Written by U SPORTS
Photo by Valerie Wutti
OTTAWA (U SPORTS) – Forwards Jenna Mae Ellsworth of the UPEI Panthers and Brett Layton of the Calgary Dinos were honoured with the Nan Copp Award and Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as U SPORTS basketball Players of the Year Wednesday night, as the national award winners were celebrated at the joint All-Canadian Gala.
With the honour, Mae Ellsworth became the final member of the Top 100 players of the century, in celebration of the centennial anniversary of U SPORTS women’s basketball.
Guards Jael Kabunda of Bishop’s and Lloyd Pandi of Carleton captured the Kathy Shields Award Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy as Rookies of the Year, while Western forward Julia Curran and Thompson Rivers guard Michael Rouault earned the Sylvia Sweeney and Ken Shields Awards for Student-Athlete Community Service for their outstanding contribution both on and off the court.
Forwards Khaléann Caron-Goudreau of Laval and Lock Lam of Lakehead took home Defensive Players of the Year honours, while bench bosses Mike Rao of Brock and Dalhousie’s Rick Plato received the Peter Ennis Award and Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as Fox 40 Coaches of the Year.
Finally, Manitoba forward Addison Martin received the Tracy McLeod Award for her courage in overcoming adversity.
As the Exclusive Provider of championship rings and recognition jewelry of U SPORTS, Baron will provide customized rings to the First Team All-Canadians in football, basketball and hockey, as well as other major award winners.
The 2020 U SPORTS Final 8 Basketball Championships, hosted jointly for the first time by the Ottawa Gee-Gees, Carleton Ravens, and the Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group, tips off on Thursday and concludes Sunday with the women’s gold medal game at 5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m., followed by the men’s final at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.
All championship bracket games (quarterfinals, semifinals, medal games) from both tournaments will be played at The Arena at TD Place, while the consolation brackets are played at the Ravens’ Nest on the campus of Carleton University.
NAN COPP AWARD (Player of the Year): Jenna Mae Ellsworth, UPEI
A fourth-year science student from Charlottetown, P.E.I., Ellsworth led the Panthers with 20.5 points per game this season, while also averaging 5.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.1 steals per game as the Panthers finished in first place in the regular season standings with a 17-3 record.
In addition to being named U SPORTS MVP, she also earned a place on the U SPORTS First All-Canadian squad for the first time in her career. She is a three-time AUS second team all-star and also earned AUS Rookie of the Year nods and a place on the AUS and U SPORTS All-Rookie team in her inaugural season with the Panthers in 2016-17.
With 1,231 career points scored in four seasons, she now sits tied for second in UPEI school history with a year of eligibility remaining.
Ellsworth is the first player in UPEI history and just the third from the AUS to earn the Nan Copp Award, placing her among the Top 100 players of the century, in celebration of the centennial anniversary of U SPORTS women’s basketball.
CW: Keylyn Filewich, UBC
OUA: Melissa Tatti, Brock
RSEQ: Amaiquen Siciliano, Bishop’s
AUS: Jenna Mae Ellsworth, UPEI (Winner)
MIKE MOSER MEMORIAL TROPHY (Men’s Player of the Year): Brett Layton, Calgary
Fourth-year forward Brett Layton was the straw that stirred the drink for the Calgary Dinos all season long, and his consistent performance down low have earned him the nation’s top honour.
With plenty to juggle from his second year in law school to his family with two young children, Layton still found a way to dominate most nights he took the floor. Among his myriad of accomplishments in 2019-20, he became the first player in conference history to record a 40-point, 20-rebound night Nov. 23 against Trinity Western. On the final night of the regular season he set a single-game conference record with 27 rebounds at his old stomping grounds, Mount Royal’s Kenyon Court. He led the nation with 299 rebounds – also a CW record for a 20-game season – while leading Canada West in field goal percentage (62.8) and blocks (43) – third and second in the nation, respectively, in those two categories.
It is the fourth time a Dino has been honoured as the nation’s top player, with former Dino Richard Bohne earning the award in 1996 and Karl Tilleman winning back-to-back MVP nods in 1982 and 1983.
“We wouldn’t have won many games without Brett Layton. He has the ability to impact a game on offence, both scoring and rebounding the ball, and then defensively he can alter shots, then sprint the floor. The guy is a very, very special player,” said Calgary head coach Dan Vanhooren. “In 20 years I’ve never had a player that has to manage as many things as he does, from law school and the demands that entails along with articling and interviews to having a wife and children and home responsibilities. For him to be able to manage all of that and keep things in the right priority and in the right perspective says a lot about his character. For him to receive a player of the year award is not only based on just what he’s done on the floor, it’s about who he is as a human being altogether.”
CW: Brett Layton, Calgary (Winner)
OUA: Kadre Gray, Laruentian
RSEQ: Alix Lochard, UQAM
AUS: Keevan Veinot, Dalhousie
KATHY SHIELDS AWARD (Women’s Rookie of the Year): Jael Kabunda, Bishop’s
Kabunda, a psychology major from Montreal was simply sensational in her first year at the U SPORTS level. The College Montmorency product averaged a double-double with 14.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. On four occasions she scored over 20 points including 32 in her regular season debut at Concordia. That performance earned her RSEQ Athlete of the Week honours.
At 5-foot-10, Kabunda could be considered undersized as a forward but she plays much bigger. She finished second in the conference in scoring and rebounding and averaged 32.1 minutes per game.
Kabunda is the first Gaiter to win the national award.
CW: Deanna Tuchscherer, Fraser Valley
OUA: Héléna Lamoureux, Laurentian
RSEQ: Jael Kabunda, Bishop’s (Winner)
AUS: Hailey MacLeod, Cape Breton
PETER MULLINS TROPHY (Men’s Rookie of the Year): Lloyd Pandi, Carleton
Finishing just outside the top 20 in conference scoring, Lloyd Pandi was no stranger to point production on the year. The commerce major started his post-secondary journey with an 18-point outing against Waterloo and would go on to produce double-digit scoring in all but one of the games he suited up for this season. His 16.1 points per game, which included five nights of 20-plus points, paced the top-ranked Ravens and he did so while also registering a team-high 22.8 minutes of court time. A big part of Pandi’s success on offence was his efficiency, as the all-rookie was successful on a U SPORTS-leading 66.1 per cent of his field goal attempts.
In addition to Pandi’s team-leading numbers on offence, the Ottawa native also buoyed the black birds in rebounding (6.3 RPG) – with nearly half coming on the offensive glass (3.1; 5th in OUA) – and blocks (0.7 BLK/G), showcasing an all-around skill-set that goes well beyond someone just arriving on the university scene.
Despite Carleton’s prolonged success at the national level, Pandi joins elite company as only the second Raven to earn the honour. He follows in the footsteps of former Raven turned national team member Philip Scrubb, who won the award in 2011.
CW: Anthony Tsegakele, Brandon
OUA: Lloyd Pandi, Carleton (Winner)
RSEQ: Sidney Trembley-Lacombe, Laval
AUS: Avan Nava, StFX
WOMEN’S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Khaléann Caron-Goudreau, Laval
For the second straight season, Khaléann Caron-Goudreau is the U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year. The Rouge et Or senior and Gatineau, Que., native dominated with an average of 10.8 rebounds per game this season – good enough for second in the nation. Completing her MBA in Global Business, Caron-Goudreau also stood out on the defensive with the second best RSEQ average in blocks per game (1.5). Her defensive work and 145 points in 13 games are largely responsible for the Rouge et Or’s first place in the RSEQ regular season.
CW: Katie Keith, Lethbridge
OUA: Christina Buttenham, McMaster
RSEQ: Khaléann Caron-Goudreau, Laval (Winner)
AUS: Jenna Mae Ellsworth, UPEI
MEN’S DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Lock Lam, Lakehead
Lock Lam’s impact was felt in many facets of the game, including on offence where he chipped with in 13.5 points per game and on the glass. When it comes to the latter, the Ottawa native was one of the best in the business, pulling down 9.2 rebounds per game (8th in OUA) including a nationwide sixth-best total of 157 on the defensive end, but rim protection was Lam’s true calling card.
The paint was certainly locked down with Lam on the floor, as he produced an unparalleled 3.5 blocks per contest to lead the nation. His 77 total rejections on the year put him more than 30 clear of the next closest shot-blocker in Canada, which was just the tip of iceberg for the gifted forward. Lam’s lofty numbers broke three Lakehead ball control records this season, including most blocks in a season, most career blocks (131) – a number he reached after only playing two seasons (46 games) – and most blocks in one game. The final feat was the epitome of defensive dominance, as he turned away nine shot attempts from Queen’s in his team’s regular season finale. All-told, Lam registered 18 games with multiple blocked shots, including six contests with at least five swats.
Lam is just the second Lakehead player to earn Defensive Player of the Year honours, after Greg Carter won it back-to-back in 2012 and 2013.
CW: Max Eisele, Calgary
OUA: Lock Lam, Lakehead (Winner)
RSEQ: Levi Londole, McGill
AUS: Xavier Ochu, Dalhousie
SYLVIA SWEENEY AWARD (Women’s Student-Athlete Community Service): Julia Curran, Western
Julia Curran has been much more than a basketball player during her five years with the Western Mustangs, with outstanding service to the sport – both here and abroad.
The multi-time OUA all-star and Academic All-Canadian has unquestionably made her mark on the court, having notched over 1,000 points during a university career that began with an OUA Rookie of the Year selection. Not only has she been consistent, but also persistent, having come back strong this season with 11.4 points per game after missing the majority of the 2018-19 campaign due to injury. But amidst all the success on the court and in the classroom, Curran turned in what might have been her most important performance this past summer.
The forward from Waterloo, Ont., turned her attention globally, traveling to Senegal with the goal of empowering young women through sport programs. While there, Curran was able to run programs, run reproductive health educational sessions, and distribute nearly 300 feminine hygiene kits supplied by Days for Girls. Her impact also extended to the fundraising side prior to the trip, which included distributing sporting equipment to local schools, as well as team apparel for girls to wear during games and keep afterwards.
Now in her fifth year with the purple and white, Curran continues to work with AYWA International NGO team, with whom she worked in Africa, as well as get involved with her local community through her academics. Thanks to the latter, Curran has a community placement with True Focus and Motiv8 studios at Innovation Works London, where she is doing research to further addiction treatment.
Curran is the first Mustang to win the award.
CW: Meghan Ahlstrom, Saskatchewan
OUA: Julia Curran, Western (Winner)
RSEQ: Frédérique Beauchamp, Laval
AUS: Mikaela Dodig, UNB
KEN SHIELDS AWARD (Men’s Student-Athlete Community Service): Michael Rouault, Thompson Rivers
Four-time Academic All-Canadian Mike Rouault is the U SPORTS Student-Athlete Community Service award winner.
The Thompson Rivers WolfPack captain finished fourth in total rebounds (177), while also posting 31 steals and 12 blocks in 13 games this season.
Away from the court, the fifth-year veteran has been acknowledged twice with TRU’s Cliff Russell Student-Athlete leadership award and has a current GPA of 4.11. In the community, the Vernon, B.C. native has volunteered for Special Olympics B.C., the Mustard Seed, and the Terry Fox Run among others.
Rouault is the first member of the WolfPack to garner the award.
“It’s a huge accomplishment to be named the winner of this award. It’s the culmination of years of work by Michael, who will be a five-time Academic All-Canadian,” said Thompson Rivers head coach Scott Clark. “From an athletic standpoint, he worked to be a one of the leaders in the league in rebounding, scoring, offensive rebounds, free throws made …a whole bunch of basketball categories. Not to mention the leadership that he brings to our club, and the community. He’s been a very well-rounded student-athlete.”
CW: Michael Rouault, Thompson Rivers (Winner)
OUA: Litha Ncanisa, Laurentian
RSEQ: Sam Jenkins, McGill
AUS: Forest Mahoney, Acadia
PETER ENNIS AWARD (Women’s Fox 40 Coach of the Year): Mike Rao, Brock
In just his second season at the helm of the Brock women’s team, Rao earns the U SPORTS Fox 40 Coach of the Year selection – the first in the history of the program – after guiding the St. Catharines squad to a 17-5 record.
The feat itself, which included an All-Canadian nod from one of his players, was impressive, but even more significant when looking at the progress the team has made since Rao’s arrival. After playing a key role on the men’s coaching staff in 2017-18, Rao guided the Badgers women’s contingent the following year to their first postseason appearance since 2012. But the Niagara College and Brock University alum did not stop there, as his encore effort helped Brock build on their recent success and reach new heights in the 2019-20 campaign.
The Badgers added nearly eight points per game to their team scoring (70.9 PPG), allowed almost five fewer points per contest (61.0 PPG), and most importantly, managed to add six wins to their record in two fewer games. Under the tutelage of the long-tenured Notre Dame high school coach, the Badgers became a constant in the national rankings, wrapping up the season in the sixth spot in Canada and earning a bye in the opening round of the Critelli Cup playoffs.
CW: Scott Edwards, Alberta
OUA: Mike Rao, Brock (Winner)
RSEQ: Guillaume Giroux, Laval
AUS: Mark English, Memorial
STUART W. ABERDEEN MEMORIAL TROPHY (Men’s Fox 40 Coach of the Year): Rick Plato, Dalhousie
In his seventh season at the helm of the Dalhousie program, Rick Plato has been selected by his peers as the U SPORTS Coach of the Year for the first time in his career, and the first in the history of the Tigers program.
This season, Coach Plato’s Tigers finished with a 19-1 regular season record, a first-place finish in the conference standings, and earned the bye through to the semifinals of the AUS championship.
The Tigers allowed the fewest points against in77 the AUS this season (65.8) and were second nationally in the same category.
They led the conference in points per game (89.3), assists per game (17.8), offensive rebounds per game (12.5) and steals per game (12.1).
Dalhousie boasted a U SPORTS-best free throw percentage of 77.7 and a conference-best field goal percentage (47.7) and three-point percentage (35.5).
Under Coach Plato’s leadership, the Tigers have taken home four of the last five AUS championship titles and a national bronze medal.
CW: Barnaby Craddock, Alberta
OUA: Taffe Charles, Carleton
RSEQ: David DeAveiro, McGill
AUS: Rick Plato, Dalhousie (Winner)
TRACY MACLEOD AWARD (Women’s Courage Overcoming Adversity Award):
Addison Martin, Manitoba
Manitoba’s Addison Martin is the winner of the U SPORTS Courage Overcoming Adversity award after showing her commitment to the game of basketball while persevering with grace through loss and challenge.
In the summer of 2016, Martin suffered the second torn ACL of her career after previously tearing her other ACL during her Grade 11 season. Spending the entire 2016-17 season rehabbing from her injury, Martin has worked tirelessly to return and compete at the highest level. This season, the Winnipeg native and fourth year-veteran averaged 11.6 points per game, while posting 7.6 rebounds per game.
Away from basketball, Martin has worked even harder for her family. Following the passing of her mother in early 2017, Martin and her twin sister were forced to find a new home for themselves and their younger brother. Since then, Martin has balanced her studies, sport, and family with a job to ensure her and her family are taken care of.
Her ability to balance a busy schedule and ensure the best for her family has proven to be an inspiration, making her the first Bison to capture the honour.
“I’m so proud of Addison. She has been handed some extremely hard situations in the last four years but she has managed to stay positive, to be a support to so many others and continues to strive for improvement every day,” said Manitoba head coach Michelle Sung. On top of the big picture she has managed to improve every year with us on the basketball court. She had her best statistical year in scoring, rebounding, and steals and we are happy she is getting recognized for her hard work.”
CW: Addison Martin, Manitoba (Winner)
OUA: Maddy Horst, Western
RSEQ: Nelly Owusu, Concordia
AUS: Kelsey Rice, Acadia
All Canadian Teams
|Women’s First Team|
|Pos.||First Name||Last Name||School||Elig.||Hometown||Program|
|G||Jenna Mae||Ellsworth||UPEI||4||Charlottetown, P.E.I||Science|
|G||Melissa||Tatti||Brock||5||Ancaster, Ont.||Social Sciences|
|G||Amaiquen||Siciliano||Bishop’s||1||Buenos Aires, Arg.||Business|
|F||Summer||Masikewich||Saskatchewan||4||Calgary, Alta.||Arts & Science|
|Men’s First Team|
|G||Kadre||Gray||Laurentian||4||Toronto, Ont.||Health Promotion|
|G||Keevan||Veinoit||Dalhousie||3||Port Williams, N.S.||Commerce|
|F||Alix||Lochard||UQAM||2||Montreal, Que.||Social Work|
|Women’s Second Team|
|G||Brooklyn||McAlear-Fanus||Ottawa||5||Ottawa, Ont.||International Development & Globalization|
|G||Haille||Nickerson||Memorial||5||Grimsby, Ont.||Physical Education|
|F||Khaléann||Caron-Goudreau||Laval||2||Gatineau, Que.||MBA Global Business|
|G||Haley||McDonald||Acadia||4||Port Williams, N.S.||Science|
|F||Taylor||Claggett||Fraser Valley||5||Mission, B.C.||Arts|
|Men’s Second Team|
|G||Tevaun||Kokko||Ryerson||3||Markham, Ont.||Arts & Contemporary Science|
|Pos.||First Name||Last Name||School||Hometown||Program|
|G/F||Deanna||Tuchscherer||Fraser Valley||Chiliwack, B.C.||Kinesiology|
|F||Hailey||MacLeod||Cape Breton||Marion Bridge, N.S.||Arts & Community Studies|
|G||Anna||Kernaghan||Winnipeg||Winnipeg, Man.||Kinesiology & Applied Health|
|F||Sidney||Tremblay-Lacombe||Laval||Quebec City, Que.||Teaching Physical & Health Ed.|
|G||Laoui||Msambya||Lakehead||Quebec City, Que.||Psychology|