Tevaun Kokko and Ali Sow’s outstanding seasons receive All-OUA recognition
Similar to the pros, it’s that time of the year — midway through the OUA men’s basketball playoffs — where we get to see some of the very best the OUA has to offer from this season.
Among this exclusive group, Laurier has two representatives this year, the first being rookie Ali Sow.
Sow put together the most impressive of seasons amongst all rookies as he not only made the OUA all-rookie team, but also won OUA rookie of the year.
Hailing from Ottawa, having had little interest from schools coming out of high school, he quickly proved that he belonged and other scouts definitely passed over a good one.
With some big time performances this year by way of an arsenal of moves on the offensive end, he showed he could be more than just a role player in the OUA.
“It feels like a great accomplishment to me, especially making my family proud and stuff like that,” Sow said.
“Especially knowing that coming in, I wasn’t sure if this year I was going to play basketball because I didn’t have enough recruitment coming my way. Just being able to come here and make an impact, it feels good.”
Coming off the bench but basically playing starters minutes — 25.6/game — he finished 13th in the conference in scoring averaging 16.5 points per game, shooting an efficient 45.9 per cent from the field and 37.8 per cent from 3-point land.
Asked about what his goals and expectations are for next season, he had this to say:
“For myself, I don’t have any expectations really, I just expect myself to be a lot better overall, just offensively and defensively. Just be more available for my teammates and have a better attitude and focus for the game and just help my team win.”
Next up for the Golden Hawks was Tevaun Kokko, who followed up a stellar rookie season making it as a second-team all-star last year as well as being a part of the OUA all-rookie team with another second-team all-star nod.
“Personal accolades, I think they’re always good to have but I’m focused on more on the team kind of stuff and trying to get better in other aspects like leadership and stuff,” Kokko said.
“I think things like conference all-star and stuff just comes as a reflection of the work we’re putting in with the team and all that stuff. It’s pretty cool though.”
Averaging 19.3 points per game — and having a more efficient season than last — Kokko showed he was able to add to his already impressive offensive arsenal, taking on the challenge of being the guy on an up and coming Golden Hawks squad that made some noise this year.
Shooting almost 5 per cent better from the field — 45.3 compared to 40.8 last year — he led the new look Hawks to a 12-12 season and an impressive first-round playoff win versus McMaster before bowing out to Brock in the second round.
Having put together a good season as a team and an impressive one individually, he knows the expectations will be higher going into his junior year.
“I think yes, there is a little bit of pressure. We did a little better than years previous, so I think it gives you a little bit more pressure. But I think that pressure is a good kind of pressure unless you make it too hard on yourself by overthinking,” Kokko said.
“I think it’s just straight basketball at that point and just continuing to do what you’ve been doing your whole life so I guess the pressure is a good thing for us.”
With these two leading the way for a young Golden Hawks squad on the come up and only going into their sophomore and junior years, there is a lot to look forward to next year with this team — and they know it.