Welcome to the second season of The CBG Bunch, a specialized column dedicated to the CIS season. Every week, CBG 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 admit that there might have been more than 10 deserving candidates. We say this because a long staple of this column has been that scoring 30+ points was enough to make the cut, but no more. (Rules are meant to be broken, right? Hold that thought.) This tells us that as the season turns to #StudTime, the studs of the CIS rise up.
Apologies to Windsor’s Rotimi “Jamal Crawford” Osuntola Jr., Mount Royal’s Deng Awak, Western’s ever-looking-ahead-never-behind-man Greg Morrow and Algoma’s Terrell Campbell. Lesser men than you four have managed to overcome a snub in the bunch—you’ll be alright. #ThereCanOnlyBe10
Thomas Scrubb, Carleton Ravens VS Ottawa Gee-Gees: 29 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal
Is there a changing of the guard in university basketball in our fine capital? Well if there is, someone forgot to tell Dave Smart and the gang. The Gee-Gees arrived at Carleton’s Canadian Tire Centre with a head-to-head win against Carleton already on their resume, but they didn’t have the horses to compete. What do you do against Johnny B Goode, the man with the Beats By Dre commercial, the NPH player diary and the Johnny B Goode Be Smiling movie? You unleash his kryptonite, Plastic Man.
Thomas Scrubb is the non-scrub who can do it all on a basketball court and who will do whatever you ask him to do—just fix him into whatever form you want/need, and watch him do it. And against Ottawa with 39 seconds left in the third quarter, coach Smart needed a scorer, so Scrubb matched the Gee-Gees’ entire 12 points the rest of the way. In basketball as in real life, the king stay the king.
Denny McDonald, Trinity Western Spartans VS Winnipeg Wesmen: 33 points, 10 rebounds
The Spartans were still alive, but barely. And in Sparta, barely may as well be fully—because as long as the warriors have one last breath, they will take it. They will take it and it will take many different forms, from crushing a skull to piercing through an armor and hitting the heart. The Spartans are warriors and all they know is to fight and procreate.
“This isn’t madness!! This is! SPARTA!!”
The cries were a little subdued now. It’s as if Sparta had lost its voice, because the season had gone up in flames. The sun was setting now, and it may as well have been because the fight was over. The Spartans were still fighting, of course, because they fought in the same way that they breathed…but the fight was over and had been for some time. The world has never known greater warriors than those of Sparta, but the gods had made up for it by creating so few Spartans. They were outnumbered and it was only a numbers game—there are only so many arms you can break, or eyes you can gouge out. You may have the might of a thousand men, but you only have two arms.
The sun was setting, yes, but Sparta didn’t see it this way. A sunset only means that there is a sunrise elsewhere, fifth-year Denny McDonald knew. He was down and his career was over, but he kept fighting. Because whoever said there were no meaningful games never visited Sparta—just ask Winnipeg.
Conor Morgan, UBC Thunderbirds at Regina Cougars: 30 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks
When French fabulist and poet Jean de La Fontaine wrote his 240 fables in the 17th century, “The thunderbird and the cougar” wasn’t one of them, but maybe it should have been. Here’s how it goes.
The cougar was home and could sleep
For home was where he never felt weak
The thunderbird, soaring high and high,
Was in a joyous mood
And for that reason felt compelled to say hi.
“Master Cougar,” he said. “Let’s play a game, if you would.
Your fur is a sight for the eyes and
My wings somehow can bend
The same way the coattails of gentlemen do.”
Thunderbird knew this was true
But Master Cougar couldn’t care for the company
Of Thunderbird. “Leave me be,”
He would tell himself. “Don’t flaunt your assets, compadre,
Not to my face,” Master Cougar told him. He didn’t want to lose,
And you couldn’t lose if you didn’t play.
He was wrong. His attitude was wrong, as you shouldn’t snooze
On life. Thunderbird kept flying by, always so close
And taunted Master Cougar, who had a sort of learned helplessness.
He let his apathy speak, but what he thought was a strength was a weakness.
Thunderbird wanted nothing of his peace offering of a white rose.
Soon, Thunderbird had Master Cougar in a noose. Master Cougar was dead.
Kenonte Ramsey, Brandon Bobcats VS Victoria Vikes: 31 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 steals
Aficionado readers will be pleased to know that we give them something that’s never been tried before in the year+ of existence of #TheCBGBunch—a column where you are the hero. Much as you would for those books, please roll a dice. If you get an even number, select option A. If you roll an odd number, go for option B.
Option A: The bad man is here and, though his team has only one loss on the year and is down 69-61, the Bobcats still believe. Remembers Tweeds Thomas’s lesson? The bad man don’t scare. The bad man don’t scare, and neither do the rest of his Bobcats teammates, who close the game on a 16-7 run and book their second win of the year, against the mighty big bad Victoria Vikes. The win is secured by a steal and layup plus the foul from our bad man. Dreams die, but bad men don’t.
Option B: The professor looks at the class and tells his students, “Why, it’s my most incredible pleasure to welcome to our school and introduce you to our keynote speaker.
-Alright, well it’s a pleasure for me to be here. I’ve heard great things about you. Let me start by asking you one thing, who knows why the CIS is better than the NCAA?”
No student raises an arm, but it’s more because all students are shy. Not because they don’t know the answer.
“Alright, well I’ll tell you why. In the CIS, student-athletes are students first, then athletes. They know all about the 10 digits. You have 0 (blocks), 1 (turnover), 2 (offensive rebounds), 3 (jersey number), 4 (3+1 = 4, of 31 points scored), 5 (1+1+2+1 = 5, of making 11 of 21 shot attempts), 6 (3+3 = 6, of defensive rebounds and personal fouls), 8 (4+4 = 8, of making 4 of 4 free throws) and 9 (3+6 = 9, of minutes played).
-But sir, you missed one! There’s 7 also!”
Indeed, he had made a mistake—the man was likely from the NCAA. Some kind of keynote speaker.
Chris McLaughlin, Victoria Vikes at Brandon Bobcats: 32 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
At long last, the big man for Victoria makes a long-awaited return to #TheCBGBunch and we swear that the #badpun will be better than the first time he made the cut. (Mostly because we only know/like one Sarah McLachlan song and we used it the last time.) The Vikes play in the ever-difficult Pioneers division and the fact that they are meeting their lofty pre-season expectations shouldn’t be surprising considering the man at the middle. Fifth-year Chris McLaughlin is on a steady diet of double-doubles this season, ranking in or around the top 10 nationally in just about every category of note for a big man.
The expression “Laughing all the way to the bank” applies to McLaughlin, but the six-foot-10 behemoth does so all the way to the rim.
Caleb Gould, Memorial Sea-Hawks at St. Mary’s Huskies: 39 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal
Speaking of the bank… The three bank tellers from Halifax were standing behind as many counters and they had never seen this visitor. And because they had never seen him, they wondered aloud about him. “Is he gold?” One teller asked, explaining that he thought the visitor had some sort of glitter around him as he moved. “Maybe,” another answered. “He really could be gold.” This second teller, however, wasn’t convinced and said that maybe the visitor just has the shine of the bad man. “Oh you’re all right,” the third teller said aloud. “You’re all right, yet you’re so wrong.” That’s what he said and, instead of waiting on the visitor, went out to greet the bad man. This third teller knew the secret—when you see a pot of gold, you look for the rainbow.
Ellis Ffrench, UPEI Panthers at UNB Varsity Reds: 34 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals
The AUS Conference is a weird animal, with games all the way over there in the Atlantic provinces—in French, we have a saying that’s the equivalent of “An hour later in the Maritimes.” Still, we love the conference thanks to quirky features such as the four-point games. It says so right on the CIS website. “Please note that in AUS men’s basketball, a win can be worth 2 or 4 points.”
Needless to say, the four-point games are critical to a team’s success and the UPEI Panthers find themselves ranked first in the conference after such a four-point win against the UNB Varsity Reds. The four-point games are when special players do special things. Look at that ‘fro. Look at that last name. Ellis Ffrench is special alright.
Rob Olsen, Lethbridge Pronghorns VS Saskatchewan Huskies: 30 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 6 steals
If the CIS has a golden bear with the golden name, it also has a fourth-year guard with the most versatile name in history. Is Rob Olsen related to Lute Olson, retired ex-head coach of the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball team? Or perhaps Rob Olsen is the long-lost comic and that the dynamic (and fraternal) duo of Luke and Owen Wilson should really be a trio? Better yet, is Rob Olsen the frontman and lead vocalist of Matchbox Twenty, and ex-guest on the all-too-popular “Smooth” song with some Santana guitar player?
As you research all these things, you suddenly decide on a different option. “Get off the beaten path,” you tell yourself. “What’s a pronghorn again?” You turn to Google for the answer and realize a pronghorn looks an awful lot like Bambi. This, in turn, leads you to an academic paper titled Who killed Bambi? The role of predation in the neonatal mortality of temperate regulates. There’s your answer.
Mike Andrews, Bishop’s Gaiters VS UQAM Citadins: 23 points, 12 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
About that note in the intro re: rules and how they’re meant to be broken… There is one rule that will not, nay, never, ever ever, be broken—as long as the league is (figuratively) alive and (figuratively) breathing, there will be one player from the RSEQ selected to every edition of #TheCBGBunch. The ‘Q is where I was born and where the poutine was invented and I’ll be goddamned if I forget to boast about the excellence of La belle province.
So stand up and stand tall, Mike Andrews. And if someone tells you that he or she disagrees, just swat their weak offering away, in much the same way you do on the basketball courts of the ‘Q.
Matt Marshall, Brock Badgers VS Waterloo Warriors: 16 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, 1 block
Now speaking of exceptions to the rule that all rules are meant to be broken is this one—nag a triple-double and you are guaranteed the last but not least nod in that week’s edition of #TheCBGBunch. Aficionado readers, who are by and large much smarter than we are, will realize that proof of how serious we are with this rule is the fact that Matt Marshall manages to overcome an excellent “Be Like Wilt” performance from teammate Dani Elgadi.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops