CIS Top 10 Performers – #TheCBGBunch: Welcome back!

cbg bunchWelcome to the third 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.

We start season three of #badpuns after the second week of this CIS season, not because I couldn’t be bothered with opening weekend but because I wanted to wait for the start of the RSEQ season. It would be unfair and unwise to start the most (un)forgettable CIS player recap in the history of mankind when some players haven’t had the chance to make their case; you don’t start making your apple crumble pie if you haven’t peeled all your apples. Duh.

So pull up a chair and celebrate excellence in Canadian basketball with us. Apologies to Toronto’s Devin Johnson, Brandon’s D.J. Jordan and Thompson Rivers’ Volodymyr Iegorov. #ThereCanOnlyBe10 and making the tough decisions is why I’m paid the big bucks.

Josh Wolfram, Thompson Rivers WolfPack at Mount Royal Cougars: 35 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals 

wolframIt’s the bad man’s teammate, newcomer Volodymyr Iegorov, who leads the Thompson Rivers WolfPack in scoring—but it’s the bad man who leads the WolfPack. Only one man has “Wolf” in his last name, which made him destined to eventually dominate the CIS while donning the TRU WolfPack colours.

The bad man is the lone winner, of course. He’ll let you settle in, going for one and six points in the first two quarters; after the break, once you’ve let yourself believe that maybe the bad doesn’t have it that day, he’ll go off for 18 and 10 points. The bad man will take that “maybe” and turn it on you, like “maybe you need to play at home.” You’re home, of course, but the bad man makes his whichever place he happens to inhabit at a given moment.

Adika Peter-McNeilly, Ryerson VS Waterloo Warriors: 22 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals 

Peter-McNeillyAfter the graduation of Jahmal Jones, Jordon Gauthier and Bjorn Michaelsen, Adika Peter-McNeilly is the Ryerson Rams’ heartbeat; Rams need APM to go, everybody knows that. And, well, alright, we’re cheating a little bit by including him here this week; Peter-McNeilly wasn’t especially dominant in Ryerson’s win over the Waterloo Warriors, yet he still makes the cut? I can already hear your mental rumblings from here, something like “What gives, CBG??” Well, what gives is that the point guard gave the McMaster Marauders the business on the opening weekend and we wanted to show his dunk to our beloved readers.

It’s a week late, sure, but it’s actually timeless.

Kewyn Blain, UQAM Citadins VS Bishop’s Gaiters: 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals Kewyn_Blain_m

Nice to see you again, young blood. The 23-year-old Montrealer was last seen on the CIS hardwoods wearing the Carleton Ravens colours in 2012-2013 and giving opposing point guards fits; he’s back in his hometown this season with the UQAM Citadins, after two seasons spent away from the game he loves. Kewyn Blain is starting only his third season of eligibility, making a very wise and relatively old third-year player.

Oh, wait. A young but old point guard? Relatively short and explosive?? With extremely quick handles? Say no more: Kewyn Blain is the Canadian version of Uncle Drew, I hereby introduce you to the CIS’s Uncle Ben. Look, he too brought his homies.

Mark Matheson, UNB Varsity Reds VS Cape Breton Capers: 34 points, 7 rebounds 

mathesonIs Mark Matheson the most lucky player in the entire CIS? Sure, you’ll say: he plays for the UNB Varsity Reds, along with a great point guard, etc. etc., but that’s not what I mean. You look at Matheson and you see a guy who keeps rolling 7s every time. Matheson wears No. 14 (7X2 = 14), played 25 minutes (2+5= 7), attempted 7 three pointers and 7 free throws, collected 7 rebounds, made 12 of 20 field goals (20+2-1 = 3X7), and scored 34 points (3+4 = 7).

It’s that or that Matheson is a croupier reading a casino review somewhere? Maybe he is trying to get the best place to find the current deals on fluffy favourites. We don’t know for sure, but we can’t rule it out either; there are signs everywhere. You know what they say, right? The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. YOU CAN’T RULE IT OUT. Do the Math.

Aldrich Berrios, UBC Okanagan Heat VS UNBC Timberwolves: 32 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist 

Aldrich_Berrios48456Aldrich Berrios is a second-year guard for the UBC Okanagan Heat and has been one of the good, bright spots of the past season and change in Kelowna. He’s a reminder to all of us that life is pretty, preeee-eeetty simple when we stop to think about it. You score points, you’ll most likely guide your team to a win. You do that often, or well, enough and you’ll likely be named to the Canada West all-rookie team in your debut season. Life is easy: if Aldrich Berrios had a second last name, it would start with a C.

Call this man ABC.

Grant Sitton, Victoria Vikes VS Saskatchewan Huskies: 33 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, 4 blocks 

player_0_Grant_SittonGrant Sitton emerged as a possible cog for the future of the Victoria Vikes at the 2015 CIS Final 8, scoring 19, 15 and 13 points against Dalhousie, Carleton and Ryerson. Well, the future is now and Sitton is here to stay. He’s a starter and his 19.5 points per game rank him at No. 20 in Canada. Best of all, it’s a sign that Sitton, an American, understands very well the nuances of the CIS in comparison to the NCAA.

My most aficionado readers no doubt remember that one of the staples of the #Bunch is to tip our hat to CIS players who know all 10 of our digits (unlike their American counterparts). There is 0 (i.e. Sutton wears jersey No. 00), 1 (assist), 2 (steals), 3 (free throws made), 4 (free throws attempted), 5 (rebounds), 6 (three pointers made), 7 (three pointers attempted), 8 (5 turnovers + 3 fouls) and 9 (33 points: 9 = 3X3). Tune in next time for another lesson!

Meshack Lufile, Cape Breton Capers VS StFX X-Men: 35 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block 

lufileWe’ve dubbed Meshack Lufile the Draymond Green of the CIS—it’s based purely on looks, because the two certainly don’t play the same way and even the looks comparison isn’t that great. (I mean, here’s Green and here’s Lufile. They don’t really look alike.) Regardless, what’s done is done, we can’t overlook strokes of genius, and now the CIS has a Draymond Green—and if you ask me, that’s a plus for the NBA player, not the other way around.

If the move from high school to the CIS is quite the step up, the transition is long overcome by the time a player is in his fifth season. Lufile is such a fifth-year player this season, and look for him to dominate: he’s averaging 15.8 points for Cape Breton, but only in 21.5 minutes of action. He has 15 offensive rebounds already and has made almost 67 per cent of his field goals. He’s a stud. He’s Draymond.

Thomas Cooper, Calgary Dinos at Manitoba Bisons: 38 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists 

cooperOver two games this past weekend, the Calgary Dinos and Manitoba Bisons split a pair of overtime games. Overtime basketball is many things, notably excellent and exciting, but it can also create learning opportunities. Enter Calgary’s Thomas Cooper and Manitoba’s A.J. Basi, who both dominated one of the two games. We’ve chosen to celebrate Cooper, simply because his stats were so impressive. We know that, we’ll cop to it. (HA!)

But okay, sure, learning opportunity: while Basi excelled in the first game, and Cooper in the second, the first and the second are the game that their team lost. Do you win for losing? Or lose for winning?

Greg Morrow, Western Mustangs at Windsor Lancers: 28 points, 15 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal 

01915_Greg_Morrow_CroppedNow in his fifth and final season, Greg Morrow has long been a great CIS and gifted forward for the Western Mustangs. No doubt that aficionado readers know that the man has found his way to this column quite a few times already. In the second ever edition of the #Bunch, Morrow was here with an utterly similar set of statistics, amassing just one assist less than this past weekend: two years after a 27/15/7/1 game, he comes up with a 27/15/8/1.

It’s a stunning example of the life philosophy of our Always-looking-ahead-never-looking-behind senior: if you manage three assists short of a homeless man’s triple-double, keep working. Maybe you’ll get it ‘morrow, maybe you won’t. But there’s always a ‘morrow.

Shane Reader, York Lions at Laurentian Voyageurs: 28 points, 4 rebounds, 10 assists, 9 steals 

shane readerBut folks, do you know what is better than a homeless man’s triple-double? The rarely-seen poor man’s triple-double that comes one steal short of its goal, which Shane Reader managed in the York Lions’ win against the Laurentian Voyageurs.

Let’s cut this one short, because statistics don’t lie; just read Reader’s numbers out loud. (You could make the case he almost had the infamous quadruple-double, with 9 turnovers, but shhhh. Shhhhh no one wants to hear that!)

When you have 9 steals, one could call it neutralized…and when you don’t yet have a varsity team head shot, a picture of your boy hanging on your shoulder will do just fine.

Welcome to CIS basketball Shane!

Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops

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