Elgadi continues to be among U Sports best

Dani Elgadi has led the Badgers this season / Chloé Charbonneau

 

In a season where Brock men’s basketball hasn’t lived up to their full potential, despite a 12-4 record, star forward Dani Elgadi has quietly been one of the best players in U Sports for a fourth consecutive season.

Brock’s record ranks them fourth in the OUA, but a majority of their wins have not come in pretty fashion. Using their recent 66-63 victory last Wednesday night over Waterloo as an example, the Badgers struggled to defend for a majority of the game. Intensity lacked throughout the four quarters, they turned the ball over 22 times and at some points throughout the game the team looked uninterested. Yet, Elgadi was the lone bright spot leading the team with 22 points and 15 rebounds — however, he also led the team in turnovers with seven.

Head coach Charles Kissi spoke after the game saying his team can’t be playing the way they did against Waterloo at this point in the season.

A favourite to land in the OUA final four, the Badgers are currently riding a seven game win streak, which is the second longest in the OUA. Yet it’s unclear prior to each game which Brock team will show up. It could be the team that almost fell apart against a 4-12 Waterloo team, or the team that beat an undefeated Ryerson, while holding the Rams to 30.4 per cent shooting.

One thing is clear however, the Badgers will get the all-star version of Elgadi from game to game. The Waterloo native is 14th in the OUA in scoring, averaging 15.3 points per game and is leading the league in rebounds with 10.8 per game, which ranks fourth in U Sports — he’s also the only player averaging 10-plus rebounds in the OUA and one of six players in all of U Sports. Elgadi is also sixth in U Sports with 1.7 blocks per game.

In comparison to his previous three seasons, Elgadi’s 15.3 points per game is his lowest career average going back to the 2014/15 season when he only played 12 games and averaged 17.8 points. However, Elgadi has been more effective this season than the past three, shooting a career-high 55.3 per cent from the field on a career-low 10.6 shots per game.

With three games remaining on Brock’s schedule, Elgadi is two three-pointers away from tying his personal single-season record of 12, which he accomplished in his rookie season. The 2013/14 OUA Rookie of the Year is hovering around his career average in minutes, rebounds and blocks, but also averaging a career-high 3.3 assists per game. Elgadi’s assist numbers have a lot to do with this year’s Brock team being the best it has been in his four years.

This past weekend, in the Badgers game versus Laurier, Elgadi surpassed 2,000 career points becoming Brock’s ninth player to reach the milestone. He also led the team again with 19 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks en route to a 71-58 win — his eight assists were a career-high.

With Elgadi continuing to lead the way for Brock, the question remains: can the guys around him help out? Of course all the success doesn’t fall on Elgadi’s shoulders, as players
like Johneil Simpson, Cassidy Ryan and Ryan Bennett have all had successful games, though not consistently.

Most times people are quick to blame the star when a team isn’t playing up to potential, but Elgadi has been a consistent bright spot. He has nine double-doubles in the Badgers 16 games.

The next step for Elgadi will be to find a way to help his teammates play at a consistent level as well, and eight assists in a game could do just that. But it isn’t expected that the forward will put up those assist numbers every game.

The Badgers have three games left on the season against Algoma (4-12), Western (5-11) and Windsor (8-8). It’s all but certain the Badgers will finish with the fourth seed in the OUA playoffs, leading to a first round bye. The question however remains to be: which Brock team will show up come round two of the playoffs?

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