Canada West Communications
- The UBC Thunderbirds claimed four of the five Canada West men’s basketball awards handed out Thursday
- Conor Morgan is the conference’s outstanding player for 2016-17 after claiming the Canada West scoring title and powering UBC to a 19-1 regular season record
- The Canada West Men’s Basketball Final Four is slated for this Friday and Saturday at the University of Calgary’s Jack Simpson Gym
EDMONTON – Following a 19-1 regular season, the UBC Thunderbirds dominated the Canada West men’s basketball awards, with four of the conference’s five major awards being claimed by the T-Birds Wednesday.
Leading the way was swingman Conor Morgan, who is the 2016-17 Canada West Outstanding Player of the Year. The Victoria, B.C. native led the conference in scoring this season, averaging 23.1 PPG, leading UBC to the best regular season winning percentage by a Canada West team since the undefeated 2005-06 T-Birds (20-0).
Along with Morgan, teammates Jordan Jensen-Whyte (Defensive Player of the Year) and Phil Jalalpoor (Ken Shields Award) also earned honours, while head coach Kevin Hanson was named CW Coach of the Year.
Rounding out the award winners was Victoria’s Scott Kellum, who is the conference Rookie of the Year. The guard averaged 13.2 PPG this season, while making 41 three-pointers along the way.
The Canada West major award winners were selected by the conference’s 17 head coaches.
Despite their award haul, UBC won’t be at this weekend’s Final Four in Calgary after falling to the Manitoba Bisons last weekend in the quarter-finals. The Bisons take on the Calgary Dinos Friday in the semis at 8 p.m., while Alberta and Saskatchewan take the floor earlier in the other semifinal (3 p.m.). The medal games are set for Saturday at 3 p.m. (bronze) and 8 p.m. (gold).
All Canada West Final Four games can be seen live on CanadaWest.tv
Two Canada West teams will secure their spot at the U SPORTS Final 8 over the weekend, as the conference finalists advance to the national tournament March 9-12 in Halifax.
2016-17 CW Men’s Basketball Award Winners
Outstanding Player of the Year
Veteran Conor Morgan is the 2016-17 Canada West Men’s Basketball Outstanding Player of the Year after leading the UBC Thunderbirds to a Canada West leading 19-1 record. Playing in 19 games, Morgan was dominant at both ends of the court finishing inside the top five in several key Canada West categories. The Victoria, B.C. product was first in PPG (23.1) and field goals (161), fourth in field goal percentage (56.7 per cent), while also finishing fifth in blocks (28).
Morgan now moves forward as the conference nominee for the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as the top player in U SPORTS men’s basketball. He is looking to become the first Canada West player to claim the award since UBC’s Josh Whyte in 2010.
“Not only did Conor have a great season statistically by leading Canada West in scoring, he also took on a more advanced leadership role on our team. Conor’s hard work in the off-season made him a more complete player this season, and the results showed.” – UBC head coach Kevin Hanson.
Defensive Player of the Year
In his final year of eligibility, guard Jordan Jensen-Whyte was one of the conference’s most well-rounded players, averaging 15.9 points per game, while drawing tough defensive assignments at the other end of the floor. The Calgary, Alta. native finished eighth in conference steals (35), and finished seventh in Canada West with an assist to turnover ratio of 1.7.
The second team Canada West all-star now moves forward as the conference nominee for the U SPORTS Defensive Player of the Year award.
“Jordan is the consummate team player. He will do anything asked and it all starts at the defensive end of the floor with him. His effort level is contagious and influences the younger players on our team. He has had a remarkable five years at UBC and will go down as one of the top defensive players in school history.” – UBC head coach Kevin Hanson.
Rookie of the Year
Import guard Scott Kellum started 16 of Victoria's 20 Canada West games, averaging 13.2 points per game, while shooting 44.1 per cent from three-point land. That three-point average was good enough for fourth-highest in the conference. Kellum led the conference in rookie scoring, and will be a key building block for the Vikes as they look to return to the conference’s elite.
Kellum now moves forward as the Canada West nominee for the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy as U SPORTS’ top rookie.
“Scott was one of our most consistent players all season. By the end of the season he was our starting point guard. It is rare to have a first-year player make such significant contributions to the team in their first season. His future is very bright if he continues to work hard.” – Victoria head coach Craig Beauchamp.
Ken Shields Award
German guard Phil Jalalpoor is the Canada West Ken Shields Award winner for 2016-17. The award recognizes a player for excellence in basketball, academics, and community service, Jalalpoor was an All-Canadian in 2015-16, and this season took on the responsibility of serving as a co-captain for the Thunderbirds. The Kinesiology student is a member of the Thunderbird Athletic Council, and also serves as a liaison between the athletics department and UBC’s Equity and Inclusion Office, working as a translator. Jalalapoor also volunteers his time at the Saltus Athletic Academy in Vancouver, introducing youth to the sport of basketball and athletic training.
“Phil’s work ethic on the court is matched by his dedication to his academics. He is the prototypical student-athlete and a role model to his teammates. Through his hard work, Phil was able to attain Academic All-Canadian status. He is leader within the greater UBC community and has a bright future both on and off the basketball court.” – UBC head coach Kevin Hanson.
Coach of the Year
Longtime UBC head coach Kevin Hanson is the Canada West Coach of the Year for a sixth time, following a 19-1 regular season record with the T-Birds. Hanson sports one of the best resumes in recent Canada West men’s basketball coaching history, with a conference record of 270-85 since joining UBC in 2000.
Hanson now moves forward as the Canada West nominee for the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as U SPORTS TIMEX coach of the year. Hanson previously won the national award in 2005-06 and 2009-10.
“Kevin Hanson was able to get the most out of his veterans and at the same time develop his younger players in 2016-17. The UBC Thunderbirds had an incredible run throughout the regular season – going 19-1 and finishing with the best record in Canada West.” – UBC athletic director Gilles Lepine.