Five Cape Breton Capers basketball players have been recognized for their strong regular season performances.
The Atlantic University Sport awards were announced Wednesday on the eve of the annual conference championships that start Friday at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Both the Capers men’s and women’s teams will take part in the competition.
First-year player Hailey MacLeod of Marion Bridge was named AUS rookie of the year and also made the all-rookie team. Third-year guard MacKenzee Ryan of Glace Bay was named a first-team all-star, while teammate Monique Calliste was selected as a second-team all-star.
MacLeod becomes the third Cape Breton player to be named top rookie in the past eight years as she joined Colleen Keane and Alison Keough as recipients of the prestigious award.
As a major award winner, MacLeod becomes the conference's nominee for the U Sports national rookie of year award. That award was won by Keough in the 2013-14 season.
UPEI guard Jenna Mae Ellsworth was named most valuable player, an award previously won by Keough and her former Capers teammate Hanna Brown of North Sydney. Ellsworth was also selected as the conference’s defensive player of the year.
On the men’s side of the AUS awards, the Capers’ Osman Omar, who led the conference in scoring with a 20.6 points-per-game average, was named as a second-team all-star, while Australia’s Cooper Ward was honoured as a member of the all-rookie squad. Ward, ironically, was not the only player from Down Under to be feted as fellow Aussie Matur Maluach of Sydney, who plays for the University of New Brunswick Reds, was also named to the all-rookie five.
A pair of players from the Bahamas were also recognized as St. Francis Xavier’s Azaro Roker was named a first-team all-star and Qyemah Gibson of Saint Mary’s was selected as a second-team all-star.
Dalhousie’s Keevan Veinot of Port Williams, Kings County was named the conference’s most valuable player after leading the Tigers to a 19-1 record in the regular season
Jimmy Dorsey was the last Cape Breton men’s team player to capture the MVP award. He collected the hardware in both the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.