N’Kosi Kedar Salam (shooting guard)
N’Kosi Kedar Salam, formally known as Kedar Wright, was a highly touted player transferring from UBC when he first joined the Clan for the beginning of the 2016–17 season. Upon transferring, he immediately shined as a scoring threat for SFU, and provided a great isolation option in late shot clock scenarios.
We always knew he could score, but what really separates his senior season from his first year for the Clan is the efficiency with which he’s put the ball in the basket. This increase in efficiency allowed him to lead the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) with 20.4 points per game, becoming the first SFU basketball player to be named to All-GNAC first team.
He shot .488 from the field this year, exactly a 10% increase from the .388 he shot last year, which was second on the Clan for players with over 100 shot attempts. He also shot .414 from behind the arc, up from .333 the season prior, and doubled his made threes to lead the team with 53 on the season.
Another huge improvement was from the free-throw line, where he shot .738 this year, up from .631 last season. Perhaps most importantly, he got to the line a lot more, and more than doubled any teammate with 126 free-throw attempts this year. As can be expected, he led the Clan in scoring in 18/28 games this season. Salam always had the killer instinct to be a dominant scorer, and this year, with the help of an increase in efficiency, he made it happen.
Sophie Swant (small forward/power forward)
There was an entirely new starting five for the SFU women’s basketball team this season, and with that, it was clear that somebody would need to step up into a scorer’s role. Sophie Swant was the person to do it, leading the Clan with 14.2 points per game, good for fifth in the GNAC.
For a team that played with seven or eight players for the duration of the season, she was a workhorse, playing 30.4 hard minutes per game. Her tenacity paid off, as she led SFU with 5.7 rebounds per game, as well as 4.7 defensive rebounds per game. She was truly a leader on both sides of the court, as she also led the teams in steals.
Despite all these accolades, perhaps the most impressive was her leading the GNAC in free-throw percentage with an incredible .894 free-throw percentage on 123 attempts. To put this in perspective, James Harden, widely considered one of the best free-throw shooters in the NBA, is shooting .863 from the free-throw line this year in what is likely a MVP season. And yes, the distance of the free-throw line is the same at both levels. This season, Swant showed what hard work and hard playing can do, as she is arguably the grittiest player in her conference, while also excelling in a trait that takes a lot of finesse, confidence, and focus.
Tessa May (middle blocker)
If you are looking for an example of a leader, look no further than Tessa May. There was no question that her teammates and coaching staff looked to her to be an influence on both sides of the ball, and she definitely lived up to the challenge.
Defensively, she excelled, setting the tempo as the first line of defence and leading the Clan with 1.08 blocks per game. She also was a star on the offensive side of the ball, showing the balance in her overall game. While outside hitter Kirsten Pinkney led the team with 3.15 kills per set, as expected, May was right behind her with 2.83 kills per set, and actually led the team with 292 kills on the season.
What set her aside from her counterparts, however, was the efficiency with which she attacked. With a .366 kill percentage, May led SFU, and was second in the GNAC. On top of that, her 3.6 points per set also led the team. This season, May showed how to play the middle blocker position, and was named an All-American Honourable Mention for her efforts.
Emma Pringle (striker)
If you are judging players based on the pure value they add to a team, Emma Pringle has a strong case for the MVP of SFU sports for her 2017 season, despite missing a game due to injury. Essentially, when the SFU women’s soccer team was winning, Pringle was scoring, and vice-versa. Pringle either scored or assisted in each of SFU’s wins this year, and in 10 out of her 15 games played overall. In the seven wins the Clan had, Pringle had 11 goals and two assists. In the eight losses she played in, she scored only three goals and had one assist. Her 3.8 shots per game led SFU, and were fourth in the conference. Most importantly, however, is the efficiency with which she scored. She scored 14 goals on 57 shots this year, good for a .246 goals per shot ratio. Comparatively, Harry Kane, one of the top strikers in Europe Football, has scored 24 goals on 162 shots this season, good for a .149 goals per shot ratio. Of course, the level of competition is vastly different, but this goes to show the level of dominance that Pringle has maintained this year.
She led the GNAC with .93 goals per game, and may have led the conference in overall goals as she was one behind the conference leader with one fewer games played. Her play helped fellow teammates as well, as Jenna-lee Baxter enjoyed a conference-leading 13 assists this season, many of which were to Pringle. Both were selected to the NCAA Division II United Soccer Coaches All-West Region Teams. This season, Pringle showed the impact that one player can have on a eleven-a-side sport, and it was huge.
Matteo Polisi (striker)
There are many players to pick from on the dominant SFU men’s soccer team, but perhaps the most exciting one this season was freshman Matteo Polisi. Making the jump from the high school to university level is a difficult step for many athletes, but this did not faze Polisi at all, as he scored SFU’s first goal of the season just two minutes into the first game.
The dream season would continue from there on out, as he led the Clan in goals and points by wide margins. His 10 goals on the season were third in the GNAC, as were his .56 goals per game, 1.33 points game and three shots per game. He also showed composure with his link up play in the striker role, as his four assists were tied for second on SFU and eighth in the conference. Soccer runs in the blood of the Polisi’s, as Matteo and brother Marcello were both named to the All-West Region First Team. In Matteo’s case, leading the front line on the best team in the GNAC and one of the best teams in the nation as a freshman is nothing short of incredible.
Lyndon Stanwood (goalie)
Like the SFU men’s soccer team, there are many impressive talents on the SFU hockey team to pick from. One of the Clan’s biggest strengths this season was their ability to score from a variety of players. It is therefore that we look between the pipes, where Lyndon Stanwood was unquestionably the man for SFU.
He was SFU’s, and the entire BC Intercollegiate Hockey League’s (BCIHL), workhorse with a league-leading 24 games played and 1,406 total minutes. For comparison, the closest goalie to him was Trinity Western’s Silas Matthys, who played 18 games and 1,033 total minutes, amounting to about three quarters of Stanwood’s workload. So next time you think you’re overdoing it on a group project, look at Stanwood’s stats.
His 16 wins led the conference, but most importantly, he provided a level of stability for the Clan’s defence. Not only did he play A LOT, but he also played at an elite level, with his 2.48 goals against average and .907 save percentage both ranking in the top three for BCIHL goaltenders with over 10 games played. Over his SFU career, Stanwood became the winningest goaltender in SFU BCIHL history with 30 wins. Stanwood and SFU hockey have been synonymous for the past few seasons, and seeing him leave will surely hurt.