FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020
2019-20 AUS Men's Basketball Awards and All-Stars Announced
Dalhousie's Keevan Veinot named AUS MVP
(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2019-20 AUS men's basketball all-stars and major award winners as selected by the conference's eight head coaches following regular season play.
Third-year Dalhousie guard Keevan Veinot of Port Williams, N.S., was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player.
Other AUS major award winners announced today were StFX's Avan Nava of Mississauga, Ont., who was named rookie of the year; Dalhousie's Xavier Ochu of Milton, Ont., who was named defensive player of the year; Acadia's Forest Mahoney of Beachburg, Ont., who received the student-athlete community service award; and Dalhousie head coach Rick Plato who was named the AUS coach of the year for the third time in his career.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Keevan Veinot, Dalhousie Tigers
Keevan Veinot, a third-year guard with the U SPORTS No. 2-ranked Dalhousie Tigers, is the 2019-20 AUS men's basketball most valuable player.
A commerce student from Port Williams, N.S., Veinot led the Tigers to a 19-1 regular season record, a first-place finish in the AUS standings, and a first-round playoff bye through to Saturday's semifinals.
He led the conference in steals, averaging 2.3 per game, and in assists, averaging 5.5 per game.
He led Dalhousie in both points per game (15.6) and rebounds per game (5.2).
In addition to receiving the conference's top honour, Veinot was also named an AUS first team all-star today for the first time in his career. He was named to the AUS all-rookie team in his freshman season in 2017-18.
He was also named AUS championship MVP last season after the Tigers captured their fourth conference title in five seasons.
Veinot is the first-ever Dalhousie player to earn conference MVP nods in men's basketball.
He now becomes the AUS representative for the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding player in U SPORTS basketball.
The last Atlantic conference player to win the national award was William Njoku of the Saint Mary's Huskies in 1992-93.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Avan Nava, StFX X-Men
The 2019-20 AUS rookie of the year is Avan Nava from the StFX X-Men.
A six-foot-two guard from Mississauga, Ont., Nava started in 19 regular season games for the X-Men and played in all 20.
In his first year with StFX, he led the conference in three-point shooting, going 49-106 for an AUS-best 46.2 per cent.
He finished fifth in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game.
Nava helped lead the X-Men (11-9) to a second-place finish in the AUS conference standings and a bye through to the semi-final round of the playoffs.
He is the first StFX player to take home AUS rookie of the year honours since the 2007-08 season when Islam Luiz de Toledo earned the award for the X-Men.
Nava will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Dr. Peter Mullins trophy as U SPORTS rookie of the year. No StFX player has ever earned the national honour.
The last player from the Atlantic conference to be named U SPORTS rookie of the year was Saint Mary's Nikita Kasongo who took home the award in 2017-18.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Xavier Ochu, Dalhousie Tigers
Xavier Ochu of the Dalhousie Tigers men's basketball team is the 2019-20 AUS men's basketball defensive player of the year.
A third-year guard from Milton, Ont., Ochu averaged 1.9 steals and 3.5 defensive rebounds per game this season for Dalhousie.
The Tigers were a defensive force, leading the conference and finishing second nationally with a points against average of 65.8.
Ochu is just the second player from the Tigers to be named AUS defensive player of the year. Former Dalhousie standout Ritchie Kanza Mata earned the honour twice—in 2014-15 and 2016-17.
He now becomes the AUS conference nominee for the U SPORTS defensive player of the year award.
CBU's Phil Nkrumah and StFX's Garry Gallimore are the only AUS players to have been named CIS (now U SPORTS) defensive player of the year since the inception of the award in 2004-05.
STUDENT-ATHLETE COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD: Forest Mahoney, Acadia Axemen
Forest Mahoney of the Acadia Axemen is the 2019-20 recipient of the AUS student-athlete community service award and will be the Atlantic conference nominee for the prestigious Ken Shields Award.
A six-foot-six power forward from Beachburg, Ont., Mahoney started in 19 games for the Axemen this season and played in all 20.
He led the conference and finished third in the country in blocks, averaging 2.0 per game.
He also averaged 9.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game on the season.
A physics student and four-time academic all-Canadian, Mahoney has had success on the court and in the classroom throughout his time at Acadia, while also volunteering on campus and in the Wolfville community.
He was a finalist for the Acadia nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship and has been the recipient of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's Undergraduate Student Research Award since 2016.
He serves as the men's basketball team lead for the Acadia Players' Association and volunteers with such organizations and causes as Relay for Life, Camp Triumph and Acadia's S.M.I.L.E. program (Sensory Motor Instructional Leadership Experience).
Mahoney is the fifth player from the Acadia Axemen to be honoured with the AUS student-athlete community service award. Past winners include Shaquille Smith (2015-16), Thomas Filgiano (2011-12), Alex Traikov (2008-09) and Jordan Sheriko (2005-06).
Mahoney now becomes the AUS nominee for the national Ken Shields award. Acadia's Sheriko is the only Axemen player to ever win the national honour.
An AUS athlete has earned the honour in four of the past six seasons. Former Tigers standout Sven Stammberger was the most recent from the Atlantic conference winner of the national Ken Shields Award. He won in 2017-18.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Rick Plato, Dalhousie Tigers
In his seventh season at the helm of the Dalhousie program, Rick Plato has been selected by his peers as the AUS coach of the year for the third time in his career.
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 in the conference 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.
He first earned the conference's coach of the year honour in back-to-back seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Coach Plato will now represent the AUS as the nominee for U SPORTS coach of the year. No Dalhousie head coach has ever earned the national honour.
StFX's Steve Konchalski (2000-01) is the last Atlantic conference head coach to win the Stuart W. Aberdeen Trophy as the nation's top university coach.
FIRST AND SECOND TEAM ALL-STARS AND ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced today, along with this year's all-rookie team.
First Team All-Stars
Keevan Veinot, Dalhousie (3rd year – Port Williams, N.S.)
Azaro Roker, StFX (4th year – Nassau, Bahamas)
Ibrahima Doumbouya, UNB (3rd year – Calgary, Alta.)
Johneil Johnson, Saint Mary's (3rd year – Lake Echo, N.S.)
Cole Long, Memorial (4th year – St. John's, N.L.)
Second Team All-Stars
Osman Omar, Cape Breton (3rd year – Mississauga, Ont.)
Alex Carson, Dalhousie (4th year – Lower Sackville, N.S.)
Chris Spurrell, UNB (4th year – Quispamsis, N.B.)
Avan Nava, StFX (1st year – Mississauga, Ont.)
Qyemah Gibson, Saint Mary's (2nd year – Nassau, Bahamas)
Avan Nava, StFX (Mississauga, Ont.)
Elijah Miller, UPEI (Etobicoke, Ont.)
Marcus Masters, UNB (Kitchener, Ont.)
Cooper Ward, Cape Breton (Ipswich, Australia)
Matur Maluach, UNB (Sydney, Australia)
The 2020 Subway AUS Basketball Championships will be hosted at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, N.S., Feb. 28 to March 1, 2020.
The women's and men's schedules have been blended this season. Each doubleheader will feature one women's game and one men's game.
The championship schedule is as follows: (seeding in brackets)
Friday, Feb. 28
Women's Quarterfinal #1: Cape Breton (5th) vs. UNB (4th) – 1 p.m.
Men's Quarterfinal #1: Memorial (5th) vs. Saint Mary's (4th) – 3 p.m.
Women's Quarterfinal #2: Saint Mary's (6th) vs. Memorial (3rd) – 6:30 p.m.
Men's Quarterfinal #2: Cape Breton (6th) vs. UNB (3rd) – 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 29
Women's Semifinal #1: Winner of QF1 vs. UPEI (1st) – 1 p.m.
Men's Semifinal #1: Winner of QF1 vs. Dalhousie (1st) – 3 p.m.
Women's Semifinal #2: Winner of QF2 vs. Acadia (2nd) – 6:30 p.m.
Men's Semifinal #2: Winner of QF2 vs. StFX (2nd) – 8:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 1
Women's Championship Game: Winner of SF1 vs. Winner of SF2 – 1 p.m.
Men's Championship Game: Winner of SF1 vs. Winner of SF2 – 4 p.m.
Final AUS men's standings: http://www.atlanticuniversitysport.com/sports/mbkb/2019-20/standings
All games of championship will be broadcast live Bell Alliant's Fibe TV1 (channel 1) and available via webcast at www.AUStv.ca.
For more information on the 2020 Subway AUS Basketball Championships, visit the event website at: www.AUSHoops.ca. Single session tickets are now available through Ticket Atlantic.
The AUS champions will advance to the 2020 U SPORTS men's and women's basketball championships, being jointly hosted by the University of Ottawa and Carleton University March 6-8 in Ottawa, Ont. Only the AUS conference champions are guaranteed a berth at their respective national championships.
For more information about the U SPORTS championship, please visit https://usports.ca/en/championships/final-8/f/info.