Wednesday, March 04, 2009

CIS Corner: Kingston's Turnbull up for player of the year

Carleton's tri-captain and fifth-year senior guard Stu Turnbull will be the OUA East candidate for the Mike Moser Trophy, edging out Ryerson big man Boris Bakovic and Ottawa's Josh Gibson-Bascombe, who plays the same two-guard spot for Ottawa.

Turnbull is a good call if you go by the rule of thumb individual awards should be a byproduct of a team's accomplishment, which is a decent first principle. The Kingston native is No. 1-ranked Carleton's leading scorer and outscored Gibson-Bascombe, 29-18 and 22-19, in the Ravens' season-series sweep of the Gee-Gees (heading into tonight's OUA East final). That's the end-of-story right there for many people. The statistical argument, going by the game scores which Rob Pettapiece compiled, provide at least a neat counter-point.

Bakovic had the highest game score in the country, 18.4. Gibson-Bascombe was second in the OUA and fifth in the CIS; Turnbull was 10th and 39th, respectively. Strictly for argument's sake, bearing in mind that as Rob notes, "Sophisticated metrics aren't really possible with the limited CIS stats we have available," here are the Top 10 players in the OUA by adjusted game score (national ranking in brackets, conference regular season only):
  1. Bakovic, Ryerson, 18.4 (1st)
  2. Gibson-Bascombe, Ottawa, 14.1 (5th)
  3. Aaron Doornekamp, Carleton, 12.0 (14th)
  4. Dax Dessureault, Ottawa, 11.4 (18th)
  5. Greg Surmacz, Windsor, 11.1 (21st)
  6. Keenan Jeppesen, Western, 10.9 (23rd)
  7. Matas Tirilis, Laurentian, 10.1 (33rd)
  8. Josh Wright, Ottawa, 10.0 (34th)
  9. Tut Ruach, York, 9.6 (36th)
  10. Turnbull, Carleton, 9.4 (39th)
People who have seen the Ravens play know how much Turnbull matters to them at each end of the floor. The Ottawa games were high-leverage and he came through in both cases (Rob adjusts based on team's RPI).

Stats are a way to make a sense of the game from the outside looking in. The godfather himself, Bill James once said, "There are a lot of things that you just can't see from out here, folks. Dedication and leadership and desire and committment; I see glimpses of all that, but you just can't see those things clearly from the outside, and it's silly to pretend you can."

Those making the selections saw in Turnbull, a team leader who's put up solid numbers across the board (16.7 points and 5.1 boards). He's a guard who can score from inside and outside, play physical defence, bring the ball up the floor and help on the boards, where Carleton almost doubled the next-best team in rebounding margin.

It's a good argument, to say the least.

Briefly, Carleton's Rob Saunders was named OUA East defensive player of the year, while his and Turnbull's fellow Frontenac Secondary School graduate, Queen's forward Mitch Leger, was named to the second all-star team.

Carleton's honourees were also Dave Smart (coach of the year), Aaron Doornekamp (first all-star team) and Kyle Smendziuk (all-rookie team). Ottawa's Dax Dessureault is the TSN Ken Shields Award nominee; he and Gibson-Bascombe were both first-team all-stars, while swingman Warren Ward was named to the rookie team.

Ottawa native Greg Carter, a point guard at Lakehead who led the OUA in steals, was named to the OUA West rookie team.

(Cross-posted to

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