Evan Daum, Canada West Communications
- Canada West announced the 2017-18 men's basketball award winners Thursday
- UBC's Conor Morgan took home the top honour as the conference Player of the Year
- Both UBC (Morgan and Rookie of the Year Grant Shephard) and Alberta (Brody Clarke as Ken Shields award winner and Barnaby Craddock as Coach of the Year) had multiple winners
- Calgary guard Jhony Verrone (Defensive Player of the Year), Alberta Golden Bear forward Brody Clarke (Ken Shields Award), and Bears coach Barnaby Craddock (Coach of the Year) will take part in the CW Championship Game this Saturday in Edmonton when Alberta hosts Calgary
EDMONTON – For the second consecutive season, Conor Morgan is the Canada West Men's Basketball Player of the Year.
The fifth-year UBC Thunderbird was named as the conference's top player Thursday, as Canada West unveiled its 2017-18 basketball major award winners. He becomes the first back-to-back winner of the award since Saskatchewan's Jamelle Barrett (2010-11 and 2011-12).
Morgan enjoyed another tremendous season, as he finished third in CW scoring with 23.9 PPG (just 0.2 back of CW leader Justus Alleyn from Manitoba), and was second in rebounds with 9.7 per game.
He wrapped up his five-year career third on the Thunderbirds all-time scoring list with 1,526 points, behind only Casey Archibald (1,668) and J.D. Jackson (2,045).
Along with Morgan, UBC's Grant Shephard was also honoured by CW, as the Kelowna, B.C. product was named the CW Rookie of the Year. The much sought-after recruit suited up in all 20 games for the T-Birds during their 17-3 regular season.
Also earning conference major awards were Calgary guard Jhony Verrone (Defensive Player of the Year), Alberta Golden Bear forward Brody Clarke (Ken Shields Award for basketball, academics and community service), and Bears coach Barnaby Craddock (Coach of the Year).
All award winners now move forward as the CW nominees for the national awards, which will be handed out at the U SPORTS Final 8 in Halifax (March 8-11).
Alberta and Calgary meet this weekend in Edmonton, as the CW Men's Basketball Championship Game is slated for Saturday at 7:30 p.m. MST.
You can watch the Dinos and Bears go head-to-head for the CW banner for the first time in their storied rivalry live on SaskTel maxTV (348 HD and 48 SD) and TELUS Optik TV (998 HD and 9998 SD).
The game will also be available by tuning into Canada West TV – the official streaming home of every conference men's basketball game.
NOTE: The CW awards were selected by the conference's 17 men's basketball head coaches.
2017-18 MEN'S BASKETBALL AWARDS
G/F – Conor Morgan, UBC Thunderbirds
2017-18 CW regular season: 18 GP / 23.9 PPG / 9.7 RPG / 27 blocks
For the second consecutive season, Conor Morgan has taken home the conference's top award after leading the UBC Thunderbirds to a 17-3 record. The Victoria, B.C. product finished third in points this season, averaging 23.9, while also posting 9.7 rebounds per game – second best in CW.
The three-time conference all-star finished his career as one of the top players in Thunderbirds history, posting 1,526 CW points – the third most in program history. His 486 defensive rebounds are the most in UBC history and tied for 15th in the CW record book.
He's the third T-Bird to win the award back-to-back seasons, joining J.D. Jackson (1990-91 and 1991-92), and Casey Archibald (2005-06 and 2006-07) – who are No. 1 and 2 respectively on the UBC all-time scoring list.
"This is a great honour for Conor and a testament to the dedication and effort that he has put in this year. His unique athleticism makes him a special player and it's great to see him being recognized for having an outstanding season. In addition, as a fifth-year player and a team leader his work ethic, example and mentorship has been a huge benefit throughout our line up." – Kevin Hanson, UBC head coach.
F – Grant Shephard, UBC Thunderbirds
2017-18 CW regular season: 20 GP / 8.8 PPG / 4.4 RPG / 57.3 FG%
Highly touted recruit Grant Shephard delivered in his rookie season for the UBC Thunderbirds, as the Kelowna, B.C. product played all 20 games for the T-Birds during their 17-3 season.
The 6-10 forward, who played his grade 12 season at prep school Montverde Academy in Florida, averaged 8.8 PPG and 4.4 RPG. He will be looked to help fill the void being left by Morgan, as the next crop of UBC hoopsters look to carry on the program's long tradition of success. Shephard enjoyed quite the 2017-18 season away from UBC as well, competing for the Canadian team which captured the FIBA U19 World Cup in July.
"Grant has had a tremendous season. We are very proud of his development and his growth as a player. It is great to see him be recognized for his accomplishments in his first year." – Kevin Hanson, UBC head coach.
G – Jhony Verrone, Calgary Dinos
2017-18 CW regular season: 20 GP / 7.0 PPG / 3.0 RPG / 24 steals
One of the most versatile players in the nation, Calgary Dino Jhony Verrone capped off his CW career with the conference's top honour for defensive play.
The Montreal, Que. product has been lauded by head coach Dan Vanhooren for his attention to detail, which served him and the Dinos well during their 16-4 regular season and run to the CW Championship Game this season.
"Jhony has been so reliable for us, and he can defend every position on the floor because of his physical strength and technical capability. That level of versatility defensively is the reason he starts for our team, and it's great that he's being recognized for that. Jhony excels in the things that go unwritten – statistics aren't the only reflection of a player's value, and he is great at what doesn't often get marked down." – Dan Vanhooren, Calgary head coach.
F – Brody Clarke, Alberta Golden Bears
2017-18 CW regular season: 20 GP / 14.9 PPG / 8.3 RPG / 31 blocks / 54.4 FG%
Alberta forward Brody Clarke is the Canada West Ken Shields Award winner for 2017-18. The award recognizes a player for excellence in basketball, academics, and community service.
In the classroom, Clarke earned a 3.6 GPA during the 2016-17 academic year, and posted a 3.9 GPA during the first semester of 2017-18. The Engineering student is a three-time All-Canadian, but still finds time to volunteer for the University of Alberta Athletics Board – which is a student-athlete leadership group – and has spent time visiting sick kids at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton.
During the off-season, the Toronto, Ont. product has worked full-time for Edmonton based PCL Construction Management.
"Brody is a great example of the on-court and off-court success that our U SPORTS student-athletes are achieving across the country. He has an exemplary work ethic, which allows him to achieve excellence in all areas of his life. Brody is a fitting nominee for the prestigious Ken Shields Award and a fantastic ambassador for the University of Alberta and Canada West basketball." – Barnaby Craddock, Alberta head coach.
2017-18 CW regular season record: 19-1 (first CW)
For the second time in his career, Barnaby Craddock is the CW Coach of the Year. The Alberta head coach previously won both the conference and national award back in 2006-07 while with the Brandon Bobcats.
Over six seasons with the Bears, Craddock has guided the team to a 91-33 regular season record and a pair of conference banners (2013-14 and 2016-17).
This season, Craddock led Alberta to a 19-1 record during the regular season, as the Bears followed up their 2016-17 CW championship with a first-place finish in 2017-18.
"Since taking over the Golden Bears in 2012, Barnaby has consistently guided the Bears as conference and national contenders. His strong work ethic shows in all the players he coaches, which was very evident this season, as his team finished with a conference-best 19-1 record. Barnaby is very deserving of the CW Coach of the Year Award this season." – Ian Reade, University of Alberta Director of Athletics.