Aminu Bello has scored a double victory.
The Mohawk Mountaineers graduating guard on the men’s basketball team was named the 2012 Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Male Athlete of the Year Across All Sports and the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association’s Male Athlete of the Year.
The team’s co-captain had an unbelievable season, leading the Mountaineers to their first national basketball title as well as being named a CCAA basketball all-Canadian and a SIRC-CCAA Academic All-Canadian in his graduation year.
“Aminu is the best representation of a well-rounded athlete. He brings it all,” said Leigh Goldie, CCAA vice-president of programs. “He’s a solid performer who had a great CCAA national championship and a great academic average.”
Bello’s second year with the team saw him rack up 32 points at this year’s national gold medal game, in which he was named Player of the game for his performance.
“Aminu is a hard working, goal oriented young man,” said Mohawk College athletic director Michelle Ball. “He’s a great leader who shows by example.”
Bello played his high school basketball at Sir John A Macdonald and then at McMaster University, joining the Mountaineers after graduation.
The other nominees for the CCAA Male Athlete of the Year were Charles Arsenault of the Francois-Xavier Garneau Élans, Adrian Cord of the Humber Hawks, Colton deMan of the Mount Royal Cougars, Dan Kai of the NAIT Ooks, D.J. Ronaldson of the Fanshawe Falcons, and Jovain Wilson of the Algoma Thunderbirds.
The OCAA honour recognizes Bello’s West Division scoring champion title and his 24.4 points per game average. Bello dropped a grand total of 440 points and led the league in field goals, shooting 159-of-322, and free throws, shooting 84-of-99. For his efforts, Bello was named an OCAA West Division first-team all-star. Mohawk finished the regular season with a 13-5 record, good for fourth place in a tough OCAA West Division.
It was Bello’s play during the post-season, however, that people will remember for a long time. The Mountaineer scored 18 points in a 90-65 win over Durham in the qualifying round to secure an invite to the OCAA championship tournament. Mohawk carried this momentum throughout the tournament, first knocking off East regional champion Centennial, 73-69, as Bello scored a team-high 20 points.
He contributed another 15 points in a 96-61 semi-final victory over Georgian, setting up a meeting in the OCAA final against three-time defending champion Humber. Bello scored a team-high 33 points, earning player of the game honours as Mohawk defeated Humber, 89-86, ending a 40-year OCAA championship drought. Bello scored a running jumper with 17 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Bello was also named a tournament all-star.
Bello and his teammates picked up where they left off at the CCAA nationals. Bello scored 23 points in a 101-96 win over defending national champion Vanier to open the tournament, and added 15 points in a 78-71 win over No. 1 seed UNBC in the semi-finals. The Mountaineers capped off their first-ever national championship with an 88-73 win over Mount Royal, with Bello contributing a game-high 32 points to earn player of the game honours. Bello was also named a tournament all-star.
Bello was equally as strong off the court as he was on it. He earned all-academic honours in both the OCAA and CCAA. Bello received the Dr. Sam Mitminger Award, given to a Mohawk athlete in his or her graduating year who achieves consistent academic and athletic excellence. Bello will graduate from Mohawk with an urban planning diploma.
Bello will be presented his OCAA male athlete of the year award later this month. He becomes the fifth basketball player to earn this honour, and the fourth Mohawk student-athlete.
OCAA MALE ATHLETES OF THE YEAR
2011-12: Aminu Bello, Mohawk (Basketball)
2010-11: Eric Smith, Durham (Basketball)
2009-10: Ryan Talsma, Redeemer (Volleyball)
2008-09: Charley Spurr, Algonquin (Basketball)
2007-08: Jasmin Cull, Mohawk (Volleyball)
2006-07: Loui Legakis, Algonquin (Soccer)
2005-06: Peter Sniuolis, Mohawk (Volleyball)
2004-05: Nathaniel Allard, Centennial (Badminton)
2003-04: Glendon Thomas, Cambrian (Badminton)
2002-03: Joey Martins, Loyalist (Soccer, Volleyball)
2001-02: Mike Silva, Humber (Soccer, Indoor Soccer)
2000-01: John Sozio, Mohawk (Soccer)
1999-2000: Shane Bascoe, Sheridan (Basketball)
1998-99: Bill Crowdis, Durham (Basketball)
1997-98: Mike Kaytar and Bob Parnell, Cambrian (Badminton)
1996-97: Todd Boys, Loyalist (Volleyball)