The Niagara Knights men's basketball program recently wrapped up a 15-5 regular season and are set to begin the 2019 OCAA Men's Basketball Provincial Championship at Georgian College this weekend. Thursday morning, the teams gathered for the annual OCAA awards banquet where two members of the Niagara Knights were honoured.
Van Hutchinson Jr. (Bahamas) has been named the OCAA Player of the Year, an OCAA 1st Team All-Star and a CCAA All-Canadian. His accomplishment marks the first time a Niagara College men's basketball player has won the OCAA Player of the Year award.
Hutchinson Jr. was well deserving of his honour of player of the year and his statistics alone proved just that. He finished the season averaging 25.2 points per game (3rd OCAA), 12.9 rebounds per game (2nd OCAA), 7.0 assists per game (1st OCAA) and 2.8 steals per game (1st OCAA). He was named OCAA Star of the Week and CCAA Athlete of the Week in the week of November 19th after a two-game weekend road-trip in which he scored a combined 81 points (including a career high 56 against St. Clair), 22 rebounds, 14 assists and nine steals while playing in 79/80 minutes between the two games.
The third-year forward from the Bahamas had the most dominating season that any Niagara Knight has ever had. Throughout the course of the year, Bubba, as he is known to his coaches and teammates, set the Niagara College men's basketball records in the four main single-season statistical categories:
- Single Season Points Record – 530 (Previous – 475 by Dan Rzadkowski in 1977-78)
- Single Season Rebounds Record – 270 (Previous – 208 by two players)
- Single Season Assists Record – 148 (Previous – 87 by Van Hutchinson Jr 2017-18)
- Single Season Steals Record – 58 (Previous – 55 by Van Hutchinson Jr 2017-18)
Hutchinson Jr. also holds the Knights career records with 303 career assists and 154 career steals.
With the announcement that Hutchinson Jr. became OCAA Player of the Year, he will now officially head to the CCAA National Championship awards banquet as a candidate for CCAA Player of the Year.
Also being honoured at the banquet was first-year guard Keveshan Padachey (Markham) who was named to the OCAA West All-Rookie Team.
The Knights sharpshooter was a force on the court all season long consistently showing off his long-range shooting ability. Playing in all 20 regular season games, Padachey averaged 11.9 points per game and shot 44.4% from behind the three-point line. He finished the year averaging 3.1 three-pointers per game which was sixth in the entire OCAA.
The men's basketball program will now begin their OCAA Championship journey tonight with a game against the Lambton Lions at 6pm. All tournament games are being streamed live on the Georgian Grizzlies YouTube channel.