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Berhanemeskel named CIS Player of the Year, Derouin Coach of the Year

Wednesday March 11, 2015
Awards banquet
Jen Elliott

TORONTO (CIS) – Johnny Berhanemeskel, a fifth-year guard from the University of Ottawa, was named the CIS player of the year in men’s basketball, on Wednesday night.

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A local product from Ottawa, Berhanemeskel became the first-ever Gee-Gee to claim the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy and the first player in school history to capture a national individual award in men’s basketball.

Other CIS award winners announced during the All-Canadian Awards Gala held at Uniun Nightclub in Toronto were Carleton wing-forward Thomas Scrubb, who was voted the defensive player of the year for a second straight season; Brock guard Johneil Simpson, who received the Dr. Peter Mullins Trophy as rookie of the year; Ottawa’s James Derouin, who merited the Stuart W. Aberdeen Memorial Trophy as the TIMEX coach of the year; as well as Memorial forward Noel Moffatt, who earned the Ken Shields Award in recognition of his excellence in basketball, academics and community involvement.

The ArcelorMittal Dofasco CIS championship, hosted by Ryerson University, gets underway Thursday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre and culminates Sunday at 3 p.m. with the national final, live on Sportsnet 360 and Sportsnet ONE. Saturday’s semifinals are also live on Sportsnet 360 (6 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.), while all other games from the eight-team tournament are set to air on Rogers TV, Rogers TV Sports + and Super Sports Pak. All 11 contests will also be webcast on


MIKE MOSER MEMORIAL TROPHY (player of the year): Johnny Berhanemeskel, Ottawa

After being a walk-on to the Gee-Gees in his rookie season, Berhanemeskel flourished at uOttawa, quickly developing into an elite three-point shooter. He has since become one of the most complete players in the game, earning four consecutive OUA first-team all-star awards and now his second straight all-Canadian selection, following a second-team nod a year ago.

This year, the 6-foot-2 economics student led the OUA conference in scoring with 23.2 points per game, which ranked third nationally, although his extreme efficiency on offence lifted him to first in points per 40 minutes (30.9). In addition to his scoring, Berhanemeskel provided an extra weapon with his passing, dishing out 4.5 assists per game to tie for third in Ontario. His performances helped the Gee-Gees reach the top of the national rankings for the first time in program history and take first place overall in the ultra-competitive OUA conference with a CIS-best 18-1 record.

Berhanemeskel closes his career with 2000 regular season points – the third highest in OUA history and the most among guards. He played in every game over his five seasons and holds a career scoring average of 19.0 points per contest.

“Johnny has been an incredible player, leader and teammate for our program. He improved every single year that he has been with the team and has capped it off with a truly amazing season,” said head coach James Derouin. “We are lucky to have him and are thrilled that he was named the program’s first ever CIS player of the year.”

STUART W. ABERDEEN MEMERIAL TROPHY (coach of the year): James Derouin, Ottawa


In his fifth season at the helm, Derouin became the first Gee-Gees head coach to claim the Aberdeen Trophy.


This year’s regular season record of 18-1 – good for first place in the ultra-competitive OUA North division - was the best winning percentage in uOttawa history and marked the team’s first OUA overall title since 1975. The Gee-Gees, who reached No. 1 in the national rankings for the first time in program history this season, were the best offensive team in the country in league play scoring 94.5 points per game, and also ranked first in field goal percentage (50.6) and turnovers ratio (+10.4 per game), second in three-point shooting (41.0%), while also maintaining the seventh best defensive record in CIS (69.2 ppg).

Under Derouin’s guidance, the Gee-Gees have moved from an 11-11 regular season record in his first year to being ranked third or better in the CIS Top 10 poll for 28 consecutive weeks, including four weeks at No. 1. The team has claimed an OUA championship and CIS silver and bronze medals along the way.  The 39-year-old holds a career regular season record of 77-28 (.733) and became the fastest coach in uOttawa basketball history to reach 50 league wins. He was captain of the Gee-Gees for both the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons, and then spent six years on the garnet and grey sideline as an assistant coach before working with UBC until 2010.

“It is fantastic to see James recognised nationally,” said Colin Timm, interim Director of Sports Services. “In just five seasons as head coach, he has developed a culture of success both in the classroom and on the court that has developed some of the best talent in the country. His leadership and ability to recruit both the best coaches and student-athletes will ensure the stability and success of our program for the long-term.”