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March 11, 2010

2009-10 AUS major awards and all-stars announced

SYDNEY, NS - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2009-10 men's basketball major award winners and all-star teams as chosen by the eight Atlantic conference head coaches following regular season play.

For the second year in a row, the Atlantic University Sport Most Valuable Player is Christian Upshaw of the StFX X-Men.

Upshaw, a fourth year guard from Halifax, NS, and the 2006-07 AUS Rookie of the Year, finished third in league scoring this year with a 19.5 points per game average. He also led the conference in assists (6.00 per game), ranked fourth in AUS steals (2.30 per game) and was seventh in free-throw percentage (81.4 per cent).

This season, Christian appeared in all 20 regular season games for the X-Men, currently ranked No. 4 in the country after finishing with an 18-2 record. He scored 20 or more points on 11 occasions this year and broke the 30-point barrier twice.

In just four seasons with the StFX program, Upshaw is already the StFX school leader in career steals with 162 and his 386 career assists rank him third in X-Men history.

"Christian had another phenomenal year for us," comments StFX head coach Steve Konchalski. "He is a leader for our program who has done it all for the X-Men this year, helping us to a an 18-2 regular season record and a consistent top 5 national ranking. His selection as AUS MVP is the first time I can recall a 5'10" point guard ever winning back-to-back league honours."

Christian is the first repeat winner of this award since Gabe Goree of the Saint Mary's Huskies took home the honour in back-to-back years in 2002-03 and 2003-04.

Upshaw is one of only four StFX players to be named AUS MVP in the past 30 years, joining Fred Perry, Kyle Gayle and John Hatch as the only X-Men to win the award.

He will once again be the conference representative for the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding player in CIS basketball. The last Atlantic conference player to win the CIS award was William Njoku of the Saint Mary's Huskies in 1992-93.

Owen Klassen (Kingston, ON) of the Acadia Axemen is the 2009-10 AUS Rookie of the Year.

Klassen led all freshmen in league rebounding this season with an average of 7.6 per game, ranking him sixth overall in the conference. Owen averaged 10.5 points per game as a freshman and also ranked sixth in AUS blocks and eighth in AUS field-goal percentage (50.0 per cent).

"As the season has progressed, Owen became a bigger and more dominant factor for us at both ends of the floor," says Axemen head coach Steve Baur. "We've relied on him heavily this year and look forward to his contributions heading into the playoffs and in the years to come."

Klassen, who's five double-doubles was tops among all first year players, becomes the fifth Acadia player to be named Rookie of the Year since 1978-79.

Previous Axemen to win the award include Casey Fox (2008-09), Nick Landrigan (2001-02), Wayne Taylor (1987-88) and Larry Hampton (1980-81).

Owen will represent the AUS next week in Ottawa as the Atlantic conference nominee for the Dr. Peter Mullins trophy. Dalhousie's Shawn Plancke is the only AUS player to ever be named CIS Rookie of the Year.

For the third year in a row and the fourth time in his eight-year coaching career, Cape Breton's Jim Charters has been selected by his peers as the Atlantic University Sport Coach of the Year.

Charters, who also took home the award in 2004-05, 2007-08 and 2008-09, guided the Capers to an 18-2 regular season record this season and a first place finish in the AUS standings. The 18 wins are a career-high for Charters who's CBU team has been ranked in the CIS Top 10 in all fourteen polls this year.

The Capers, currently ranked third in the final poll of the season, have now clinched a first round playoff bye in six of the past seven seasons. His 2009-10 squad was the top scoring men's basketball team in the nation, averaging over 95 points per game.

Charters, whose career regular season record now stands at 115-52, has posted a winning record in each of the past seven seasons with the Capers.

"Jim has done an exceptional job guiding the Capers to the best regular season record in the history of the men's program here at CBU," says John Ryan, Director of Athletics at Cape Breton. "He has established himself as one of the top coaches in the country and deserves a great deal of credit for what the team has accomplished."

StFX's Steve Konchalski (2000-01) is the last Atlantic conference head coach to win the Stuart W. Aberdeen Trophy as the CIS Coach of the Year.

Jim Charters' CIS head coaching record (regular season):

Team                 Year      G    W  L
Dalhousie (Interim) 2001-02    7    1  6
Cape Breton         2002-03   20    8 12
Cape Breton         2003-04   20   13  7
Cape Breton         2004-05   20   14  6
Cape Breton         2005-06   20   16  4
Cape Breton         2006-07   20   16  4
Cape Breton         2007-08   20   14  6
Cape Breton         2008-09   20   15  5
Cape Breton         2009-10   20   18  2
Overall                       167 115 52

The Atlantic University Sport Defensive Player of the Year is once again 6'4", fourth-year power forward Phillip Nkrumah (Milton, ON) of the CIS No. 3 ranked Cape Breton Capers.

Nkrumah, the CBU Male Athlete of the Year and a second team CIS all-Canadian in 2008-09, ranked third in the conference in rebounding (8.1 rebounds per game), was also third in AUS steals (2.55 per game) and finished 11th in blocked shots (1.10 per game).

Phillip's play this season, which included a six double-doubles, helped the first-place Capers average a CIS-leading 95.1 points per game while holding their opponents to 76.5 points per game. CBU also led the league in blocked shots and steals.

Phil was selected as a member of the Canadian men's development national team this past summer and travelled to Belgrade, Serbia to compete in the World University Games.

"Phil is one of likely only a few players in CIS who can guard every position on the floor 1 through 5," says Capers head coach Jim Charters. "He is a terrific rebounder whose anticipation skills allow him to deflect and steal many passes. His strength and quickness have helped him become one of the top post defenders in the country."

StFX's Garry Gallimore is the only AUS player to have been named the CIS Defensive Player of the Year. He took home the award in 2004-05 and 2005-06.

The 2009-10 Atlantic University Sport Community Service and Student-Athlete Award recipient is Andrew Sullivan of the Dalhousie Tigers.

This award is presented annually to the player who best exhibits outstanding achievements in basketball, academics, and community involvement. Andrew will be the conference's nominee for the CIS Ken Shields Award.

On the court, Sullivan ends his five-year university career with 391 career assists, the second most in the history of the Dalhousie program. This season, he averaged 10.1 points per game and finished sixth in AUS assists (4.89 per game) and 15th in AUS steals (1.28 per game).

Sullivan is a three-year captain, an Academic all-Canadian, recruiter, ambassador and has won The Tiger Award at Dalhousie, which is given annually to the student-athlete who best displays the values of work-ethic, commitment, leadership and selflessness.

It is rare for a men's basketball player to study in the demanding Faculty of Engineering while competing at the varsity level, but Andrew manages his time effectively and as a result of his talent and dedication is able to excel at both.

He has been recognized over his four years as an Academic all-Canadian, Dean's List Scholar and Sexton Scholar. In the fall of 2009 Andrew was chosen as a Dalhousie nominee for the Rhodes' Scholarship.

He was able to continue through the process until the final eight in Eastern Canada but unfortunately, was not chosen for the award.

Recently, Andrew was chosen for the prestigious Governor's Award at Dalhousie which is awarded annually by the Board of Governors to a student that contributes to the university in an outstanding fashion in the area of leadership and student life.

There is little doubt that he will graduate in the spring earning his fifth consecutive Academic All-Canadian Award.

Andrew has also worked for Dalhousie as a basketball camp counselor and instructor. In addition to working at basketball camps Andrew has been a fixture in volunteer initiatives over his career at Dalhousie including the Terry Fox Run, the Running and Reading program at St. Joseph A. McKay school, the Canada Games Wheel Chair Basketball Test Event and the Hoops for Hope game

This past June, Andrew was able to leave his co-op placement with the Department of National Defence for four weeks to travel to Uganda to work in a small village. Andrew fundraised to pay for his trip in addition to organizing a donation of sporting equipment for the children at the Aids orphanage and school where he was volunteering. While in Uganda, Andrew led the construction of a basketball hoop for the children, ensuring a legacy for the school and children. Throughout this trip, Andrew made a tremendous contribution to the people he touched and was an excellent ambassador for Dalhousie University.

"Without question, Andrew is the most impressive student-athlete I have coached in eighteen years of post-secondary coaching," says Dalhousie head coach John Campbell. "Andrew has been a role-model on and off the basketball floor during his time at Dalhousie and I have no doubt that he will continue to have success in all of his personal and professional endeavours".

AUS ALL-STAR TEAMS

The 2009-10 AUS all-star teams and all-rookie team were also announced Thursday evening.

Joining Upshaw on the first team is the Saint Mary's duo of Joey Haywood and Mark McLaughlin, along with CBU's Jimmy Dorsey and Dalhousie's Simon Farine.

Upshaw, Haywood and McLaughlin were each first team selections a year ago while Farine was named to the second team last year. Dorsey is a conference all-star for the first time.

The second all-star team is comprised of CBU's Nkrumah and Paris Cater, fifth-year Acadia forward Alex Traikov, along with Will Silver of StFX and Joe Schow of the Dalhousie Tigers.

First team all-stars:
Christian Upshaw, StFX (4th year - Halifax, NS)
Joey Haywood, Saint Mary's (3rd year - Vancouver, BC)
Jimmy Dorsey, Cape Breton (2nd year - Westminster, MD)
Mark McLaughlin, Saint Mary's (5th year - Dartmouth, NS)
Simon Farine, Dalhousie (4th year - Toronto, ON)

Second team all-stars:
Will Silver, StFX (4th year - Halifax, NS)
Phillip Nkrumah, Cape Breton (4th year - Malton, ON)
Paris Carter, Cape Breton (4th year - Baltimore, MD)
Alex Traikov, Acadia (5th year - Mississauga, ON)
Joe Schow, Dalhousie (4th year - Medicine Hat, AB)

This year marks the fourth time for the selection of an all-rookie team in AUS men's basketball. Joining AUS Rookie of the Year Klassen on the squad are teammate Anthony Sears, StFX's Jordan Clarke, Memorial Sea-Hawks forward Mike Helsby and UNB Varsity Reds guard Daniel Quiron of Moncton, NB.

All-rookie team:
Owen Klassen, Acadia (Kingston, ON)
Anthony Sears, Acadia (Riverview, NB)
Jordan Clarke, StFX (Oakville, ON)
Mike Helsby, Memorial (Waterloo, ON)
Daniel Quiron, UNB (Moncton, NB)

The 2010 Subway Atlantic University Sport Men's Basketball Championship is being held at Centre 200 in Sydney, March 12-14, 2010. All tickets for the tournament are available through the Centre 200 at (902) 564-6668 or www.centre200.ca.

The championship schedule is as follows:

Friday, March 12
Quarter-final #1: No. 4 Dalhousie vs. No. 5 Acadia, 6:00pm
Quarter-final #2: No. 3 Saint Mary's vs. No. 6 UPEI, 8:15pm

Saturday, March 13
Semifinal #1: Winner QF #1 vs. No. 1 Cape Breton, 6:00pm (EastLink TV)
Semifinal #2: Winner QF #2 vs. No. 2 StFX, 8:15pm (EastLink TV)

Sunday, March 14
Championship Game: Semifinal Winners, 2:00pm (EastLink TV)

The Atlantic University Sport champions will advance to the 2010 CIS Men's Basketball Championship, March 19-21, 2010, hosted by Carleton University in Ottawa, ON.

For more information on the 2010 Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship, visit the event website at www.atlanticuniversitysport.com/final6/.

Source:

John Keefe

Communications Manager
Atlantic University Sport

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