Elijah Miller named AUS MVP as UPEI basketball teams head to finals
It's been a banner week for UPEI basketball Panther Elijah Miller.
The third-year point guard has just been named MVP for the Atlantic University Sports (AUS) basketball league and a first team all-star.
Miller, a 25-year-old business student from Rexdale, Ont., has also just broken a 30-year UPEI record for most assists in a single season.
"Honestly, in the moment, I didn't know that I passed it," he said. "A couple guys on the bench told me I was breaking it and then I kind of let out a little bit of a scream, a scream of joy that I passed it. I'm very thankful."
The person who had held that record? His own head coach, Darrell Glenn.
Glenn was a point guard for UPEI in the early 1990s, playing five years with the Panthers and establishing the record of 118 assists in the 1992-93 season.
Last weekend, in a game against the Memorial University Sea-Hawks, Miller shattered it when he made his 120th pass in a single season.
"It's kind of a cool thing. It's like a parent watching your son do one better than you did, and it's kind of what you want," Glenn said of the new record.
"So I'm thrilled for him. And, you know, hopefully he's back next year and he can beat that record and continue to leave a legacy for the next generation of players to come through."
Off to Halifax for finals
Miller and his team are in Nova Scotia this weekend chasing the AUS championship title. They finished second in the league this year, which buys them a ticket straight to the semi-finals Saturday night at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
Last year the men's Panthers made it all the way to the championship game, losing to Dalhousie in the end. This year, Glenn and his team have their sights set on gold.
I'm very confident that they're going to compete to the best of their ability. And then whatever happens from there, we'll let the basketball gods decide that. — Darrell Glenn
"I'm excited," the coach said. "I'm very process-oriented and I'm a little bit nervous but I really feel like our guys are in a situation now where they've made the commitment, that they've been really, really disciplined with their work, and now it's just: 'Can we put together a good weekend?'
"I'm very confident that they're going to compete to the best of their ability. And then whatever happens from there, we'll let the basketball gods decide that."
For Miller, it's all about carrying on the Panther Pride tradition.
"I proudly wear the green and white," he said. "I want to play hard and represent the university proudly. It is going to be an amazing game, knowing that our fans are going to be there as well. So I just don't want to disappoint them."
Women's coach also honoured
On the women's side, UPEI head coach Matt Gamblin was named as AUS women's basketball coach of the year for the second consecutive season.
Gamblin is in his fifth year with the UPEI women's team, and is now the Atlantic conference nominee for the U SPORTS coach of the year award.
UPEI's Lauren Rainford, a third-year student from Toronto, was named to the women's first team all-stars, and Karla Yepez, a fifth-year student from Quito, Ecuador, was named to the second team.
The university's women's team is scheduled to play Cape Breton in the AUS quarterfinal Friday night at 6:30 p.m. AT.
All the weekend's games are being livestreamed on the AUS TV website.
Disclosure note: As well as being a CBC journalist, the author of this article is the mother of a member of the UPEI men's basketball team.