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Volume 90, Issue 95
Tuesday, March 25, 1997
Noonan Western's hoopla
NOT IN MY BARN YOU'RE NOT. Western hoops MVP Brendan Noonan brushes off another opponent's hopelessly flailing arm.
By Alex Chiang
Leadership, commitment and an unyielding determination. For five seasons, Western point guard Brendan Noonan has been the heart and soul of the men's basketball team.
A captain in his last three seasons with the Mustangs, the Toronto-native was awarded the Bob Gage Trophy for the third time in his illustrious career. Noonan, who also claimed the honour in 1993 and 1994, becomes the first ever three-time recipient.
"I look at the other names on the trophy and I can't help but feel honoured," Noonan said. "There were a lot of people on the team that were in contention for this award and they're just as deserving in my mind."
"He lifts everybody's game," head coach Craig Boydell said. "He's a coach's player and a player's player and, in his finest moments, is what our program is all about."
The award was first given out 11 years ago and recognizes the individual who makes the greatest all-around contribution to the team.
This year, Noonan quarterbacked Western to the OUAA West semifinal and led the team in assists and steals. His excellent perimeter shooting ranked him among the country's best.
As the only player under six feet tall, Noonan was determined not to let his lack of size dictate his effectiveness.
"Despite being the shortest player on the team, he was consistently among the toughest rebounders," Boydell said. "His ball handling and passing were key factors in breaking presses and controlling the tempo of the game."
While Noonan felt honoured to win the award, it did little to take away the disappointment of not winning the national championship this year. Playing out his fifth season for the Mustangs, this was Noonan's final shot at another CIAU title.
"The award doesn't make me feel any less disappointed about our season one bit," he said. "Practicing with teammates and friends who are striving for the same goal is what I'll miss the most."
Being named the most valuable player was no easy task. This year's team was loaded with veterans including two former Gage Trophy winners, Jonathan Dingle and Nigel Rawlins.
"Everyone really shared a sense of confidence. That helped me to be more confident as well," Noonan said.
Looking back on his Mustang career, Noonan attributes some of his success to playing with former Western guard Dave Ormerod in his rookie season.
"I learned a lot from Dave," Noonan said. "In fact, I wish he could have stuck around for another season, I probably could have learned some more."
The impact Noonan had on the team can be seen in the 112-38 record Western posted with him on board, including the school's only CIAU championship in 1991.
Remarkably, it took him little time to get back in the groove after spending last year as an exchange student in Australia and the season before as the team's assistant coach.
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Copyright © The Gazette 1997