For the second consecutive year, Kadre Gray of the Laurentian Voyageurs is the winner of the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy, given to the U SPORTS Men's Basketball Player of the Year, and he was named a U SPORTS First Team All-Canadian.
The 6-foot-1 guard led the county in scoring this season with 31.0 points per game, more than 4 ppg ahead of the next closest player. After being named the U SPORTS Rookie of the Year in the 2016-17 season, Toronto's Gray was last year's U SPORTS men's basketball player of the year and the U SPORTS Male Athlete of the Year. Gray becomes the first back-to-back U SPORTS men's basketball player of the year since Carleton's Philip Scrubb won three years in a row from 2011 to 2014 and maintains the OUA's stranglehold on the award, with the conference now boasting the award winner for a ninth consecutive year and 13 of the last 15 years.
For Gray, the significance of winning the honour in back-to-back years is not lost on him but he is quick to remind that this is not a completely solo effort and is the culmination of the work of the team, saying, "This journey is about all the people around me and how much faith we have. There's strength in numbers."
In his third season as a Voyageur, Gray, a Health Promotion major, continued to demonstrate his offensive prowess. He led the country in points per game (31.0), field goals per game (10.3), free throw attempts (188), free throws made (160) and free-throws per game (8.0). He finished second in the country in field goals made (206), total points (620) and assists per game (6.2) and finished third in the nation in total assists (124).
Gray also owns the two highest single game scoring totals this season, tallying 48 points against Lakehead in November and 45 points when the Voyageurs took down the then top-ranked Ryerson Rams in February. On top of his shooting prowess, Gray notched a triple-double this season and a double-double in another five games.
For the Voyageurs' bench boss, Shawn Swords, winning the Mike Moser Memorial Trophy in consecutive years is testament to Gray's dedication to improve in spite of the continued accolades he receives.
"Kadre's work ethic continues to shine bright," he said. "Never satisfied with his skill set, he is always looking for ways to improve and refine all aspects of the game. It's an amazing accomplishment to do it once and now, to be named MVP twice, is truly a testament to his willingness to learn and improve."
Swords added, "The Kadre effect has spread throughout our community as well. It is great to see him support our local youth and realize the positive impact he has on everyone."
Gray's success did not go unnoticed this year either as he was called up to the Canadian senior men's national team in late November to compete in a pair of FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers games against Venezuela and Brazil. He was the only active U SPORTS player to participate in the Qualifiers.
For Gray, the recognition is nice but for him, this is just a small step in the ultimate goal of bringing a provincial and national championship back to the Ben Avery and the hard work still needs to be put in. "Every level has its 'Goliath' and it's about preparing like David for the opportunity."