CIS Top 10 Performers – The CBG Bunch: Have a fun graduation
Welcome 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.
This week in #badpuns, we pay homage to the CIS season that just was. While we love the RSEQ (#ourhood), we’ll overlook the remaining three games to its regular season and just declare this one about over. It’s a ritual we’ll never tire of, because it forces us to appreciate some of the main actors of the previous four months, players who now turn to the playoffs before graduating and moving on to bigger and better things in life than just basketball. #Ballislife, but not always.
Apologies to McGill’s Dele Ogundokun, Cape Breton’s Meshack Lufile and Windsor’s Alex Campbell. It’s not you, it’s me—as in: it’s not you who makes the rules, it’s me. And I get to decide who does or doesn’t make the cut. #ThereCanOnlyBe10
Leon Alexander, McMaster Marauders VS Brock Badgers: 28 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals
They played big boys’ basketball at the Meridian Centre in the middle of last week, the McMaster Marauders battling the rival Brock Badgers with an OUA Central title berth up for grabs. It wasn’t, as they say, for the faint of hearts.
Know what happened?
— McMaster Athletics (@McMasterSports) February 25, 2016
At the start of the 2015-16 season, many believed in the young upstarts from Brock University, led by the glitzy Dani Elgadi and Johneil Simpson—but in the end, their ascent will have to wait another season. A relative afterthought at No. 8 in the preseason CIS Top 10, the Marauders weren’t expected to win their division, despite us all having a few years of data that winning its division tends to be exactly what McMaster accomplishes.
At their best, the Marauders function like a well-oiled machine with no weak links and where any one cog can act as the dominant one for any given game, half, quarter or even possession. When he’s had to this year, such as for this battle against Brock, head coach Amos Connolly has decided to lean on his fourth-year forward Leon “Lean On” Alexander.
Kashrell Lawrence, Dalhousie Tigers at Cape Breton Capers: 30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Sometimes, it seems like the Gods, the ones with the capital G, are simply against you. It’s this thing they call life, and no one ever said it had to be fair. To wit: you’ve almost finished your 40-minute battle and, after you’ve scored two more points, your Tigers are nursing a two-point lead. Then your boy Jordan pads the lead right near the end and you’ve managed to snatch victory from the fangs of….
Really, you thought you had it, only you then had to play extra ball. And what happened in that extra period? You again brought your tigers back in front with two baskets, then your boy Sven padded the lead and surely it was enough by then and you, as the Cash Money of the CIS, could enjoy a worthy “Bad man” nod….
Guillaume Boucard, Carleton Ravens at Laurentian Voyageurs: 23 points, 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
We at the #Bunch know that we are dealing with an experienced audience and public; an aficionado readership, if you will. And surely, this readership has come to expect a lot from this space—a lot of nonsense, yes it goes without saying, but also a lot of greatness.
And yet, here’s our mea culpa; our righting of a wrong, if we can be so blunt. This nod for Guillaume Boucard consists the very first time a Carleton Raven has made its way to the #Bunch in this 2015-16 season. This is incredible, and we mean in the literally sense of the word: it’s impossible to believe.
Consider that these Ravens, after undergoing supposedly so much change after their fifth straight national championship, have finished the 2015-16 season at 15-3. On the eve of the playoffs, they’re still No. 1.
How could these Ravens, then, have not had a player in one #Bunch yet? Some will say that these mere distinctions aren’t what the Ravens are about, that there is no “I” in team. We’d counter with two things. First, ouch, because we have feelings, you know. Second, maybe there is no “I” in team, but there is an “I” in win so the #Bunch isn’t below these Ravens.
Kemar Alleyne, Saint Mary’s Huskies at Acadia Axemen: 23 points, 10 points, 1 steal
At the midway point—or rather, the Christmas break—of this 2015-16 season, the Saint Mary’s Huskies were reeling with only two wins and four losses, or four of a possible 14 points. This team that we liked so much to say was underrated, well, it turns out that there may have been a good reason why it was underappreciated.
Fast forward through the end of the season, these Huskies have found their stride. They’ve finished the season on a 5-2 run and will battle the UNB Varsity Reds in the first round of the “Anything can happen” AUS playoffs. True to form, Saint Mary’s has received help from across its roster: it’s as if the team really had spent all these months on a sled and that if it’s managed to excel, it’s because all the Huskies are pulling and pushing in the same direction. Who’s a great sled dogs? All these Huskies are great sled dogs.
Nathan Culbreath, York Lions vs Toronto Varsity Blues: 26 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block
One thing we like to do here is to always strive to find what’s in a name. Nathan Culbreath, the York Lions player with the superstar name and the superstar hair, may be Agent Zero of this experiment because the name has so much to it. Nathan happens to be the cool breath that this York team has needed all season long—but oops, we’ve already made this pun.
Cool Nathan Smooth has had himself a season and we feel like we need to find out where he comes from. What’s in a name? Hell, even the typical outlets provide little in the hope of laughs. Not Kabalarians, not the Gospel Faith Messenger, not Behind The Name and not even SheKnows; in these, there’s lots of typical boring stuff, but little fire.
Nothing can beat him? When he scores 19 of his 26 points after the third, that’s pretty accurate.
Vasilije Curcic, Memorial Sea-Hawks VS StFX X-Men: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
There are two things to know about the bad man. The first is that Vasilije Curcic is so well read as the resident Santiago from The Alchemist of the CIS in that he’s been everywhere and back: his hometown is that of Kragujevac. As in—Kragujevac, Serbia. As in—Serbia, Europe. As in—Europe, Earth. And so on, and you’ve read that routine before.
The second is that Curcic is equally student as he is athlete: as the great CIS player that he is, naming the 10 digits of our universe is no challenge at all for this fourth-year forward. There is 0 (1 turnover -1 personal foul = 0), 1 (block), 2 (assists), 3 (steals), 4 (22 points: 2+2 = 4), 5 (defensive rebounds), 6 (free throws made), 7 (total rebounds), 8 (free throws attempted) and 9 (27 minutes played: 2+7 = 9).
Anthony Spiridis, Western Mustangs VS Lakehead Thunderwolves: 29 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 5 steals
We’re almost ashamed of this. In our haste to continually praise and sing the exploits of the Ever-optimist-never-looking-behind-always-ahead man Greg Morrow, teammate Anthony “Tony” Spiridis has had a raw deal. Maybe he’s not the man of tomorrow like the fifth-year superstar, but Spiridis too is in the last year of his CIS career. Not only that, but his journey to get there is equally fascinating.
Now come the 2015-16 CIS playoffs, a monster against whom small men may succumb—but what are playoffs when you’ve risen from walk-on to team captain?
Greishe Clerjuste, UQAM Citadins VS Laval Rouge et Or: 24 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals
If Kewyn Blain is the CIS’s Uncle Ben as the resident old young veteran point guard with the quick handles, sophomore Greishe Clerjuste is a worthy sidekick—and with almost 17 points per game, the 22-year-old may soon be ready for a starring role.
The UQAM Citadins weren’t necessarily supposed to be here with a 7-7 record near the end of this RSEQ regular season. But they surely are, and their versatility will take them a long way. Just listen to head coach Nate Philippe.
Sometimes you have to Win ugly in Conference play. Big Win for our team 81-76 vs Laval…we made plays when it counted!! #UQAMBball 🏀💥
— Coach Nate Philippe (@CoachPhilippe) February 28, 2016
Bradley States, UPEI Panthers at UNB Varsity Reds: 28 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block
Here is where we state the obvious and mention that this 2015-16 season of the UPEI Panthers, while very good with a 12-8 record and 34 points, was not excellent. But the following statement is equally true: one man whose level did reach excellency is the fourth-year forward from Bathurst, NB.
While a 3-6 finish is not a state any one basketball teams wants to find itself in, this holds especially true for AUS teams. It’s in the Atlantic provinces where, seemingly, players and teams alike make the loudest statements: in the AUS, momentum is only a state of mind. The UPEI Panthers intend to rely on the man with the 1,000 different states.
— Lorenzo Parker (@LorenzoParker) January 31, 2016
Kevin Bercy, StFX X-Men at Memorial Sea-Hawks: 26 points, 16 rebounds, 1 block
“So a man walks into a bar…
-No no, this isn’t the same as the old ones
-You only say that to rope us in
-You’ll see, you’ll see. So guy walks into a bar…
-Guy walks into a bar ‘cause it’s so cold outside. Gets in, no one’s there to greet him, so he rubs his hands together. He’s cold and, get this, pretty sure he has a cold.
-Cool story, bro.
-Pretty sure he has a cold and so orders a tea.
-Hell is this guy doing this at a bar for?
-Guy orders a tea, or so he thinks. Cause see, he got a cold right?
-Yes you said that already.
-So guy tells bartender, ‘Hi, ‘cuse be, boung bir. I just bleed pee.’
-Yeah that’s what bartender says. ‘What?’ Guy tries again. ‘I just bleed pee.’
-Like you do now, bartender has a bewildered look on his face. Guy tries again, ‘Pee,’ he says, then mimics drinking. Bartender thinks he’s a fool.
-No, you’re the fool.
-Cause folks, see, you can’t enunciate properly when you’re sick; “tea” becomes “pee”. Say it out loud, you’ll hear it. And remember I said the guy had a cold?
-You’re dumb. Shut up already.”
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG & NPH @Northpolehoops