Fifth-year Windsor Lancers forward Greg Surmacz (Peterborough) is the Ontario University Athletics’ West Division basketball Player of the Year.
Joining Surmacz on the list of all-stars and major award winners are two McMaster Marauders. Point guard Scott Laws (Newmarket) made the All-Rookie team while fourth-year centre Mouctar Diaby (Hamilton) named to the Second Team All-stars.
Surmacz was among the division leaders in points per game once again, averaging 19.7 over 22 games. He was also one of the division’s top rebounders, averaging 7.6 boards per game, and was second in the division with 134 defensive rebounds. Surmacz also headlines the West Division First Team All-Stars. The Lancers were among the Top 10 nationally-ranked teams the entire season, finishing 15-7 and second in the West Division.
Alex Brzozowicz (Oak Park, Ill.) of the Western Mustangs is the 2008-09 West Division Defensive Player of the Year. The fourth-year guard contributed 68 rebounds, including 54 from the defensive end of the court. He also earned 37 steals and blocked a team-high 14 shots.
Brzozowicz is also the West Division recipient of the Ken Shields Award for his achievements in basketball, academics, and community involvement. Brzozowicz will earn a Richard Ivey School of Business Honours Business Administration degree this spring, with a better-than 80 percent average in his first term. He has taken on an increased academic load this school year, completing 8.25 courses compared to the normal five.
He still finds time, however, for community service, whether it is back home in Illinois or in London. During the summer Brzozowicz volunteers at the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls in Chicago in their Hoops for Homework program, and at West Suburban Montessori School in Oak Park, Ill. During the school year he was active with the Salvation Army collecting Christmas donations, as well as Western basketball’s outreach to local elementary schools, making presentations to grades 7 and 8 students about making positive choices and community involvement. He also helped coach the London Oakridge High School senior boy’s basketball team.
Brock Badgers guard Didi Mukendi (St. Catharines) is the West Division Rookie of the Year. Mukendi scored a team-high 363 points, averaging 16.5 over 22 games, good for fifth in the division. He also contributed under the boards with 108 rebounds, 78 defensively. He was second on the Badgers in assists with 63, and led Brock with 43 steals, placing him third in the division. While the defending national champions were shut out of the OUA playoffs this year, the future looks bright with Mukendi on the team.
Brad Campbell of the Western Mustangs is the West Division Coach of the Year. The Mustangs finished on top of the division for the first time since 2001-2002 with a 19-3 record, a seven-game turnaround from one season ago. On Nov. 25, the Mustangs joined the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Top 10 list for the first time since 2002-2003, climbing as high as No. 4 to conclude the regular season.
Included among Campbell’s players are fourth-year forward Keenan Jeppesen (Stoney Creek) and fifth-year forward Brad Smith (Churchill, Ont.), a pair of West Division First Team All-Stars. Both players combined for 753 points in 2008-09.
Other players named to the First Team All-Stars are second-year small forward Kale Harrison (Stratford, Ont.) of the Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks and fifth-year guard/forward Kiraan Posey (Baltimore, Mary.) of the Lakehead Thunderwolves. Harrison led the Golden Hawks with 381 points, while Posey led the division with 491 points averaging 22.3 per game.
West Division Second Team All-Stars, including Mac’s Diaby, are Windsor third-year forward Isaac Kuon (Mississauga), Laurier fourth-year guard Jesse MacDonald (Brantford), Guelph Gryphons fifth-year guard Nick Pankerichan (Hamilton) and Brock fifth-year forward/centre Owen White (Port Hope).
Joining Mukendi on the West Division All-Rookie team are point guard Travis Berry (St. Catharines) of the Golden Hawks, guard Greg Carter (Ottawa) and forward Yoosrie Salhia (Toronto) of the Thunderwolves, Laws, and guard Joel Whitty (St. Catharines) of the Badgers.
The East Division men’s basketball All-Stars and major award winners will be announced on March 4.