Scott Laws and Ryan Maynard are this year’s recipients of the Liam Stevens Award. The award is named for Liam Stevens, who passed away in February 2001, at the age of 22 months. It is presented annually to the McMaster Marauder player who best exemplifies the qualities of positive attitude, hard work, and determination overcoming obstacles.
Laws, a 6’4″ guard from Gormley, ON (Sacred Heart High School, Newmarket), and Maynard, a 6’8″ forward from Hamilton (Bishop Tonnos High School) were awarded, not based on their contributions on the floor, but for their stellar examples off the basketball court.
Previous winners include Doug Doyle (2000-01), Justin Boye (2001-02), Charles Kissi (2002-03), Steve Martin (2003-04), Matt Wood (2004-05), Jeremy Patry (2005-06), Martin Ajayi and Adam Steiner (2006-07), Joe Polizzi (2007-08), Aminu Bello (2008-09), Jordan Tew (2009-10), and Victor Raso (2010-11).
“Liam was a remarkable child,” commented Dale Stevens. “He was faced with many obstacles in his short life, including open heart surgery, developmental delays, and other medical issues. But through it all, Liam was the happiest, most determined child in the world.”
After his death, his parents, Angela, an elementary school teacher, and Dale, a 23-year McMaster University Accountant and avid Marauder supporter, decided to honour him. In addition to the Liam Stevens Award, a fund was established in his name at the McMaster Children’s Hospital. For more information about the fund, or to donate, please contact Dale Stevens at email@example.com
Laws was a former Ontario University Athletics West All-Rookie team selection, and nominee for conference defensive player of the year. However, an injury cut short his 2010-11 campaign, and forced him to the sidelines for the entire 2011-12 season. While it would have been easy to walk away from basketball, Laws decided to continue to make a positive impact in other ways. He became the Marketing Manager for the team, organizing and successfully introducing two new events, Midnight Madness and Pack This House. He also continued to help the young Marauder players, and was another voice on the sidelines and at practice.
Maynard took a very different path to the Maroon jersey. A car accident at 18 months of age left him with a brain injury and paralysis on his left side. After spending a great deal of time in hospital, Maynard used Tae Kwon Do to aid in his rehabilitation, later picking up a basketball. Not a star in high school, he was a virtual unknown when he found himself at Marauder tryouts. But, his determination forced the hand of the coaching staff, and the team unanimously agreed with his selection to the squad.
“While neither of these student athletes made any significant contributions on the scoresheet, their presence on the sidelines, in the locker room, and on campus, helped to mould the squad into a national contender,” said Stevens. “Scott and Ryan were the perfect definition of a teammate, and their determination is exactly what we have come to expect from recipients of this award.”
Both Laws and Maynard plan to continue their schooling, looking at the MBA program and Teacher’s College respectively. Stevens thinks that’s so appropriate. “Given their past experience, I expect nothing but more of the same from Scott and Ryan, and can’t wait to see where the future leads them.”