Four awards and six all-star appearances highlight stellar year on the court
Ontario University Athletics (OUA) released their basketball award winners and all-star selections this week. As a whole, the Gee-Gees teams were incredibly well represented, showing the strength of their seasons.
On the men’s side, fifth-year point guard Mike L’Africain took home Player of the Year honours. The Oakville, Ont. native was the team’s vocal leader and also posted career-best statistics, putting up 20 points, five assists, and three rebounds per game. This is L’Africain’s first OUA award win.
L’Africain’s was not the only men’s award the Gee-Gees took home, as fourth-year forward Caleb Agada was named Defensive Player of the Year. Agada is renowned for stellar on-ball defence, steals, blocks, and defensive rebounding abilities. This is also Agada’s first OUA award win.
Both Agada and L’Africain were named first-team all-stars, while forward Nathan McCarthy was named a second-team all-star. McCarthy’s first year with the Gee-Gees was very successful after transferring from McMaster, the fourth-year averaged 11 points, five rebounds in garnet and grey.
For the women’s team, after leading the Gee-Gees to a 17-2 record, head coach Andy Sparks took home Coach of the Year honours. Sparks is no stranger to this award as he has received it three other times in his eight-year tenure at the U of O. Sparks’ team will be centre stage as it hosts the OUA’s Critelli Cup Final Four at Montpetit Hall this weekend.
Sparks (centre) instructs his team in the huddle. Photo: Marta Kierkus.
Fifth-year guard Krista Van Slingerland also took home an award, winning the Tracy McLeod Award for spirit and perseverance by an athlete. Van Slingerland dedicated massive amounts of time and energy into creating the Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative and becoming an ambassador for mental health issues plaguing athletes.
Last year’s Tracy McLeod recipient, fifth-year guard/forward Kellie Ring was named a first-team all-star. Ring averaged 11 points, seven rebounds, and four assists this year despite starting the year sidelined with a concussion.
Forward Catherine Traer and point guard Julia Soriano both earned second-team all-star nods. Traer scored 16 points per game to lead the team this year, her missed time due to injury likely cost her a first-team appearance. Soriano also was a star for the Gees averaging 11 points and shooting 44.2 per cent from three point range.
Next week, the national awards will be announced and the Gee-Gees will look to find representation on the national level as well.