Citadins VS Bishop’s Gaiters: 32 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals
The script was writing itself. A week after being overlooked by the most powerful weekly CIS player recap in the history of mankind, Richard Addai was set to be this week’s snub again. He had scored 30 in a one-point loss to the Stingers and the Prime Minister, Mr. Mukiya Post.
All Addai did this year was move from the point guard spot to play off the ball in the backcourt, and yet he still managed to score over 17 points per game—third highest in the RSEQ. The present wasn’t bright this year for the citadins, but the future surely will be. #AProsPro
Theon Reefer, St. Mary’s Huskies at Acadia Axemen: 36 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals
It turns out that two huskies beat one axeman. St. Mary’s may be 10 points behind the Axemen in the AUS—that conference has these weird 4-point games—but it is right there with Acadia. This game was the last time for the two teams to play in the regular season. It was a statement game, and that’s how the huskies treated it. They arrived in Acadia and stated that they “would make damn sure to send the war axe to the War Memorial Gymnasium.”
Theon Reefer was the main culprit, playing a well-rounded game and scoring 36 points. On Twitter (@T22Reefer), he says that he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants. That’s what he did in overtime, scoring 8 of the Huskies’ 13 points in the extra frame. His 15-of-28 wasn’t exactly the prototypical “ruthlessly efficient” performance, but I don’t care. To paraphrase the man, “I’ll change the rules if I have to.”
Dani Elgadi, Brock Badgers VS Western Mustangs: 31 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals
“Dani keeps on makin’ it” is to the 2010s as “Brooklyn keeps on makin’ it” was to the 1990s. Dani Elgadi’s well-documented quest to “Be like Wilt” continued this week, with the rookie badgering the Mustangs to the tune of 31 and 10. Elgadi keeps on playing and I keep on trying to find ways to keep him off #TheCBGBunch, but more often than not I simply can’t. Just like with Wilt, you simply can’t stop Dani—you can only end the regular season.
And end the regular season we did, but not before a stellar Elgadi rookie year. Consider that the young man has grown man hair and a grown man jersey number. Consider, too, that he does a little bit of everything, if only because he can. And consider that he does a lot of scoring and rebounding, having averaged a shade under 20 points and a shade over 10 rebounds per game this year. By now, “20 and 10” may as well be his nickname.
At this rate, with four seasons left, and with his motto as “Be Like Wilt,” he very well could be my choice for CIS rookie of the year. More importantly, before it’s all said and done the trophy of #TheCBGBunch might be named after him.
Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, Calgary Dinos VS Lethbridge Pronghorns: 31 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals
He’s done it all season long, this Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson has, and so it stands to reason that he did it right until the very last game of the year. Consider that he scored at least 11 points in every single game, or that he finished the season ranked No. 5 in points per game, No. 1 in minutes and in minutes per game, No. 3 in free throw percentage, No. 9 in defensive rebounds. Not in the AUS—because, well, he doesn’t play in the AUS—nor in the Canada West conference, but in the entire country.
In the infamous words of the Golden State Warriors’ play-by-play crew, “Do not mess with the Boss in his own building!” That’s what the Pronghorns, a good team, learned to end the season when they had a home-and-home with the Dinos, a not so good team. There’s little that the point guard can’t do on a basketball court, and so he does it all. He’s the little engine that could—better yet, he’s the fuel that makes the engine go, so long as the fuel is orange juice.
I coined the OJ nickname for Ogungbemi-Jackson, because those are his initials but also and because he does so much for his team and that he’s finally proof that dinosaurs actually did drink orange juice. But there’s another nickname to coin. OJ had his hand in the cookie jar all season long, his 48 steals being good enough for third in the country. Just leave him some OJ and a few cookies and be done with it already. Call him Santa Claus.
Stephon Lamar, Saskatchewan Huskies at Alberta Golden Bears: 24 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals
Question: what do you get when you manage a homeless man’s triple-double? Well, it turns out that you get not much but a still fairly decent game. Golden Bears are a tall order, even for a huskie as fast as this fourth-year player, and ultimately the bears prevailed. But Lamar did what he does best, which is scoring and giving his team a chance to win.
Of course, Lamar didn’t score a triple-double—he didn’t even get a double-double—but that’s why I call it a homeless man’s. All you need is to dream a little…and you could grab a calculator while you’re at it, because the math all works out here. If Lamar has the Number 1 on his jersey, it’s only because he’s brass. His favourite number, rather, is 12: he played 39 (3+9 = 12) minutes, scored 24 (2X12 = 24), made 12 (12 = 12) free throws, grabbed 2 defensive, 4 offensive and 6 (2+4+6 = 12) total rebounds, made 2 three-pointers while dishing 8 assists and getting 2 (2+8+2 = 12) steals, and made 5 of 16 (5+1+6 = 12) field goal attempts. #TwelvesEverywhere
And yet for all of the math of this game, Lamar still lost. And there are no homeless man’s losses, only the one kind—the kind that stings.
Vasilije Curcic, Memorial Sea-Hawks VS UPEI Panthers: 28 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 blocks
Question: what do you get when you manage a poor man’s triple-double? Well, it turns out that you don’t get much but a fairly decent game with fairly decent numbers. Oh, of course, you get bit more than you do for a homeless man’s triple-double—you get a win, for one thing.
The Memorial basketball program has struggled recently, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t good players. (Yes, good players will even go to Newfoundland. HA!) And Curcic certainly qualifies for that, having averaged a little over 16 points and a shade under 8 rebounds per game, just a season after being named to the AUS all-rookie team a year ago. #DudeCanBallTillHeFall
If my Googling abilities are up to par, Vasilije Curcic’s hometown is Kragujevac. As in—Kragujevac, Serbia. As in—Serbia, Europe. As in—Europe, Earth. And, you know, so on and so forth. (Yeah, don’t forget about the Milky Way!) I only say this to show that Curcic is kind of like Santiago from The Alchemist—or maybe not, but I like to think so.
Ritchie Kanza Mata, Dalhousie Tigers at Cape Breton Capers: 16 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals
Now, you may look at Ritchie Kanza Mata’s box score against the Capers and think that there isn’t much there—but think again! The second-year player has been irregular this season, just like his team, but I’m r(eal) itchy to overlook anything that came before this win—because a triple-double can-za make you dream. And soon enough you see that it does not mata that this guard is still so young. Ritchie Kanza Mata is ready. (And yes, that was a triple-double pun. Thank you.)
But look closer at the box score. There are 5 more steals there. “Goodness gracious, where does he stop?” You tell yourself, because that’s what you think. The answer is that Ritchie Kanza Mata doesn’t stop. The world just runs out of stats. That’s the grown man’s triple-double, which is also known as the homeless man’s quadruple-double—and so on…
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops