The Canada West Conference has announced the 2008 men’s basketball individual
major award winners and All-Stars, as selected by head coaches across
the conference.  A number of player's from Manitoba schools are amongst those recognized including Erfan Nasajpour,

Dany Charlery, Adam Hartman, Isaac Ansah, Yul Michel and Matt Opalko.  The details are...

 University of Alberta fifth-year guard Alex Steele
is the 2007-08 Canada West men’s basketball MVP. The Golden Bears’ team
captain tied for third in conference scoring, averaging 21.0 points per
game, second in free throw percentage at .841, sixth with a .528 field
goal percentage and eight in assist, with 3.77 per contest. Alberta
finished the season 16-6, won a first-round playoff series and, while
they did lose to Calgary at the division final, they are in this week’s
Final Four at Calgary as a wild card entry.

“Alex has been the player who has taken us to within one game of going
back to Nationals,” said 25-year U of A head coach Don Horwood. “We
would not have this opportunity without Alex’s leadership on the court
and in the locker. He is very deserving of this award and we are very
proud of him.”

Calgary’s Tyler Fidler
was selected by coaches as the Rookie of the Year. The sixth-man on a
deep Dinos squad, Fidler averaged 9.9 point per game and 21.7 minutes
per game. With a .432 field goal percentage, a .342 three-point
percentage and 4.0 rebounds per game, he is the first Calgary player to
take Rookie honours since Chris Harris back in 1998.

For the second straight year, outstanding point guard Yul Michel
of the Brandon Bobcats, another CW Final Four team, is the Defensive
Player of the Year. Michel, a six-foot-one-inch guard playing his final
CIS season, was among the league leaders in assists (second),
assist-turnover ratio (third), steals (12th), field goal percentage
(14th) and scoring (15th).

An all-around star for the 2007 CIS runners-up, the Education major out
of Montreal has been stellar for the Bobcats for several years.

“Yul Michel is a tremendous competitor, leader, and defender. He plays
the game with a great deal of emotion and is one of the premier
defensive stoppers in the country,” said Brandon men’s basketball head
coach Mike Raimbault.

Moving forward as the Canada West nominee for the Ken Shields Award is Matt Opalko
from the Winnipeg Wesmen. The four-time Academic all-Canadian has made
an ongoing contribution in many areas of the community, as Habitat for
Humanity committee member, Boys & Girls Clubs of Winnipeg
Volunteer, an “I Love to Read” month volunteer where Opalko visited
local schools to read and encourage literacy, and spoke about
sportsmanship and fair play. He is a student-teacher at Valley Gardens
Middle School, where he coaches Grade 6 basketball and teaches social
studies and physical education in Grades 6 to 8. He was also involved
with the outreach program in the Athletes Village at the World
University Games in Thailand last year, and has been involved with many
other events in recent years.

“It is great to see Matt named as the Canada West nominee for the Ken
Shields award. He has been a big part of our program, a leader on and
off the court and he highly deserves this recognition as a true
student-athlete,” said Wesmen head coach Dave Crook.

Long-time Alberta bench boss Don Horwood
is the conference Coach of the Year, as selected by his fellow coaches.
Horwood, in his 40th year overall of coaching basketball, took the team
to a solid 16-6 record, good for second place in the Central Division,
and his Bears now have a spot in the Final Four at Calgary this
weekend, where the two semifinal winners on Friday earn a berth to
Nationals. He has taken Alberta to three national titles in his career,
two second-place finishes and one bronze medal, while racking up 566
overall victories, 300 conference wins and a 70-56 playoff record.

“It is great to see Don Horwood get recognized by his peers! Don builds
a competitive team year after year and sometimes this consistency gets
overlooked,” commented University of Alberta Athletic Director Dale
Schulha. “Coach Horwood’s passion and commitment to the Golden Bears
basketball program has been without question for the past 25 years and
it is very encouraging to see his leadership recognized again at this
stage in his career.”

Following is a breakdown of all individual award winners and All-Stars:


MVP: Alex Steele, Alberta

Rookie of the Year: Tyler Fidler, Calgary

Defensive Player of the Year: Yul Michel, Brandon

Ken Shields Award nominee: Matt Opalko, Winnipeg

Coach of the Year: Don Horwood, Alberta


First Team

Alex Steele, Alberta

Erfan Nasajpour, Winnipeg

Andrew Spagrud, Saskatchewan

Greg Wallis, Simon Fraser

Dany Charlery, Brandon

Second Team

Henry Bekkering, Calgary

Chris Dyck, UBC

Adam Hartman, Brandon

Isaac Ansah, Manitoba

Tyler Hass, Victoria

Major award winners will automatically become finalists for national
awards, to be handed out by Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) at the
national championship, hosted by Carleton University Sport, March 14-16
in Ottawa.

This weekend the Final Four takes place at the University of Calgary,
with the host Dinos facing UBC in one semifinal and Alberta taking on
2007 CIS silver medalist Brandon in the other on Friday night. The two
semifinal winners will qualify for the CIS national tournament.

For more information - please visit

Subscribe to Email Newsletter
Share this article to...