Abbotsford – A trio of University of the Fraser Valley basketball players have been recognized as being among the best in Canada West.
Parm Bains of the Cascades men’s squad has been voted a Canada West second team all-star, and on the women’s side, Taylor Claggett is a third team all-star and Abby Zawada is on the all-rookie team.
Bains’s ascent to Canada West all-star status is nothing short of incredible. Lightly recruiting coming out of Tamanawis Secondary in Surrey, B.C., he had one-year stops at Douglas College and Capilano University before arriving at UFV in the fall of 2017 as a walk-on. After starting the season as a redshirt, he earned a spot on the active roster and made his Cascades debut on Dec. 1.
This season, Bains has emerged as the Cascades’ leading scorer, averaging 16.1 points per game (17th in Canada West) despite coming off the bench for all but five of UFV’s 20 conference games. His 62 made three-pointers ranked second in Canada West and ninth in the nation, and he shot 38.0 per cent from beyond the arc. Bains also finished second on the team and 19th in Canada West in assists, averaging 3.3 per game.
“It’s a great story, where he’s come from in his basketball journey to today,” UFV head coach Adam Friesen said. “How he got there? Through a lot of self-belief and hard work.
“He was huge for us this season, from his role coming off the bench and giving us a spark in the first quarter when we often needed it, to being the closer offensively and finishing games with huge buckets down the stretch. The all-star honour is well-deserved, for sure, because of all the work he’s put in and all the obstacles he’s overcome to reach this point.”
Claggett has been a longtime pillar of the Cascades women’s basketball program, and the fourth-year forward from Mission, B.C. turned in her most productive season to date. She finished fifth in the Canada West scoring race, averaging 18.4 points per game, and pulled down 8.4 rebounds per game to rank 11th in the conference.
Claggett also had a historic season at the free throw line. Her 131 free throws made on 176 attempts rank fourth and second, respectively, in Canada West history. She also set single-game records for foul shots made and attempted, going 20-for-24 against the Alberta Pandas on Nov. 9. Claggett also boosted her free throw percentage by double digits, going from 62.6 per cent in 2017-18 to 74.4 per cent this season.
“I’m really happy for Taylor to receive some recognition,” Tuchscherer said. “She’s been a rock for us for four years now, and every year she gets a little bit better. This year she had a lot of responsibility on the floor for us, and I thought she did a fantastic job every night coming ready to play and to compete.”
Zawada had a sparkling rookie season, averaging 5.9 points in 17.6 minutes per game to finish fifth in team scoring. She gave the Cascades a floor-stretching presence off the bench, knocking down 31 three-pointers (18th-most in Canada West) while hitting at a 31.6 per cent clip from beyond the arc. She set team rookie records for three-point makes and takes (98), and her 118 total points scored rank fifth all-time among Cascades rookies.
Zawada becomes the third Cascades women’s basketball player to earn an all-rookie accolade in the program’s Canada West era (since 2006). Sarah Wierks was part of the CIS national all-rookie team in 2010-11 (Canada West did not name an all-rookie team in those days). Claggett was a Canada West all-rookie selection in 2015-16.
“Abby had a fantastic year for us,” Tuchscherer noted. “She really added something to our team, with her ability to spread the floor with her shot. She had some big games for us, where statistically she did a good job. I’m excited for Abby in the future as she continues to add pieces to her game. I think she has potential to be a great Cascade moving forward.”