SMU Huskies

AUS Basketball Awards - Nikita Kasongo named Rookie of the Year

AUS Basketball Awards - Nikita Kasongo named Rookie of the Year

2017-18 AUS Men's Basketball Awards and All-Stars Announced
UNB's Javon Masters claims MVP honours

(HALIFAX, N.S.) - Atlantic University Sport is pleased to announce the 2017-18 AUS men's basketball all-stars and major award winners as selected by the conference's eight head coaches following regular season play. 

Fifth-year UNB guard Javon Masters of Kitchener, Ont. was named the Atlantic University Sport most valuable player today. This year's AUS basketball awards will be presented to winners on the floor of the Scotiabank Centre prior to their respective games during the Subway AUS Basketball Championships March 2-4.

Other AUS major award winners announced today were Saint Mary's Nikita Kasongo of Montreal, Que., who was named rookie of the year; Acadia's Erik Nissen of Quispamsis, N.B., who was named defensive player of the year, Dalhousie's Sven Stammberger of Halifax, N.S., who received the student-athlete community service award; and UNB Varsity Reds head coach Brent Baker who was named the AUS coach of the year for the second time in his career.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Javon Masters, UNB Varsity Reds

Javon Masters, a senior guard with the UNB Varsity Reds, is the 2017-18 AUS men's basketball most valuable player. This marks his third time earning the conference's top honour.

In his final year of eligibility, Masters left his mark in the conference and national record books, setting a new U SPORTS record for career points with 2,407.

He surpassed the previous record of 2,282 career points in five seasons set by former CIS (now U SPORTS) standout Boris Bakovic who played four seasons at Ryerson and a fifth at the University of Calgary. 

Masters once again led the nation in scoring this season, averaging 24.5 points per game.

He was also the national scoring champion in his first three seasons, boasting 27.4 points per game in 2013-14, 25.1 in 2014-15 and 28.0 in 2015-16. 

Also named to the AUS first team all-star squad today, Masters is now a five-time AUS first team all-star.

This season, in addition to leading in points, he also led the conference in free throws made and free throw percentage (129-143, 90.2 per cent). He finished second overall in assists with 105 on the season and third in steals with 35. He averaged 5.9 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game this season.

Masters was first named the conference MVP and a first team all-Canadian in 2015 and 2016. He earned AUS first team all-star and second team all-Canadian nods again last season. 

He earned the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy as the CIS (now U SPORTS) rookie of the year in 2014. That same year, he earned a place on the national all-rookie team and was named a second team all-Canadian.

Masters began making a name for himself in the AUS record books in just his third season, setting a new record for career free throws made. He finishes his AUS career with 772, smashing the previous record of 411.

He set the AUS all-time record for free throws made in one season in his rookie year, with 215. He also boasts second and third place in the same category, with 165 free throws made in 2015-16 and 161 in 2014-15.

He sits second and third in the record book for most points in one season, earning 560 in 2015-16 and 547 in 2013-14. And he is tied for second in free throws made in a single game, making good on 20 of 26 in a 2013 game versus UPEI.

Masters will now be the AUS representative for the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy as the most outstanding player in U SPORTS basketball.

The last Atlantic conference player to win the national award was William Njoku of the Saint Mary's Huskies in 1992-93.

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Nikita Kasongo, Saint Mary's Huskies

The 2017-18 AUS rookie of the year is Nikita Kasongo of the Saint Mary's Huskies.

A six-foot-four guard from Montreal, Que., Kasongo started in all 20 of the Huskies regular season games.

He led all freshman scorers, averaging 18.9 points per game, good for fifth overall in the AUS conference and second in team scoring, behind only Saint Mary's first team all-star Kemar Alleyne

He averaged 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Kasongo is the first player from the Huskies to be named AUS rookie of the year since the 2011-12 season when former Saint Mary's standout Brian Rouse earned the honour.

He will now represent the conference as the AUS nominee for the Dr. Peter Mullins trophy. This award for U SPORTS rookie of the year was won by an AUS athlete most recently in 2013-14, when this year's AUS MVP Javon Masters took home the honour. 

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Erik Nissen, Acadia Axemen

Erik Nissen of the Acadia Axemen basketball team is the 2017-18 AUS men's basketball defensive player of the year.


A fifth-year kinesiology student from Quispamsis, N.B., Nissen was also named an AUS first team all-star today for the first time in his career. Last season, he earned AUS second team all-star honours. 


The six-foot-nine power forward led the Atlantic conference and finished third in the nation in rebounds this season, averaging 10.4 per game, and in blocks, averaging 3.0 per game. 


Nissen was also the Axemen's leading scorer this season, averaging 18.3 points per game.


Acadia finished with 15-5 regular season record.


In three seasons with the Axemen, Nissen amassed 1,021 career points, 570 rebounds and 121 blocks.

He now becomes the AUS conference nominee for the U SPORTS defensive player of the year award. No Acadia player has ever won the national honour.

CBU's Phil Nkrumah and StFX's Garry Gallimore are the only AUS players to have been named CIS (now U SPORTS) defensive player of the year since the inception of the award in 2004-05. 

COACH OF THE YEAR: Brent Baker, UNB Varsity Reds

Brent Baker, in his 10th season at the helm of the UNB Varsity Reds program, is the AUS coach of the year for the second time in his career.

This season, Coach Baker guided the Varsity Reds to a 16-4 regular season record and second place in the AUS standings.

The team earned a bye through to the Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship semifinal round for the second consecutive year.

The UNB squad led the Atlantic conference and tied for second in the nation in points per game this season, averaging 89.8. They finished third in the AUS in points per game allowed, averaging 78.5.  

Baker is just the second UNB men's basketball coach to be named AUS coach of the year. Former Varsity Reds coach Thom Gillespie also earned the honour twice as head coach in 2001-02 and 2003-04. 

Baker will now represent the AUS as the nominee for U SPORTS coach of the year. A UNB head coach has yet to earn the national honour.

StFX's Steve Konchalski (2000-01) is the last Atlantic conference head coach to win the Stuart W. Aberdeen Trophy as the nation's top university coach. 


Sven Stammberger of the Dalhousie Tigers is the 2018 recipient of the AUS student-athlete community service award and will be the Atlantic conference nominee for the prestigious Ken Shields Award.

A native of Halifax, N.S., the six-foot-six forward was the Tigers' leading scorer this season, averaging 18.4 points per game.


He also led Dalhousie in rebounding, with an average of 8.2 per game, and added 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals per game.


In the classroom, Stammberger is a U SPORTS academic all-Canadian with a 3.5 GPA.


He is heavily involved in the community, volunteering his time with numerous initiatives both on and off the Dalhousie campus, including the Special Tigers program.


Currently in its fifth year, the Special Tigers program connects children and teens with cognitive disabilities with Dalhousie student-athletes through sport. Events include basketball, soccer, mini-stick hockey, badminton and more.


Stammberger has volunteered his time with several SAMHI (Student-Athlete Mental Health Initiative) events, as well as with IWK Activity Days events. He has also been a part of the Best Buddies program which works with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.


He has also been active with Tigers basketball camps, working with elementary, junior high and high school students.

Last season, former Tigers standout Kashrell Lawrence was the winner of the national Ken Shields Award. An AUS athlete has earned the honour in three of the past four seasons. 


The Atlantic University Sport first and second team all-stars were also announced today, along with this year's all-rookie team.

First Team All-Stars:

Javon Masters, UNB (5th year – Kitchener, Ont.)

Sven Stammberger, Dalhousie (5th year – Halifax, N.S.)

Erik Nissen, Acadia (5th year – Quispamsis, N.B.)

Kemar Alleyne, Saint Mary's (4th year – Toronto, Ont.)

Alex Carson, Dalhousie (2nd year – Lower Sackville, N.S.)


Second Team All-Stars:
Julius Antoine, StFX (5th year – Vaughan, Ont.)
Ben Miller, Acadia (4th year – Winnipeg, Man.)

Nikita Kasongo, Saint Mary's (1st year – Montreal, Que.)

Kevin Bercy, StFX (5th year – Kanata, Ont.)

Nathan Barker, Memorial (2nd year – Massey Drive, N.L.)


All-Rookie Team:

Nikita Kasongo, Saint Mary's (Montreal, Que.)

Ibrahima Doumbouya, UNB (Calgary, Alta.)

Keevan Veinot, Dalhousie (Port Williams, N.S.)

Jaydan Smith, StFX (Halifax, N.S.)

Moshe Wadley, UPEI (Toronto, Ont.)


The 2018 Subway AUS Men's Basketball Championship will be hosted by the AUS conference office at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, N.S., March 2-4, 2018.